I was pretty happy with the SUPERGIRL finale. TF says that it feels like it's for children. I'd say that description is incomplete. SUPERGIRL is an all ages series. It's a family product like TOY STORY, THE LEGO MOVIE, ARCHIVE and SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE.
I'm not blind to the flaws of SUPERGIRL, having listed them exhaustively in a post that other posters inexplicably attributed to Informant. However, I am in favour of its mission, its spirit, its values, its goals (albeit goals that are often contradictory and mutually exclusive).
The season finale had some issues, but I'm prepared to dismiss all of them. I have no problem with Myriad being undone by Supergirl inspiring the masses, the series having built the S-shield in National City as an iconic symbol of hope that is meant to be just as meaningful as Helen Danvers reaching out to Alex.
The superfight fight taking place in a deserted location? Well, that's where the Myriad hardware was buried -- out of sight, far from population centers, and hardly any different from BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN insisting that Metropolis' downtown core was empty or having the trinity fight Doomsday in an apparently vacant part of Gotham City. Alex flying the pod? Well, clearly, the AI of Kara's mother decided to help her out.
I definitely got the same sense from the finale as I did BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN in that the finale seemed to have far too much going on. At times, it seemed like scenes had been sped up at 1.3 times in order for it to fit in the running length -- and I got the sense that lines were cut here and there. At one point where Maxwell Lord tells J'onn that Supergirl is going to try to talk people out of Myriad, I got the sense that J'onn was about to respond, but the shot ended -- I imagined J'onn saying that if and when this failed, they could still use the bomb, right?
The Myriad plot was, to me, darkly insightful in noting that every problem with the world could be dealt with by removing free will from human beings and directing them to spend their time entirely focused on environmental problems at the expense of their individuality and personal will. The fact that Cat Grant didn't even notice everyone had been hypnotized was a grim comment on this vision of a better world.
I wished the episode could have been a bit longer to explore this a bit more and also pace Alex's fight a bit better, because that's really the plot point needed to hammer home why Kara can save National City from Myriad with her broadcast. The drama of Kara saying farewell to each person in her life was really touching, as was the revelation that J'onn had been able to free himself from the DEO the entire time. The fight with Alex was really unnerving for me because of Kara's fear of injuring her sister; the battle in the desert had a real sense of desperation that Kara could lose her home. The material was forced and lacking in subtlety, but the actors and the director made me *feel* all of it, so I was okay with all the flaws.
The claim that Kara is being written as Clark is strange to me; she's not being written like any Clark Kent I'm familiar with and while I haven't read every Superman comic, I've read a selection from each era. The 30s - 60s Clark is a bumbling oaf while Superman goes from an activist firebrand to a rather gentle father figure before the 70s and 80s transformed Clark into a charismatic journalist with Superman as a Herculean fantasy figure. The 90s and 2000s transitioned from a dual personality into three personalities: Clark on the Smallville farm, Superman/Kal-El of Krypton and Clark in Metropolis with different blends of each of the three in different situations, as played by Brandon Routh. SMALLVILLE just wrote Clark on the farm with occasional flashes of more Christopher Reeve style Superman behaviour that represented adulthood and by the end, Clark was pretty much in Superman mode all the time, but there was no duality of persona. ("You walk like a fireman and talk like a cop.")
Kara isn't really like that -- I guess she's closest to Brandon Routh except there aren't multiple personas. Kara Zor-El/Kara Danvers/Supergirl are the same person with no difference in personality, but different situations bring out different aspects of her; superheroics bring forth her light-hearted, fun-loving side matched with determined heroism; offices bring out Kara's unnerved sense of displacement which originates from being an adopted refugee; the DEO brings out both.
I think Alex Danvers is wonderful and the actress makes her distinct from Kara by showing how Kara is caring and heroic, but Alex has a devious, manipulative and at times ruthless side, exemplified by her using Maxwell Lord's attraction to spy on him and stabbing Astra through the heart. Kara doesn't have that kind of killer instinct and while the scripts have struggled to keep that in place, the actress provides it.
But to say she's being written as Clark -- well, I don't recall any Clark ever being anything like this Kara. Regardless of which Clark, Clark's defining characteristic is being constantly in disguise and engaging in subterfuge; Kara doesn't really do that. The secret identity aspect of SUPERGIRL is almost irrelevant to the point where even Cat Grant sees right through "Kiera."
J'onn being reinstated at the DEO was dumb and the reason it doesn't work -- they meant to have an episode with the US President to be played by Lynda Carter. But the schedule didn't work out, so they failed to establish the character of the US President and why she would be inclined to grant J'onn clemency -- in which case it would have been best to have him taken on as a consultant rather than the boss.
Anyway. I really like SUPERGIRL because, despite all of its mis-steps, it's trying to do something good and it inspires fan mail like this:
Dear Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh,
You met thousands of people last weekend. I want to tell you about your impact on three of them. Three little girls, specifically, who were all wearing Superman pajamas and were camped out at the front of the autograph lines on Saturday morning. (I would love to get them Supergirl pajamas, but we couldn’t find any. DC should really get on that).
