There has been considerable improvement in Supergirl this season, but the show hasn’t been consistent when it comes to portraying fleshed-out and compelling villains. However, it seems that the showrunners have finally realized their mistake and are working on eliminating this weak point as we saw the way Biomax was handling last week, the ongoing threat in the form of Queen Rhea and also the introduction of a new threat in this week’s episode. In a surprising turn of events, this episode took the show in a dark direction. There was a noticeable touch of Saw quality seen in the trailer for ‘Alex’.
While the episode didn’t turn out to be as gruesome as the movie, it succeeded in giving us a more unsettling and certainly tense episode that’s not the norm for this show. The primary difference is that the show hasn’t felt this dark before. The end result remained the same; when Kara’s fists failed to provide her the success she needed, her inspirational might helped her do the job well. It was also a nice change that Team Supergirl didn’t have to deal with a metahuman villain this week. The introduction of a non-metahuman and perfectly ordinary villain, Rick Malverne, turned out to be just the touch the show needed.
The only weapon that Rick possesses is an ability similar to Batman; he is an avid planner as he spent months coming up with a foolproof plan and considered all the angles and outcomes. In simple terms, this is the exact villain that Kara has difficulty handling. But, it remains to be said that a little bit of disbelief and suspension was required to accept the new villain. This was mostly because it is difficult to accept that a seemingly innocent and innocuous young guy has become psychologically damaged to such an extent. He is so far gone that he spends an entire year stalking the Danver sisters and comes up with an elaborate plan to go after them.
Apart from that, we also had to contend with the fact that Malverne didn’t just deduce J’onn’s Martian heritage, but also had the means and resources to block his telepathy, which allowed him to design an incredibly complicated death trap for Alex. The question is that if he has such skills, why didn’t he simply free his father from jail on his own? Regardless, the character still succeeded in making the good villains of the show. David Hoflin did the character justice by enabling him to channel his inner instability and pain rather nicely. He played him as a young man who seems to be calm and collected from the outside, but is actually driven by childhood torment and abuse.
Even though the character seemed a bit unbelievable at times, Hoflin made us believe. Furthermore, Malverne’s demented plan did a great job in bringing out the best in Floriana Lima and Melissa Benoist. Watching the two characters go head to head due to their shared love for Alex was a great moment. It is obvious that the characters have gotten close enough that they feel comfortable in sharing their grievances. The early anger Maggie had towards Kara seemed a bit overblown, but it helped us understand that no matter how well-meaning Kara is, her instinct to rush headlong into danger ends up causing even more problems.
Both Lima and Benoist delivered some of their best performances of the season in this episode. Benoist showcases Kara’s charm on a weekly basis, but it is a rarity when we get to see Kara as both vengeful and vulnerable simultaneously. In fact, one of the strongest moments for Benoist was also the most subtle. It was when J’onn approached her and she confessed that she was listening for Alex’s voice.
This was the right way to communicate the grief and pain Kara was going through and similarly, Lima gave a great performance in the form of the tearful reunion we saw between Alex and Maggie at the end. During all this drama, the writers also laid down the groundwork necessary for the end of season 2, which centers on the alliance between Queen Rhea and Lena Luthor. Unless there are any developments at the last minute, it is quite obvious that Hank Henshaw, Jeremiah Danvers and Lillian Luthor are being shuffled off for a later season.
One of the most bizarre things we have seen this season is the lack of focus, but it is a good thing that the endgame is becoming clearer with every episode. It is also a good point that the partnership between Queen Rhea and Lena Luthor is entertaining. Watching Teri Hatcher in a superman show was undeniably fun, but she had been a bit restrained and stiff in the past few episodes. That changed in this episode as we saw her trying to blend in with the humans and this enabled Hatcher to play a more alluring and charming role.
The way the show is handling Lena is also worthy of applause as they have brought her very close to the edge where she just might succumb to her family’s curse and become a villain. But, it remains clear that she is still trying to do the right thing and doesn’t have any idea what kind of a woman she is dealing with. This is partly on Kara as well because she is not helping Lena at such a critical time. The only problem is that the alliance of these femme fatales is very similar to the finale of Season 1 and we don’t want to see a repeat.
The idea that a doomsday weapon is being built on Earth by an alien monarch has been played before and we don’t want to see it again. Moreover, the notion is only getting stronger with reports coming in about other characters joining the cast. Hopefully, if the story does go along the same lines, the execution will be a bit different this time around because that’s exactly what the show deserves.