Supergirl’s Second Season Has Girl, Isn’t Super
Main Cast: Melissa Benoist, Chris Wood
Creators: Greg Berlanti, Ali Adler
Kara Danvers: [opening voiceover] To most people, I’m a reporter at CatCo Worldwide Media. But in secret, I work with my adoptive sister for the D.E.O. to protect my city from alien life and anyone else that means to cause it harm. I am Supergirl.
Supergirl’s first season was an uphill battle. Introducing a hero similar to Superman without her being a female copy, working around Supergirl’s dearth of good supervillains, and making her strong without being completely overpowered. Supergirl succeeded despite the show’s hardships.
So does Supergirl’s second season keep the streak alive? Or was this her Kryptonite? Let’s find out.
Good Cast Made Better
Lena: “Yeah, never had friends like you before. Come to think of it, I’ve never had a family like you. No one’s ever stood up for me like that.”
Kara: “Now you have someone who will stand up for you, always.”
Lena: “Well, Supergirl may have saved me, but Kara Danvers, you are my hero.” – Supergirl “Luthors” (Season 2, Episode 12)
Producers shook up Supergirl’s successful formula in season two. Winn Schlott (Jeremy Jordan) joins the crew full time as a member of the Department of Extranormal Operations (DEO). Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) comes out of the closet and begins dating newcomer Maggie Sawyer (Lethal Weapon’s Floriana Lima).
Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) drops to a recurring role because Flockhart refused to move to Vancouver. She is replaced by Snapper Carr (character actor Ian Gomez), a curmudgeonly editor. Lynda Carter of Wonder Woman fame has a recurring role as the U.S. President.
Merlin’s Katie McGrath plays Lena Luthor, Lex’s sister. Ironically, she is friends with Supergirl and Kara Danvers. Sharon Leal plays Megan Morse, a bartender who is quickly revealed to be the superhero Miss Martian. Finally, Chris Wood plays Mon-El, an alien from Krypton’s sister planet Daxam.
Supergirl Joins the Arrowverse
[A plane is falling out of the sky]
Superman: “Need a hand?”
Supergirl: “Hey, cuz.”
Superman: “It’s good to see you.”
Supergirl: “This looks like a job for the both of us.” – “Adventures of Supergirl” (Season 2, Episode 1)
Supergirl season 1 wasn’t adverse to superheroes, but they come out of the woodwork in season two.
Teen Wolf star Tyler Hoechilen plays Superman. Supes shows up early in the season to help his cousin defeat a Kryptonite-powered cyborg. He appears sparingly, lest he take the spotlight from Supergirl.
Jimmy Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) takes a note from Supergirl’s new home, the Arrowverse, and becomes a vigilante called The Guardian. With a durable shield, high-tech gadgets, and armor, The Guardian is a combination of Batman and Captain America.
Supergirl finally enters the Arrowverse during the crossover “Invasion!”, working alongside Team Arrow, Team Flash, and the Legends of Tomorrow. Supergirl returns there for the crossover “Duet”, where she and The Flash battle the reality-warping Music Meister.
Menace of Mon-El
Supergirl: “We had a saying on Krypton for Daxamites, ‘May tex kolar Daxam.”
Alex: “And that means…?”
Supergirl [sheepish] “Nothing I can repeat in English.” – “Welcome to Earth” (Season 2, Episode 3)
Following Season 1’s cliffhanger, Mon-El arrives on Earth. He is from Daxam, the Sparta to Krypton’s Athens. Supergirl shoves everything else to the side to focus on their romantic drama.
Every other episode ends with them breaking up or getting back together. One episode even ends on a breakup and has them back together by the start of the next. The roller coaster gets very old very fast and isn’t helped by Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood having no onscreen chemistry.
Holding out for a Villain
Lillian: “The Overman should be the meaning of the Earth. Remain faithful to the Earth, and do not believe that those who speak to you of other worldly hopes.”
Lillian: “Who better? His superman was about we humans believing in ourselves instead of looking up to gods.” – “Exodus” (season 2, Episode 15)
Supergirl has not fixed its villain problem.
The first enemy faction is the terrorist organization Cadmus, led by Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong). She created the group to avenge her son Lex, who has been arrested for crimes against humanity. They are dedicated to exterminating alien life on Earth, and Supergirl is their number one target.
Not a bad concept for an evil organization, but X-Men has been doing this better for twenty years.
The second faction is the Daxamites, led by King Lar Gand and Lady MacBet… er, Queen Rhea (Kevin Sorbo and Teri Hatcher). They have traveled to Earth to rescue Prince Mon-El, regardless of his desire for rescuing. His case is not helped by his dating a Kryptonian.
They are bland villains that tie into the annoying romantic drama.
Strangely, recurring villain Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli) has vanished from the show. The characters never mention him even though he would fit in well with Cadmus. This might be because of production moving to Vancouver or, more likely, Facinelli’s recurring role in CBS’ S.W.A.T.
Whatever the reason, the absence of season one’s only good villain is glaring.
Preach it, Sister!
[The president and Queen Rhea are on the brink of declaring war]
Cat Grant: [enters Air Force One office] “Oh my God! Enough. All right. Ladies, ladies. If I wanted to see this adolescent macho posturing, I would have stayed in D.C.”
Kara: “Miss Grant?!”
Cat: [to the president]” “Is this really who you want to be? [to both] Testosterone-driven windbags boasting about your big guns? Surely, we don’t need to measure anything. We’re wo-men. We’re tough, we’re wise, and we’re way above this pettiness, so let’s just.. roll up our sleeves and talk peace.” “Resist” (season 2, episode 21)
Supergirl has always been preachy, but season 2 is borderline propaganda in the style of the morality play episodes of Star Trek and M*A*S*H.
Kara Danvers works as a reporter, leading to frequent comments about fake news. Snapper says that a mis-attributed quote could put a fascist in the White House. Fan favorite villain Mr. Mxyzptlk becomes a Donald Trump parody. And that’s before getting into the alien kerfuffle.
Much like mutants in the X-Men series, aliens are used as a catch all for discrimination. They might represent LGBTQ people in one episode and are compared to Dreamers in another. The Nazi-esque Cadmus even attempts a Final Solution to deal with subversive (read:any) aliens.
The issues are worthy, but Supergirl is not the time, place, or show to address them. Do we really need this many political references in a show about Superman’s cousin?
Supergirl took a major step backwards in this season. The addition of new characters and heroes help, but can’t fix the constant focus on romantic drama, preaching, and a lack of good villains. The first season was okay, but the show dropped the ball in season two. Hopefully season 3 will be the charm that Supergirl needs.
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.