SUPERGIRL: S01E12

BIZARRO – 5.5/10

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This week’s episode was another pleasant but forgettable offering. Supergirl may not be a great show, but it isn’t necessarily a bad show either. Some shows grip you with their narrative, drawing you in and making you hungry for more, Supergirl is not one of those shows. It’s easy viewing, demanding the bare minimum from comic book readers and casual viewers alike. That may be fun for an hour or so but why should we keep tuning in? The show has two real trump cards that have kept me at least somewhat invested; the first is its lead actress, Melissa Benoist is incredibly engaging and likable as Kara Danvers/Supergirl. The second is its use of The Martian Manhunter, J’on J’onzz as a main character, which helped to up the ante of the show after a flat opening to its first season.

This episode introduced another prominent character from the Super-lore, in the form of Bizarro. Both Superman & Supergirl have faced many incarnations of this strange nemesis over the years; a creature reminiscent of Frankenstein’s monster, created by his enemies to be his mirror opposite. In his various representations Bizarro has been portrayed as both a hulking beast and a tortured soul, Supergirl’s doppelganger rests somewhere in-between. Consumed by his obsession with Supergirl, Luthor-lite, evil genius Max Lord has spent months experimenting on comatose girls with Kara’s stolen DNA, his ultimate aim to create a clone capable of destroying Supergirl. Having achieved his goal he immediately begins using her to destroy Supergirl’s reputation.

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While the media is quick to pounce on the story, CatCo takes a more lenient approach in its coverage. This is mostly due to Cat’s good mood caused by the continued presence of her estranged son Adam, who has remained in National City to court Kara. Kara’s ‘friends’ James Olsen and Winn are less thrilled by the burgeoning romance as both men have their own feelings for her. They needn’t be too jealous though as Kara is forced to leave their first date to rescue a falling tram. The rescue attempt is interrupted by Bizarro and we see our first confrontation between the two, almost resulting in the deaths of the passengers. Kara’s second date with Adam doesn’t fare much better as she is captured by Bizarro, making it clear that Lord knows that Kara Danvers is Supergirl.

Kara manages to fight off Bizarro with an assist from her adopted sister, Alex, who uses kryptonite on the clone, but rather than hurting her it actually makes her stronger. Mutated by the Kryptonite, Bizarro returns to her ‘Lord’ who continues to brainwash her with anti-Supergirl propaganda. Fearing for the safety of her sister, Alex takes Lord in to custody but is too late to stop Bizarro who has already escaped seeking revenge on Supergirl. Kara is filled with compassion for Bizarro, seeing her as the unfortunate victim of Lord’s twisted God complex. But when Bizarro kidnaps James Olsen, Kara is left with no choice but to take her out. Alex and Hank devise a plan to stop the clone using a reverse engineered form of Blue Kryptonite that could potentially prove fatal for Bizarro.

 

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Olsen does his best to reason with Bizarro, claiming that she too can be a hero like Supergirl but this only serves to enrage her further. Supergirl arrives just in time to rescue James from a fiery death, confronting her clone in another evenly matched fight. It’s only when Alex shoots Bizarro with the Blue Kryptonite that Supergirl is able to get the advantage. Back at the DEO a repentant Bizarro is placed into an assisted coma and Kara confronts Lord, who is being kept in a holding cell. He is completely remorseless, threatening to reveal her identity and hurt the people she loves. Hank points out that they can’t hold the CEO of a major company indefinitely without charge, but with Lord so thoroughly intent on destroying Supergirl do they really have a choice?

This should have been one of the better episodes of Supergirl with Bizarro serving as a highly effective nemesis, and to a point it was. The fight scenes were well choreographed with each one feeling different in its own way. It was also very cool to see the women forced into a stalemate when trying to use their opposing powers against each other. Whilst Melissa Benoist did a reasonable job as Bizarro, her characterisation never really went beyond blank stares and broken sentences. As ever it was the non-Supergirl elements of the show that failed to land; the Kara/Adam romance mostly felt like filler, Winn continually comes off as creepy, and Kara and James’ ‘will they/wont they’ relationship still isn’t engaging enough to make the viewer care either way.

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I want to like Supergirl, I really do and it certainly does have its moments, but it just feels like the show still hasn’t found its stride. With only a few episodes left until the end of the season it should be building towards a strong finish, instead it’s still treading water. My advice would be to move away from the Dawson’s Creek elements that slow the show down. That doesn’t mean lose the romance, superhero stories are filled with romance, just give us a romance that actually matters; James, Adam, Winn, does anyone really care? Kara is such a great character but what about everyone else? Give Hank/J’on more to do, show us why Lord hates Supergirl so much, kill Winn and please, please, please fire whoever is responsible for writing all of Cat’s dialogue.

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • The facehugger thing that was crawling around on Kara’s ceiling at the end of the episode did not look friendly. Is it an alien or perhaps another one of Lord’s experiments?
  • Much like Star Labs, the holding cells at the DEO come sans toilet. Where are all the captured villains in the DC universe making number two?
  • Exactly how long can the DEO keep Lord as a prisoner? As Hank pointed out they don’t have the jurisdiction to do so and there were plenty of witnesses to his arrest.
  • Bizarro was originally a Superboy villain, however he proved such a hit that DC decided to recycle the idea for the Man of Steel.
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