To me, Season 2 of Supergirl has been a bit of a mixed bag. Granted, the show's never devolved into "straight-up terrible" territory -- not by a long shot -- but it definitely seemed to be re-finding itself after the first season. In the few episodes we've seen so far, Cat has left (leaving a big gaping hole in the heart of the show), and our main trio is mostly separated and doing their own things. Supergirl has managed to stay afloat, but not without a few casualties in the form of story mediocrity.
Recent episodes have felt safe, transitional, and frankly a tad boring. Even with last episode, which seemed to have some real substance to it, kind of fell flat. Again, it wasn't bad, only kinda "blah."
This week, I am very happy to report that Supergirl may have very well started to find its groove. The "monster of the week" comes in the form of an alien parasite that's been hibernating in the body of a dead wolf for God knows how long. When it finally emerges, it sees humans as a disease; a disease that needed to be eradicated for the good of the Earth. Yeah, not the most original of plots, and to be fair, it's the weakest part of the whole thing. When all said and done, it wasn't this plot that made the episode good, it was the progression of the characters and their own personal journeys.
Let's start with Mon-El, a Daxamite alien with the potential to help. As we've seen over the course of the past few episodes, he's not been incredibly good at holding a job, or even being a decent being. In this episode, we see him take his first steps as a hero when National City truly needs it. Unfortunately, it kind of bites him in the ass in the closing scene of the episode, so we'll have to see how that turns out. It's definitely the least compelling of the character arcs we had this week, but it's setting the stage for future stories, so I look forward to what comes of that.
Another plotline comes in the form of James Olsen. The poor guy has been a sidekick ever since he found out Clark Kent was Superman. Moving to National City in Season 1 seemed to be a good opportunity for him to be something else, but even there, he was relegated to the sidelines. As such, he asked Winn to create him a suit -- one that would allow him to fight alongside Kara if need be. I was not a fan of this idea. One of the main problems with these CW shows is that everyone is starting to become a superhero. Did we really need another one? Probably not. But when the Guardian emerged to help save the day, I actually kinda dug it.
His suit looked a lot less stupid than I thought it would be, and with Winn as his backup, I see a real opportunity to open the door for a good dynamic between the two. To top it all off, I enjoy the fact that Winn coated the suit in lead so that Supergirl couldn't tell it was him. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before the cat comes out of the bag, but for the time being, I'll enjoy what this move has added to the show. Fingers crossed that it doesn't turn into an annoying overcrowded superhero fest (though I imagine it probably will).
The most compelling subplot comes from Alex, who has been struggling with her sexuality for the past couple episodes. She decides to finally tell Kara how she's feeling, and the scene we get between the two is very genuine and heartwarming. It somewhat starts to border on cheesy, but it's handled with just the right amount of restraint to actually make it impactful. In many ways, Supergirl has always been about fitting in despite being different, and Alex's sexual discovery has been a great addition to that overall message -- one that doesn't feel tacked on our disingenuous in any way. I get the impression that a lot of care was given to incorporating this subplot, and respect that it's something we're starting to see in a non-cliche way on network TV.
Interestingly enough, Kara herself was one of the lesser interesting parts of this episode, but that's okay. Few TV shows are able to solely live off the strength of their leads, and many live or die on the strengths of their supporting casts. As such, the fact that we got to focus on everyone else this time around was welcome. But that's not to say Kara didn't have her moments -- seeing her get drunk for the first time was pretty great stuff, and I really enjoy the fact that the gang found an alien hangout spot where they can be themselves without fear of judgment.
On the whole, this is definitely the best episode to come since Cat left the show, and I hope it can keep things up as we delve into more uncharted territory. My only real downside here is my general disinterest in Cadmus as a whole. Whereas last season's villain had some real emotional ties to Kara, this one feels so distant and...traditionally evil...? In today's era of TV, full-on evil usually doesn't work so well, so I hope they'll begin to humanize these enemies as they did last season.
What did you think of this week's episode of Supergirl? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!
Supergirl airs on the CW Mondays at 8/7c.