Over the TV off-season Supergirl found itself traded from CBS to the CW due to cost and viewership numbers. The budget for the show was reduced after the switch, and it moved filming locations to Vancouver from Los Angeles. The move seems to have come with a shift in writers and a refocusing of the show in certain ways. While much is still the same, there are some major differences between this season and last.
The following breaks down the inconsistencies between seasons, some of the changes to previous characters, the new elements to the show, and what I think of all of it together.
Last season we were told that Project CADMUS was part of the D.E.O., a sort of black ops wing of the organization that experimented on extraterrestrials. We were also told it was the primary reason Superman wouldn’t work with the D.E.O. This season CADMUS seems to have been recast as a terrorist organization. If it is part of the government, it is certainly a rogue, splinter faction that has decided to take matters into its own hands. Superman’s reluctance to work with the D.E.O. has now been changed to stem from the organization’s storage and use of kryptonite because he believes it shows that they don’t trust him.
Lord was a regular antagonist of Supergirl’s last season whose distrust of aliens brought him into regular conflict with her, even leading him to create Bizzaro Supergirl, which got him thrown in a D.E.O. cell for awhile. In the end he does throw in his lot with her because he clearly likes Alex Danvers and believes Supergirl can save National City, and the world, from the evil intentions of Non.
The end of Season 1 saw him gathering technology from the crashed prison which he was handing over to General Lane, showing that at the end of the day he was still distrustful of aliens and uncertain that Supergirl could always save the day. However, that plotline appears to have been dropped, since Lord doesn’t appear to be in the show anymore. It’s possible that he will turn up later in the season, but I feel like his character has been replaced by Lena Luthor. Perhaps the actor, Peter Facinelli, was unwilling to make the transition to Vancouver, so they had to write him out, but after spending so much time developing him and his relationship with the Danvers sisters, it feels weird to have him just disappear.
Jenna Dewan Tatum’s Lucy Lane has also apparently failed to make the jump from the CBS Supergirl to the new CW iteration. She and her father, General Lane, were important recurring characters in the first season but now appear to be out of the show, at least for the moment. Lane’s removal from the show didn’t have to be an inconsistency, as it would be easy enough to explain that she had been transferred to another base (or maybe is still running the outpost in the desert), but I don’t believe that was ever brought up. Instead, she’s just sort of been swept under the rug. Again, this feels odd given the time spent building Lucy and Kara’s eventual friendship, but I suppose the show couldn’t resign Dewan Tatum.
Jimmy and Kara’s relationship…sorta:
The first season of Supergirl suffered through a terribly executed love triangle. Winn Schott, Kara’s best friend and co-worker, played the part of the typical nice-guy nerd who was secretly (or not so secretly, really) in love with her, while Jimmy Olsen was the guy she had the hots for but whose relationship with Lucy Lane complicated things. The whole love triangle execution felt awkward and poorly drawn up, but, nonetheless, in the end Kara did end up being with Jimmy.
All of this is undone in the first episode of Season Two when Kara decides she doesn’t want to pursue a relationship with James for basically no reason. This isn’t exactly an inconsistency, as it is explained, but it seems like the show got a new writing team, and they didn’t want to have to deal with what happened in the first season. I’m not exactly unhappy with this decision, but it’s also a little strange that a subplot that took a whole season to develop was thrown out in a single scene.
Last season Calista Flockhart as Kara’s boss and mentor Cat Grant was the primary reason to watch the show. Every scene she was in was fun, and it seemed that she always had a brutal and humorous quip for every situation. The relationship between her and Kara was the best part of the show since it was the most dynamic and the most fun. But with the move to Vancouver, Flockhart decided not to remain as a series regular. Oddly enough, I think the show may have gotten stronger for it. While I certainly miss her presence and hope that the character makes some appearances in the future, I think not leaning so heavily on her has forced the writers to flesh out other characters in the cast.
With Cat Grant gone, Olsen has taken over as the director of Cat Co, but it seems that he will shortly be taking on another role as well. Tonight he will begin making the transition into becoming the vigilante The Guardian. I think this is a great change. Instead of purely being on the cast to be a love interest, which he isn’t anymore, he will now be able to contribute to the super team being formed around Kara.
Winn, once a romantic interest for Kara and mostly known as her best friend, is now the resident computer expert at the D.E.O. It’s nice that he has a position that actually lets him be useful to the group, and I’m sure there will be some dramatic subplots developed around him in the future.
