The Girl of Steel might not be on CBS any more, but she’s joined her fellow heroes on the CW. Season 2 promises to immerse Kara and her team deeper into the DC Universe, even introducing her more famous cousin.
The first episode of season 2 kicks off with a recap of the end of season 1 – the group celebrating as an unidentified object comes hurtling into National City, forcing Kara and the Martian Manhunter to investigate, and we finally see what’s inside the Kryptonian pod that crashed – uh… it’s… some guy? Really, he’s not the focus of the episode, so, he gets brought to the DEO’s swank new downtown offices that everyone but Kara knew about (“A bat bit me in the last one!”) to figure out who just who he is.
The DEO has also brought in former CatCo IT guy Winn to figure things out, as he is apparently a polyglot and can understand Kryptonese (Kryptonian? Doesn’t matter…).
We move on from the mystery boy from outer space to the launch of a space shuttle, which coincides with Kara’s first date with James Olsen and Cat Grant pushing Kara to decide what she wants to do at the company now that she’s no longer Cat’s assistant. Kara says an online quiz told her she should be in marketing and Cat rightfully debases her using Supergirl as an example.
Cat also has a new assistant. More on that later…
Of course, it’s the date with James and the launch of the space shuttle that kicks off the meat of the episode, as the shuttle malfunctions and Kara cuts her date short to go rescue the shuttle. She gets an assist from that famous cousin of hers, as Tyler Hoechlin makes his debut as the small screen’s Superman.
It’s not just a cameo, either. Superman sticks around National City to help Kara figure out what caused the space shuttle to malfunction, which introduces us to a new player in National City: Lena Luthor. The sister of Superman’s archnemesis has taken over for her incarcerated brother and moved to National City, I’m guessing as a replacement for Peter Facinelli’s Maxwell Lord.
There’s really A LOT to recap here: Superman and Martian Manhunter have problems because of Kryptonite; Cat’s crush on Clark Kent; Alex’s crush on Clark; the creation of Metallo and the quick end to the Kara-James relationship. Oh, and Kara wants to be a reporter, which Cat predicted when she hired Kara as an assistant.
The best part of the episode, though, is the characterization of Superman/Clark Kent, which has been oh so terrible for oh so long. But Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg clearly understand and respect the character’s history more than the movie folks do. And Hoechlin’s performance was pretty much perfect. This was not a dark and brooding, upset representation of the Man of Steel. This was Superman the way he’s supposed to be: Confident, charming, funny, respectful, HAPPY… It was a perfect palate cleanser from the live action versions of Superman we’ve had.
Really, I just want Warner Brothers to cancel the Zack Snyder-led movie universe and let Berlanti and Kreisberg do EVERYTHING, especially a version of Superman.
Over the course of the episode, we even got a bunch of references and callbacks to the Superman lore that brought a smile to my face:
MISS TESSMACHER! – With Kara no longer serving as Cat Grant’s assistant, her new assistant is a reference to Lex Luthor’s gal Friday from the 1978 Superman movie. And Cat bellows her name the same way Gene Hackman did.
“Flying is the safest way to travel” – Getting into a helicopter, Lena Luthor admits she doesn’t like flying, while uttering a pretty well-known line from the 1978 movie. The helicopter rescue, too, could be seen as another homage.
“When Luthor caused that Earthquake in California…” – When Winn meets Superman, he shows off his fanboy side by asking Superman about one of his adventures, which probably not coincidentally was the plot of Superman: The Movie.
“We’re moving back to Gotham” – The father of the family Superman saves from the drone attack apparently thinks a city protected by a guy who dresses up like a Bat is safer than National City.
John Corbin – The “enemy of the week” is an international assassin who, at the end of the episode, meets his comic book destiny, as the villain Metallo, a man made of metal with a heart of Kryptonite. Looks like Metallo will make a return next week. Being created by Cadmus probably means we’ll eventually deal with that organization more this season, too, which should be fun.
Corto Maltese – Corbin is revealed to have been involved with the genocide in Corto Maltese, which is in the midst of a rebellion in the classic graphic novel, Dark Knight Returns. It was also where Thea Queen trained with her father, Malcolm Merlyn, during Season 3 of Arrow. Is this the first instance of a connection between Supergirl and the rest of the Arrowverse?
Season 2 of Supergirl is off to a great start, and next week should continue the good times. Hoechlin should be back as Superman, as the Kryptonians go up against Metallo and maybe we’ll get some more information about Cadmus.
Up, up and away indeed.