Tue
Oct 27 2015 2:00pm

Supergirl 1x01 James/Kara Heart-to-Heart: Ka-Pow

Note: This post may contain spoilers of the Season 1, Episode 1 pilot episode of Supergirl

James and Kara Captain's Log

Show/Episode: Supergirl, Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot”
Ship(s): James/Kara, Winn/Kara (who knows which way it'll go)

It’s no secret that I’m a hardcore Marvel Comics fangirl.  That said, I’ve been a fan of all superheroes for as long as I can remember.  I have much love for DC Comics, as well and generally watch all things DC.  I currently watch Gotham, The Flash and Arrow and I was ecstatic when I heard that Supergirl was heading to TV.  But then I heard it was coming to CBS and I was apprehensive. CBS does not come to mind, these days, as the place for comic book tv. I was only nervous until I saw the extended trailer a couple of months ago. The trailer looked great and I couldn’t wait for the premiere.  It was a long wait for the premiere but it was so worth it!  It. Was. Awesome!  It was fun, exciting, surprising, twisty, empowering and uplifting.  And, there was eye candy so, you know, WINNER.

Supergirl is the story of Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El, who was a Kryptonian teenager, sent in a separate ship to protect her cousin Kal-El (Superman) on Earth.  The explosion of Krypton caused a shockwave that threw her ship off course, though, and she ended up in the Phantom Zone for over 20 years, in stasis and not aging.  By the time she was finally freed from the Phantom Zone and arrived on Earth, she was still a teenager and her cousin was a beloved superhero who’d revealed himself to the world and did not need her protection.  Superman placed her with foster family, The Danvers.  Mom and Dad (played by Dean Cain and Helen Slater, also known to some as…Superman and Supergirl, ironically in their own right!) and sister Alex gave Kara a decidedly un-herolike adolescence. Kara fits in and doesn’t use her powers at all. She’s a normal-seeming 20-something working in National City as an assistant at CatCo, a media conglomerate.  That all changes, though, when Alex’s plane is in peril one night, causing Kat to access her long unused abilities to save the day and reveal to the world that Superman is not the only superhero around. And that’s when things really get interesting!

The premiere moved quickly through Kara’s backstory and treated us to her flying within the first fifteen minutes. Kara’s joy at finally being able to embrace her destiny was tempered, though, by Alex’s unsupportive reaction to her revealing her abilities. Kara, in an attempt to find someone to be happy with her, shared her secret identity with Winn, her coworker, and got not only the jubilant reaction she craved, but also a buddy to help her choose a costume and find crimes in progress in order to test out her rarely used abilities.

Though Kara is enjoying her opportunity to shine while keeping her true identity from the public, we find that she does have enemies in National City, who are aware of her true identity. Vartox, a Kryptonian with a hidden ridge on his head, was tasked with bringing down the plane that Kara saved.  He is contacted about his failure and blames it on Kara, whom he believes is the daughter of Alura Zor-El and is told by to kill her.  It’s clear he has issues with her mother that he wants to take out on her, with the approval of his associate and their leader, “The General”.

At Kara’s next attempt to foil a crime, she gets taken down by a Kryptonite bullet and awakens to find that she’s been abducted by the DEO. Henshaw introduces her to the organization and their mission, which is to protect Earth from extraterrestrial threats, which he considers both Superman and Kara to be. Alex reveals that she is also part of the DEO, which is why she did not want Kara to ever reveal her abilities.  They also inform Kara that when she broke out of the Phantom Zone, she also inadvertently released a prison ship full of dangerous Kryptonian criminals who followed her to Earth and escaped custody.  While they had been dormant for years, their activities have recently picked up, including tryng to bring down the plane Alex was traveling on. Henshaw makes his distrust of Kara clear and Kara is disappointed to learn that her sister has been lying to her.

Kara is dismayed to learn when she returns to work the next day that Cat has decided to brand the hero of National City “Supergirl”.  She vehemently objects to the “girl” part of the name, wondering why she isn’t named Superwoman, which led to my favorite moment in the premiere:

“What do you think is so bad about ‘girl’? I’m a girl and your boss and powerful and rich and hot and smart.  So, if you perceive ‘Supergirl’ as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem you?”

You tell ‘em, Cat!

James arrives just as Cat is considering firing Kara, with a photo of Supergirl, that he tells Cat that Kara captured at the bank robbery. This is the second hint that James may already know Kara's secret identity, the first being when he mentions during their first meeting that Kara and Clark Kent look very similar in the eyes/glasses area. Kara does not pick up on either hint, though.

Vartox entices Kara into a one on one battle which she is unprepared for and she takes a beating and has to be rescued by Alex and Henshaw. Henshaw reiterates his lack of faith in her and Kara loses her confidence, briefly.  Alex, however, shows her an item rescued from her crashed Kryptonian pod which is a message from her mother, Alura Zor-El, encouraging her to make her own destiny and follow her heart.  Alex and Kara team up to convince Henshaw to accept Kara's help and she goes after Vartox again, this time ready for his weapon that had previously wounded her. He admits that all of the criminals will be after her because the person that sent all of them to the prison in the Phantom Zone was her mother, Alura Zor-El.  Kara manages to gain the upper hand but Vartox chooses to kill himself with his weapon, with an ominous warning for Kara just before dying.

