Thursday, January 11, 2018

Supergirl "Falling" Transitions From Generic To Painful In A Clever Way!

The Good: Good performances, Moments of character
The Bad: Simple plot, Issues with character/plot progression
The Basics: In a blatant bit of cross-promotion, Supergirl puts Cat Grant on The Talk while Supergirl is mutated by red Kryptonite.

There's a certain irony to going through Supergirl's first season now, years later; the show has since moved from CBS to The CW (with the other DC Television Universe shows) and some of the elements of the earlier episodes play very differently now. One that seems almost laughable is the way Supergirl was used, the way many network television shows are, to cross-promote their other programs. While the DC Television Universe does that at least once a year with its crossover events, while Supergirl was on CBS, it was used to promote other CBS programs, like The Talk (CBS's answer to The View). In "Falling," Supergirl was used as a tool to try to get the audiences of Supergirl and The Talk to look in on one another by including an "episode" of The Talk in the Supergirl narrative. It is, sadly, a pretty blatant and clumsy attempt at cross-promotion more than it is organic storytelling.

Following on the heels of "Solitude" (reviewed here!), which was noticeably lacking in Max Lord, "Falling" throws Lord back into the mix for the first time since he left DEO custody, armed with the knowledge of Supergirl's mundane identity and her connections with the DEO. And, as soon as the crossover with The Talk gets done, "Falling" gets going in a fairly decent direction.

Cat Grant appears on The Talk, where she is snarky to the hosts, but says positive things about Supergirl. Grant returns to CatCo where she continues to treat her employees badly and, after Kara witnesses Schott and Smythe hooking up in a closet, she reveals that Lucy Lane has quit. Kara is called in to the DEO, where Senator Crane is visiting and being more outwardly affectionate to J'onzz. Supergirl is called away to deal with a fire and, after rescuing people from the fire, she is exposed to red Kryptonite and goes rogue. Affected by the red Kryptonite, Kara gives herself a makeover and starts exhibiting constant anger. When she is tasked with capturing a K'Hund, she beats him down, then gets bored and lets him go.

The next day in the office, Siobhan Smythe tries to shop a story to Grant about Supergirl letting the villain go. Smythe attempts to sell the story to The Daily Planet, which Kara uses to get Smythe fired. After aggressively hitting on James Olsen, Supergirl is called in to speak with Cat Grant. Fed up with Cat Grant, Supergirl throws Grant off her own building. As the DEO team recognizes what happened to Kara, Max Lord arrives and reveals that he attempted to make Kryptonite and the experiment went wrong. While Max Lord searches for a cure to his red Kryptonite, Grant denounces Supergirl and Alex works to save her sister from herself.

"Falling" continues to illustrate how Cat Grant is a terrible corporate leader. Grant starts the episode snarky to the hosts of The Talk - it's not witty or sassy, it's just mean the way she treats some of the hosts - and returns to the office where she continues to address her employees in demeaning and dismissive ways. Grant's ability to create connections that would allow her to rise through the corporate world has now passed the point of suspension of disbelief; she is so mean and inefficient with the way she treats her employees that it is unrealistic she could have achieved her accomplishments.

Kara Danvers getting sudden attention at work for changing her wardrobe is another bit of suspension of disbelief a bit hard to bear. Danvers works at a major big business with hundreds of employees and changing her outfit alone seems like not enough to get people to suddenly look up from their own lives to notice her.

"Falling" makes some good points about how a hero might feel about being constantly relied upon. When Supergirl confronts Cat Grant, she has some legitimate ideas that would come from deep psychoanalysis. Unfortunately, the subtlety of the character concepts and conflicts within Kara Danvers are well-written, but when they are revealed in "Falling," it is after an unfortunate amount of generic "bad girl" outbursts. As the red Kryptonite continues to affect Kara, the outbursts become more angry, less subtle and actually make it seem like Kara is sick.

Melissa Benoist once again earns her paycheck by playing a new skill set in portraying Kara as both angry and ill. Instead of simply being powerful and dumb (like moments of her portrayal of Bizarro), Benoist gets to tap into anger and vulnerability in ways she has not been allowed to show on Supergirl before. The onscreen chemistry between Benoist and Chyler Leigh continues to be absolutely amazing. The two play their characters' relationship like that of realistic siblings and both rise to every occasion offered to them.

"Falling," outside its cross-promotional aspect, continues the general upward motion of the first season of Supergirl by, generally, playing well the "evil side of the hero" conceit.

For other works with Sara Gilbert, please visit my reviews of:
The Big Bang Theory - Season 2
The Big Bang Theory - Season 1
Laws Of Attraction


For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2018 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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