Warning: this review contains spoilers. You can find all of my Supergirl reviews here.
I am really enjoying Supergirl this season. Though the first two episodes were excellent, one couldn’t help wondering if the show could maintain that momentum once Superman leaves and Supergirl settles back into its familiar villain-of-the-week groove. Luckily, “Welcome to Earth” proved that the Season 2 improvements are here to stay.
The plot revolved around the President (guest star Lynda Carter, the original Wonder Woman) arriving to National City to sign the Amnesty Act granting equal rights to aliens. That was the framing device for most of the episode’s plotlines, from the DEO to CatCo.
“Welcome to Earth” stands out thanks to its heavy use of allegory to address real-world issues like xenophobia. The metaphor isn’t even thinly veiled; aliens are literal refugees and immigrants within the story itself. Supergirl took advantage of that to deliver strong and undeniably progressive social commentary. I love this kind of thing in my fiction, so I ate it right up.
And it wasn’t just our heroes being sanctimonious, either. Alex and J’onn had to work to overcome the mistrust of outsiders that their job instilled in them. Even Kara had her own Kryptonian prejudices, as she was quick to think the worst of the innocent Daxamite, Mon-El.
My favourite part, though, was that the anti-discrimination message wasn’t even limited to immigrants and refugees. J’onn noted that even in his human guise as a black man, he faces prejudice. Newcomer Maggie Sawyer’s empathy for aliens comes from being a gay woman of colour. Even Maggie’s description of the all-alien bar as a “safe haven” reminded me of LGBT bars in our real world. (Or was I just projecting because I thought the Alex/Maggie chemistry was through the roof?)
The metaphor was prevalent through “Welcome to Earth” and elevated it from standard villain-of-the-week fare. But even aside from that, it was a very good episode. The storytelling was focused, the side-plots were engaging and relevant, the character work solid, and the action much improved.
Supergirl just feels like an all-around stronger show this year. With the arrival of Miss Martian, I look forward to seeing what more this season can offer.