Supergirl Season 2 Review

Robert Yaniz Jr.

Reviewed by:
On October 4, 2016
Last modified:October 4, 2016


Supergirl finally puts a face to the famous cousin of its titular hero, and in doing so, the series is poised to tackle the characters' shared mythos in a bolder, more extensive way in season 2.

One episode was provided prior to broadcast.

For fans of The CW’s “Arrowverse,” the fact that Supergirl debuted on CBS in fall 2015 must have seemed like an odd choice. After all, The CW already had two hit shows based on DC Comics in Arrow and The Flash, with a third on the way in the form Legends of Tomorrow. Still, fans turned out to check out this more feminist approach to the male-dominated superhero genre, and the reaction was decidedly mixed throughout season 1.

Sure, star Melissa Benoist – who, like The Flash star Grant Gustin, was best known for a role on Fox’s Glee – emerged as a bright new star, but some were uncertain about the long-term prospects of the series. However, once it was announced that Supergirl would be transitioned on to The CW schedule alongside the other superhero shows co-created by Greg Berlanti, everything just clicked. Supergirl was finally home.

Indeed, “The Adventures of Supergirl” – the season 2 premiere that calls to mind the popular Superman title – instantly reaffirms the series’ place on the same network as those other DC shows, with which it is expected to cross-over mid-season. Like its forebears, Supergirl is a show centered on not only the titular hero but the community of friends and family members that provide the support and love needed to win the day.

The opening scene, in fact, sees Kara (Benoist) and her team toasting “to family” before she is called away to retrieve a Kryptonian pod that crash-lands to Earth. While this opening sequence does backtrack a bit from where season 1 left off, it also allows Supergirl a better starting point to welcome new viewers and puts that central theme of family front and center, a necessary measure considering who plays a major role in the season premiere.


In the premiere, viewers are introduced to Lex Luthor’s adopted sister, Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath), – a character whose very presence underscores Supergirl‘s focus on family – as well as John Corben (Frederick Schmidt), who longtime DC Comics fans know better by the super-villain alias Metallo. Both characters will likely have an ongoing presence throughout the episodes to come, if “The Adventures of Supergirl” is any indication, and drive the more action-oriented side of the plot.

Meanwhile, Kara and James (Mehcad Brooks) prepare for their first date, the culmination of an entire season of pining for one another and a showcase of Benoist’s strength in playing Kara’s charm and vulnerability as well as she does Supergirl’s power and courage. However, enough burying the lead. The real element of this episode that most people will be talking about is the much-belated inclusion of the Man of Steel in his cousin’s weekly adventures.

As fans know, Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf) joins the show for what looks like could turn out to be a recurring basis as the one and only Superman. Throughout season 1, Clark Kent’s alter-ego (and Kara’s cousin) was teased several times, making appearances as everything from a faceless silhouette to a name in a chat window. Now, at last, one of the most iconic superheroes in history has been brought to The CW.

Hoechlin certainly looks the part, but the refreshing part is that he actually embodies the optimistic vision of Superman that Christopher Reeve and Dean Cain so memorably brought to the role on the big screen and on 1990s TV series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. With no disrespect to Henry Cavill’s current cinematic interpretation, Hoechlin’s Superman just carries that old-school presence that will ring that nostalgic bell for longtime fans.

Although the addition of such a marquee character should be considered an asset for Supergirl, the presence of Superman could present the possibility that he might overshadow the show’s eponymous hero herself. So the question remains if this is the case and whether casting Hoechlin as the last son of Krypton will threaten to overtake Kara’s own journey in the long run. After all, the last time a live-action Clark Kent graced the small screen, it took a full decade to tell the story of how he came to wear that red and blue suit. Thankfully, that doesn’t appear to be the case so far.

“The Adventures of Supergirl” does lean inordinately on Clark and Kara’s relationship, pushing much of the supporting cast – such as Chyler Leigh’s Alex and Jeremy Jordan’s Winn – to the background. However, as this is Hoechlin’s first appearance on the show, this kind of attention-grabbing is an inevitability. Viewers need to know where Superman is within his own crime-fighting career so that he can serve as a sharper counterpoint to the beginning of Kara’s.

The episode even includes a subplot in which Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart, shifting from a main to recurring character due to production changes) presents Kara with a life-changing professional opportunity that hinges on Kara’s self-identity and the future she seeks for herself. More than anything, Supergirl is a show about self-empowerment and self-discovery. Seeing as family remains a constant theme, it’s only fitting that Superman would play a key role in guiding Kara down that path.

Unlike its sister shows, Supergirl is inextricably linked to pre-existing mythos. Green Arrow and The Flash are two heroes who exist in very distinct stories, but they are solely theirs. Supergirl as a character escaped the same planetary destruction that her cousin did, and as each week’s opening makes clear, it’s difficult to explain her without also mentioning Superman. Supergirl season 1 did a solid job of setting up why viewers should care about Kara’s own heroism but still felt limited by what it could not say or show, what it felt hesitant to acknowledge about Kara’s family ties. By bringing Superman into the action, the show is able to throw out Easter eggs like an overly generous bunny, name-dropping Eve Teschmacher, Gotham City and several other elements of the larger DC Comics mythology.

With season 2, it really feels as if Supergirl – unburdened by whatever behind-the-scenes decisions kept the show from embracing the Superman of it all – just discovered an entirely new sandbox to play around in, one that opens the doors to seemingly endless story possibilities for both the Girl of Steel and the Arrowverse as a whole.

Supergirl Season 2 Review

Supergirl finally puts a face to the famous cousin of its titular hero, and in doing so, the series is poised to tackle the characters' shared mythos in a bolder, more extensive way in season 2.

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