James has been hinting that he realizes that Kara is Supergirl but she misses the clues and he finally comes out and admits to her that he knows who she is after she invites him to lunch and he invites her to the roof instead.  He purposely came to National City because of Kara, due to his friendship with Superman and even brings her a gift from him; the blanket he was wrapped in when he left Krypton which she uses as a cape.  James tells Kara that both he and Superman are proud of her and the choices that she's made.

The last surprise of the episode is delivered when we get to see the identity of “The General”: it's Kara's aunt, the twin sister of Alura In-Ze, determined to destroy her niece so that she can rule  Earth as she was never allowed to on Krypton. 

I found the premiere to be a rousing success!  Supergirl is fun and likable and, unlike some other heroes we've seen on tv in recent years, not at all reluctant to embrace her identity and have fun with it. The show has an overwhelming feeling of Girl Power to it which is so refreshing.  And we've got the beginnings of what looks to be a fun romance, maybe even love triangle.  I'm all in and cannot wait for the next episode.  Did you watch?  What did you think?

The Major Players, so far:

Kara Zor-El/Kara Danvers/Supergirl – Kara has always felt like she was meant for something more than just a normal life, even if she doesn’t need to protect her cousin.  She’s ecstatic when she’s able to save her sister’s life and has no reservations about revealing her powers.  At least, initially.

Alex Danvers – Kara and Alex share a close relationship but once Kara reveals her power, Alex’s secrets come to light.  She’s always had an inferiority complex where Kara is concerned and she’s hidden her real job from her; she’s actually works for the DEO, the Department of Extra-Normal Operations, which keeps tabs on aliens on Earth, such as Kara.  Alex was recruited for her scientist abilities but also because of the fact that her sister is an alien. 

Cat Grant – The founder of CatCo and Kara’s boss.  She’s prone to extremely catty remarks about Kat’s wardrobe and seems rather callous to her employees but she’s got some great ideas about what it means to be a “girl”.  She wishes National City had a hero similar to Superman, to help sell papers.

James Olsen – We knew him as Superman’s young pal Jimmy Olson when he was in Metropolis, but in National City, he’s James Olsen, newly hired art director at CatCo.  He’s also that aforementioned eye candy, both to me and Kara. James has a history with Superman and knows a bit more about Kara than she initially realizes.

Winn Schott – one of Kara’s co-workers that is inclined to believe in aliens and conspiracy theories.  He’s also got quite a crush on Kara, though she does not seem to feel the same way about him.

Hank Henshaw – Alex’s boss at the DEO.  He starts off with antiquated views of the abilities of women and has his reservations about trusting Kara because she’s an “alien”.

Memorable Lines:

“Ka-pow” 
-Kara, whispering to herself as she walks away from her first meeting with James.

“What do you think is so bad about ‘girl’? I’m a girl and your boss and powerful and rich and hot and smart.  So, if you perceive ‘Supergirl’ as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem you?”

-Cat Grant to Kara

Charting the Course: Winn and Kara have a conversation early on when he asks her on a date and she refuses because she already has a date from a dating service.  He tells her that algorithims can’t predict love; you just know it when you see the other person and have that “Ka-pow” moment.  That pays off later with her first meeting with Jimmy (see memorable lines below).  Also, the fact that Superman basically asked James to go to National City seems to indicate James would have more of a sisterly vibe with Kara than a romance but the sparks between them are evident; it’s going to be much more than that. Medium heat so far, just by virtue of Mechad Brooks hotness as James!

Next Stop: CBS released an extended trailer for the remainder of the season and it seems we may actually have two love triangles on our hands! Winn continues carrying a torch for Kara but things are also complicated when James’ ex Lucy Lane comes to town!  It also seems obvious that even with the drama headed their way, Kara and James are on a collision course to Shipsville! The show delivered in my opinion and it looks like we’ve got quite a ship to root for coming our way this season! 

 


Pen Singleton is a writer, reader, obsessive fangirl and pop culture addict. You can find her on Twitter @sweetiepiepen or fangirl with her on Tumblr http://grownassfangirl.tumblr.com/

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13 comments
Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
It's way early, but I'm calling it anyway: Team Kara/James! I did not like her Nice Guy coworker. At all.

The show was cheesy but sweet. Reminds me of Superman Returns and Lois & Clark. Even though I know superhero shows will only break my heart (they speed through plot and relationships like whitewater rafters running down the river), I'm regularly hooked by them, and looks like this one's no exception.

