In Review: Supergirl, Episode 72 “American Alien”

This season looks to be fun.

Supergirl, Episode 72 “American Alien” Broadcast on October 14, 2018

Teleplay by Gabriel Llanas & Aadrita Mukerji

Story by Robert Rovner & Jessica Queller

Directed by Jesse Warn

SEASON 4 PREMIERE 

Copies of The Daily Planet proclaim SUPERGIRL IS EVERYWHERE! With Superman Off-World the Girl of Tomorrow Pulls Double Shifts. A blur goes by the newsstand selling the papers and it’s Supergirl, who stops a falling object with her heat vision and has the time to retrieve a child’s balloon. She’s then off to Madrid where she foils an art theft. Next is the southern border of Kazia where a speeding train is stopped before falling into a gorge by the Kryptonian’s freezing breath which stops its wheels. Supergirl then goes to National City to cover a speech by President Marsdin. Kara thinks she’s got everything going her way. You just know she jinxed herself. Cue opening title card.

I was impressed that there was no need for a recap of what happened last season. That’s done so often with other CW shows, it was refreshing that it didn’t occur for this series and it didn’t need to. The premise is quickly established with anti-alien sentiment growing around the world, with one character feeling the brunt of such hatred — or did he? Two new villains are interesting, Mercy and Otis Graves, a brother and sister team. One can only hope that the phrase “Otisburg” gets worked into a script at some point. J’onn tries to convince Supergirl that what occurred was a hate crime, but she’s not having it, insisting it was simply a high profile theft. The “contentious” conversation between J’onn and Supergirl is aces. So is the expected sister conversation between Kara and Alex. Alex’s new suit got some good mileage in this episode and her new hairstyle is a lot sleeker for the all the action she’s in.

The action scene in the laboratory is terrific and having Brainy arrive to assist her was completely in line with his actions from the comics. A lot was done in this episode to strengthen Jesse Rath’s character and it worked, including addressing the elephant in the room — how he’s replaced Winn Schott. Kudos to the writers for going there and working it out well with the characters.

There was a surprise returning villain in the episode, which shows that she’s still a player in this series. However, she’s overshadowed by the horror of this season’s newest baddie who reveals himself with a violent turn in the finale. This isn’t the only shock, as Lynda Carter’s recurring character gets a major turn, as does the character who was shown in the final moments of the previous season’s finale. There are a lot of problems bubbling up for Supergirl to stop.

The good: The script covered a lot of ground, had plenty of action, and still was able to smoothly insert three possible season long problems. Melissa Benoist was sailing along smoothly as Kara seems to be in her prime. Katie McGrath continues to make Lena a character to love and hate. Chyler Leigh got some excellent action scenes and her confrontations with a new supporting character were excellent. Jesse Rath was a little more human, so I was happier. He’s still not close enough to the character’s source material, but he’s getting better. Loved having a villain, who’s not to bright, named Otis. Having Lynda Carter on any show is a plus. The triple threats at the end of the episode have me excited about this season.

Fun lines: “For the first time in my life I’ve got everything under control,” “Who decides what’s normal?”, “Long live the Legion!”, “Oh my God. You’re me!”, “I guess it’s time I educated you,” “The fuse was lit,” and “I hate that guy.”

The bad: Only one moment really sticks out and it’s an incredibly quick special effects shot. Supergirl is shown flying to an empty warehouse and it’s horrible. This is because it looks as though the effects artists were trying to show how the sun is interfering with the viewer’s vision. What a mistake! It’s probably less that eight seconds, but it’s a useless eight seconds because nothing can be seen. Why spend the money and time on such a shot if it can’t be seen? It would have been better to have completely eliminated the scene and just started with Supergirl walking through the warehouse — everyone knows how she got there. Thankfully, this sequence is so brief, it can’t harm the overall grade of the episode.

The final line: This was a great season premiere with characters and their relationships quickly established and then the fun begins! Good villains are introduced and future threats are dangled before the audience. The cast looks as though they’re having fun and the effects, with exception of a quick one, are great. This season looks to be fun. Overall grade: A-

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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