Monday, February 24, 2020

REVIEW: 'Supergirl' - Kara Sees the Complications From Trying to Fix a Mistake From Her Past in 'It's a Super Life'

The CW's Supergirl - Episode 5.13 "It's a Super Life"

Mxyzptlk returns with a proposition for Kara - what if she could go back in time and tell Lena her secret before Lex did, would things turn out different? Looking back over key moments throughout the series, Kara must decide if she wants to change history to become friends with Lena again.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the 100th episode of The CW's Supergirl

"It's a Super Life" was directed by Jesse Warn with story by Robert Rovner & Jessica Queller and teleplay by Derek Simon & Nicki Holcomb

The 100th episode of Supergirl follows a whimsical tone that reflects on the five seasons so far for this superhero and her friends. It remains rooted deeply in the core conflict driving this season forward: the divide between Kara and Lena. Kara is worried about what the Luthors are doing together now that her secret has been outed. Kara never wanted to betray Lena. That was the exact thing that seemingly sent her spiraling into this villainous mindset. Lena certainly doesn't see herself that way. She pushes back against any declaration that she has to be stopped by Supergirl. She believes she knows best. She is trying to improve humanity. She is choosing to keep a close eye on her brother while still dealing with the mysterious and vague threat from Leviathan. The story of this episode isn't really about Lena though. It's much more so about Kara's perception on this friendship and yearning for it to be what it once was. She is the one given the opportunity to change the past. Mxyzptlk returns from the fifth dimension to offer her the chance to see how life would have changed if different decisions were made. That allows several familiar faces to return for this episode. But again, it is all filtered through how this one decision came to shape Kara's life and the friendship she had with Lena. And so, it's all serving that one core premise. As such, it's not as meaningful a character return as the last two episodes have been with Wynn arriving from the future to stop an evil version of himself created because of Earth-Prime. That story was spread out and focused a ton on the returning character. He has gone on a journey away from the narrative where he was first introduced. Alex and J'onn are the only friends still around from when Kara first became Supergirl. She has welcomed new allies into the fight. They even have a new headquarters now in the Tower. That is cool and helps the series properly deal with the morality complications of the work the DEO does. But again, this is a fantastical episode wherein character deaths are elaborate and don't really mean anything. They do to Kara because she accepts that can't be a viable option for a timeline that is better than the one she is currently living in. She reflects on her friendship with Lena to pinpoint when was the right time to reveal her identity as Supergirl. Right before Lex did so wouldn't have made the situation any better than it is right now. During the heated conflict over using Kryptonite to stop Reign would also have complicated consequences. Even at the onset of their friendship would place a target on Lena's back in all of the eventual conflicts that Supergirl would have to face. Some stories may just be written in stone. That has been a familiar concept across the superhero stories on Earth-Prime. Time travel is always tricky. It never turns out how a person hopes it would. In fact, it may only create tons of problems if a person meddles with the timeline. Kara learns that lesson here. It's one that her fellow heroes have learned before. She is just given the insight here to know that this friendship meant something valuable that was ultimately beneficial to both of them. It may have been harmful for Kara to keep Lena in the dark for so long. She has to own up to that fact. She never felt like she could share this part of her despite knowing how deeply betrayed Lena has been by so many in her life. The show keeps adding examples to that list too. But Lena has to be held responsible for how she reacts to all of this as well. She has crossed some boundaries this season. She did so in pursuit of a noble goal. Kara may have to lament the loss of this friendship for good. She comes to that understanding here. That doesn't mean Lena is beyond redemption. Kara and Lena could still potentially work together. They still have that threat from Leviathan to contend with. Even that storyline though is murky with plot mechanics that don't make a lot of sense. The Kara-Lena divide is the most fascinating and consistent part of this season. It is meaningful that the 100th episode chose to focus on it. It may not change anything in the abstract. However, it does put the history of the show upfront while the story moves forward in some hopefully exciting ways that better hone the character drama that has been so successful in the past even while tackling topical subject matters.