Supergirl: “Reign” Review

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By: Jaclyn Cascio (@jaclynator)

The holidays in National City never seem to go well for Supergirl and the team, as tragedy and violence have a way of weaseling their way into the lives of our heroes. This week’s episode of Supergirl proved that to be true, once again, with a Christmas party cut short by dark omens of coming doom. How did “Reign” go this week? Read on for a spoiler-y review to find out!

There have been some logistical questions about Mon-El’s (Chris Wood) presence under the water in a cryosleep that have been on everyone’s mind since his return to National City a couple episodes ago. Luckily, a bit of exposition in “Reign” helped clear up the ship’s residence beneath the water. Not only that, a fun DC mention of the 31st century’s organization, The Legion, emerged, as Mon-El and crew followed (will follow?) Supergirl’s (Melissa Benoist) example to fight a spreading darkness (until an accidental time travel trip brought them back to present day).

Bringing Mon-El back to present day ensured a flood of discomfort, commendably played by Benoist and Wood. Rather than dancing around the issue or pretending that activity would go on as normal, the awkwardness was brought to the forefront and addressed realistically. Even the new wife, initially acting bubbly and as a fan of Supergirl, confronted Kara to talk with her about the issue. Whereas fans may have “shipped” the alien characters in the previous season, the writers and actors apparently worked hard to bring a sense of closure and uncomfortable finality to the love affair in “Reign” this week. The “will they or won’t they” feeling often perpetrated by drama writers was, thankfully, not a trope that this week’s episode of Supergirl fell into.

Unfortunately, with the love stories of the Danvers sisters at their end, the CW couldn’t seem to resist bringing another relationship into the mix. This time, the sort-of subtle longing looks of Lena (Katie McGrath) and James (Mehcad Brooks) came to fruition with some drinks and a lip-lock. Honestly, I’m not sure how much chemistry actually comes across on screen, because I found myself instead longing for Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Sara (Caity Lotz) to find a way to make it work, even across shows. Lena and James feels like a mistake just waiting to happen, and happening at a bad time, to boot! The ruin of the world might be coming at the hands of L-Corp Chief Financial Officer Sam (Odette Annable), so romance probably shouldn’t be high on the priority list.

In fact, the dangers of the world-killer Reign were finally brought front and center this week on Supergirl. Usually teased throughout the season in only the last agonizing minutes of episodes, this week’s episode broke the mold and ultimately faced the season’s villain head-on. An end-of-days prophecy (pre-dating the Book of Rao Kara grew up with) was shared by the former Supergirl cult leader who had an episode all his own earlier in the season. Kara was introduced to the story of a god that came before Rao, a dark god that would bring violence and death with her reign, marked by a foreboding symbol. And as the story of a world-killer began to be revealed to Kara this week, Sam herself began to get clued into even more of the strange happenings of her life – such as memory gaps.

The lead-up throughout this week’s episode all built to an actual face-off and action packed showdown between Kara and Reign, doing justice to a mid-season finale of Supergirl. Making the Girl of Steel bleed was a pleasantly surprising touch, reminding us that even the powerful Kryptonian is not immortal and can’t win every fight. Action without risk is lackluster, but this week’s episode of Supergirl gave the audience a glimpse at physically painful consequences of a fight, which is something not often experienced with a Kryptonian in the lead (and rarely seen without some pesky green meteorites hiding around somewhere). With little of the season thus far presenting Kara as the superheroine with a mission to fight evil, “Reign” was a happy triumph and change of pace that we can hope to be maintained after the holiday season.

“Reign” was uniquely filmed, with this week’s episode shot in a bit of an edgier style than usual. I’m no film studies conneisseur, but it was readily apparent that this week’s episode of Supergirl stood out. Many shots incorporated lots of sweeping movement and interesting angles. There were dramatic close-ups and sudden zoom-in motions. During the action, there were moments that were borderline first-person point-of-view perspective. Glen Winter’s style in the director’s chair was an interesting and noticeable change from the norm, refreshing in its uniqueness.

A few passing thoughts throughout this week’s episode…It might be late in the game to note, but Lois Lane (Erica Durance) from Smallville as the hologram was an awesome homage to the Superman show. Mon-El and his wife coming from the 31st century should have had some knowledge of Reign (for better or worse) to share with Kara and the DEO, but they offer no information about it, causing a bit of a time traveling conundrum. Kara walks around the DEO in her civilian clothes a lot lately – what happened to having a secret identity, and only being referred to as Supergirl by the government agents?

Aside from the crossover last week, “Reign” might have been the best episode of the current season of Supergirl so far. Realistic emotions, some great superhero action, and a cliffhanger ending fulfilled everything a mid-season finale should be, leaving us wanting more after the holiday hiatus coming soon.

What did you think of this week’s episode of Supergirl?


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