Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 20, 2017)
After a high-flying first year, Supergirl comes back for its second season. This four-disc set covers all of Season Two’s 22 episodes. The plot synopses come from IMDB.
The Adventures of Supergirl: “Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) team up to stop a new threat emerging in National City. A Kryptonian pod comes crashing down to Earth.”
Season Two opens with a bang, as “Adventures” reignites the characters well. It mixes action and character development well and manages to balance a mix of narrative threads. Add in a the fun guest spot from Superman – and the introduction of a role familiar to fans of the Christopher Reeve movies – and “Adventures” soars.
The Last Children of Krypton: “Supergirl is hurt by a kryptonite-powered villain sent by Cadmus to attack National City. Superman blames Hank (David Harewood) since the kryptonite was stolen from the DEO. In the meantime, Kara's first day at her new job doesn't go as planned when she meets her new boss.”
After a strong season opener, “Children” seems a little lackluster. While it gives us a decent amount of good material, it doesn’t move the narrative along as well as I’d hoped. Still, it’s a largely positive program, and I suspect S2 will bounce back quickly.
Welcome to Earth: “Supergirl and the DEO are assigned to protect the President (Lynda Carter) when an attack on her causes alien vs. human rights in National City to heat up. Alex (Chyler Leigh) investigates the case with Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima) while Kara fears Mon-El (Chris Wood) may be responsible.”
S1 brought Helen Slater - Supergirl in the 1984 movie - and S2 gives us 1970s TV’s Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter. Gimmicky as that casting might be, it works, and the rest of “Earth” adds intrigue to the season. This offers a solid show with good new elements.
Survivors: “Supergirl tries to stop an alien fight club run by Roulette (Dichen Lachman), while Hank gets to know M'Gann (Sharon Leal).”
Does “Survivors” exist as much more than an excuse for wild alien-on-alien battles? Not really, but with results this entertaining, I don’t care. The episode moves along plot points as well and becomes a solid show.
Livewire: “Supergirl faces a ruthless new gang that's been given new alien technology by Cadmus.”
If you think S2’s “legal aliens” theme exists to echo modern politics, you’re right. That’s not the most clever take on matters, but it does give the year a little depth. “Livewire” moves along events in a compelling manner.
Changing: “The Guardian (Mehcad Brooks) arrives to lend a hand when an alien parasite drains Supergirl of her power. Mon-El contemplates his motives when he considers a new career. Alex faces a new reality.”
With “Changing”, we get a soap opera-style show. Though it throws out some of the usual actual, it focuses on melodramatic character elements too much of the time, factors that make it subpar.
The Darkest Place: “Supergirl comes face-to-face with Cyborg Superman when she attempts to save Mon-El from Cadmus.”
“Place” offers a fairly good mix of plot and action. It starts on a high note and manages to keep up the pace well, and those parts turn it into a satisfying show.
Medusa: “As Eliza (Helen Slater) comes to National City for Thanksgiving, Kara turns to Lena (Katie McGrath) for help when Cadmus unleashes a virus that instantly kills aliens. Kara is also asked by Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) for help with an alien invasion on their Earth.”
While I do like S2, I could live without all the soap opera elements – from Alex’s emergence as gay to the Kara/Mon-El vibe to other bits, the year lays on the melodrama too thick. “Medusa” manages to advance narrative components well enough but some of the character stuff makes it drag at times.
By the way, the appearance of Barry and Cisco exists solely to tease a crossover episode of The Flash, so don’t expect them to do anything here.
Supergirl Lives: “While searching for a missing woman, Supergirl and Mon-El end up on another planet where Roulette (Dichen Lachman) leads a slave trafficking ring.”
Kevin Smith guest-directs “Lives”, but don’t expect any stylistic differences, as the episode feels identical to its siblings. Still, it’s an above-average show, as it offers a fun exploration of a situation in which Supergirl’s powers don’t work.
We Can Be Heroes: “When Livewire (Brit Morgan) apparently breaks out of prison, Supergirl sets out to recapture her.”
As a superhero, Supergirl seems surprisingly low on archenemies, so Livewire makes a welcome return here. “Heroes” keeps melodrama to a minimum and becomes a strong episode.
The Martian Chronicles: “A White Martian called Armek (Terrell Tilford) comes to National City with the intention of bringing M'gann back to Mars to be punished for her treason.”
I must admit I never was wild about the J’onn character, and his development during S2 doesn’t change my mind. Add to that a sequence that blatantly steals from The Thing and this turns into a lackluster show.
Luthors: “Lena is arrested when Metallo (Frederick Schmidt) breaks Lillian (Brenda Strong) out of prison and evidence suggests that Lena is responsible.”
I never took to S2’s “Cadmus” subplot and hoped it ended a few episodes back, but it returns here. I’m still not enchanted by that theme, but “Luthors” adds enough intrigue to the proceedings to work.
Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk: “A magical imp called Mr. Mxyzptlk (Peter Gadiot) arrives on Earth and wreaks havoc on National City when Kara doesn't reciprocate his feelings.”
