Martin Carr reviews the eleventh episode of Supergirl season 2…
Familial relationships, thick and fast film homage and a good old fashioned fire fight combine to make ‘The Martian Chronicles’ an engaging addition in an already well received second season. Supergirl as a series is confined, refined and ultimately defined by all the things there is little room for this week. Locked down in a creative cul-de-sac we see what the makers, writers and other contributors can conjure when Kara, Winn, Hank and Alex have only themselves for entertainment.
As it turns out there is more than enough as ‘the Martians are coming’ becomes far more than a rallying cry. Take away the diversionary tactics of fluctuating relationships and we are faced with a smack down of intergalactic magnitude. Coupled with filmic nods to The Thing, Alien and Aliens which all incorporate that sense of claustrophobia, access to heavy artillery and distrust of the individual inherent through DNA testing and Supergirl flies by.
Universal themes of tolerance, forgiveness and compassion are also thrown into the mix but still play second fiddle to the action beats, which go down once things are locked down. Jordan and Leigh get to play against type for a small portion of the episode, whilst Harewood and Sharon Leal as the aforementioned Martians air their emotional laundry in public. Olsen is missing from proceedings and mentioned only in passing but never feels essential. If anything ‘The Martian Chronicles’ felt a little light on invasion and overtly big on drama, even if Hank did get to hand out a Green Martian arse whooping.
As usual Benoist, who is over in London this year for a convention, equipped herself well in an episode which gave her little to do. Kara’s ineptitude with men is becoming formulaic as she is always falling for them after the moment has passed. It happened with Olsen and so the pattern recurs with Mon-El in this episode’s opening minutes. As a means to keep romantic friction at its peak and therefore viewing figures up, there were surely better ways to approach things. While the extent to which Maggie has impacted on any quality time Alex and Kara may have is debatable. This supposed rift, which is cleanly tied off before the end, is drama creation for the sake of it.
Slick production, solidly constructed character arcs and engaging villains are already present and correct within Supergirl. Why they feel the need to make convoluted choices which fail to ring true in the writing process escapes me. This programme, which has just been renewed for a third season, has already reinvigorated a superhero which many felt was beyond saving. Benoist, Leigh, Harewood, Jordan and Brooks have elevated a comic book premise into primetime entertainment without resorting to clichés. An approach which has already paid dividends and continues to do so with ‘The Martian Chronicles’, give or take the occasional lazy moment from those bods in the backroom.