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Supergirl: Season 2, Episode 5 — Crossfire Review

Image for Supergirl: Season 2, Episode 5 — Crossfire
★★★★★

Spoilers are coming at you faster than a speeding bullet, so beware!

Regular Cast: Melissa Benoist (Kara Danvers/Supergirl), Mehcad Brooks (James Olsen), Chyler Leigh (Alex Danvers), Jeremy Jordan (Winn Schott), Chris Wood (Mon-El), Floriana Lima (Maggie Sawyer), David Harewood (J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter); Guest Starring: Brenda Strong (The Doctor/Lillian Luthor), Katie McGrath (Lena Luthor), Andrea Brooks (Eve Teschmacher); Written by Gabriel Llanas and Anna Musky-Goldwyn; Directed by Glen Winter

Previous Supergirl Season 2 reviews: Episode 1: The Adventures Of Supergirl; Episode 2: The Last Children Of Krypton; Episode 3: Welcome To Earth; Episode 4: Survivors

What It’s About

Cadmus’ The Doctor has armed criminals with alien technology, causing an increase in extraterrestrial hostilities on the part of the public, and a rapidly growing demand for the Alien Amnesty Act to be reversed. Meanwhile, Kara attempts to help Mon-El fit in on Earth by getting him a job as an intern at CatCo; James Olsen, injured in one of those alien weapon-wielding crimes, decides the time has come for him to fight back as a hero in his own right, and turns to Winn for help; Alex starts to come to grips with her sexuality where Maggie Sawyer is concerned; both Kara and Supergirl are invited to a party that Lena Luthor is hosting, the latter (unbeknownst to her) because Lena intends to lure in The Doctor's henchmen and has come up with a means of shutting down their alien technology, but needs Supergirl's protection; and at episode’s end, it’s revealed that The Doctor is actually Lena’s mother, Lillian.

What Works

The criminal actions and use of alien weaponry against Supergirl is extremely effective in terms of stuntwork and visual effects, particularly during the impressive first encounter. Only complaint — and it’s a minor one — is that one wishes she could have gotten a handle on the situation a little sooner than she does, as getting blasted and knocked on her ass gets a little repetitive.

Kara getting Mon-El (she gives him the name Mike) ready for his first day at work is kind of sweet, and it is amusing watching him trying to fit in, making one wrong move after another (including getting caught having sex with Ms. Teschmacher in a storeroom). Once again, strong chemistry between Melissa Benoist and Chris Wood, and Kara’s ultimate realization that she can mentor Mon-El, but can’t expect him to be a clone of her is an important revelation.

Through events of the episode, it’s understandable why James Olsen would want to do something to help in the battle against crime, and Mehcad Brooks does a really good job of conveying his need to no longer be a sidekick (though for the record, dude, Robin is a sidekick, you were always Superman’s pal). However, one thing this series does not need is another character in costume. We’ll have to see how this one unfolds, though there are several moments between Brooks’ Olsen and Jeremy Jordan’s Winn that are heartwarming and play great.

As much as it seemed to come out of nowhere, and despite the fact it seems to be moving forward way too quickly considering Alex’s just discovering that she’s attracted to Maggie, the scenes between Chyler Leigh and Floriana Lima do play well.

Cute bit at the party where Kara has to switch back and forth between herself and Supergirl, which is reminiscent of the dinner scene from Superman IV: The Quest For Peace involving Christopher Reeve's Superman/Clark Kent.

Brenda Strong definitely has presence as the Doctor, but we need to gain a better understanding of why she is so anti-alien and what alien apocalypse she’s going on and on about (she kind of sounds like a cross between Batman and Lex Luthor from Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice). Oh, and one bit of advice: stop using dimwits as henchmen.

Surprisingly dark bit where the three bad guys are captured and before they can tell the police anything, the Doctor triggers something that fries their brains, killing them instantly.

Katie McGrath is okay as Lena Luthor, though the actress needs more substantial material to play.

What Doesn’t Work

It’s ridiculous that Kara has brought Mon-El to work at CatCo apparently without telling him anything about the way an office works, including how to use a phone(!). It makes him look like a complete imbecile, and doesn’t shine too bright a light on her, either.

Look, we don’t expect a show like Supergirl, designed as popcorn entertainment, to necessarily track dramatically like an Oscar-hopeful might, but it's just illogical how often people aren't where they’re supposed to be and they somehow get away with it. Naturally, there are examples: Alex shows up at a crime scene and suggests that after Maggie files her report, they go out for a drink (shouldn’t Alex be at the DEO?); James waltzes into the DEO, telling Winn he misses him, and uses the opportunity to gain info that he utilizes to try and stop the Doctor’s henchmonkeys (which he barely survives); Winn returns the favor by leaving the DEO and going to CatCo, where he and James have a conversation about James wanting to be a hero, and Winn ultimately agreeing to help; and, again, in the middle of the afternoon Kara decides to go home, only to find Alex waiting in the hallway, eating a donut. In the apartment, they have a sister-to-sister talk, Kara about frustrations with Mon-El, to which Alex has some good advice, drawing comparisons between the sisters and Kara and Mon-El. Alex doesn't get to tell her about Maggie, because…..Lena Luthor suddenly shows up (again, in the middle of the day, when Kara should be at CatCo) to call in the favor from last week’s episode (“Survivors”), which is to get her in touch with Supergirl.

Smallville Callback

Don’t know if this was intended as an homage or if it was inadvertent, but having Lena Luthor trying to be a good person, yet being influenced by a more corrupt parent (in this case her mother), mirrors the intent of Michael Rosenbaum’s Lex Luthor on Smallville with his father, John Glover’s Lionel. Of course on that show, circumstances ultimately caused the two characters to swap positions. It will be interesting to see how it’s handled here.

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