Thursday, November 2, 2017

Supergirl Gets Her "Bizarro" Doppelganger!

The Good: Decent performances, Good sense of ethics
The Bad: Soap operatic elements, Very basic plot
The Basics: Supergirl introduces "Bizarro" with mixed results.

The first season of Supergirl got off to a rocky start. Despite that, as the show began to become more serialized and pay off elements that were seeded early on in the season, it got better. Max Lord, originally characterized as an altruist in National City, had a sinister twist when he had a braindead woman that J'onn J'onzz found deep in Lord's lab. The payoff for that comes in "Bizarro" and it is worth the wait.

"Bizarro" follows directly on "Strange Visitor From Another World" (reviewed here!), which climaxed with Alex and Kara watching a news report with what appeared to be Supergirl failing to rescue a truck. Lord is instantly revealed in "Bizarro" to be behind the alternate Supergirl and he has the duplicate - who appears initially to have Supergirl same powers - brainwashed to want to kill Supergirl.

Three months ago, Maxwell Lord infused a young woman with a substance that appeared to resurrect her. Yesterday, Lord gave directions to the test subject, who now looks like Kara. The morning after Supergirl apparently drops a truck on camera, Cat Grant comes into the office and is nice to Kara . . . ostensibly because Kara is going out on a date with her son, Adam Foster. Kara's date with Foster is broken up by a news report that there is danger in National City, which requires Supergirl. Supergirl is unable to thwart the alternate and when she returns to Lord's laboratory, Bizarro (as Cat nas named her) questions her mission.

After Winn realizes that Lord Technologies has been experimenting upon braindead, comatose, young women, Alex confronts Max Lord. Returning to the DEO, Alex arms her fellow agents with Kryptonite darts, while sending Kara back out on her deferred date with Adam. When Kara is abducted by Bizarro during the date, the DEO's Kryptonite weaponry only makes the doppelganger stronger. To keep him safe, Kara dumps Adam, but when Bizarro abducts James Olsen, Alex responds by imprisoning Lord at the DEO, against Hank's wishes.

"Bizarro" is a pretty basic "evil doppelganger" story, but Kara Danvers elevates it above the standard. While Alex wants to capture or kill Bizarro, Kara sees her doppelganger as a person, a victim of Max Lord. The ethical argument that Kara makes is an uncommon one and welcome for the otherwise basic plotline of "Bizarro." The fact that Kara's moral core is maintained throughout the episode elevates an otherwise average episode.

Melissa Benoist rises to the occasion of playing key scenes opposite herself quite well. As Bizarro goes feral, Benoist is replaced by Hope Lauren and Lauren has enough on-screen gravitas to hold her own with Benoist. In fact, Lauren manages to hold her own on-screen opposite Benoist better than Blake Jenner.

John F. Showalter directs "Bizarro" well-enough to pull off the moments when Benoist is acting opposite herself. But from the moment Bizarro is wounded/strengthened by the Kryptonite, it seems like Showalter is cutting the episode together for the sense of greatest melodrama, as opposed to continuing the tone of the first half of the episode.

Supergirl misses out on a major opportunity to evolve Cat Grant and Kara Danvers in how it deals with Kara and Alex Foster. Cat puts up a boundary with Kara when Kara is forced to reject Alex for his own safety. Far more interesting would have been Kara bringing Cat into the fold at this point . . . strengthening their bond as opposed to restoring the previous status quo.

Such is the ultimate mediocrity of "Bizarro;" it has potential and elements that feel audacious, but eventually it treads to the familiar.

For other works with Hope Lauren, please visit my reviews of:
"Childish Things" - Supergirl
"Blood Bonds" - Supergirl
"Better Angels" - Agent Carter


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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