Supergirl – Season 4 Episodes 1 – 8 Review

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Supergirl Season 4 kicks off with a rather on-the-nose look at racism and nationalism in our current society by transplanting aliens as the new foreign menace that are stealing people’s jobs and can’t be trusted etc. It’s all rather dull, and in my case (and hopefully yours too!), it’s preaching to the choir and taking a lot of the reality-escaping fun away from the show… So, yeah. Let’s take a closer look!

Official Synopsis:

Kara has stayed busy in her heroic duties working with the DEO, but even she’s caught off guard when brother and sister Otis & Mercy Graves attack an alien, Dr. Vose, and steal an EMP device from his lab. Is this for a reason, or is it a hate crime?

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

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Manchester Black and Supergirl out for a pleasant stroll… before hitting people.

Kara Danvers / Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) – Kara has been busy, both as a superhero across the globe and at her regular life job at Catco. It seems her cousin being off-world hasn’t caused any  trouble she can’t handle… Yet.

Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) – Alex is now the head of the DEO, and with it comes the responsibility of looking after all of her workers, even those who may share a different opinion than her…

James Olsen / Guardian (Mehcad Brooks) – James is still on a tightrope after announcing to the world he was Guardian, but he’s kept his job at the top of Catco. at least, and started a relationship with Lena Luther which seems to be going well…

J’onn J’onzz / Martian Manhunter (David Harewood) –  J’onn has taken an oath of peace after he joined minds with his father. He has made many alien friends who feel frightened at the heightened human hate that’s being thrown their way, and the former Martian Manhunter is hoping he never gets put in a position to have to defend them…

Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) – Lena is finally in a stable relationship, even if she may have to pull some strings to get him out of a potential prison stay, and he L Corp. projects are going well too. Something must go wrong soon, surely?

Querl Dox / Brainiac 5 (Jesse Rath) – Brainiac 5 has stranded himself in the past to avoid a deadly computer virus ravaging his time period, and has been enjoying his time with the DEO, even if he doesn’t quite get the idea of following orders…

Nia Nal (Nicole Maines) – Nia is a new employee at Catco. who keeps sufferings from nightmares… very real feeling, vivid nightmares…

Ben Lockwood / Agent Liberty (Sam Witwer) – Ben was a nice, normal American… until his father lost his factory to a new alien metal works, then he lost his home during an alien invasion, before his father died in a similar situation. Now for the sake of his family, he must do what has to be done: eliminate the alien threat before they take everything away from humanity…

Manchester Black (David Ajala) – Manchester is currently away from his wife, but is looking forward to getting back to America and meeting up with her again…

and more!

The Good:

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Her powers were being dampened at this point, in case you’re wondering how this is a thing…

As much as I don’t like the core of the show being so clearly shifted towards current issues, there have been some good moments. Agent Liberty isn’t at least a super plain hater like the pair of siblings introduced at the start, he had a whole episode dedicated to showing how he went from nice guy family man who criticised his father for speaking ill of aliens, to the leader of the anti-alien hate group. He suffered setback after setback, each season finale of the show previously ended up effecting his family in some dramatic way, it made you see how he got to where he ended up getting to. I’m not sure about the Destro mask, but overall he’s actually a good villain.

Another good character introduced was Manchester Black. Apart from the crap name that I’m for some reason glad they kept from the comics and didn’t bother to explain why his parents would give him Manchester as a first name, is a really fun and interesting addition to the cast. He’s the sort of funny, sarcastic Englishman type, but his wife, as it turns out, is an alien who gets captured by the Agents of Liberty and eventually killed by them. Despite J’onn’s pleading him not to go down a dark route, he ends up capturing, torturing and even killing several members of the hate group, all for nothing more than revenge. It’s sort of similar to Agent Liberty himself, a nice man driven to do bad things by a simple emotional response to a whole group, it’s just Manchester has a bit more of a legitimate reason to hate his group, is all…

In fact the two go face to face in Episode 8, a fight that leads to the very alien factory that cost Mr. Lockwood his father. It’s a great episode, with some tense scenes where Manchester threatens to kill Ben’s wife like he did to his, and ends with Agent Liberty’s arrest after Supergirl stops them from killing each other. More grey-area drama like this going forward please…

Apart from that, Brainy makes a good replacement for Winn in the “computer specialist who talks to the heroes on coms” and his actor does a good job getting across his lack of understanding simple human emotions, as overused as that trope is. Supergirl herself, as well as Alex and Lena, have all continued their roles perfectly well, it’s just the material the core threat isn’t as interesting…

Oh and Nia is just Kara when she was starting off in Catco., ie a bit of a airhead who is actually very capable… and as it’s later revealed, actually an alien. In her case, she can see the future in dreams and visions, though doesn’t know how to control them yet. She’s… yeah, fine.

The Bad:

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“You must dance for Destro”   “I thought you were Agent Liberty?”   “Oh yeah, right.”

Sadly a lot of this series so far, as I’ve said, is pointing out the terrible issues at work in our own world right now, but instead of doing it in a clever way, it doesn’t it in the most in-your-face way possible. People fearing foreigners for no reason, social media hate groups, biased news reporting, etc. Hell, they even threw in an unlikable President! (Though, at least he’s not a straight up Trump parody.) The first few episodes had a pair of siblings who were your straight up stereotypical racists, no redeeming qualities (obviously!) and therefore were dull as hell. At least when “Agent Liberty” start going about in his gold Destro mask it made it all feel a little more like I was watching a fun superhero show with real meaning behind it, rather than a straight up reflection of the dark side of the news I like to try to forget when I’m watching shows like this…

So blatant “racisim is wrong” message aside, which don’t get me wrong if a racist gets in contact and says “watching Supergirl made me realise I was wrong” then I take it all back, the show wasn’t up to much in its first eight episodes. James is back to having a wonky relationship and being unsure if what he’s doing is right, the Martian Manhunter is no longer hunting man and instead just tries to steer Manchester Black away from the wrong path (and fails), Lena soon becomes obsessed with a potential creation that could turn humans into super-humans and therefore “even the playing field”, like anyone with an actual scientific and logical mind would think that would be a good idea, it’s all familiar and not very in-character (or in the case of James, alarmingly still the same character…)

There were a few glimpses of the “Red Son” version of Supergirl, creating a tunnel in Russia. It’s being built up well, but as I said at the end of the previous season, do we need another evil Kara Doppelganger? Fingers crossed it ends up more than that, but I don’t hold up much hope given the rather plain writing this season has brought so far…

Overall Thoughts:

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Oh yeah, this happened in one episode. Kryptonite in the atmosphere, so Kara had to match Agent Liberty in looking like a G.I. Joe figure…

Supergirl’s fourth season gets off to a rocky start, suddenly treating its audience like they writing a cartoon for Saturday mornings that would give Captain Planet a run of its money in “blatant social issue message-ness” There were some highlights, mostly in the more morally complex new characters of Agent Liberty and Manchester Black, but it doesn’t help the show too much…

2 Star Watch

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