‘Supergirl’ 1×01 Recap: Fly, Kara, Fly

One of the fall’s most anticipated new shows was no doubt a show of the superhero genre, which has become the “it” thing in Hollywood right now. With superheroes dominating the box office and the small screen, everyone wants a piece of it.

There have been no shortage of superheroes on television recently, but there has been a severe lack of female-dominated superhero shows. Even with sensational shows like Arrow and The Flash, there has been a lack of focus on the female heroes that populate the DC television universe. Enter Supergirl.

Supergirl is the first superhero show of this era to be led by a female superhero, which is both a breath of fresh air, as well as a stand to show that female superheroes are just as appealing as male ones. Superhero delivers a powerful message that inspires girls of all ages to shoot for the stars, and that nothing is impossible…no matter how impossible things may seem.

While most pilots struggle to find their footing, Supergirl was able to find solid footing. While it wasn’t without its faults, whether it was the, at times, rushed pacing, Supergirl demonstrated a great promise for what’s to come in the future.

Let’s take a look at tonight’s highlights:

The World Has a New Hero

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One of the defining themes of this pilot — and that which will no doubt be one throughout the season and the series — is that this is the story of Supergirl. Not Superman. Supergirl. While Superman’s presence was certainly felt in this episode, whether it was his sending James Olsen to watch over Kara or Kara’s constantly comparing herself to her cousin in terms of success, he wasn’t at the forefront. And for good reason. While we saw a silhouette of Kara’s famous cousin in Kara’s first touch-down on Earth, we never really saw him. Because once we see him, it takes away from Kara’s story. One of the lines in the opening says, “You already know his story.” And that’s the truth. But we don’t know Kara’s, and that’s what this show is all about. While it’s certainly lovely to hear all of the references to the Man of Steel, it was equally as nice to know that he wouldn’t — or won’t — be overshadowing Kara on her own show. Because then that would take away from the purpose of this show, which is to focus on Kara, female hero.

Laying Shade to Stereotypes

    

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One of the great things about Supergirl is the fact that it’s a show about a female superhero, which means that it can attack head-on the issues of stereotypes placed upon women, especially when it comes to strength. There’s been no lack of over-sexualized women on television, including their wardrobe, and Supergirl had an entire sequence dedicated to throwing shade at outfits that are not practical even if visibly appealing. It was GRAND. More often than naught we’ve glimpsed women wearing borderline scandalous apparel while doing something where that’s not appropriate at all. Like for real, how the hell is someone supposed to kick bad guys’ ass wearing eight-inch stilettos? Or how is one supposed to protect oneself wearing a mid drift costume? Kara’s final costume — a practical and still visually stunning outfit — was exactly what the world needed to see. It’s not about the costume but about the person underneath the costume and everything they represent.



Another stereotype the show addressed was the all-too familiar suggest that women should bow at the feet of men. Yeah, Kara was having none of that. That was another scene that made it clear that this is a new age. Women are not belittled when it comes to men, whether its in status or stature. You have to give massive props to the producers and writers of this show that are addressing the issue of gender in the superhero genre, and making it damn clear that a hero is a hero because of their actions and not their gender.

Kara Is Not Perfect

    

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Something that is incredibly important in the superhero genre is showing your audience that while this character might be known as someone who is “super,” they are far from perfect. In fact, they might struggle more than one would think in other aspects of their life. From the start of the pilot, you watch as young Kara’s world crumbles as she’s whisked away from her parents and sent to, first the Phantom Zone, and then this new world where she’s supposed to be anything but extraordinary.

Something that is obviously something Kara will struggle with this season is self-confidence, and the belief that she is enough to protect this city; to believe that she can protect it. We saw inklings of that doubt in her tonight after her sister Alex shot her down and told her to blend in and be her ordinary self. Despite Kara’s intent to become someone worthwhile in her life, she gave up way too easily there. Building and maintaining that self-confidence will be her struggle this season, but it’s a struggle that we can all relate to. That’s what’s so great about superheroes is how we can relate to them in some way, whether it’s their self-doubts, professional faults or personal struggles.

