This season is definitely going in strong!
As with last time, Superman’s around, but I’m so glad that this didn’t feel like scenery chewing at all: his presence felt natural and they enveloped him nicely into the workings of the show without ever compromising on any other plot or character material, and that’s great.
The strengths of this episode definitely stem from tight character work and interactions. The fight between Kara and Alex felt as real as ever, both actresses doing a fine job balancing their conflict and rising tension without becoming catty with one another. I could’ve done with a bit more of that, actually, but what we got was great, and a sign that the two Danvers sisters are going to be in more loving conflict this season, which is exactly what I want. J’onn and Clark not getting along due to the former having Kryptonite on hand feels a bit forced for me, but they devoted enough time to it for it to make its point, and again, given that this episode was a character-driven one, this element plays right into that, and it’s a good way to help integrate Clark into the story so that he doesn’t just seem like the hired muscle of the week.
The pacing this week was very good. This is something that the show had struggled with last season, and it seems to have settled into its own now. It’s a pace that’s fast, but not breakneck, allowing for a variety of tone and character beats to shine. While the hour tends to cut a lot to different locations (I found the Fortress of Solitude sojourn to be a bit tedious), the upshot is that the character conflicts and interactions remained the focus. The fights looked quite good, and the dual fight between Superman and Supergirl and the two Metallos was well done cinematographically; some sweet transitions in there!
Where this fell short for me was pretty much everything having to do with Cadmus. Don’t get me wrong, Supergirl’s needed a strong serialized villain for some time; Astra and Myriad didn’t really pan out too well, and I have a feeling that the writers learned from that and are now trying to make up for lost time by just introducing the season-long villain right off the bat. While this is good in intention, the execution feels rushed. We barely know anything about Cadmus, and what we do know feels ever so much like a cheap knockoff of the excellent depiction in the Justice League Unlimited show. Maybe that’s just me, but I really hope we can get into the workings of this group besides just knowing that they’re evil. This villain has the potential to be very good and very nuanced, and I’m not seeing that right now.
Also, Metallo himself wasn’t great. I’m only tangentially familiar with his comic book stories, so maybe this is how boring and lifeless he is there too, but this on-screen representation just didn’t hold my interest. This would be a bigger knock against the show if the character stuff weren’t so strong, but even so, they really need to work on developing good villains here.
Cat’s leaving! No surprise here, though they gave her a good emotional sendoff, which I liked. Snapper Carr is gonna be a pain in the ass to watch, but it was nice to see Kara set him kinda straight by episode’s end. And Kara’s (and Supergirl’s) goodbye moments with Cat rounded things out nicely.
Next episode looks to be even better, with the mysterious Mon-El waking up and Wonder Woman POTUS herself Lynda Carter coming in on the scene! Exciting!!