'Supergirl' Episode 1.1 "Pilot" (9 out of 10) Starring Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks, Chyler Leigh, Jeremy Jordan, David Harewood, Calista Flockhart, Dean Cain, Laura Benanti, Helen Slater, Owain Yeoman. First aired October 26, 2015
While the pilot leaked a few months ago, I very patiently waited to watch the premiere on CBS. At last, it’s here! "Supergirl" is finally here for me root for! I’ll preface this by saying I don’t watch "Arrow" or "Flash," so I can’t compare this to Berlanti’s other shows. Consider me an impartial judge. Let the impartial judging commence!
We begin our tale on Krypton, after the El’s have sent young Kal to Earth. The narrator, Kara (Melissa Benoist) tells us she had one job, to follow cousin Kal to Earth and protect him. On her way, however, she was blast into the Phantom Zone, where no time had passed. By the time she made her way out to Earth, 24 Earth years had passed. Kal is already recognized as him and she’s still 13. Tables are turned and he takes care of her, by leaving her with a new adoptive family, the Danvers (Dean Cain and Helen Slater) and my brain only slightly imploded as I got Marvel and DC universes mixed up the entire hour.
Cut to the present, where Kara is all grown up and adorkable, working as an assistant to Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart--can someone please tell me where she’s been?), the creator of media conglomerate CatCo. Kara is flustered, overworked, and she has a blind date! She enlists the help of her sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh), to help her pick an outfit. “I have to be on a plane to Geneva in two hours,” says Alex. “Yeah but I have a daaaAAATE!” cries Kara (not a direct quote). We learn more about the relationship between Kara and Alex. Alex is business-like, short hair and black suits. Kara is breathy, wears pink, and is flighty, pun intended. Kara pines about using her powers like her cousin and Alex is like, “no, stop it,” and flies to Geneva.
Or at least she tries to. During Kara’s blind date (which, she needs to fire the friend who set her up with a douche), news reports come on reporting a plane--that was headed for Geneva-- circling the city trying not to crash into anything important. Alex looks eerily reserved in the plane, as if she’s thinking “It’s fine. Kara’s cousin will fix this.” Kara runs outside, deciding to put her powers to use. She flies! She guides the plane to safety! She’s giddy with excitement! The title card flashes to the screen and I’m not crying, you’re crying.
From here, the show tackles what I call the three E’s of pilot episodes: Exposition, Effects, and Emotions. Kara tries to jumble her work with her new-found superheroism, awkwardly avoiding a non-existent love triangle I know the show is going to try between Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan) and James "Not Jimmy" Olsen (Mehcad Brooks, who is rocking the hell out of the “Everyday is Casual Friday” look). There is a costume and power discovery montage, a “Finally, a female hero!” line, and our first monster of the week--all while Kara and Alex come to a head about how Alex really feels about Kara’s powers.
Turns out, Alex works for the Department of Extranormal Operations, a department created for things like cousins and the Fort Rozz prisoners that happened to escape with Kara when she made it out of the Phantom Zone. Turns out, those prisoners were put there by Kara’s mom, Alura (Laura Benanti). They are pissed and ready to take out Kara for revenge. Vartox (Owain Yeoman), our first monster of the week, pretty much wins round one in the Vartox vs. Kara fight, but Kara gets hers in round two by unleashing her laser vision on him. Kara does have a moment of doubt before round two, but I again shed tears when Alex gives her a box featuring a hologram message from Alura to Kara, telling her she needs to be brave and she is meant for so much more than an assistant position at CatCo. Again, not a direct quote.
The first episode ends with James "Stop Calling Me Jimmy" Olsen telling Kara he knows. Her cousin is a buddy of his, and he’s looking after her per that cousin’s request. He gives her the blanket Kal was wrapped in as a baby, you know, that impervious cape. However in another and more evil place, we meet Astra (again, Laura Benanti), Alura’s evil sister--you can tell by the gray stripe in her hair, and she has evil plans.
I’m hooked after this pilot episode, and let me tell you I never like pilot episodes. This episode also fared well with viewers, it even set a fall new series record with 14 million viewers and a 3.2 rating with that prime demographic of adults aged 18-49. I have gotten into the argument a few times that it's going to be too much of a "rom com" and who wants to see that? I DO. I WANT TO SEE THAT. The super shows we see today are about vigilantism, evil corporations, and alternate timelines. Sure, "Supergirl" is taking on that girl-making-it-in-the-big-city trope, but twist! She's a superhero! It's new, it's fresh, and it's something for us girls.