Martin Carr reviews the seventh episode of Supergirl season 2…
Whether the tagline refers to psychological issues or a den of experimentation, ‘The Darkest Place’ still intrigues despite the comic book origin this week. Sharp editing draws in the audience, raises questions and juggles timelines sometimes making things hard to follow. It seems to an extent that there was almost too much storyline being jammed into a very small space, meaning corners were cut and important points were glossed over. While revelations kept coming thick and fast for Hank as he began experiencing flashbacks, hallucinations and general unease, Supergirl felt over stuffed and awkward story wise.
Having said that of all the plot threads flying off in every direction Hank’s maintained the most cohesion, whilst others fell by the way side due to a lack of screen time. Mike and Kara’s capture and the character epiphanies which came along with it lost impact due to time constraints more than intent. Tension was established but the other arcs which included relationships, burgeoning superhero shenanigans and potential jealousy over this felt under developed.
Olsen as ‘Guardian’ is an interesting segue but somehow feels surplus to requirements, while Brooks is making a fair go of things his sudden athletic abilities stretch believability beyond breaking point. I understand that Jordan and Brooks needed something else to do but somehow ‘Guardian’ seems like a step too far. Meanwhile the inevitable love interest which Mike represents has been signposted for Kara from the moment he turned up unconscious in a pod. What lifts this episode is the immergence of Dean Cain within the midst of all the CADMUS bunkum. Hooded, helpful and on hand just when people need an exit strategy, there should be more to Cain’s reappearance than simple plot design.
Since it was revealed that CADMUS had him incarcerated somewhere around the end of season two, he has been nothing more than a name brought up in conversation. But suddenly in ‘The Darkest Place’ he is tangible, neither flashback nor talking point and therefore hopefully an asset rather than a hinderance. Add to that the Alex and Maggie on off relationship segue and Supergirl is saved by some solid appearances, intriguing plot lines but muddled editing. And as for that last minute bomb shell which is dropped on Hank in the closing minutes, I sense the seeds of a season finale on the horizon.
Whatever they decide to throw into the mix for a closer it can be said without a hint of irony that Supergirl works. Just like The Flash and Arrow we have a superhero show which works because the super side of things is secondary. These characters are human and fragile despite the strength, good looks and easy charm, they suffer like the rest of us which makes them more accessible. Berlanti has taken large strides in making shows where elements are relatable as well as entertaining and for that he should be commended. There are those who would contest the validity of a show like Supergirl. With people of a less than savoury nature occupying seats of power due to something other than their ability, perhaps now is the right time for such programmes. If only the real world were as easily resolved and put to rights.