It’s over. No, not Supergirl. She’ll be more than fine. She’s on a new network, the CW (far more hospitable to superheroes than older-skewing, procedural-embracing CBS), with multiple DC superheroes to keep her company, including the Flash (and Friends), the Arrow (and Company), and the Legends of Tomorrow (Today). Season 2, Episode 1, “The Adventures of Supergirl,” is filled with big takeaways, including Superman (Tyler Hoechlin), finally getting the close-up he was denied last season, an all-new aboveground HQ (like an aboveground swimming pool) for the DEO, the Department of Extra-Normal Operations headed by Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), aka Martian Manhunter, or the major hint that Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), the Queen of All Media in National City, may be on the way out, her replacement TBD (to be decided) at a later date, the introduction of Lena Luther (Katie McGrath), Lex’s younger sister, on a serious redemption kick, or the introduction of a Big Bad that might be more of an ‘it,” Cadmus, another sociopathic super-secret government org mucking around with super-powers.
But the real takeaway for Season 1 fans? The “over” mentioned in the first paragraph? Like Brangelina and Naomi-Liev before them, Supergirl/Kara Zor-El/Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) and James “Superman’s Best Pal” Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) are no more, at least for the foreseeable future. They’ve uncoupled. For all of her super-powers, Supergirl finds herself at a crossroads: She’s confident in her abilities as a superhero, but as Kara Danvers, the future looks both limitless and maybe even slightly terrifying. She’s unsure what to do with herself professionally – a question that keeps popping up courtesy of Cat Grant’s arbitrary “choose a career in 48 hours or less – and needs time to focus on herself. And she can’t find herself if she’s in a relationship where’s she defined by her romantic partnership with James. As lonely and confused as James looks throughout the episode, it’s clear their relationship has been put on the proverbial backburner for the foreseeable future., less because it’s organic to their relationship and more because a decision came from up high (i.e., the writer’s room) to put their relationship on the backburner for now.
Not all is doom and gloom on Supergirl, though. Moments into Episode 1 and Superman and Supergirl are doing their team, bringing their super-powers together to save a potentially doomed commercial spaceflight, the Venture, the first sub-orbital space-liner, from ending in tragedy. Tag teaming not only brings them together to save the space-liner, but it reminds Supergirl and Superman that they enjoy each other’s company. In short order, Superman and Supergirl are dropping in to the DEO’s new digs where none other than Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan), formerly Cat-Go Media’s go-to computer wizard turned DEO (almost) employee (that comes later, unsurprisingly enough), turns into the ultimate fanboy. While other DEO operatives, including Alex (Chyler Leigh), Kara’s adopted sister, welcome Superman with handshakes, back pats, and wonder and awe in their eyes, Henshaw gives Superman the proverbial cold shoulder (backstory alert/hint: it involves Kryptonite).
The Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman we meet in “The Adventures of Supergirl” is every bit the cornball straight arrow fans of Christopher Reeves’ Superman long ago came to love and respect. He’s still a small-town (superhero) boy in the big city, dropping anachronistic phrases not because he doesn’t know better, but because he does (and simply prefers it that way). Unlike his perpetually brooding, clinically depressed big-screen counterpart, this Superman simply enjoys being a superhero, saving the day, doing all kinds of serious good, and spending quality time with his fans, in and out of the DEO. There’s a threat to neutralize in “The Adventures of Supergirl,” of course, but at least for one episode, it’s at best a minor, easily defeated threat. A mercenary, John Corben (Frederick Schmidt), aka the once and future Metallo, has Lena Luthor in his sights, but he’s easily dispatched in his pre-super-villain form. Project Cadmus (called just “Cadmus”) poses the far larger, existential threat that will play out over the second season.
And Kara’s profession, the calling or vocation Cat Grant pushes her to choose before episode’s end? Kara decides to become a reporter just like her slightly more famous cousin. At least on the surface, it looks like Kara/Supergirl is just imitating Superman, except backwards and in heels (or to be more accurate, a short skirt), but given such a strong start to Supergirl’s second season, we can forgive Kara following in Clark Kent’s footsteps, especially after she delivers an emotional, heart-tugging ode to the Platonic ideal of journalism as a force of positivity and goodness in the world. And who among us isn’t looking forward to another Supergirl-Flash crossover, this time with Superman, the Arrow, and maybe the Legends of Tomorrow team building across the multiverse?