Violet recaps the pilot episode of Supergirl, where we meet Kara Danvers, Superman’s cousin! Following the recap, both Violet and Josh share their thoughts about the episode.
Episode Recap of Supergirl, Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot
The episode begins with a young Kara being sent to Earth to look after her baby cousin, Kal-El, as Krytpon explodes. However, the explosion sends Kara’s space pod into the phantom zone for 24 years. When she arrived on Earth, she was still a 13 year old girl, where her cousin, now a grown up Superman, greets her, and places her with an adoptive family.
Although Kara has the same powers as Superman, she has decided not to follow his path as a superhero. She works in National City at Catco, an online/print media empire headed by Cat Grant. At work, her friend Quinn asks her to go to a movie, but she says she has a blind date. When Cat Grant arrives, Kara finds out that she is downsizing the Tribune, and tries to protest, comparing it to the Daily Planet. Cat tells her to bring her a hero to put on the front page.
Kara goes down to meet with the new art director, who turns out to be Jimmy Olsen, the photographer from the Daily Planet. Well, except now he goes by James. He lets her keep a print that features Superman. Kara seems to take a liking to James.
That evening, Kara’s sister, Alex, stops by before her flight to Geneva. She helps her pick out what to wear for her date.
That night, her date abandons her. Just then, a news report announces that a plane headed for Geneva has had an engine failure. Kara realizes it’s the flight her sister is on, so she runs outside down an alley, and flies after a couple attempts. She then flies up to the plane and helps it level off, then helps it navigate through a bridge divider, and finally ensures that it lands gently in the water. Alex looks out the window and sees her sister, who then flies away.
Kara goes home and watches the news reports about her saving the plane. Alex stops by and asks an excited Kara what she was thinking – she exposed herself to the world and can’t take it back. However, Kara says she doesn’t want to, and that she wants to help people. Alex says it’s not safe for her to do anything like that again.
The next day, the top story is trying to identify the mystery woman who saved the plane. Cat isn’t happy about not having an exclusive on this, and calls a meeting about trying to get exclusive content so that she can save the Tribune.
Kara tells Quinn she needs to talk to him on the roof. There, she confesses that she is the mystery woman who saved the plane. He doesn’t believe her, so she falls off the ledge, then flies back up and lands safely back on the roof.
Meanwhile, a trucker learns about Kara saving the plane. It seems that this trucker is not human, and that he was tasked to take down the plane. He speaks with a superior via a hologram video chat, and figures out that Alura Zor-El must have sent her daughter as well before Krypton was destroyed. The superior says that the General’s arrival is imminent. He reminds the trucker that his mission is to eliminate the human operatives of the DEO, and to add this girl to his list.
Later, Quinn helps Kara come up with a superhero costume, as well as helps her identify crimes and accidents she can help out with. One night, as she flies to assist with a fire, someone shoots darts at her, which makes her fall to the ground and pass out.
When Kara wakes up, she is strapped to a gurney, and a man explains that the straps contain Kryptonite. The man introduces himself as Hank Henshaw. But Alex is there too. They are agents of the DEO: the Department of Extranormal Operations, which monitors and protects Earth from extraterrestrials and invasions — which includes Kara. Superman’s arrival triggered the need for the organization. Henshaw reveals that when Kara’s pod broke free from the Phantom Zone, Fort Roz, Krypton’s maximum security prison, came with her, and all the prisoners escaped. Kara feels betrayed by her sister, and walks off.
When Kara arrives at work the next day, Kara is upset to find Cat Grant has dubbed the mystery woman “Supergirl” and confronts Cat about it. Just as Cat is getting ready to fire Kara, James comes in and saves her, saying that Kara convinced someone to let them use an exclusive photo of Supergirl. Cat decides to give Kara another day. Just then, Kara hears a message on a frequency that no one else can, and it’s the Kryptonian from earlier telling her to meet him at the National City Power Plant.
She flies there, and the man, whose name is Vartox, reveals that he can’t kill her mother, Alura, the judge who sentenced him to prison, so killing Kara will have to do. They fight, and Vartox throws Kara around like a rag doll. He throws an ax, which cuts her arm, and causes an explosion. He says soon the whole city will know what it’s like to bleed. A DEO helicopter comes just then, and Alex comes down to save Kara, as Vartox runs off with his ax. The DEO brings Kara back to their headquarters to patch her up. Kara feels defeated and like the world doesn’t need her.
Kara goes home and sulks. Alex comes and knocks on the door, but Kara doesn’t open it, so Alex talks through the door to her. She encourages that the world needs her after all. Kara opens the door. Alex gives Kara an item recovered from Kara’s pod. It projects a hologram of Kara’s mother, Alura, who tells her to always be true to herself.
