Monday, October 17, 2016

"The Last Children Of Krypton" Establishes A New Formula For Supergirl!

The Good: Pacing, Plot progression, Balance between Kara/Supergirl and Superman, Decent effects
The Bad: Some truly terrible lines, Lack of enduring theme, No amazing performance moments
The Basics: "The Last Children Of Krypton" puts Cadmus firmly in the place of villains for Supergirl and sets up adversaries for both Supergirl and Superman surprisingly well!

When it comes to Supergirl, the approach being taken to adapt it to television is one fraught with problems for fans of the DC Comics source material. The show is set on what fans of the Berlanti-run DC Television Universes are calling Earth-3 and because it is a separate universe from The Flash, Legends Of Tomorrow and Arrow, it allows the series to incorporate a slew of very different elements from DC Comics. Most notable of those are the plethora of references to Superman-related characters, institutions and settings. As the second season of Supergirl progresses with "The Last Children Of Krypton," Project Cadmus comes front and center for the first time in the series and it feels like no small coincidence that their first major on-screen outing comes after Superman has joined the on-screen narrative. Project Cadmus affords the executive producers of Supergirl a convenient mechanism to return Alex Danvers's long-lost father to Supergirl and fans of the DC Comics source material are likely to see the villainous scientific organization as a convenient way to eventually place Hank Henshaw (the Cyborg Superman) into the Supergirl narrative, in addition to Metallo, who makes his proper debut in "The Last Children Of Krypton." I'm placing my bets on the idea that it will be Cadmus that eventually gives Maxwell Lord his telepathic powers and allows one of the most compelling Superman (and Wonder Woman!) stories to be adapted into Supergirl.

But, we're not there yet at all. "The Last Children Of Krypton" picks up where "The Adventures Of Supergirl" (reviewed here!) left off and it is tough to discuss the new episode without some references to where the season premiere left off. After all, "The Adventures Of Supergirl" climaxed with the villain John Corben being being brought to Cadmus where he was tranformed into Metallo . . . a villain who commonly battles Superman in the comic book source material. "The Last Children Of Krypton" is not much of a departure from that with Superman being targeted by Cadmus, just as Supergirl is!

Opening with a building burning in National City that Supergirl and Superman help put out, the heroes continue their team-up to thwart a pair of bank robbers fleeing the scene of their crime. While they are en route to their next heroic act, John Corben is activated as Metallo. Returning to the Department Of Extranormal Operations, Superman and Supergirl are unsettled by the way the DEO is experimenting on the Kryptonian they have in the lab. As Kara and Alex prepare for their Sister's Night, National City has a potential jumper that requires Supergirl and Superman to spring into action. The would-be jumper is Metallo and he blasts both Kryptonians with a Kryptonite beam that weakens them.

Superman and J'onn J'onzz visit the Fortress Of Solitude to analyze the metal used in Metallo's modified skeleton. There, Superman calls J'onnz out once again about the DEO's use of Kryptonite, while Kara and Alex discuss the possibility of Kara leaving National City. When Winn Schott finds a Promethium signature in National City, the heroes are able to locate Metallo. But Metallo is a diversion for an attack on Metropolis and both Superman and Supergirl have to fly off to save that city. When Scott and Alex Danvers figure out a way to track Kryptonite, they find the mole in the DEO who got the Kryptonite to Cadmus . . . which puts Alex at the mercy of the scientist who created Metallo! In rescuing Alex, Supergirl comes up with a plan to stop the two Metallos!

"The Last Children Of Krypton" makes Superman surprisingly fun. I'm not a huge fan of Superman, but by the end of the teaser of "The Last Children Of Krypton," it is hard not to be impressed by Tyler Hoechlin as Superman. Superman stands up to Director Henshaw about how Cadmus might have gotten access to Kryptonite and it is cool to see someone with screen presence equal to the Director. Viewers might be a bit disappointed that Supergirl is not given the chance to stand toe-to-toe with Henshaw the same way, but in "The Last Children Of Krypton" it is nice to see someone call Henshaw on his b.s.

Kara begins working as a reporter in "The Last Children Of Krypton" and it gives Melissa Benoist the excuse to play Kara as entirely bubbly. Benoist manages to pull off the enthusiasm perfectly in character. Kara is given another inspirational speech (sort of) by Cat Grant - which those who know backstory outside the work know is because Calista Flockhart did not want to work in Vancouver when the show moved to The CW - but spends most of the episode opposite Snapper Carr, the director of CatCo's reporting operations.

Carr is played by Ian Gomez. Gomez is good, but for much of "The Last Children Of Krypton" leaves genre fans thinking that he is playing Robert Picardo in the role. Gomez plays Carr as angry and while he has portrayed sarcasm in many of his roles, Picardo has more effortlessly played the anger that Gomez stretches for in this role. That said, Ian Gomez is good as Snapper Carr, even if the role is a bit monolithic in "The Last Children Of Krypton."

"The Last Children Of Krypton" illustrates well the new formula for Supergirl. Given that Fort Rozz was removed from Earth in the first season finale, the "escaped alien of the week" formula for Supergirl had to be replaced with something. If "The Last Children Of Krypton," Supergirl is going to be replacing aliens with experiments gone wrong from Cadmus for a while. Cadmus is presented with a realistic sense of villainy in "The Last Children Of Krypton," which is nice because elements like Supergirl very slowly pushing a car to stop Metallo stand out as oddly slow for her character.

As The Flash has gotten off to a painfully rough start this season, fans of the DC Television Universe might find "The Last Children Of Krypton" difficult to watch as Winn Schott is presented in the episode as Cisco used to be. Fans of The Flash already miss his bubbly, geeky personality and hearing the same type lines one expects from Ramon coming out of Schott's mouth only makes us miss Cisco more.

"The Last Children Of Krypton" reassures fans that Supergirl is not just destined to become Superman-lite as it is Supergirl who comes up with the endgame for fighting the Metallos. Unfortunately, it is also Supergirl who delivers the cringeworthy line of the episode when she goes to punch Metallo.

"The Last Children Of Krypton" is also a bit off on some key details. For example, in a big fight scene, Alex Danvers gets punched in the face by Metallo. While the exoskeleton she wears protects her body, her face is unprotected and there is no sense of reality that would account for her remaining conscious after such a hit. "The Last Children Of Krypton" is also lacking a genuine sense of theme that is larger than the plot and character aspects of the episode, which makes it good, but not exceptional or enduring television.

For other works with Brenda Strong, please visit my reviews of:
Sports Night
Twin Peaks - Season 2
“When The Bough Breaks” - Star Trek: The Next Generation

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Supergirl - The Complete Second Season on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the sophomore season of the Kryptonian superheroine here!


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

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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