Supergirl is the first show that our entire family watches together. After dinner on Monday nights, the younger two girls always race upstairs to put on pajamas and brush teeth, so as not to be late for the opening credits.
But it’s our oldest daughter that has gained the most from Supergirl. She identifies strongly with Kara Danvers. Like Kara, our girl has long blonde hair; she wears glasses; she was adopted. And just as Kara does, our girl misses her first family, and she struggles with feeling alien at times.
Over the past year, our oldest girl has grown more independent. She is in middle school now and prefers to hang out in her room with the door shut, listening to music, watching YouTube videos and reading YA books. Her dad and I and her two younger sisters feel wistful for the days when she plopped herself front and center into every family interaction.
But her intense (and developmentally normal) desire to separate from the family melts away for an hour on Monday nights, when she curls up beside us on the couch as we all snuggle together to watch Supergirl. During commercials, she loves to run across the room, pulling off her glasses and shouting, “I Am Supergirl!” while her younger sisters sit giggling in delight. She is proud to be adopted, just like Kara Danvers.
Her relationship with her younger sisters is complicated. They are our biological daughters, and this creates deep and unavoidable conflict for her. No matter how much we reassure her that we love her the same as the younger girls, she tests us.
During the scenes in Supergirl where Alex and Kara explore the painful aspects of their relationship as sisters through adoption, our whole family absorbs every word, every expression, because seeing this dynamic on mainstream television makes our family feel less alone. The fact that both Alex and Kara are kickass, strong, smart, flawed, beautiful women who work hard, cry, laugh, yell, fight, and make mistakes has been an incredible model for all of our girls.
When your family is built through adoption, you rarely see nuanced portrayals of adoptive families in the media. It’s all about extremes. Fairy tales and fantasy shows usually resort to the trope of the evil step-parents or the abusive adoptive parents, with the adoptees depicted as mistreated victims. On the other end, modern stories often present the adoptive parents as saviors who rescued abandoned orphans and gave them the perfect life. In reality, neither of these fits our adoptive family. Watching Supergirl has normalized our experience, where some parts of adoption are amazing and other parts are really difficult, but what never changes is that we are family, and we love each other. Thank you for that.
On Saturday morning, our middle daughter was having a rough time as we were trying to leave the house to come see you. Often, in these situations, our oldest daughter can act as an agitator, which escalates the problems. I pulled my oldest aside and said, “We are going to meet Supergirl. How do you think she would respond to her sister?” Instead of falling into the typical sibling patterns, she swooped over to her younger sister and comforted her. The effect of her behavior was instant and soothing. She was her best self when she was trying to be the Supergirl within.
Since I was working at a booth at C2E2, I was able to get the girls in early, and we made a beeline for the autograph area. Our plan was to get into Melissa’s line first and then head to Chyler’s. The girls grew impatient after an hour, but we plied them with hot pretzels and books to read.
When you both arrived, all three of my daughters leaped up from the floor with shining eyes. Our five-year-old is so small that my husband carried her in his arms so she see could over the autograph table. Melissa, you were the first one we met.
“Hi, guys!” you said with a big smile, taking in the three girls dressed alike. When we explained to you that our oldest likes to pretend she is you, because she is adopted and wears glasses and has long blonde hair, you went with it without missing a beat, addressing her as Supergirl.
Our oldest told you how excited she is for the upcoming episode with The Flash, and your face lit up as you expressed how you, too, couldn’t wait. Our younger girls wanted to talk about how you went bad in the previous episode after being exposed to Red Kryptonite. You looked at them and saw the concern in their faces and said with empathy, “Wasn’t that awful?” Your warmth immediately reassured them that you are the kind-hearted Supergirl that they adore.
After you signed an autograph for my daughters, I asked you to sign a piece of paper for our bullying prevention nonprofit, the Pop Culture Hero Coalition, and you did. I couldn’t wait to show my colleagues. Meeting you and Chyler was the highlight of my own personal C2E2 experience, I will admit!
After you gave everyone high fives and smiles, we said goodbye and headed to meet Chyler.
Chyler, you were amazing, so approachable, so kind. You asked each girl her name and age; you told me that you are also a mom of three kids. “We would have a lot to talk about,” you said to me, making me feel as if you could be a friend and not just a television star. My middle daughter explained that whereas our oldest is Supergirl, she likes to think of herself as Alex. You nodded and agreed that she is Alex.
When I asked you to sign a paper for the Pop Culture Hero Coalition, you enthused about how important bullying prevention is. The girls chatted with you about how awesome Alex is, and you could not have been easier to talk to. After high fives all around and autographs, we left.
Melissa and Chyler, your reflected glow surrounded all five of us for the rest of the day. Merging fantasy with reality is always fraught with expectations, but you both were the heroines our girls have grown to love.
Last night, when we all settled in to watch the latest episode of Supergirl, there was a different feel. “Hi, Kara!” the girls shouted at the screen. “Hi, Alex!” they yelled. “We know you!!!!” We plan to frame your autographs and hang them right over the television, a forever reminder of the day we met the Danvers sisters, an adoptive family that strikes a responsive chord with ours.
http://www.chicagonow.com/portrait-of-a … ptive-mom/