Portrayal of Aliens:
In Season 1 the aliens are Earth, at least around National City, were largely assumed to be there because they had escaped the crashed prison ship that landed on Earth. Now, in Season 2, it appears there is a robust underground of alien immigrants and refugees who call Earth home. Fittingly (given the current election climate), Supergirl has become a show very much arguing for the importance and fair treatment of immigrants. I think that’s a nice shift in approach that gives the storytelling some depth and a lot of possible angles to explore.
We finally got to see Superman! I wouldn’t actually care about this outside of the fact that it was impossible not to bring him up during the first season of Supergirl, but the team didn’t have the rights to actually show him on camera. Now we’ve gotten to see him in action and have at least a vaguely plausible explanation as to why he isn’t around all the time. I think Tyler Hoechlin’s portrayal of the character was quite good, especially his take on Clark Kent, so I’d be fine seeing a little bit more of him in the future as well.
Season 1 ended with a cliffhanger about a new Kryptonian pod crashing on Earth. We find out, once it’s open, that it contains a young man from Daxon, Krypton’s rival sister planet. Mon-El (Chris Wood) is set to become friends, and perhaps more, with Kara as she teaches him the ways of Earth and begins trying to teach him the ways of being a hero.
I think this is a really nice romantic sub-plot change, especially following the largely botched love-triangle attempt of last season. Kara and Mon-El are both among the last of their kind and stranded on Earth. They have common background, and it certainly seems that Mon-El is well meaning, but they are also at odds due to their differing personalities and the long heated racism that existed between Kryptonians and Daxonites.
With Max Lord seemingly gone, Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) appears to be the heir apparent to this frenemy role in Supergirl’s life. Lena says that she wants nothing to do with Lex, her now imprisoned brother, and is trying to save the company name. However, she has also developed technology that will let humans detect aliens in their presence, something that Kara has major reservations about. While Kara is currently friendly with her and seems to trust her, I have a feeling Lena will develop into a bit of an antagonist. Like Lord, I don’t see her being an all-out villain, and I think when the stakes are high she will do the right thing and side with Supergirl, but I can sense conflict coming up in this relationship.
Carr (Ian Gomez) is, it seems, the tough love mentor that Kara had in Ms. Grant from Season 1. He is the editor of the news department and oversees her reporting duty, cracking down on Kara’s early attempts at journalism to mold her into a real writer and reporter. Carr is not nearly as fun a character as Cat Grant, who I wish could’ve stayed on in this mentor type capacity, but he adds an important element of giving Kara some conflict to deal with in her non-superhero life.
Detective Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima) might be my new favorite add to the Supergirl cast. Playing a Latina lesbian she brings in some always needed diversity, which is nice. She also brings a street-smarts crime solving style to the alien mysteries the D.E.O. handles, which contrasts nicely with the organization’s high-tech and force-heavy approach.
She has also quickly developed a professional friendship with Alex Danvers. Last season Alex was defined by her relationships with Kara and J’onn J’onzz being mostly a character attached to her family and her job. Seeing her being able to branch out and have a friend (and possibly a future romantic partner?) outside of that has been great for her character and makes her scenes more fun.
M’gann M’orzz, or Miss Martian, is to J’onn J’onzz what Sawyer is to Alex Danvers. Allowing for him to have a subplot involving characters other than Kara and Alex allows for his character to gain more depth. Without spoiling anything, M’gann also has an interesting secret that is sure to rock the boat as the season continues, and I can’t wait to see how this plotline plays out.
I was expecting to be disappointed in this show, knowing that Flockhart would be leaving, but I’m actually really enjoying this season of Supergirl so far. It’s a little off-putting that there are some strange inconsistencies or plotlines and characters that have just been dropped, but most of the new plots and characters are, in my opinion, superior to the old. I’m also really enjoying the fact that the supporting characters get to be more fully fleshed out than they were last season, a direction that is making the show stronger.
It’s possible that as the season continues, the writers figure out ways to tackle the hanging plots left from last season. It’s also possible that they make some huge mistake in direction that derails the recent developments. But so far, I am really liking the new direction of the show, and I’m excited to see how it continues to develop.
What are your thoughts? Do you like the changes, and are you excited for this season? Thanks for reading, and let me know in the comments.