Even though it has lost some major characters and ignored others, Supergirl season 2 has been a vast improvement over season 1. The show has been much more fun and confident after the move to The CW. For all Supergirl’s strengths in season 2, there has been a nagging problem. The show doesn’t seem to have a central narrative or theme, or even several small themes and narratives. As Supergirl heads into its final stretch of season 2 episodes, there is no sense of where the story is going or if it is headed anywhere big. It’s strange situation but it might not be the worst thing in the world.
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Better Than Before…
It could be that the lack of direction has been what has made Supergirl season 2 an overall better experience than season 1. Unlike season 1, season 2 hasn’t focused so much the endgame for the season. There has been no mention of some mysterious season-long plan by the enemy that is frustratingly not revealed because it would cause the story to be wrapped up much sooner. Supergirl has focused more on individual episodes than longer arcs. It has paid off, for the most part anyway. Supergirl could have dragged out Jeremiah’s betrayal and then reversal a little bit longer. It also wouldn’t hurt to see a villain last more than one episode.
Supergirl has offered plenty of engaging one-episode stories, though. Whether it was Mon-El and Kara being stranded on a planet with their powers, the Superman mini-arc that opened the season or Kara facing down a magical love-struck imp there have been plenty of fun one- or two-episode diversions. It’s probably a smarter decision in a 20-plus episode season to focus on the individual episodes than the overarching narrative and get burnt out or seriously lag halfway through the season.
…But Not Perfect
There are still some problems. While Supergirl has shifter to a more procedural nature, they have introduced several — some would say way too many — serialized elements and have yet to use them properly. Lillian Luthor and Cadmus was the most frequent tool at their disposal in season 2 but by the winter finale Kara had pretty much defeated them. Now Queen Rhea is the reigning villain. This split of focus would be fine if it felt intentional that Supergirl was doing mini-arcs but it doesn’t feel that way. The Cadmus conflict ebbing into the Daxam Romeo and Juliet story hasn’t felt very natural. It just occurred, with no pomp, circumstance or connective issue. It makes Supergirl season 2 feel directionless and as if things are just being made up as they go along.
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It gets even worse considering all the other plots that Supergirl has introduced in season 2 that could be big stories but instead are being minimized. James becoming Guardian is just a fact of life now and the show can go as many as three episodes without seeing hide nor hair of the former love of Kara’s life. Superman should remain a very infrequent guest star, as Kara is the lead on Supergirl, but it’s bizarre that after his very well-received appearances in the start of season 2 there hasn’t been even been a mention of the big blue man of steel. (If you don’t want to see Clark meet Mon-El, you’re lying to yourself.) The biggest question mark of all is the fact that the President of the United States is an alien. An alien who for some reason doesn’t want any interaction between Daxam and Earth, which seems highly suspicious. There’s a bunch of dots on Supergirl‘s board but none of them even appear close to being connected.
The best-case scenario is that the last handful of episodes are about to tie together all these threads. It’s a good thing that the audience can’t see now how everything will line up. This uncertainty makes Supergirl exciting but good storytelling demands that some effort is made to make things feel less scatterbrained. Before the season is out, the mystery of the President and her motivations should be answered. The show needs to decide if Rhea, Lillian or some combination of both is the main antagonist of the season. Lastly, Supergirl needs to give us a reason to care about James Olsen as Guardian or ship him off to Legends of Tomorrow. All the pieces are available, they just need to be assembled.
What do you think? Has Supergirl introduced too many stories with no conclusions? Do you think they should focus on single episodes or do you like having longer arcs? Do you think all of the lingering questions will be answered? Do you think they should be answered and tied up?
Supergirl season 2 airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW. Want more news? Like our Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of The CW)