I have to admit, I was totally ready to geek out when I sat down to watch the latest episode of Supergirl. It promised to be exciting as writers delved into the comics and picked Supergirl to go head to head with a classic villain, Bizarro!
Bizarro debuted in the pages of Superboy in 1958 and has crossed over throughout the “Super” franchise, spanning from comic books to animated features to live-action installments. There was even a Bizarro version of Batman at one point! The Bizarro-style characters are best described as Frankenstein-like incarnations of superheroes that, just as superheroes exaggerate their good and perfect characteristics, are bad or dumb to an exaggerated extent.
In a previous episode, “Red Faced,” Supergirl faced Red Tornado, a cyborg commissioned by General Sam Lane (father of Lois Lane). In the episode, Kara not only battled Red Tornado, but she experienced superhuman stress as she tried to juggle her professional, superhero, and personal life. Her stress level finally erupted and she broke off a piece of Red Tornado’s arm. Red Tornado then was used by its creator to wreak havoc and destruction when it went rogue. At that point in the series, it was still cloudy as to whether or not Maxwell Lord could be trusted. Unable to trust General Lane and lacking anywhere else to turn, Alex took the arm to Lord for him to analyze the technology behind it. The arm itself has been mounted and visible in Lord’s compound.
In “Bizarro,” it is revealed that Lord was able to extract Supergirl’s hair and DNA from that arm and used it, along with comatose Jane Does that matched Kara’s physical attributes, to clone Supergirl. The clone was not perfect, however. As Kara put it, Bizarro fought and looked like her, but spoke like Cookie Monster. Lord also conditioned and brainwashed Bizarro to believe that Supergirl was evil and must be destroyed. As they fought and interacted, Bizarro was able to see that Supergirl’s words and actions did not match with how Lord had painted Supergirl. Bizarro and Supergirl were both conflicted with fighting each other because they knew they were parts of each other.
While I had expected the face off to be epic, I must say I was slightly disappointed with the fight scenes. Maybe CBS needs to throw a little more money at the series to expand the special effects budget or they just need to figure out how to use what they have a little better. I am a firm believer in the practical special effects that made classic movies like A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) so visually memorable.
Because there are two stories, the “Supergirl saving the day” story and “Kara’s personal life” story, we had to check in to Catco and Kara’s not-so romances. Kara finally scores a date, with Cat Grant’s son Adam no less. While on the date, Kara sees an emergency on TV and must leave abruptly. It is a cliché as old as the cape: superheroes cannot date Muggles/non-supers. It just does not work. The only way it may work is if the non-super knows that their partner is secretly a superhero and even that is not guaranteed because the non-super could not possibly understand what the superhero goes through and their partner is liability. Any super villain could discover the superhero’s secret identity and kill or kidnap the people they love. It did not take an entire episode for Kara to decide she could not date Adam.
Winn is now speaking to Kara, so I guess my hopes of him becoming a super villain have been squished and I think I have finally found my major issue with this show. I am a fan of it and look forward each week to seeing it, but I usually walk away disappointed somehow. I believe it is the lack of strong characters that is bothering so many viewers. Cat Grant is supposed to be Miranda Priestley of National City, but even she is wishy washy. The strongest character is Maxwell Lord and I am not sure if he is strong enough to carry the show.
As viewers, we have become conditioned to reject the “everything is fixed in 30 minutes or less” formula of the 1980s. We want drama and are too cynical to believe that evil villains can become good or that the good guys like Winn and James will stay good. Maybe it is just hard for us to visit National City without expecting a little Gotham City. Overall, this episode was enjoyable and entertaining, but I still crave something more from the show. Hopefully, the cast and writers will find their groove.