Thanks for the recap!
Jennifer Proffitt
2. JenniferProffitt
Gah, that extended trailer got me! And the gifs on Tumblr---DON"T LET ME GO, MEHCAD... Ok, I'll get myself under control by next week!
Dr. Opossum
3. Dr. Opossum
I actually read a 60s "imaginary story" comic where Jimmy married Supergirl and they wound up having a happy life together. They would be a cute couple, though it is a bit odd to see such a hunky Jimmy/James!
Heather Waters
4. HeatherWaters
@Dr. Opossum -- Hunky Jimmy threw me too! But what a fun twist. I did not know about that comic...veeeeerrry interesting.
Nicole Leapheart
5. BoxyFrown
I was excited when I heard about a Supergirl show, then I wasn't sure I had the patience to handle a show that was too cheesy when I saw the trailer. I have heard great reviews, and MEHCAD, also I didn't realize Dean Cain and Helen Slater were in it too!! I feel ancient, btw. I'm going to give it a shot!
Dr. Opossum
6. wmlhs1236
We'll see. Why must they make her life a close repilca of he cousin's? Why can't she be a successful, confident entrepreneur or something like that instead of a whimpering administrative assistant.
It seemed to me that they revealed every would be secret about the entire season in one episode. Her sister works for some shadow organization, black Jimmy already knows your secret, your escape from the phantom zone released a whole prison ship that decided to follow you to earth where every prisoner has been chill until now, your mom has an evil twin who wants to kill her niece. Seems like too much too soon.
Also, her sister is an idiot. Yeah i work for this super secret organization that hunts aliens from Krypton, and my sister is from there, but it just now occurred to me that she might be why i got the job? Also, I've been discouraging her from using her powers this whole time knowing that she could potentially be helping me and my organization. Also, my job has known about her the whole time but only when she tries to help people do they handcuff her with kryptonite. Where did they even get the kryptonite from? And why were they flying commercial? Seems like they have an unlimited budget (super secret bat cave like offices), so why don't they have their own jet. Even the BAU on Criminal Minds have their own jet and they just chase serial killers not super powered alien beings. IJS
Susan White
7. whiskeywhite
I was unsure about this (not being a comic book fan) but I enjoyed the pilot. Had more substance than I expected. I'll give it a watch for a while. I have to admit that James Olsen plays a major role in that decision. Talk about eye candy. Ka-pow indeed.

I must disagree about 'girl'. When Kara objected about the name I was all "Yes! You go girl - um, woman!" She was right to object. I'm an old school feminist. We fought for years against women being belittled and infantalized by being called girls. It pains me that it has come back so strongly among women themselves. That it is defended by a small-minded tyranical figure like Cat does nothing for me.

Speaking of Cat -- oh great, there's a real role model for young women. Forget about leading businesses or setting some other high goal for yourselves professionally. Women leaders are bitches. Isn't that what the men always say?
Pen Singleton
8. PenSingleton
@Heather - I'm with you; I'm hooked on superhero shows and will give them all a look. I don't quite trust the co-worker; I was surprised she was so quick to share her secret with him.

@Jenn - I say don't get yourself in control at all; go with it! :-)

@DrOpossum - Hunky James is a welcome change, I think! LOL
Pen Singleton
9. PenSingleton
@BoxyFrown - The tone of this one is vastly different from some of the other superhero shows on right now but I like it. It's fun! Plus, James is realllly pretttyyyy! ;-)

@wmlh - I don't think she's a whimpering assistant; I think they did a good job of showing that she was just trying to fit in but still has a fighting spirit. I agree that the show really did an information dump and told us a BUNCH in a very short time but I'm willing to accept it now, to see how it goes. Smallville made us wait ten seasons to see Superman fly and Arrow is STILL doling out pieces of Oliver's backstory via flashbacks four seasons in. I think getting her backstory in a fast chunk opens the show up more to give us more fresh material in the present. I'm with you on the sis and the fact that they were flying commercial; that does seems to be improbable.
Pen Singleton
10. PenSingleton
@whiskeywhite - I see your point about about "girl" and if this were a brand new propery, created in 2015, I'd fully expect that her name be something different. Since they are using an already established character, though, I think they did a good job of making sure no one looks at the name as anything derogatory. That said, I'm with you about Cat; I hate that she's such a sterotypical, catty (I see what they did there) mean girl and that she had to be the one to deliver those lines. Even so, though, I'm glad they were delivered.
Dr. Opossum
11. Sheryl Nantus
Full disclosure: I cried when I saw the first trailer. I wept like a wee one and I had my share of weepy moments while watching the pilot.

I grew up with Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman and never thought I'd see that level of female empowerment again. I loved the trackback to Christopher Reeves' Superman with the optimistic music and hope, hope it keeps on being awesome.

It's a good time to be a geek girl. Even at the grand old age of 51.

:)
Pen Singleton
12. PenSingleton
@Sheryl - I agree! I'm an over 40 geek girl so I'm right there with you! ;-) I grew up on Wonder Woman and Lindsay Wagener as Jaime Sommers/the Bionic Woman; I love this!
Dr. Opossum
13. nypinta
Just posting to say "ditto" about @whiskeywhite's post. Even when I saw the ads I disliked the boss's reaction to Kara being upset about the girl moniker. *sigh* Ah well.

Liked the show though. I love me the darker angsty stuff too, (like Jessica Jones coming out soon on Netflix) but I appreciate more optimist shows too. We need more of them.
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