Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Review - 'Supergirl', S02E14 - 'Homecoming'

As the primary driving force behind so much of the conflict throughout the second season of Supergirl, Cadmus is an organisation which has, more often than not, felt incredibly underdeveloped – and, their actions throughout the season have often seemed distinctly underwhelming. Despite the show's best efforts to convince us otherwise, Cadmus just hasn't managed to come across as a terribly effective, or intimidating, villain for this season of Supergirl.

Fortunately, the season's fourteenth episode is one that actually managed to go some way toward remedying that fact – though, unfortunately, it went about doing so in a way that brought up some issues of its own. Despite being based on what had, initially, felt like a very strong premise, I do have to admit that this was an episode that I actually found to be genuinely frustrating.

Beginning with the rescue of Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain), during the episode's (admittedly very impressive) opening sequence, a frustratingly large portion of this episode was ultimately taken up by horribly contrived character drama. Mon-El, convinced that Jeremiah's reappearance was a little too convenient and that his rescue was a little too easy, attempted to raise the possibility that Cadmus might have some deeper plan in motion – only for his theory to be immediately, and aggressively, shot down by everyone. His distrust of Jeremiah even put strain on his relationship with Kara (a relationship that was barely an episode old), as she began to wonder whether she could be with someone who... had understandable suspicions which he had attempted to raise in a respectful manner (or something).

The main problem, here, was that Mon-El's suspicions actually did feel entirely understandable and reasonable – to such an extent that it actually struck me as a little strange that he was the only one to hold them. I fully understand that the entire point was that he was the only one with the emotional distance to see things clearly, of course – and, that the rest of the cast were too blinded by their emotional connection (either as biological daughter, adopted daughter, or close friend) to come to the same conclusion. But, these are all supposed to be intelligent, and highly trained, individuals well-versed in dealing with all sorts of outlandish threats – so, the idea that Jeremiah could have been compromised, in some way, should not have seemed so out of the ordinary.

Worst of all, though, were the scenes of contrived emotional drama that cropped up whenever Mon-El so much as attempted to articulate his suspicions – with Kara being so upset by the idea that Mon-El couldn't immediately trust a man who had been held by Cadmus for 15 years that she was willing to threaten to end their relationship over it. Alex, also, was aggressive, and pointlessly confrontational, toward anyone who so much as questioned her father – even to the point of immediately turning on Kara, once she had begun to voice similar suspicions later in the episode. Then, of course, there's J'onn J'onnz – the centuries old alien who, against all common-sense and established protocol, reinstates Jeremiah within the DEO barely a day after his rescue. This, of course, gave Jeremiah full access to everything he needed, when the time finally came to reveal his inevitably betrayal.

In the end, I think that my main problem with this episode is that it was a case of an interesting idea ruined by awful execution. For the viewer, there was absolutely no question that Jeremiah Danvers was working with Cadmus, for the very simple reason that Mon-El's suspicions actually made perfect sense. Because of this, Kara, Alex, and J'onn each come across as almost painfully naive as they blindly accepted their good fortune. Also, the aggressive manner in which both Kara and Alex dismissed Mon-El's concerns (despite the fact that he had raised them simply as concerns, rather than a direct accusation) felt horribly contrived. By the end of the episode, I found myself wishing that the entire story-line could have been handled with a little more subtlety. We could have, for example, had a story-line stretched over a couple of episodes, where Jeremiah had to work a little harder to alleviate these perfectly understandable concerns before revealing his betrayal (and, with Kara and Alex between naturally reluctant to accept the possibility that there might be anything suspicious about their father's rescue, but at least willing to consider it) – but, unfortunately, that simply wasn't to be.

Admittedly, things did improve considerably once we did actually reach the point of Jeremiah sudden, but inevitable, betrayal. We don't know exactly why he has become so willing to support Cadmus's agenda, of course. But, Jeremiah actually makes for a genuinely compelling figure as the morally conflicted antagonist he seems to have become – so, I am definitely interested in learning more about that. It is also a development which had made Cadmus, itself, significantly more interesting, as a result – so, I suppose that the writers deserve some credit for that, too. I just wish that I hadn't had to endure so much nonsense to reach that point.

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