TV reviews

Supergirl 3×01 – ‘Girl of Steel’ – Review

Amy Walker reviews the third season premiere of Supergirl...

Following the events of the Season Two finale and the Daxxamite attack on Earth, things have taken a darker turn for Kara (Melissa Benoist), as she has lost herself in her work as Supergirl.

Having lost Mon-El (Chris Wood), Kara has focused on rebuilding National City, and reducing crime to the lowest the city has ever seen. Unfortunately, it seems that she’s more interested in her role as a superhero than being herself, neglecting her friends and her family because of her grief.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve seen a hero from the CW’s DC Universe take this kind of character journey, but it is the first time that we’ve seen Kara act this way, and it’s such a contrast to her normal happy and bubbly self. Thankfully, this isn’t something that will continue on past this season premier, as more than an episode or two of a darker Supergirl would harm the spirit of the show.

Whilst things for Kara do return to a relative sense of normality it’s nice to see how the other characters react to the changes in her attitude. J’onn (David Harewood) understands how powerful grief can be due to his own history, and gives Kara space to grieve. James (Mehcad Brooks) tries to force Kara ou of her grief by making her focus on her work, something that backfires spectacularly when she quits her job.

One of the best parts of the change in Kara, however, is how it affects her relationship with her sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh), who is busy preparing for her wedding to Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima). The relationship between the two sisters is incredibly strained, and whilst Alex wants to give her sister the room to grieve it’s obvious that not having her sister there to celebrate her coming wedding hurts Alex deeply.

The loss of family, and the idea that family can be chosen as much as being who you are related to are the core themes of this episode, and it leads to some of the best scenes; Kara and Alex fighting about Kara’s new attitude, Alex telling Maggie that she can’t have her father at her wedding and how much that hurts her, and Alex asking J’onn to walk her down the aisle. All of these moments lead to an episode that packs a great emotional punch.

Outside of this, the episode introduces Morgan Edge (Adrian Pasdar) as a new antagonist for our hero. A corrupt businessman, one who is willing to steal alien technology in order to launch a strike on the poorest parts of National City so that he can redevelop the area; he feels very much like a rehash of Maxwell Lord from Season One, though lacks much of Lord’s charm.

Thankfully, this episode also begins to establish the new ‘big bad’ of the season, Reign. A character that debut in the Supergirl comics after the New 52 relaunch, Reign proved to be a powerful alien adversary for the girl of steel. Surprisingly, the character is introduced in the very first episode as the human Samantha Arias (Odette Anabele). Changing Reign into a human woman who is undergoing some kind of transformation into the villain from the comics is an interesting change from the source material, one that the show will hopefully be able to make compelling and interesting as the series progresses; unless they end up doing another Doomsday from Smallville.

With some well crafted and emotionally weighty character moments, genuine development, and the chance for Kara to shine as a hero (lifting the sub out of the ocean being particularly spectacular) Girl of Steel‘ is a great beginning to the third season of Supergirl.

Supergirl airs on Mondays in the UK on Sky. Let us know what you think of the season.

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