Supergirl: 218 “Ace Reporter” Review
Reviewed by Ben McClure.
After a few weeks away, Supergirl is back with Ace Reporter, an episode that pulls off the seemingly impossible task of telling a decent standalone adventure of this series. It seems like ages since this was even attempted, with barely a reference to topics like Cadmus, alien rights, Kara or Alex’s romantic life, or Mon-El’s crazy mother.
What was have instead is an episode that focuses almost entirely on Kara, pushing all the other regulars to the side. It gives the show a chance to develop some of the more neglected corners of its world, namely Kara’s relationship with two recurring characters, Lena Luthor and Snapper Carr.
Lena is a character who got off to a rocky start but is now positioned to have a lot of storytelling potential. The word is that Katie McGrath will be a regular cast member next year, hopefully as a master manipulator and the biggest bad of all the big bads that we’ve seen on this series. Here, the story works hard to build up sympathy for the character, with her genuinely smitten with a former colleague that she is eventually forced to kill in order to save Supergirl. It is a story calculated to humanize Lena, which is intriguing since we are already pretty sure there is something suspicious about her. After her abrupt introduction, the producers have been slowly developing Lena, purposely avoiding revealing too much too soon. If they can ultimately make sense out of all of her motivations (something I’m hopeful but not confident about), then Lena could actually end up being one of the best things about the series.
Meanwhile, Ace Reporter does the most thorough job the season has done so far at showing Kara actually acting like a reporter. This is capped off with a moment of genuine humility for the character when she apologizes to Snapper Carr. Kara getting her job back resolves a loose end that the show needed to deal with, but hopefully it will also lead to better things ahead. Kara’s work life was surprisingly one of the most interesting things about the first season of Supergirl, and it’s something that has been missing this year. If we’re going to have to do without Calista Flockhart’s Cat Grant, then Ian Gomez’ gruff editor has the potential to be her replacement without just being her clone, so long as the show can find a sustainable tone between him and Kara. He can’t just be Kara’s adversary, nor merely a source of comic relief. Rather, he should be someone who rubs our heroine the wrong way but still gives her insight and understanding she’d otherwise lack.
Now, unfortunately for the episode (and for all of us), the subplot of Ace Reporter manages to jam in some of the more annoying things about the show, namely James’ night-life as the Guardian, combined with Winn’s relationship with the alien Lyra. With no idea what to do with any of them, the show has now turned them into a vigilante, crime-fighting trio. Hopefully, that will be all there is for both of these particular storylines for the rest of the season, at least until the end of the year when they all come out to put in their two cents against the inevitable Daxamite invasion. Or maybe James could get crippled in that battle, and turn into an embittered former crime-fighter confined to a wheelchair for all of season three before he is written off the show entirely.
So like I said, Ace Reporter is a decent little independent adventure for Supergirl, but it’s not a highly memorable one. The show has built up far too many storylines for us to be content with this sort of thing too often. It’s good, actually, that the episode came out several weeks after the previous one, as the passing of time has helped to calm the hopes for a full-blown alien invasion story to come upon the heels of the events from last time. In Ace Reporter’s closing moments, Daxamite Queen Rhea turns up in Lena Luthor’s office in order to remind (and reassure) the audience that she is still up to evil things, but it looks like we’re waiting until the finale to see the big stuff. Thankfully, it’s only a few weeks away.