Wednesday, March 31, 2021

REVIEW: 'Supergirl' - Kara Is Willing to Sacrifice Everything to Stop Lex and Leviathan's Deadly Plans for Earth in 'Rebirth'

The CW's Supergirl - Episode 6.01 "Rebirth"

As Brainiac lays close to death after trying to stop Lex, Supergirl and team soar in to save him, engaging in an epic battle with Gamemnae. After beating Leviathan, Supergirl turns her attention to Lex, who has used the Obsidian platform to brainwash half the world to love him and follow him at all costs, no matter what horrible things he does. Knowing how dangerous this makes her brother, Lena enlists the entire team to help, but Supergirl realizes that the only way to truly stop Lex is to sacrifice herself.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 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 season premiere of The CW's Supergirl.

"Rebirth" was directed by Jesse Warn with story by Robert Rovner & Jessica Queller and teleplay by Jay Faerber & Jess Kardos

Supergirl had several interesting ideas in its fifth season. However, they never totally came together to make a cohesive and engaging narrative. It was a major letdown with a very empty antagonist. Of course, Lex Luthor was always in the mix. He remains the series' best villain to date. The audience should probably expect plenty of him in the sixth and final season. The show can't go to that well too often though. It could easily grow tiring. In fact, it already seems like the show wants to remove some agency from that character and the Luthor family drama by making him forget Supergirl's secret identity. But that's mostly just a part of this premiere trying to tie up all the dangling loose ends from the former season. It's not particularly elegant or subtle either. It also highlights just how thin that prior story actually was. Again, it had fascinating concepts. The drama between Kara and Lena was always engaging and vital. And now, the premiere basically builds around the fact that they are learning to trust each other again. Lena walks away with the understanding that Kara had her reasons for keeping the truth from her. Meanwhile, Kara trusts Lena with the technology in the fortress that can never fall into the wrong hands again. The friendship is mostly mended here. The same applies to Brainy and Nia. He felt he needed to remove himself from his friends in order to partner with Lex as they infiltrated Leviathan. But again, that just never made any sense. It was the show projecting a lot of drama onto the situation. It was a massive hurdle that prevented any kind of growth in this core relationship that the show made the audience invest in. The viewer should celebrate the fact that they are back together. He confesses his motives. Nia forgives him while recognizing that the future needs to be different between them. She is strong and can handle the worst that they have to face as heroes. That was the case a year ago as well. So, it never made sense for Brainy to strike out on his own. It risked everything. And yet, it's easily regained for him as well. That too comes across as easy. It's something that must happen so that all of this tension remains in the past instead of continuing to define the story in the future. Of course, that also amounts to a premiere where the main characters are running from one action set piece to another. Some of them are effective. Some of them rely too much on special effects. The final battle with Gamemnae has absolutely no nuance whatsoever. It's designed to be splashy and thrilling without any true weight to the outcome. As such, she is no more compelling than the average villain of the week. That's disappointing for a character who was originally established as the main antagonist for the season. Analyzing the ways in which technology is changing human connection was a noble effort. It's also clear that some characters from that will remain important moving forward. Andrea and William are still given notes of ongoing intrigue. This premiere is mostly about eliminating Gamemnae and Lex as threats. Lex is more personal. That's why the conflict with him covers the bulk of the premiere. It too is based on the simple notion that he inherently has hatred towards any Kryptonian. That then makes the concept of him being the smartest man on Earth ring hollow. He is defeated. And yes, consequences do emerge from this battle. It's not from some way in which Lex outsmarted Team Super. He simply saw a device in the fortress that he could use in a last minute way to attack his enemies. It worked only in that it sent Kara to the Phantom Zone. Now, it should be intriguing to see how these characters develop as they fight to save her from that realm while also trying to live their lives without her as a daily presence. It's a way to immediately draw the audience back in with a suggestion that the final season aspires for a new story altogether. It still creates a premiere that has a specific mission. It's absolutely clunky. It won't be representative of what this final season hopes to be. As such, judgment will still have to wait. That's an unfortunate position especially when the show should be reaching for its big emotional climax before flying off for good. Plus, there is totally something of value on Kara's recorded message that will provide emotional release for her friends. It'll be played before she returns from the Phantom Zone. That seems certain.