Monday, May 15, 2017

Undermine Everything: "Resist" Might Well Be The Worst Episode Of Supergirl.

The Good: One moment of Supergirl's enlightened philosophy
The Bad: Terrible writing, Melodramatic performances, Awful characterizations, Atrocious continuity
The Basics: Supergirl creates a terrible hour of soap operatic television with the ridiculous "Resist."

As Supergirl speeds toward its second season finale, the show has been hampered by a lack of focus. The "Big Bad" of the season was revealed very late and in the episodes since Rhea killed her husband, Supergirl has been unfortunately erratic. Indeed, the episodes have had the feel of being bound to an inorganic season plan, rather than an organic story arc. To wit, "City Of Lost Children" was an unfortunate episode that diluted a lame attempt to find a use for James Olsen with an essential story point. Indeed, in the larger story of Supergirl, it seems like the whole point of "City Of Lost Children" was to get to the episode's final scene to set up the essential conflict for the final two episodes of the season.

"Resist" picks up immediately following the events of "City Of Lost Children" (reviewed here!) which climaxed with alien ships invading Earth through the portal Rhea and Lena Luthor built. The Daxamites were invading, J'onn J'onzz was incapacitated and Rhea was actually holding her own against Supergirl.

Lena Luthor wakes up (in a new dress) with Rhea trying to convince her that Supergirl nearly killed her by attacking their portal. Lena is horrified to see the Daxamite fleet attacking National City and landing soldiers on the ground to wipe out the citizens of National City. Rhea declares National City New Daxam, while Alex barely escapes the DEO, which is overrun by Daxamites. Rhea informs Mon-El that the invasion will progress beyond National City and that she has plans to marry her son off to Lena Luthor. The DEO staff and Guardian regroup at the alien bar and are alarmed when Lillian Luthor arrives and pitches working together to take down the Daxamite mother ship.

When the President heads toward National City, Cat Grant attempts to broker peace between President Marsdin. Air Force One is shot down by the Daxamites. Supergirl manages to rescue Cat Grant and in the wreckage of the President's plane, Grant and Supergirl discover that Marsdin is an extraterrestrial. Marsdin orders the DEO agents to destroy the Daxamite ship using her positron cannon. When Rhea threatens a children's hospital with bombardment, which effectively extorts Mon-El and Lena into agreeing to marry. When Lillian Luthor returns to the bar with the Cyborg Superman, Lillian proposes using the Fortress Of Solitude to teleport to the Daxamite ship to rescue Lena and Mon-El. While Cat Grant rallies the citizens of National City, Supergirl works to rescue her friends, while Alex and Maggie infiltrate the DEO to arm the positron cannon!

"Resist" is built on a fundamentally flawed premise. As great as the idea of humans resisting the Daxamites is, it is an impossible task. The Daxamites, like Mon-El, harness the power of the sun like the Kryptonians. A Daxamite invasion would put (essentially) hundreds to thousands of Supermen on the street to enslave humanity. Human resistance to an army of Daxamites would be an impossible venture.

The opening scene between Rhea and Mon-El is unfortunately melodramatic and Teri Hatcher and Chris Wood play the scene with an over-the-top quality that is hokey (it is not even campy, it is flat-out hokey). Sadly, the episode gets worse when Calista Flockhart appears on screen. The scene with Grant, Marsdin, and Rhea is utterly cringeworthy. The writing is obvious and banal; a "we are women, we can resolve this better" speech that entirely disproves its own thesis. Grant chooses a marginally different way to stage a pissing contest with Rhea and the truth is, the whole scene is reminiscent of the idea "if you have to tell everyone you're cool, you're probably not." I am very much for a show with strong female protagonists who can save the world and resolve problems in clever ways; "Resist" does not do that.

Cat Grant erupts back into the Supergirl as a diva. The bossy, demanding stereotype is not at all engaging or clever. Instead, Cat Grant comes across as a terrible stereotype of what a strong woman is.

I recall, when I was a young teenager, being a fan of Friday The Thirteenth: The Series. I was young and the whole "cursed object of the week" thing was new to me. One day, my step mother actually decided to show interest in what I was taping late every Saturday night and she decided to sit down and watch an episode with me. The episode that was on that night involved the Marquis De Sade and it was, as one might expect, a fairly sexual episode. You know, uncomfortable things you don't want to watch with your step mother and enough for a fairly responsible parent figure to not want a minor watching the show. I mention this story because tonight was the first night my wife actually committed to watching an episode of Supergirl and it was so bad that I was embarrassed for her taking the time to watch it with me. My wife thought it was important to note that the only time I laughed or smiled during "Resist" was when she made sarcastic comments about the episode.

My wife's commentary track ripping on "Resist" was the most entertaining aspect of the episode.

"Resist" was so bad that as soon as it was over, I put "Alex" (reviewed here!) on to cleanse our mutual palates. Everything that "Alex" was - smart, well-performed, containing an impressively-prepared villain - is missing from "Resist." "Resist" is over-the-top in its themes, melodramatic in its performances, and ridiculous in its premise for anyone who has been paying attention to the show. Seriously, Rhea threatening a children's hospital and Cat Grant, Marsdin and Rhea peacocking is so bad that the two writers (it took two writers to write this crapfest?!) should lose their place in the WGA.

Outside a single moment where Supergirl makes an enlightened argument near the episode's climax and Melissa Benoist nails the philosophical moment, "Resist" is a worthless endeavor not worth bothering to watch, much less review more.

For other works directed by Millicent Shelton, please check out my reviews of:
"Borrowing Problems From The Future" - The Flash
"Welcome To Earth-2"- The Flash
"The Flash Is Born" - The Flash

[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!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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