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[TV Review] ‘Supergirl’ 1.04 – “Livewire”

Yay!  I got my wish (mostly)!  Superman was only referenced once this week!  After the first two episodes piled on the references to the Man of Steel, especially while also casting Supergirl in a negative light, the third episode made this an actual plot point.  After a narrative catharsis, I hoped that the series would move on from such shenanigans and so far, at least this week, it has, thereby fully restoring my faith in the writers’ plans.  Let’s just hope it stays that way, lest the catharsis of last week’s episode be undone and my grumbling resume.

This week’s episode was focused on family (and close friends), with a Thanksgiving trapping and a theme of understanding/accepting our loved ones.  Kara and Alex’s mom, Dr. Eliza Danvers (Helen Slater), arrived in National City for the holiday and brought with her not only warmness and concern (hey, she’s their mom!), but also memories of the past.  It was nice to see Slater (who starred as Supergirl in the 1984 film) finally arrive on the series after her cameo in the pilot and all the better that she is given plenty to do. I hope we see more of her later in the season, but I’m honestly glad they aren’t crowding the cast up by keeping her around permanently.

Furthermore, we also get a glimpse at Dr. Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain, Superman from the “Lois & Clark” series) as well, via flashbacks.  I’m curious to see where things go on this end, considering the fact that he’s supposed to be dead, but now it seems his death was a mysterious one.  Berlanti & Co. really seem to have a parental conspiracy fetish, between the framed father of Barry Allen on “The Flash” and the criminally complicit patriarch of the Queen family on “Arrow“.  A mysterious (and potentially false) death gives us a new angle on the formula here, so here’s hoping they keep it interesting.

Kara also got to know her boss Cat Grant a little better (and vice versa) this week, as the threat finally came in a non-alien form.  Leslie Willis (Brit Morgan), National City’s resident rebel talk show host, has a bone to pick with Supergirl and Cat Grant even before she is struck by lightning and granted electrical superpowers, so things only get worse afterwards.  Our latest antagonist is real Livewire (har har) and out for blood, causing Kara to stick closer to Cat than ever before and get to know her a little better as a person.  It’s also worth noting that this is the best “villain of the week” we’ve been given on the show.  While it’s nice that it comes in the form of a female antagonist, the real reason that she stands out is that she is given a clear motive for her actions beyond “eh, my evil Kryptonian bosses told me to kill Supergirl”.  I hope we have more better defined villains to look forward to and that the writers apply the lessons learned here to even the alien threats.

Before I close this out, I just want to point out that poor Winn Schott Jr. needs some tender loving care.  Kara’s ignorance when it comes to his feelings for her makes me sad, doubly so when she’s pining for the already-taken Jimmy Olsen instead.  Winn’s daddy, for those who don’t know, is the villainous Toymaker.  While he hasn’t shown up on the series yet, he has been referenced, and one can easily see Winn being driven to take on the mantle himself at some point if he continues to be obliviously spurned.  That’s probably the long-term goal here, but I can’t help but feel sorry for him in the interim, even if Kara doesn’t have feelings for him in return (nor should she have too).  Move on, Winn, before it’s too late!

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