Supergirl Almost Saved by Lex Luthor in Season Four

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Supergirl Seasn 4 Blu-ray

SUPERGIRL is one of the Arrowverse shows that stands apart from the rest of the CW shows. First of all, it's not strictly a part of the Arrowverse as it is part of the Arrow-MULTI-verse. Kara (MELISSA BENOIST) lives on a completely different Earth than The Flash and Green Arrow, but crosses over whenever there's a crisis at hand, such as with this fourth season's ELSEWORLDS event, and the upcoming CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.

The other thing that makes SUPERGIRL stand apart is that the entire narrative of the show is agenda-driven. It's never good-vs-evil, but a social message morality play with real-world analogs, thinly veiled in comic book trappings. For the bulk of the season, Team Supergirl battles against a right-wing terrorist organization led by Ben Lockwood (SAM WITWER aka Doomsday from SMALLVILLE), a clone of talk host Sean Hannity. Lockwood's alter ego of Agent Liberty, a twisted parody of Dan Jurgen's comic-book creation, rallies the people to take a stand against the immigration of extraterrestrials, the term "illegal aliens" being a bit too on-the-nose to be used here. When they prove that Lockwood and Liberty are the same person, resulting in his arrest, he is released, and given a government cabinet level position by President Baker (BRUCE BOXLEITNER), an anti-immigration Donald Trump stand-in.

Okay, message received loud and clear. But just to make sure everyone in the writing room is on the right side of history, Supergirl's greatest victories don't come from using super-powers, but by participating in protest marches and writing scathing editorials. The introduction of Nia Nal (NICOLE MAINES), an alien who possesses the ability to predict the future through dreams, complicates things for Brainiac-5 (JESSE RATH), a visitor from a thousand years in the future, because he falls in love with her, which could mess up her timeline where her future descendant, Nura Nal is a teammate of Brainiac's in the Legion of Super-Heroes. Nal's homelife is complicated by more than her narcoleptic visions, however. The dreaming powers are, as foreseen by her mother, supposed to have been passed on to her daughter. Everyone thought this meant it would be Nia's older sister...particularly since Nia was born a boy, and is transgender.

The social message posturing was put on the back burner, almost, for a while by the arrival of Lex Luthor (JON CRYER), who steals the series away with his magnificent portrayal of the megalomaniacal and Macchiavellian villain. Lex has engineered the ultimate opponent for Supergirl -- Red Daughter, a clone raised in a communist country and trained to hate everything about American excess. After impersonating the Girl of Steel and turning the country against her (again), Red Daughter ultimately sees Lex for what he is, and comes to the real Supergirl's defense. But before Lex can face defeat, he reveals to his sister the one truth she has been blinded to all this time: her best friend, Kara Danvers, has not trusted her enough to tell her that she is Supergirl. And since hurt feelings create villains in this series, we can expect Lena to become more prominent an antagonist in the next season.

We do get some teasers for the next season as well. We see the appearance of The Monitor as the final episode closes, giving yet another hint to the Crisis on Infinite Earth's crossover coming this December. And we see Eve Teschmacher (ANDREA BROOKS), revealed this season to be someone we never suspected her to be (other than those who recognized her name from SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE), meeting up with an agent of Leviathan, DC Comics' version of Hydra. Through this agent, we learn, "Lex was supposed to move the needle." I would be very surprised if this phrase existed in a vacuum and the mention was not a reference to the #MoveTheNeedle hashtag that existed early in the rise of the controversial ComicsGate movement online.

I've been in more than a few discussions about SUPERGIRL in my local comics shops, most of them involving how they have dropped the series due to its ham-fisted sermonizing. It's far from a scientific sample, to be sure, but it's definitely within what should be the core audience -- superhero fans -- and if the previews of Season 5 are any indication, there's no reason for these disappointed fans to come back for anything other than the crossover event.

Grade: 
3.5 / 5.0