Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Why I Wasn't Quite As Thrilled By The Last Episode Of Supergirl As You Were

Look, I'm going to spoil the heck of of last Monday's episode of Supergirl. Sorry, there's no way around it.

So if you haven't seen it yet, and you want to remain blind, come back after you've seen it. This post will still be here. I promise.

Spoilers commence after the 4 pictures of Kara Zor-El...

Still here? OK, commence spoilers.

Everyone was kind of ecstatic over the Supergirl episode a couple of days ago that revealed (last chance to avoid spoilers!!) that Hank Henshaw was really J'onn J'onnz.

And it was, top to bottom, the episode of the series yet.


I think some people were so enamored over the (admittedly squee-inducing) fan service that they managed to overlook a few very troubling things about the story.

I'll let you decide whether there are justifiable qualms or not, but allow me to elaborate.


You guys are probably tired of me kvetching about this. But I ain't gonna stop anytime soon.

The number of intellectual properties available to DC is overwhelming. And, obviously, the number of villains they have is far, far greater than the number of heroes. That's just how comics works, right?

Yet, under current management, DC apparently cannot resist the urge to take heroic characters and turn them into sadistic villains. Why? I have no idea. But there's nothing the DC creative hierarchy finds more compelling that taking someone who was a hero and turning them into a reprehensible villain. Infinite Crisis took Superboy-Prime and Alexander Luthor, who had been heroes in Crisis On Infinite Earths, and turned them into genocidal maniacs (dragging the Superman of old Earth-2 along as a dupe). First Hawk, and then Captain Atom also became genocidal maniacs, killing off heroes (and entire universes!!). On the nu52 Earth-2, Terry Sloan(e) (Golden Age Mr. Terrific), Jimmy Olsen and Hourman have become, well, genocidal maniacs.

It's not like there aren't existing villains who couldn't be used in these roles. But, no, DC feels the need to Kingdom-Come themselves as often as possible. Despite the fact that the current troika thinks that villains are "cooler" and "more interesting," they would seem to rather turn heroes bad than actually use villains as villains.

So, Jemm.

He was never really a substantial, significant hero. But he wasn't a bad guy, either (except when brainwashed by Luthor).

So why not use a villain for the role of uncontrollable killing machine? More than one person has suggested that, say, Despero would have fit the required role in this episode to a T. Or any of the many, many many space-based villains available to DC.

But no, they have to take a hero and turn him into a bad guy. Because.

Really, this is NOT a trend we should be encouraging.


What's the first think J'onn J'onnz does when he appears on screen (albeit in shadow). He defeats Jemm of Saturn.


So it's J'onn Of Steel now, eh?

Look, I know we don't know J'onn's power set in this universe. But don't we all think of J'onn as a character who would be strong enough, smart enough, moral enough, to find some other way than outright killing an escaped prisoner to resolve the situation? Does this sound at all like the J'onn we squee about?

(Plus, if they didn't kill Jemm, we could have Supergirl fight him later...wasteful!!)

Seriously, everyone was so enamored of a 2-second CGI shot that they kind of completely missed that DC just repeated their Man Of Steel approach by making J'onn a hero who kills first.

And it was completely unnecessary.

BONUS QUIBBLE: It would have been easier to accept J'onn's broody "I am the last survivor of my race" if he hadn't just killed Jemm, WHOSE PEOPLE WERE DESCENDED FROM J'ONN'S RACE. Yes, I know, different universe, probably not the same history. But still...

ULTRA BONUS QUIBBLE: Using the fact that Henshaw escaped from locked handcuffs to deduce that he must be an alien is, well, fairly dumb, as Harry Houdini was escaping form handcuffs before your great-grandparents were born. Seriously. unless you're telling me Houdini was from Mars...


Look, I will grant you that she had a fine bad-ass moment against Jemm (which, by the way, completely failed).

But in a series where she has done little but whine and try to hold others back, her nadir comes when she selfishly chooses this moment of crisis to allow her personal suspicions to endanger the lives of every single person in the base. This is the moment she chooses to confront Henshaw? At least one DEO agent died directly because of her actions this episode. And if Henshaw hadn't turned out to be J'onn J'onnz, than every single person in the base would have died because of her, and all of the prisoners would have escaped. This was her grand moment?!?

Whiny is bad. Whiny and selfish and ridiculously stupid and endangering the safety of the entire city is unacceptable. And at this point I don't know if the character can be salvaged (especially if they follow through with the "she's going to be Max Lord's girlfriend" plot).

(This is not a knock on Chyler Leigh's acting one could do much with the incoherent, unlikable mess of a character the writers have created for her).

So, yeah, great episode of Supergirl...but let's not overlook the troubling blemishes on an otherwise pretty fun show. Let's stop wasting our heroes by turning them into villains. Let's stop having our heroes be so quick to kill. And for heaven's sake, someone do a complete reboot of Alex, ASAP.


Madman said...

Totally agree with you regarding Alex. She showed complete selfishness by going against Hank's orders, not once but twice. And, yes, she completely endangered everyone in the facility, if not the entire city/world/universe.

My question is how/why Hank could possibly keep Alex around in any (any!) position of authority after her so callously ignoring a direct order. In the real world, this would result in getting fired, if not court-martialed.

This is all the result of sloppy writing. Didn't anyone, reading the script, say "This doesn't make sense"? Stupid stupid writing.

And, speaking of stupid writing, I KNEW that Kara would get her powers back because she would have to rescue Jimmy Olsen in a split second. Again, sloppy writing. You would think that the Supergirl production team would be able to hire some professional writers, and not the hacks they have presently.

Siskoid said...

Everybody was squeeing (and thus, for me, spoiling) the Martian Manhunter's appearance etc., thus confirming the fan theory I was already pretty sure was true that Hank was from Mars.

I loved this episode for everything that wasn't happening at the DEO. The DEO was my commercial breaks, basically. Supergirl (and Cat) inspiring people with words, not fists. The story of Jimmy's first picture. That's where this episode lived.