29 November 2015

Supergirl S1E5 "How Does She Do It?" review

Supergirl continues to entertain and annoy into its 5th episode. This episode focuses on the balance between playing multiple roles not only for Kara, but for her motley crew of supporting characters. Aside from generic romantic sub-plots and forced dialogue, there are a considerable number of bright spots to be excited by. As the series continues though, these bright spots are starting to get more tarnished by the rough edges that appear throughout the rest of the episodes.

From the advice of the DEO, the government organisation that Kara's sister works for, Kara is told to not try a juggle all the responsibilities in her life at once and to take things one at a time. Basically this has no impact on the plot or episode in general at all. She still leaps into action the first chance she gets and even asks to have more responsibility at work. The only resolution to this are a few 'inspiring'  words of wisdom from her boss, Cat, towards the end of the episode. For the rest of the episode, it's broken down into forced romantic sub-plots, more focus on Maxwell Lord and Kara babysitting Cat's son. The plot moves along at a relaxed pace and feels far more cohesive than the previous entry. The problems start however, when the show decides to focus on the love triangle between Kara, Jimmy and Lois Lane's sister Lucy.

Every scene with any romantic focus feels like it was written by a thirteen year old. A thirteen year olds first draft at that. It all feels extremely forced and rushed, with characters just declaring their  feelings to each other. Along with every cliché used, eye rolling dialogue and plot lines seen coming from a mile away, to say it's the worst part of the show is putting it lightly. This is one of the rare parts of the show that needs to slow down and let these situations develop naturally, which is desperately needed as this is clearly going to be a growing area of the show.

The questioning of the script continues with Supergirl showcasing moments of incompetence multiple times during the episode.  In one segment she is carrying a bomb that will imminently explode yet she needs to be told which direction to fly and how to dispose of it, instead of doing the most obvious action herself. This seems to be a case of forcing the side characters into the story to the detriment of the protagonist. There is a balance between showing the characters working together and creating an efficient team and the main character being someone who has to be told to do everything.

On the positive side to this expanded focus, characters such as Kara's best friend Winn and boss Cat Grant show great improvement. Especially in the case of Cat, fast becoming one of the best reasons to watch the show. They react to situations more humanly and have feature in more scenes that show some likeability and charisma. Alex (Kara's sister) and Maxwell Lord receive a considerable amount of screen time and their conversation, including the reveal of Lord's back-story, became quite interesting at times. Other smaller characters interactions such as ones between Cat's son and Kara are charming and bring the warmth and enthusiasm that gives the show its appealing tone.

The show kicks into a higher gear when building towards it's climatic finish and generates some genuine excitement. It creates a scenario with tension, a sympathetic enemy and most importantly, one that Kara can't win just by punching the bad guy really hard. The pace picks up as the scene continues, resulting in an ending that some could argue actually resulted in Supergirl losing.

Throughout the entire end sequence she has to think about her actions, make her own decisions and live with the outcome of what could potentially happen. It showcases where Supergirl as a character stands right now and what she is capable of and where she has to grow. Of course, this moment of excitement and thoughtfulness, is slightly spoiled by with a predictable reveal of the person behind it all. This is another example of the show rushing it in areas where it doesn't need to. The mystery and build up could have been one that was slowly shown over a few episodes.

Outside of a closer examination of Maxwell Lord, there is still no continuing plot outside of the DEO catching random criminals and aliens. The show sorely needs a direction to start heading towards, though if more episodes feature moments as strong as the last quarter of this episode, it could make this lack of an overarching narrative more palatable.

Annoyingly the show continues to showcase moments of something quite special, while displaying mistakes that really hold it back. This episode was tighter and had a far stronger story than the previous episode along with great action sequences but the dialogue needs desperate improvement and the show overall needs bigger scope.

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