"Stronger Together" Starts to Improve Supergirl's Relationship Dynamics

BY J.J. ULM

“Stronger Together”, the second episode of CBS’s Supergirl, is, as the title suggests, far more about the relationships than the action. Kara pulls in James and Winn to help her be a better hero by listening to police scanners and providing advice, and her relationship with her adopted sister Alex is slowly mending from last episode.

Which is probably for the best, since the villain, an insectoid alien called a Hellgrammite which can disguise itself as a human, is pretty forgettable. (Perhaps he and the other villains would be more memorable if they didn’t wear boring black jumpsuits.) More important is the arrival of Kara’s Evil Aunt Alura, who is gathering the escapees from a Kryptonian prison under her command. But that ultimately brings us back to the relationships.

Two episodes in, Supergirl is still a fun show that seems less afraid of its comic book roots than most recent adaptations from DC Comics, but not half as progressive as it’s being pushed. I can accept that she’s an inexperienced superhero who makes mistakes, but does it have to be her male friends — or rather, her love interest and Friendzoned Boner Guy — who help her fix things?

Kara is a genuinely likable person, a heroic person, a Beautiful Cinnamon Roll, but she also comes off as incompetent, and for a character who is being presented as Finally A Female Superhero that’s not good.

I can’t help but think a lot of the problems here could be solved by making Winn a woman. Sure, there would still be Cat Grant’s archetypal Bitchy Feminist and Alex’s antagonism that’s more fitting for a teenage sister than an adult one, but Kara needs both a female friend and to get Winn out of her life. And the “friendzoned boner” thing from last episode was no exaggeration. When she introduced him to Hot Black Jimmy Olsen as her “friend” this week, Winn literally made a face. Compare that to last week’s Agents of SHIELD, which ended with a character promising to help rescue the lover of the woman he clearly loves.

Her relationship with her sister is improving, though, and we’ve seen more of her closeness with her mother on Krypton, so perhaps the show is heading in the right direction. A quick Google search for Winn Schott shows there may be some interesting things in store for that character. With time, Supergirl could live up to its promise, but like its title character, it’s still got a way to go.

See last week's Supergirl review by J.J.

See JJ's review of episode 3