Supergirl: 215 “Exodus” Review
Reviewed by Ben McClure.
This week’s Supergirl, entitled Exodus, is a tightly-paced hour of television that manages to squeeze a lot into its runtime. We visit many characters and narrative threads, and yet the episode never feels cluttered. Effective directing and editing keep all the pieces in place and deliver several standout sequences, which help to make up for any deficiencies in the storytelling.
One of the best scenes in the episode is the attack on the alien bar. It’s tense, dramatic, exciting and a complete surprise when it happens. It’s well-paced and smartly visualized, and a great choice to both highlight some of our supporting cast and to encapsulate what is happening across the city.
It’s also one of several good scenes that doesn’t involve Supergirl herself. Though Kara still has a lot to do in the episode, the focus is in many ways is on Alex. But this is okay simply because it’s a lot of Alex’s scenes that are the most impressive. The bit where J’onn tricks her into revealing whether her loyalties can be compromised is a good one, for example. And the entirety of her breaking into Cadmus is extremely well done, and almost makes up for the fact that Cadmus’ plot is ludicrous.
I mean, they have somehow built what must be a multi-trillion dollar automated space ark with the intention of safely sending the aliens they hate to a world where they can find safe passage to any other location on earth? I mean, who are these people? How do they even know about Takron-Galtos? And why, even with Jeremiah’s influence, would they agree to do this instead of just killing all the people they hate, especially when that’s what they tried to do just a few episodes ago? Really, except for the part where they forced people onto the ship, this is actually a pretty generous offer. You’d think lots of the aliens would jump at this opportunity considering what a hostile place earth often is.
It is of course also nonsense that Alex opts to break into Cadmus on her own. Even if she is in the bad books with the DEO, she is also closely connected with the police, a lone crusader street vigilante, and her super-powered sister. But no, the plot demands she infiltrate this enormous and deadly terrorist citadel with no support whatsoever, an act which nearly leads to the death of all the alien kidnap victimes. There are efforts from the script to justify this, but they only highlight how contrived it all is.
But somehow, none of this matters too much because the actual sequence of Alex sneaking around, winning over her father, and setting off all those explosives is pretty awesome. The shear exhilaration of the mission trumps the plausibility, and we are brought along on a very entertaining ride full of the sort of spectacle this show should be built on.
But the episode isn’t all glitz and flash either, with the story of what appears to be Kara’s last days working for CatCo. What makes this work is the way the ambiguity of Kara’s choice. She feels she is right to have put out her story by any means necessary, but the show recognizes that Snapper Carr is also “right” to fire her. It’s a testament to the maturity that the series is capable of that it didn’t fall into the trap of villainizing Snapper. As a result, we get what is the series’ best moments so far dealing with Kara’s desire to be a reporter, even though her assertion that the job is “who she is” don’t really ring true. The show has simply not worked hard enough to earn that weight.
It would have been nice to have seen James’ reaction to her dismissal, given that he is actually Snapper’s boss. It could have added some much desired depth to their friendship to see them come to terms with the situation together, but in an episode already loaded with Lena Luthor, Winn’s girlfriend, and a lot more Jeremiah Danvers, perhaps their simply wasn’t any time for this.
It will be interesting to see how it all goes forward. Will the show eject Kara’s journalistic ambitions as a failed experiment, akin to the Kara-James romance? Will she conveniently get her job back at CatCo in some unsatisfying way? Or will she forge ahead in a new direction – maybe a professional blogger, or maybe working at Lena Luthor’s company–that attempts to build upon what we’ve had before while drawing out new facets of the character?
Whatever the answer, it may have to wait as it appears that Teri Hatcher and Kevin Sorbo have arrived on earth, and the show may be about to finally get to the heart of the mysteries surrounding Mon-El.