I’ve been watching season one of Supergirl on Netflix recently. I have to admit that I love the DC TV shows while not really enjoying the movies. I think Arrow, while sometimes problematic, is an enjoyable show about this man who is trying to be different. (Side not, Felicity can leave. I really dislike her after the end of season four). The Flash is amazingly charming and fun while still having that “dark side” of Barry Allen because of his background. But Supergirl, that is just on a different level.
So, full disclaimer, I am a season behind on all of the CW shows because I watch them on Netflix. This is because, besides being a full time teacher, I am also a graduate student and don’t have time for live TV. So, all of the spoilers, and there will be some, will be for season one of Supergirl. You have been warned.
I wasn’t very impressed with Supergirl at first. Kara seemed super bubbly and all smiles and kittens and rainbows. Her sister, Alex, seemed all angsty and frowns and rainclouds. And Henshaw seemed to be all bully and hard-ass. I expected Winn to be doe-eyed for Supergirl and Jimmy, excuse me, James Olsen to be Dashing Love Interest man. And Cat Grant, don’t get me started on Cat Grant. She was the tyrant boss who was going to make Kara’s life a living hell.
But the show did something to surprise me. It took these characters and actually didn’t turn them into pigeon-holed stereotypes of themselves. It actually made them human and made me care about them, damn it. And it made me see how the movie version Superman just couldn’t live up to his exceptations.
I grew up watching “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”. While there may be some miss remembered nostalgia involved, I remember loving this show. Clark Kent was so much better than any other person, not because he had to be but because he wanted to be. See, the thing about Superman, and Supergirl, is that they are so much stronger than any person on Earth. They could so easily take over because who among us could stop them. But they don’t. They chose not to. They chose to take the harder path and help people. Supergirl embraces that choose.
I didn’t realize this until episode 16 of season. Here’s the spoilers if you’ve never seen it. Kara gets infected by red kryptonite. This basically took all of the good out of Supergirl, took all of her inhibitors out, and turned Supergirl into a real asshole of a person. She said and did whatever she was feeling instead of doing what she knew was right. This, of course, caused some issued with her sister, with James, with Cat, and with Henshaw. But jackass Supergirl wasn’t the part of the episode that made me see what Supergirl was all about. It was the last 10 minutes of the show, when Alex removes the effects of red kryptonite and Supergirl realizes all that she did. There were so many feels in that moment. Supergirl breaks down because she is so sorry. She can’t articulate how sorry she is for her actions. She can remember all of it, and she knows that the worst part of her bubbled to the surface, but the remorse she shows is so real and genuine. Even beyond the remorse, she realizes how much she fucked up and is willing to do whatever it takes to make things right with her friends and her city.
That is the thing that is missed in the new Superman movies. Sure, Superman was sorry he had to kill Zod, but there is no remorse for his other actions. There is zero talk about how he utterly destroyed Metropolis. There is zero remorse for not being able to save people. There is no comment on his commitment to be so much more than human. Supergirl did that in episode 16 of season one.
Some of the characters were turning for me. Cat Grant has turned into one of the most interesting and believable characters on the show (yes, I’ve seen IMDB and am very sad about it). Henshaw’s story took an amazing turn for the unexpected. Even Alex is a multifaceted character with issues and love her for adopted sister. But showing the remorse and the anguish that Supergirl experiences after her realization that she was a super asshat was what really made this feel like a Super TV show.