A Family Bond

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One of my favorite things about Greg Berlanti’s superhero shows has been the strong foundation of family within them. Whether it’s Arrow or The Flash or now Supergirl, our hero has a clear emotional tether to family. Another thing that Berlanti has done is showing us that family does not translate to blood, especially in Supergirl where Kara’s blood aunt is setting out to kill her to ensure domination over Earth.

On Arrow, we’ve seen Oliver find family in his close friends and girlfriend, John Diggle and Felicity Smoak, while on The Flash we’ve seen Barry find a new family with the Wests, as well as his family at S.T.A.R. Labs. On Supergirl, Kara has found family with her adoptive family, namely sister Alex Danvers, as well as an off-screen connection with cousin Superman. I’m sure it won’t be long before we see the same connection form between Kara and her two boys, James and Winn.

The thing with superhero shows is that they are nothing; mean nothing if we don’t care about the person underneath that superhero persona. It’s the equivalent of an all-action movie with no substance. It gets boring real quick, and quite frankly no one gives a crap. Something that Berlanti has been able to do with all three of his superhero shows now on television is instill that connection between hero and audience, and family plays a significant role in that.

The Makings of a Love Triangle

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No show is compete without the quintessential love triangle, and Supergirl seems to be hinting at such with James and Winn. I’ll be perfectly honest, this love triangle already seems played out because it’s obvious where it’s headed: and that’s one tall, dark, and handsome breath of fresh air, James Olsen. The chemistry between Melissa Benoist and Mehcad Brooks is beautiful to watch, as is the beginnings of their relationship. With Superman having sent James to watch over Kara, it’s almost as if they were destined to meet. There was too much flirtation and winks for me NOT to ship this.

But then you have to admire what little we glimpsed of Kara and Winn’s relationship. Clearly they’ve been friends for some time before the events in this pilot, as they have a pretty strong rapport with one another. And it’s clear that Winn has had romantic feelings for Kara for awhile, as well. Poor puppy is practically fawning over her. Together they make a great team, as Winn’s the first person she chooses to tell about her super abilities, and he helps her take on the bad guys in National City. It’s clear that Kara and Winn have a great relationship, but from the looks of the pilot, it seems like poor Winn might actually get friend zoned by Kara in the future. Poor guy.

    

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A Family Feud

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While it was just a tease at the tail end of the pilot, we learned that not only is Kara’s vindictive aunt on Earth and seeking revenge, but she’s also a twin. Who knew?! Alura Zor El is seeking revenge for what her sister did, which involved imprisoning a ton of Kryptonians before they were freed once Kara’s pod was freed form the Phantom Zone. What does Astra want? Vengeance of course, even at the expense of her niece.

WHAT’S ON OUR MINDS…

  • It’s about damn time that a female superhero got her OWN SHOW *claps*
  • Kara has shades of Felicity Smoak in her, which explains why I’m already in love with her.
  • Cat Grant is a GODDESS and also someone girls should aspire to be (well, aside from the terrible attitude, but you get it).
  • The costume fitting scene was sheer BRILLIANCE. Way to throw shade at those sexualized outfits everyone wants to put women in.
  • It was great that Superman was often alluded to but never officially “shown” as to not take away from Kara’s story.
  • James Olsen is hot as fuck, and I have no regrets about this new look Jimmy.
  • I ship Kara and James so hard and there’s nothing you can do to stop me #Jara
  • Winn is totally the Felicity Smoak in this show, right?
  • And here comes the obligatory love triangle…
  • “On my planet females bow at the feet of men.” BITCH PLEASE.
  • The visual effects on this show are stunning!
  • I really want to fly even more than I already wanted to.
  • And I want a cape.
  • And I want to cosplay as Supergirl.
  • Holy twin surprise at the end!
  • I’m going to need a Supergirl crossover with Arrow and Flash immediately (even though it’s not even in the works. Don’t care)

NEXT TIME ON “THE FLASH”

“Stronger Together” (Episode 1×02)

Monday, Nov. 2 at 8/7c on CBS

http://youtu.be/tIAOA0FqhAI

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment | Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes | Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters | Co-executive Editor for Fangirlish | Contributor for Bears Wire at USA Today SMG | Producer/Co-Host of Buffone 55 for Bears Barroom Radio Network | Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.