My love for Ian Gomez is deep and unabiding. The range is amazing, the comic chops are impeccable, and he will forever be endeared to me as the one who brought Javier from Felicity into my life. So I was thrilled when, on Monday's episode of Supergirl, he strolled into Cat's office from the balcony, all grizzled like the jaded, curmudgeonly child of Perry White and Lou Grant. Cat's exit is a blow but Snapper Carr taking her spot as a reluctant foil and mentor to Kara will be a nice salve for those wounds.
So when I watched Snapper holler and grumble his way through a newsroom as Kara (Melissa Benoist) chirped after him, I already felt myself siding with the gruff vet. And when Kara, hurt by Snapper's rejection, whined that this was the job she chose and that it should come easy, I could feel the same frustration boil up inside of me. You entitled Kryptonian snot.
Kara's entitlement is kind of a theme in "Last Children of Krypton" as she explores this new idea of self-actualization. Last season was about her coming out as a hero. This year it's about giving herself permission to live a full life, not just one for everyone else. But it turns out, when you're a beautiful, invulnerable, graceful alien whose best qualities are powered by something as ubiquitous as a yellow sun, things have always come easy for you. So having to prove something rather than allowing your always-on charm offensive take care of the work makes Kara get pouty.
In fact, both Clark (Tyler Hoechlin) and Kara get pouty when they don't get their way. Superman's beef with J'onn (David Harewood) is that he has a bunch of Kryptonite to help protect the world against ne'er-do-well Kryptonians who might try to, I don't know, hypnotize Earth's greatest guardian into mounting a large-scale extinction event because his Kansas-learnin' made him susceptible to space madness. Instead of trusting J'onn with the material, he pouts for years about it, so much so that Superman cuts ties with the Last Martian and ditches the American effort to curb malicious aliens. I guess in an attempt to teach a thousand-year-old sentinel a lesson? He's been here for centuries and you've been here for decades. Who do you think you are?
The thing is that Kryptonians have a very "my way or the highway" attitude towards schemes and plans. Things have to be cleared through them to happen and, if that doesn't happen, they kind of do their own thing. Who's going to stop them? It's a little early in the series for Doomsday.
The big bad this season looks to be Project Cadmus, led by
Seinfeld's Sue Ellen Mischke Brenda Strong, and their entire mission is to find a way to put down the god-like "demons" that could threaten their world. Now, Project Cadmus is objectively an evil organization. No one as cavalier with grotesque body augmentation, human life, and wanton park damage has ever found themselves shaking hands with the good guys at the end. But the fact that they are the great evil so far points out that this season may want to examine Supergirl's place in the world. Will she always think of herself second to humanity? Or will she eventually believe she knows what's best for the world and make her own decisions?
The very essence of the super cousins is that they always see themselves as public servants to their squishier cohabitants. The need to protect is their driving force. But when you see them not get their way or suffer with change, there's always a temptation to either strong-arm their way through something until everyone else follows, or just cut ties with the obstacle. There doesn't seem to be compromise. Clark demanded the Kryptonite, wouldn't really hear J'onn's sensible explanation, and then ended up making the Last Son of Mars cave by the end. Basically, Kal-El just stared J'onn J'onzz down and got his way.
Kara's entitlement is similar, with lower stakes. Snapper doesn't care for nepotism, it seems, and thinks Kara has to earn her way up the ranks. Fair enough. After Kara's whining and complaining (and even tattling, which is a low moment for our gal), she finally pulls it together and writes a 500-word (for reference, this piece on bratty aliens is over 1,000) article, put it inside of a science fair project triple-brad folder (email it?) that's been fully-researched (alright, you got me there), and then presents it to her new boss. Basically, all Kara had to do was try just a little bit and Snapper told her that she could come back to work for him. All he was looking for was a modicum of effort to meat him in the middle. She baby-stepped forward and he was like, "All right, you're in!"
Further emphasizing that there's a focus on them vs. us is that Kara is willing to ditch her sister to hang out with Clark. Kara justifies it by saying that Alex (Chyler Leigh) doesn't have to protect her anymore and that being in a different city will improve Alex's quality of life. Obviously untrue, since that would mean fewer Danvers Sisters moments and no one wants that. But more importantly, as Kara comes out with later, it's more about her feeling like she can be herself with Clark and she can't with her non-bulletproof friends in National City.
All of that gets worked out in the end of the episode, but it's important to note that the show seems to want us to pay attention to that division between the unwashed masses and the heroes they worship. Supergirl started out with a Superman Problem: how do you make the invulnerable and justice-first hero interesting? The answer here seems to be that Kryptonians are still susceptible to pride just like the rest of us. That might prove to be their undoing or their heel turn (especially if they get hammered on Red-K again). Heel turn might a little strong. The show is still called Supergirl. The chances she'll go full evil on anyone for any amount of time is unlikely, and that she would be a villain for longer is even less likely.
In our heroes, particularly our CW heroes, we're not looking for someone who can reliably and mechanically save the day every day. Today, we need to see them suffer somehow, to struggle with how their abilities make them distant from normal life. Supergirl might've just found a way in.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.