TV Review: Supergirl – “Better Angels”

Better Angels
Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find all of my Supergirl reviews here.
Thus ended Supergirl Season 1: with a decent but uneven finale that was the perfect representation of the inconsistent, love-it-despite-its-flaws first season as a whole.
The first few minutes of “Better Angels” were a pretty big letdown. I was ready to forgive last week’s episode for its dull moments because I was convinced the finale would feature the explosive payoff to all of that setup, especially when it ended with a major cliffhanger. But that’s not what happened. “Better Angels” wrapped up the Myriad story so hastily and effortlessly that I was left scratching my head, wondering why such a big fuss was made about it all season to begin with.
I think Supergirl‘s commitment to its overt themes of hope and optimism is admirable, but I didn’t buy it as an adequate solution to Myriad. Last week, it was a real threat that even made Superman into its victim. This week, it was eliminated with a simple rousing speech and a logo on a screen. A weak ending to what could have been a promising storyline.
Luckily, the rest of the episode was much stronger. Non turning Myriad from a mind control mechanism to a weapon of genocide against humanity instantly made it a very real threat. Compared to last week’s lackadaisical approach, “Better Angels” had a real sense of urgency thanks to the countdown to humanity’s extinction.
Kara to the RescueAs welcome as that jolt of energy was, I couldn’t help wondering why Non didn’t do that to begin with. Sure, it wasn’t Astra’s original plan, but Indigo didn’t have to work too hard to convince him. He’s such a frustratingly bland villain, seemingly incapable of making a single decision on his own.
Nevertheless, “Better Angels” benefited from this apocalyptic scenario, and covered up the episode’s weaknesses by going all in on the show’s greatest strength: Kara’s relationships with her sister and friends. It was a smart approach because it kept the focus on what has made Supergirl so likable. Thus, a big chunk of the episode dealt with Kara realizing that she might die, and saying goodbye to each of her friends, and saving her farewell to Alex until the very end. That final conversation between the two of them was suitably emotional.
As far as spectacle goes, the fight between Kara, J’onn, Non, and Indigo was pretty fun. I would have liked to see Non be more of a threat and a struggle for Kara to defeat, considering he’s a Krytponian with even more experience than Supergirl, and a laser-off is a weird way to go about such a battle. Still, it was a strong visual, and the fight overall was decent. Manhunter’s battle against Indigo was a bit better—no more of a struggle, but it did have the awesome ending with J’onn literally ripping Indigo in half with his bare hands.
Plus, Kara’s self-sacrificial act of lifting Fort Rozz into space was a great moment, the emotion earned from her aforementioned goodbye to Alex complementing the imagery of Kara lifting the alien prison into the clouds and beyond. Its success lay in the fact that it worked despite the audience knowing that Kara was obviously going to survive.
Speaking of obviously, Cat Grant has to know Kara is Supergirl, right? Yeah, I’m still hung up on the way the show backtracked on her learning Supergirl’s identity earlier in the season, but come on. She’s too clever not to, and she keeps dropping hints all over the place—especially in her last scene.
Overall, “Better Angels” was a decent ending to a decent season—one that often struggled to find its footing, but was pretty spectacular when it hit its stride. I hope Supergirl gets renewed for a second season. The foundation is very solid and there’s still room to grow. Plus, we have to find out the answer to that cliffhanger! (But we all know it’s Krypto the Superdog, right?)

Rating: 3.5/5 (Good)

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