Supergirl Season 3 Review

By
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TV:
Robert Yaniz Jr.

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3.5
On October 9, 2017
Last modified:October 9, 2017

Summary:

The Girl of Steel's third adventure lays the groundwork for the journey to come but feels overly familiar as a result.

One episode was provided prior to broadcast.

Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer may recall season 2 premiere “When She Was Bad,” in which our hero sports a particularly bad attitude as she processes the traumatic events of the previous season’s finale. Given the near-destruction of National City in season 2 of Supergirl and the ultimate exile from Earth imposed on Mon-El (Chris Wood), Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) is understandably in a similarly troubling place. It’s quite a change of pace for the bright-eyed Girl of Steel to suddenly find herself at such an emotional crossroads, but that’s precisely where season 3 of The CW series begins.

Much like Arrowverse sister series The Flash, Supergirl received some flack last year for going a bit too dark with its storytelling, despite the introduction of Tyler Hoechlin as a hopeful vision of Superman. So, it’s telling that the showrunners here are addressing that head-on in the season 3 premiere, titled “Girl of Steel.” In devoting an entire episode to the aftermath of the Daxamite invasion, Supergirl allows that storyline to maintain the narrative weight it carried and for the loss of Mon-El to make a real impact on who Kara is and how she approaches her superheroics. Moody and unexpected, the scenes involving Kara’s emotional state are easily the episode’s highlights.

Perhaps the reason why – in addition to Benoist’s typically stellar performance – is that they underscore Supergirl‘s most unsung hero: Chyler Leigh as Alex. The character’s coming-out last season was among the show’s most talked-about storylines thus far, and her engagement to Maggie (Floriana Lima) offers a ton of potential for further development on that front.

After all, Leigh has always imbued Alex with a delicate balance of strength and vulnerability. Amidst all the alien-fighting and world-saving, she’s become the stealth VIP of Supergirl , keeping the Kryptonian hero grounded in her own humanity and bringing more than her share of emotional stakes to the series. From the start, this show’s heart has always been the relationship between sisters Alex and Kara. Thankfully, “Girl of Steel” puts that front and center in hands-down the episode’s best scene.

But don’t worry. The Supergirl season 3 premiere has a lot more going on than simply the fallout of season 2’s Daxam plotline. In fact, it sets up an imposing new opponent in Adrian Pasdar’s Morgan Edge, a corporate villain who calls to mind season 1’s Maxwell Lord. Though the episode gives some indication what Edge is after, it decides not to dwell on the details just yet, a decision that so far makes the character feel like a generic presence.

The antagonistic relationship between Edge and Supergirl needs the time to properly develop, a fact that the creative team behind the show seems to recognize from their very first confrontation. While Pasdar fills the role well, Edge’s motive does feel a bit too on-the-nose in today’s political climate, and this position may turn off some viewers.

Although Supergirl has long had political and social commentary in its DNA, this season premiere doubles-down with references both subtle and more overt. How fans react to these will likely depend on their own views, but the show’s heart-on-its-sleeve nature has always been part of its charm, mirroring that of Kara herself. So, it stands to reason that it would take a definitive stance on current issues, striving as always to take the most honorable route. To that end, a significant chunk of the episode is devoted to Lena (Katie McGrath) and James’ (Mehcad Brooks) efforts to do just that in the face of adversity.

While the show has often struggled with what to do with the latter – e.g., the whole Guardian storyline – the former has only become more fascinating since her debut a year ago. As a counterpoint to the Lex Luther/Superman dynamic, Lena’s friendship with Kara and alliance with Supergirl has been a high point of the series’ recent episodes, giving the show the ability to see both women in a wholly different light. Even though she’s determined not to fall to the dark side like her brother and mother before her, Lena’s future seems murkier than ever, according to recent interviews with the creative team. No matter where they take her, we’re betting it will dovetail with the emergence of Reign (Odette Annable) in interesting ways.

Speaking of the season’s new Big Bad, “Girl of Steel” offers little more than a tease of what the future holds. For now, that’s all we need, as any more focus on what’s next would have only bogged down this premiere. Supergirl went through a lot of hardship, and the show’s decision to quietly set the stage for season 3 while it ties up loose ends is a smart one. Much of the episode feels mired in the past – and some critics may lament Kara’s post-breakup funk, rightfully so – but hopefully, once the season’s story really kicks into high gear, Supergirl will be flying higher than ever before.

Supergirl Season 3 Review
Good

The Girl of Steel's third adventure lays the groundwork for the journey to come but feels overly familiar as a result.

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