SUPERGIRL: RED FACED
As we have, for the moment, skipped How Does She Do It?, we move on to Red Faced, a Supergirl episode that left me almost despairing at how the series is going. If it weren't for Melissa Benoist's still magnificent turn as The Girl of Steel, I would have ranked Red Faced lower than I already did. SHE made the episode. SHE was worth watching. Everything else was kind of blah.
Kara Danvers/Supergirl (Benoist) is having major anger-management issues. She finds that trying to balance both lives, and the issues that come with those, are making her more short-tempered, down to in a shocking moment, actually snapping back at her boss, uber-bitch Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart). Oddly, Cat is actually not insulted when Kara tells her off. Instead, she takes her to a bar where Cat get sloshed and tells Kara that she has to 'find the anger behind the anger'.
Kara and her alter ego has a lot to be angry over. Supergirl has been corralled into doing the military's business by testing Red Tornado, the new military machine created by 'mad scientist' T.O. Morrow (both played by Iddo Goldberg).
As a side note, through the episode I kept inadvertently referring to him as "Red Tomato". Take that as you will.
Neither Supergirl or DEO officers Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) or Hank Henshaw (David Harewood) want Supergirl involved in this, but the blustery General Sam Lane (Glenn Morshower) has a Presidential order, and if they object, they can take it up with her (hard to NOT see that as a Hillary Clinton for President plug, but let's leave it at that). Also involved in these war games is his daughter, Major Lucy Lane (Jenna Dewan Tatum), who just happens to be the girlfriend of Kara's crush James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks). Talk about anger issues. Well, Supergirl IS able to defeat Red Tomato, but he gets huffy and runs off. Adding insult to injury, General Lane is angry at Supergirl and blames her for essentially doing what she was asked to do. Granted, she was highly angry when she did it, but there it is. Morrow is dismissed for HIS incompetence.
Running around is Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli), who continues to see Supergirl as a menace and plays hot and cold with Alex about helping track down Red Tomato. No worries, as he appears to have become sentient and is going on a rampage (which by the way, is spoiling the dinner between James, Lucy, and General Pandemonium). We learn that Red Tomato is actually not sentient, but being controlled by Morrow, who is out to finish his job with his machine. However, Henshaw makes the announcement that Red Tomato was actually created to destroy Kryptonians, the General still suspicious of Supergirl's more famous cousin.
At the end of all this mayhem, with Supergirl using all her powers to defeat Red Tomato with help from the DEO, she finds that for the first time in her life, Kara is bleeding and pervious to pain...
Frankly, I'm not buying just about anything in Red Faced. Lucy Lane, a Major?! Since when did THIS pop up? I don't think we got any indication that she was involved with the military, and while I never served I was unaware that the Army allowed General's daughters to be so involved in Daddy Projects. It also makes me wonder how she never let on to this development all the time she was with James.
Maybe it's me, but I really cannot see Lois Lane being the General's daughter, but again, I'm not well-versed in Superman lore.
Red Tomato a.) seems a weak villain and b.) is yet another 'freak-of-the-week' enemy that is dispensed with quickly (and I was a bit puzzled by whether Alex actually killed Morrow, let alone whether she shot him in the head). It was a little blurry and confusing.
Further, the difficultly between Lucy, James, and General Pandemonium seemed like it came from another show altogether (Olsen: The Series). Isn't this whole 'military man disapproves of his daughter's boyfriend' business something we've seen before, or again, it is me? It doesn't help that Morshower played Sam Lane as the stereotypical military character: bossy, blustery, bullying.
And I am STILL not sold on "Major Lucy Lane".
About the only real good things in Red Faced were some of the cast and the general theme of 'the rage within'. Benoist is still the best thing about Supergirl: her dual role really going to a higher level. It was shocking but empowering to see her finally tell Cat to stop being so mean to her, and even more empowering when we see her using a car for a punching bag, releasing the 'anger behind the anger'. Flockhart still has that "Devil Wears Prada" manner to Cat Grant, but a.) that's how the character is written, and b.) Flockhart does allow the human side to slip through. The interplay between Flockhart's Cat and Joan Juliet Buck's Katherine Grant, Mother from Hell, was amusing without being too outlandish. Flockhart allows a very slight sense of hurt when her mother cancels a dinner to go slum it with Toni Morrison at the last minute.
Another highlight is Jeremy Jordan as Winn Schott, who here is roped into helping the Danvers Sisters investigate the story of their father's disappearance & death. His role is small this episode, but he makes the most of it.
In fact, Jordan's performance makes it clear that Schott is not only truly in love with Kara, not Supergirl, but that he is the far better choice than the hunkier (and taller) Olsen. It's almost a frustrating puzzle to understand why Kara continues to make googly-eyes at Olsen when Winn is on many levels better. He, unlike James, is actually available and not ambivalent about his feelings for Kara. Winn is also someone who would have no or little problem living with Kara/Supergirl. In fact, he would be more encouraging and supportive to Supergirl's career as a superheroine than any other man.
Part of it I imagine would be a bit of fanboying, but most of it is because he actually is in love with her. Therefore, Kara's constant inability to appreciate how good Winn would be for her is now more than frustrating.
This is especially true given how patient he is with Kara's near-obsession with James. Even Cat tells Kara point-blank that the whole office sees how Kara throws herself at James (and this despite James' on-again relationship with Lucy). I actually wrote in my notes "Choose Winn, Choose Winn".
I am officially #TeamWinn.
I was not impressed by Red Tomato. I was bored by the Lucy/Sam/James story. I was intrigued by the Maxwell Lord aspect (we're getting a mystery with his parents, and while he is still a guest star my sense is that Facinelli is going to be more recurring than guest star). Again, apart from Benoist (who excelled in the episode), I found a lot about Red Faced that I could easy leave.
Next Episode: Human For A Day