Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find all of my Supergirl episode reviews here.
“Solitude” was a decent episode overall, significantly buoyed by a couple of very strong scenes, despite several subpar elements dragging it back down.
The theme of the week is right there in the title: solitude. Kara distancing herself from Hank by leaving the DEO left her more alone as a hero than she’s been since the show began. This obviously led to some problems for Kara as she struggled to work without the DEO’s assistance, while Alex still wrestled with her guilt over Astra’s death.
This week’s villain, Indigo, was essentially a plot device in service of that theme. From a storytelling perspective, her role this week was to fulfill Alex’s prediction: at some point, the DEO and Supergirl will face a threat that they wouldn’t be able to overcome if they continue to work individually.
In that sense, Indigo did her job, but she was still a mixed bag. Yes, she contributed to the moral of the week—but she didn’t tie into the theme of “Solitude” the same way Master Jailer embodied the theme of harsh justice last week. Laura Vandervoot gave a strong performance—but no amount of talent can sell that “budget Mystique” costume. She posed an incredibly dangerous threat—yet most of her scenes involved Hollywood hacking clichés and nonsensical technobabble that just didn’t work. They tried to tie her backstory with Supergirl’s, making her responsible for Kara leaving the Phantom Zone—but it didn’t feel like a detail that should matter, even if she were to be a recurring villain.
Of course, a more literal reading of the episode’s title leads to the much-advertised scene featuring the Fortress of Solitude. The scene itself didn’t quite live up to the hype, as it was there mostly for exposition and didn’t tie into the episode’s emotional conflict at all, which feels like a missed opportunity in an episode called “Solitude”. On the plus side, it was loaded with Easter eggs for Superman fans, from the little details like the Legion Flight Ring to the familiar, 1978-inspired look of the place.
The climactic sequence with Kara racing against a nuclear missile was probably the show’s best action scene to date. It was intense and exciting, benefiting from incredibly high stakes. Supergirl has faced budget issues in the past, but this time, the effects were seamless and superb. And it was only with the DEO’s help that Kara was able to save the day.
Another standout scene was when Alex finally and tearfully admitted that she was the one who killed Astra. We always knew the truth would be revealed, but having Kara forgive and hug Alex was a welcome twist. The shot of the sisters hugging while Kara held Hank’s hand was a powerful image and speaks to how well this trio works as the heart of the show—much more than Kara, James, and Winn, and very much improved since the beginning of the season.
On the other hand, one element that continues not to work week after week is James and Lucy’s relationship. The good news is, they’ve finally broken up. I don’t know why it took them so long—we’ve never actually seen them happy together. And this just reinforces what I’ve been saying for weeks: why introduce Lucy at all? Obviously, the answer is to prevent Kara and James from dating right away. Which is both lazy and frustrating. It’s okay for characters to have an instant spark! There’s no need for stalling and injecting false drama just for “romantic tension”! Maybe now that Lucy has broken up with James she can become an actual, fleshed-out person. Characters deserve better.
One bit of relationship drama I enjoyed was Winn and Siobhan’s strange little subplot. Last week I noted that Siobhan was a bit of a cliché, but “Solitude” at least tried to give her some backstory, which helped a great deal. Plus, she and Winn are very different people, which is maybe why having them as a secret couple ended up being rather endearing.
Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)
If you enjoy this website, check out the Facebook page and hit like at facebook.com/ScrawlSpace.