Alex and Kara return to the DEO. Alex tells Henshaw that Kara can help them fight Vartox. The DEO is able to detect where Vartox is thanks to the metal that was pulled out of Kara’s arm. Kara flies down and fights Vartox. She seems to be doing a lot better this time around. She feigns weakness so that she can get close to the ax. She shoots laser beams from her eyes at the ax, and destroys it. Vartox says she has no idea what is coming, and picks up a piece of rubble and stabs himself.
At work, James tells Kara to meet him on the roof. It turns out he knew about her the whole time — Superman told him. He sent James there to look after her. James gives Kara a gift from Superman. It’s the blanket he was wrapped in when he was a baby. Apparently, it won’t shred.
Elsewhere, a man reports to a woman that Vartox is dead, and that he chose death over capture. It turns out that Kara is her niece, and she has no qualms about going after Kara.
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 1 Episode 1 of Supergirl: Pilot
The first time I saw the pilot was at San Diego Comic-Con back in July. It was at the end of a very long day, and I dozed off a little bit during the last third or so. From what I did see, I wasn’t really all that impressed. I thought that maybe watching it again, fully awake, might change my mind on it. Unfortunately, it did not. Don’t get me wrong, I admire what they’re trying to do here. I appreciate the fact that they’re trying to provide a strong female role model in this male dominated world. But that doesn’t mean I have to like the way they are going about it.
I’m a little afraid to share my true opinion about this, because I’m afraid of the backlash I might get, as a female. I feel like, as a female, I’m obligated to like it just because it’s about a strong female character. However, I don’t like that I’m obligated to do so. It’s one thing if the show can organically weave feminist themes into itself. That would be fine. But when it’s so blatantly obvious that it takes you out of the show, that’s another. Like when the lady at the diner makes a comment about girls needing someone they can look up to, it feels a little fake and out of place. Later, when Kara is fighting Vartox at the end, and Henshaw says that Kara is too weak, Alex suddenly gets all defensive and retorts, “Why, because she’s a girl?” and then reveals their plan to use Kara’s seeming weakness as an advantage. Honestly, that may not have been what Henshaw was suggesting. Based on Kara’s earlier fight with Vartox, and the fact that she doesn’t really have much experience fighting, or developing her strength, I would think the same thing Henshaw thought. Plus, there was the scene where Kara disputes Cat’s naming of Supergirl, saying it should be Superwoman. It felt like the show was working against itself, using a female to refute the point Kara was making! It might as well have been a male cast as Kara’s boss.
Anyway, other than that, the show felt a little too cheesy, and a little too over emotional. This is just the pilot though, and I can see that the show has some potential, so I’m willing to keep watching to see if it gets better. I’m also hoping we get to see Dean Cain again, who played Kara’s adoptive father, because I was a big Lois & Clark fan growing up! I’ll admit, that was pretty cool how they snuck a former Superman and former Supergirl in as Kara’s adoptive parents. Big props for that!
Josh’s Thoughts: Supergirl, Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot
So after seeing the pilot at Comic-Con in San Diego, during their WB TV panel, I found myself not too impressed with Supergirl. I thought the actor looked perfect for the role, the suit looks great, and I certainly appreciate a female taking a lead role in a WB TV superhero show. I also like the idea of a little more light-hearted superhero show, compared to say The Flash or Arrow. But I had some fundamental problems with the the show that will be hard for me to get over.
One is the CGI in the beginning and throughout various parts of the show was atrocious. The scene on Krypton, while short, looked horrible. The scene with Supergirl saving the plane looked pretty bad as well. This is something I could possibly get over. Both Arrow and The Flash don’t have great CGI either, but I still didn’t feel it was as bad as it was in this episode.
The second thing that sort of bugged me about this episode is probably more difficult for me to discuss being a man, but I will make an effort anyway. I felt like this show had sexism towards Supergirl–done by another woman. Her boss, Cat, seems to provide the show’s justification to call her Super–Girl. Kara tries to argue for something more empowering for this hero, but Cat is set on girl, because she is a girl. I guess I sort of see how Cat is possibly trying to take the word “girl” and remove negative connotations by using it with a powerful person like Supergirl, but to me it felt more belittling Kara because she is an insecure “girl” and it all came off very odd to me. Maybe I am t he wrong person to be looking at this aspect of the TV show though…
The final problem I had was how the show seemed to decide it was already time to start a love triangle–in the first episode. Can we have one female lead show where this isn’t something that has to come up every time? Why can’t she be a more confident girl, who maybe is fine in her own skin, but is adjusting to this new idea of being a hero? Why does she also have to have this weird thing where she has one “average” guy that secretly loves her while she pines after a man she thinks might be too good for her?
I will give the series a try, and hope future episodes improve. I look forward to seeing some crossover, which could be a lot of fun.
Scenes from Supergirl, Season 1 Episode 2: Stronger Together
Here are scenes from the next episode of Supergirl, titled Stronger Together: