Supergirl S01E16 “Falling” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Sky 1, new episodes every Friday
Writers: Robert Rovner, Jessica Queller
Director: Larry Teng
Essential Plot Points:
- While saving some firemen from a burning building, Kara is exposed to Red Kryptonite which takes her over and starts to change her for the worse.
- As Kara continues to spiral downwards she tells people what is really on her mind, and adopts a new look and attitude.
- Kara becomes uninterested in her work with the DEO and wants to do whatever she likes. She lets go of an alien fugitive, starts to make changes in the workplace, and then turns bad – throwing Cat off of her building to make a show of who has the most power in the city.
- In reaction to this event, Cat turns to the world and reveals that Supergirl is not who they think she is and should no longer be trusted to keep the city safe.
- The DEO goes up against Kara to stop her, and J’onn reveals his identity to stop her before turning himself in to the organisation.
Who would have thought that Supergirl could turn bad? Given her kind nature and constant positivity it’s no wonder she became National City’s sweetheart, but after she is exposed to some Red Kryptonite all of that changes in this week’s episode.
“Falling” is one of Supergirl’s darker turns, as it sees its hero become a menace overnight, and manages to present the ordeal in a surprisingly good way. The notion that heroes can turn bad is not new, and it could have gone disastrously wrong in Supergirl, but it didn’t. In fact, “Falling” is one of the series best episodes so far.
Supergirl is loved and adored, and the first part of “Falling” makes sure we know that. Cat is on television singing her praises; Supergirl helps a girl who is bullied for cosplaying her; then she helps save some firemen when one of them is stuck in a burning wreckage. It is at this scene that Kara is first exposed to Red Kryptonite.
At first she just seems unhappy with her daily life, revamps her wardrobe for a more mature look that turns heads, uses Cat’s special elevator (gasp!) and becomes annoyed by all the work she has to do for the DEO. Then things escalate. She starts making advances on James; she lets a wanted alien go because he isn’t worth her time; and then she decides to throw Cat off of her own building. It was clear that Cat wasn’t going to be killed in this scene but it was certainly an intense moment, and is one that destroys everything that Supergirl has built.
Seeing Kara turn from sweetheart to villain was fun, especially given Melissa Benoist’s performance. Supergirl certainly hasn’t had it easy, and all the feelings she’s bottled up inside of her are released when she’s under the influence of Red Kryptonite. From her frustration at having to do the DEO’s dirty work, to the desire to one up Assistant Number One Siobhan, it’s clear in this episode that Kara wants to do what is best for her. Of course it does create some trying moments, especially when it comes to her loved ones, and the most emotional of these is when she confronts her sister about Astra’s death. Her comments about the event are brutal to say the least, and her dismissiveness about Alex’s feelings are heart-breaking. Seeing Kara act in this way is hard, but it is Benoist’s shining moment.
The only problem with the episode, as always, is Maxwell Lord who is the mastermind behind this week’s turn of events… except mastermind isn’t the right word. After Alex, J’onn/Hank and the DEO struggle to figure out the source of the Red Kryptonite, in walks Lord, who created it in an attempt to deal with Non. The reasoning behind the event is semi-plausible, but it is the execution of the scene that makes it seem out of place in an otherwise fantastic episode. Having turned up at the DEO to explain things Alex immediately puts him in handcuffs and locks him up in one of the DEO’s cells, only to then release him when it’s obvious he didn’t mean to harm Supergirl and is willing to help invent something to counter the Red Kryptonite. The whole thing just seemed a little pointless.
This is only a small blip in an otherwise excellent episode. It seems like Supergirl is at its best when it tackles darker subjects, first with J’onn’s past and Kara’s brief transformation this week. That’s not to say it should remain this way and get rid of the humour all together (looking at you DC films); the charm of the show is that it is able to balance the drama with comedy. If the show continues to produce gems like this, then it’s certainly worth sticking with it.
- Melissa Benoist’s performance is incredible in this week’s episode, especially when dealing with the confrontation between Kara and Alex. She’s brutal, but it gives her the chance to really show off her acting skills.
- J’onn revealing his identity and fighting off Kara was a great way to end the episode. The choreography and intensity of the scene were spot on and it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the episodes to come now that he is behind bars.
- Cat and Kara’s confrontation was also powerful, and was a scene that truly showed the consequences of one’s actions.
- “Supergirl, I fear you are having some sort of mental breakdown. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us, and I am happy to take you to Dr Shuman for emergency Lexapro. That is, if your alien brain will respond to the SSRIs.”
- “You are literally impervious to bullets, and I’m worried for your safety right now.”
- “I’m never using anything from that closet ever again without using surgical gloves.”
- Maxwell Lord’s involvement in this week’s episode wasn’t dealt with at all well. The scene in which Alex puts him in a cell only to then release him moments later was rather clumsy.
And The Random:
- Kara’s revamped outfit really looks like something that Astra and Non would wear. You havt to wonder how she got the suit so quickly, and where she got it from.
Written by Roxy Simons