Supergirl returns for a second season with “The Adventures of Supergirl.” Most likely that’s a reference to one of her past comic book titles, “The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl.” Not only is she back for a new season, she’s on a new network and has several changes from the opening forward. For one thing, now that she’s on the CW with most of DC’s other currently running shows (Gotham over on Fox being the exception), she’s being drawn into the “CW-verse” or “Arrow-verse” as I’ve heard it called. Flash appears in her opening credits from their crossover episode, which I thought was a nice touch.
After a brief recap/flashback of the end of last season, where a new and mysterious pod crashes down with a new mystery occupant, we get to see more changes. The DEO has apparently abandoned their cave for a much friendlier looking facility, which apparently everyone knew about except Supergirl. The pod-person (I couldn’t resist) has been brought here and they are having trouble testing him, since he’s showing, if nothing else, a Kryptonian-like invulnerability. Supergirl is sure this means he’s from her home, J’Onn is much more cautious. Winn offers to help study the pod, since his experiences last season have let him learn Kryptonian. Apparently he’s spending a lot more time at the DEO now.
Kara is very excited about her first date with James, now that they’re past the soap opera of denying how they feel and dating other people and other suspense builders. Alex thinks Kara is trying to talk herself into the date. Kara denies this and runs back to her day job.
Cat talks about the Venture, which is a new experimental low-orbit transport. Cat also pushes Kara about the open job offer, and is very displeased about Kara’s response. Kara’s replacement is a nod to the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, as Cat yells for, “Miss Tessmacher!” who was Lex’s assistant in the first movie. Cat says she only sleeps two hours a night to get as much out of life as possible. No wonder she’s so fixated on her coffee.
Kara gets jitters about what to wear for her date, super-speeding through several outfits. James shows up and their awkward attempts to act like it’s a date get interrupted when there’s a news flash that the Venture, to no one’s surprise who’s watching the episode, has a major engine failure. Not only does Kara rush off to save the day, but a certain reporter from Metropolis does, too. One of the big changes this season is that Superman isn’t a hinted at presence, but an actual character. They work together smoothly to save the ship.
The pair of Supers return to the DEO. Most of the people working there, especially Winn, are star-struck. On the other hand, there’s some very noticeable tension between Superman and J’Onn. Alex notices it, but J’Onn won’t talk about it. After more talk about the pod-person, who is still out cold, the DEO folks work out that the Venture was sabotaged.
Continuing “Bring Your Cousin To Work Day,” Kara brings Clark to CatCo. Cat apparently has a thing for Clark, which is amusing to watch. As Cat gives Clark a tour, all but dragging him off, Kara and James talk about their interrupted date and agree to try again. Alex calls and tells Kara there is one passenger who didn’t show up for the Venture flight: Lena Luthor, Lex’s adopted sister.
After a brief scene of our mystery bad guy getting new equipment and showing how evil he is by killing his supplier, Clark Kent and Kara Danvers pay a call on Lena. She had to cancel her flight at the last minute because she’s so busy with meetings for her upcoming renaming of the company. She wants to distance herself from Lex’s criminal career, and is going to change the name from LexCorp to L-Corp, which seems a bit silly to me. Lena is very forthcoming, and even gives Clark a flashdrive with all the specs on it for the equipment that failed on the Venture.
After they leave, the cousins compare notes. Clark doesn’t trust Luthors in general, which you can’t really blame him for at this point. Kara actually believes Lena. They then shift to a discussion about life in general, which is good, and secret identities, which is phenomenally stupid in public on a busy street. As this goes on, Alex confronts J’Onn about the rift between him and Superman, which is largely over the DEO keeping a store of Kryptonite.
As the DEO crew puts together that Lena is probably not only innocent but a target, the bad guy decides to prove them right. He sends a fleet of heavily armed drones after Lena’s helicopter. When the Supers show up to save the day, he tells them there are a lot more drones targeting people throughout the city. Superman flies off to save people and Supergirl saves Lena.
Kara goes back to CatCo. James, through some weird magic (or the telepathy Superman teased his cousin about earlier) can tell that something has changed for Kara, which she denies. Cat is acting really weird, although she keeps bullying the hapless Miss Tessmacher. After another decent mentor talk with Kara, Cat tells her the time on her very generous job offer is ticking down.
Winn examines the drone bits they retrieved from the attack, and comments that it reminds him of some of his father’s work “In one of his more murdery moods.” They get a print from the wreckage and identify the assassin as John Corben, a name well known to Superman fans. Superman and J’Onn talk, mostly at Alex’s urging, and Superman expresses some well-founded doubts about the DEO keeping the Kryptonite.
That talk didn’t really go anywhere, and neither did Kara trying to persuade Lena to hold off on her big public announcement about renaming the company. While I sympathize with her desire to distinguish herself from Lex, maybe not doing public appearances when an assassin is after you is a good idea? The attack occurs, and they manage to give both Supers, Winn and J’Onn (by radio), Alex, and even Lena something to do during the fight. Corben is critically injured, starting his origin story in motion, and Lena seems to be developing a friendship with Kara, which seems sudden. Clark even apologizes to Lena for his suspicions.
For their series of wrap-ups, Kara decides she wants to be a reporter, which pleases Cat. Cat herself calls in her assistant to make a bunch of calls which will no doubt lead to an explanation for Cat’s diminished role on the show this season. In the real world, when Supergirl switched networks, they moved where their filming location, and Calista Flockhart, who plays Cat, didn’t want to relocate. Superman will be sticking around for a while to spend time with his cousin (and maybe check up on the DEO?). And Winn is formally hired by the DEO, while Kara firmly places James in the “friend zone,” which he’s weirdly ok with. Or at least very calm about.
What I liked: J’Onn seems to have an expanded role this season, which is good in my book. I liked the relationship between Superman and Supergirl. They’re relatives that actually get along, which is nice to see on screen. I thought Tyler Hoechlin did a great job as Superman/Clark. I like his upbeat, positive version of the character a LOT more than the grim figure haunting the movies these days. Seeing the Flash in the opening was really cool.
What I didn’t: Sometimes things change gears smoothly. Sometimes there’s a wrenching, grating sound. It was more the second on a lot of fronts. I get they are trying to prepare for Cat to mostly disappear, but she was way out of character. I presume Lena is going to step into the mentor role, which is why she suddenly seemed so friendly to someone she just met. Kara suddenly deciding to be a reporter came out of nowhere and is going to make her seem even more like a copy of Superman. After mooning over James all first season, Kara suddenly friend-zoning him seems really weird. He’s certainly more useful there, but why Winn suddenly changed from CatCo to DEO is something I’d like an explanation for. Although hopefully this means they’re done with the silly Abandoned Office of Solitude for their meetings now.
I thought this was a really uneven episode, but I’ll cut them some slack for changing networks and deciding on some new directions when they did. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5 and hope things smooth out after this somewhat rough start.