Supergirl Review and Recap – “Event Horizon”, Season Episode 1:
This weekend’s Supergirl premiere is a solid way to start season 5. It establishes new challenges, a new threat, and a new beginning for its cast and showcase the emotional impact of our past actions. Let’s review tomorrow’s first episode of the new season of Supergirl:
This episode establishes quickly the underlying threat of Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) and her schemes to take her revenge on Supergirl (Melissa Benoist). It’s been a month since the events of the previous season and since Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) revealed Supergirl’s identity to Lena. Lena felt this betrayal, deep into her very soul. She’s spent her whole life surrounded by people who lied, used and schemed around her and she spent a lifetime working to get away from the shadow Lex Luthor and her mother cast on her. She even adopted a family of her own in a way and built a friendship with Kara Danvers. Learning that Kara lied to her all of these years angered her beyond belief, like her whole world was shattered and she can’t rely on anyone anymore. She’s going to lash out and Supergirl will feel her wrath. Woman scorned and all that.
Kara Danvers just won a Pulitzer prize for her expose of Lex Luthor and is struggling with telling Lena the truth about her life as Supergirl. Besides, there’s plenty of things happening in her life. In the midst of all of this drama, a shape-shifter steals Superman’s pod from a museum and use its technology to summon an evil being named Midnight (Jennifer Cheon Garcia) from a parallel dimension for nefarious purposes.
The overarching threat of the season, and the immediate one in the episode, seems to be the impact of past actions. Supergirl is on a collision course with Lena because she lied to her. J’onn J’onnz (David Harewood) for his part, is facing the scorn, imagined or not of a criminal he once put in the Phantom Zone and a threat from is past. We’ll see how this plays out in the rest of the season with the other characters, but so far, this is a great start to the season.
Supergirl launches itself once again into contemporary issues, this time with the problems facing the press. Financing, readership and increased competition are among some of the problems facing journalism outlets across the Western world. Readership is down and to survive, newspaper have to find ways to monetize what they do. In this context, CatCo media, the newspaper at which Kara Danvers, James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) and Nia Nal (Nicole Maines) are working at is sold by Lena Luthor (as part of her scheme) to Andrea Rojas (Julie Gonzalo). Rojas is a business focused individuals who want to transform the newspaper into a click bait farm to drive up engagement and revenue. This brings in an interesting clash of ideologies between what James Olsen and Rojas believe the role of the press should be. Olsen argues that the goal is to report facts and bring information so readers can make informed opinions about things that matter in society, whereas Rojas questions whether this vision of the free press is sustainable if no one is reading it. Olsen even leaves the newspaper over this radical disagreement.
This first episode is really busy, but makes a lot of effort to introduce things that will be explored in more depth as the series progress. The launch of a new set of Smart Contact Lenses that allows people to interact with AR, the creation of Lena’s AI assistant, the conflict between Kelly Olsen’s current employer and her friends, the difficult relationship between Brainiac-5 (Jesse Rath) and Nia Nal. It’s a lot to take in, but the episode’s pace remains breezy with enough time for things to have an emotional weight.
There’s a powerful scene in which Kara realizes that her actions have betrayed herself, and who she is. Her desire to do good accidentally did harm and she feels incredibly put down by her own actions. It’s a fantastic and emotional moment in which she faces the hardest path in front of her and reminds us that she is a true hero.
It’s a really strong opening for this season. I am quite amazed at how the show has evolved from a quirky, light and breezy show into a more mature and assured one. The cast is doing a phenomenal job and Melissa Benoist portrayed the strength, enthusiasm and vulnerability of Kara Danvers perfectly. Katie McGrath’s is lacking some subtleties to convey her heel turn, but she still commands a presence on screen that makes her riveting. I think, much like the previous, it’s the script that betrays her. The dialog is often unsubtle, clumsy and so on the nose, it will make your eyes roll so far back, you may pinch a nerve in your eyebrows. There is a frustrating lack of subtlety in some of the exchange that can often feel like nails on a chalkboard, no matter your tolerance for the corny. It’s a recurring problem, but the show has improved so much it hardly matters.
Definitely a must-watch for fans of the show and an interesting jumping on point for new viewers.
See you next week. And in case you missed it, here’s our primer to get you up to speed ahead of Season 5, as well as our review of Seasons 1, 2, and 3 of Supergirl. We’ll be here each week with a Supergirl review just ahead of each new episode!