Other characters got “makeovers” for Supergirl, with James Olsen the biggest change of the bunch, but the TV Mxyzptlk offers an enormous visual change from his comic book version. That Mxyzptlk was a tiny, oddly-outfitted elf with a bowler hat, not the smooth, handsome GQ model we get here.
Surprisingly, the shift works, partly because Gadiot pulls off the part well. He looks a lot more attractive than the comic Mxyzptlk, but he brings a fun sense of unpredictability and lunacy to the role. All of this leads to a lively, enjoyable show.
Homecoming: “When Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain) is rescued from Cadmus, Alex and Kara are thrilled to have him back, but Mon-El is suspicious about his sudden return.”
Just when I think Cadmus is out, they pull it back in! The return of Kara’s father offers some intrigue, and it allows Mon-El a rare chance to be a meaningful character and not just a goof. I still wish S2 could move past Cadmus, but “Homecoming” fares well anyway.
Exodus: “Alex and Kara realize they must break the rules to foil Cadmus' latest plot.”
While I like Benoist’s take on Supergirl for the most part, I don’t think she differentiates Kara and Supergirl well. Both show the same public personality much of the time, a factor that makes it more difficult to believe no one figures out they’re the same person.
As the synopsis implies, “Exodus” focuses heavily on Cadmus, which leaves me semi-cold. The continued mystery about Jeremiah evokes some intrigue but this doesn’t develop into a great show.
Star-Crossed: “Supergirl goes on high alert when a new villain comes to National City. Meanwhile, Winn's (Jeremy Jordan) new girlfriend Lyra (Tamzin Merchant) gets him in trouble with the law and the Music Meister (Darren Criss) attacks.”
At the start of S2, I didn’t expect much from the Mon-El character, but he managed to develop into a fairly interesting role. I’m also happy that “Star-Crossed” manages to incorporate another alum from a Super-show, as Teri Hatcher plays Mon-El’s mother.
Even with the eye-rolling comment about a desire to “make Daxam great again”, this still turns into a solid episode. The Music Meister segment adds little, though – in another annoying twist, that part just teases an episode of Flash.
Distant Sun: “Aliens attack National City with the intention of collecting a large bounty put out on Supergirl.”
One major annoyance of the Flash crossover: it leaves lapses for viewers of Supergirl. “Star-Crossed” ended with Kara/Mon-El on the outs, but “Sun” has them together with no explanation. If the Supergirl wants to do these crossovers, they should include those other series’ episodes in this set as well.
Other than that irritation, “Sun” offers a pretty good show. It deepens the Mon-El elements and throws out enough action to make it a worthwhile program.
Ace Reporter: “Lena's ex-boyfriend Jack Spheer (Rahul Kohli) comes to National City to reveal his breakthrough in nanotechnology that has the potential to eliminate all diseases.”
Like Mon-El, Lena offers one of S2’s more intriguing characters, mainly because her allegiances remain up for grabs. Is she good, bad or something else? We still don’t know, and that adds suspense to the season.
“Reporter” doesn’t develop these elements as well as I’d like, though. Sure, the use of Lena’s ex Jack seems like a promising development, but the “nanobots” feels trite. That means this becomes a mediocre episode.
Alex: “When Alex is kidnapped, Supergirl and Maggie must work together to save her.
The kidnapping plot doesn’t offer much originality, and the rest of “Alex” follows suit. The episode’s main villain seems dull and he becomes part of a lackluster show. The connection between Lena and Rhea adds some intrigue, though.
City of Lost Children: “National City is attacked by a Phorian, a normally peaceful race with telekinetic abilities.”
Normally a series like this would amp up the action toward a big climax, and maybe that’ll happen here. However, S2 lacks a clear overall arc – while elements like Cadmus and Mon-El create overriding themes, they don’t give us one consistent storyline to conclude at season’s end.
Even without that, “City” musters good entertainment value. It pushes along various character and story elements in a satisfying manner that leads us ahead well.
Resist: “Supergirl struggles to decide whether or not to obey the President's orders regarding Rhea's (Teri Hatcher) latest actions. Meanwhile, Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) returns to National City.”
My prior comments about the absence of a climax connected to a season-long arc remain correct, but that doesn’t mean S2 lacks a big finale. “Resist” comes with a massive alien invasion, so it packs more action than the usual episode.
It also brings the welcome return of Cat, one of the series’ best characters. I’ve missed her this year so it’s good to see her again. All of these factors converge to make “Resist” a strong episode that leads toward the year’s end well.
Nevertheless, She Persisted: “Supergirl challenges Rhea to battle to save National City. Meanwhile, Superman returns and Cat Grant offers Supergirl some sage advice.”
Season Two comes to an explosive end with this exciting show. It opens with a Supes on Supes fight and progresses through other action spectaculars, all of which allow “Persisted” to finish the year on a positive note – and with a cool teaser for Season Three.
Overall, S2 works well. Yeah, I think some of the “soap opera” elements get tedious, and I’d like to see more super-villains to battle our lead, but the year still manages a lot of action and excitement. Supergirl remains a fun, compelling superhero series.