Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find my review of the previous Supergirl episode here.
We’ve been told many times that it’s not the powers that define the hero. Yet I’ve rarely seen that concept demonstrated better than in "Human for a Day", Supergirl‘s first truly excellent episode. This week was an exploration of heroism in all its forms, and a deep dive into what makes Kara the hero that she is.
Losing her powers caused Kara to experience her first true failure in a deeply affecting scene. It made her question her value as a hero, until James reminded her that it didn’t change who she was, and that she was not defined by her failures. And that’s what separates Kara from so many other superheroes. She didn’t mope around until her powers came back. With absolutely no powers and a broken arm to boot, she donned her costume and did her job. The scene in which a powerless Kara confronted an armed looter, braving the risk that she could die at any moment, was emotionally resonant and showed us just what kind of a hero she really is. Selfless, fearless, and inspiring.
In the wake of the earthquake, heroism was on display all around, from James to a posturing Maxwell Lord. But yet again, it was Cat Grant who took the spotlight, using her platform to spread messages of hope and encouragement. When Supergirl‘s most cynical character is responsible for the most uplifting scene of the week, you know it’s a show that takes pride in its optimism. It’s what separates it from the rest of its peers, and I love it.
The other part of "Human for a Day" dealt with an escaped alien prisoner at the DEO. Jemm himself was a so-so antagonist, and some elements of this subplot were rushed, but there was a nice suspenseful atmosphere that made it captivating enough. Plus, it was all just a plot device to allow Alex to confront Henshaw about her father—which I didn’t expect to happen this soon. I have to applaud the show for not taking it slow, especially knowing the payoff.
And what a payoff it was. The confrontation led to a huge reveal, one that left me with a smile on my face and my fists in the air: Henshaw is actually J’onn J’onzz—the Martian Manhunter! I know a small number of fans suspected it, but I didn’t see it coming, and I’m glad. It was an awesome twist. Granted, those who aren’t familiar with the character probably didn’t have such an excited reaction. But even with only a decent knowledge of the comics, I was very impressed. I didn’t think they’d go this far, and definitely not so early in the first season. Supergirl, you have my attention.
Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)
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