Thoughts on SUPERGIRL Season 4

I am now all caught up on all of the Arrowverse shows and ready to actually watch them on Cable. The last show I got caught up on was “Supergirl” and I figured that since I have already briefly gone over the first 3 seasons, I should once again air my thoughts out on the most recent season.

“Supergirl” has always been a sort of an oddity among the Arrowverse shows. First of all, it didn’t get it’s start on The CW. It premiered on CBS and made its way to The CW once the second season premiered. Because of this, it does have a little bit of a different style and format. Not drastically, but it is noticeable of you pay attention to it and compare it to the other shows. But the second reason why it is an oddity is more relevant to this thread.

From the beginning, the show always had political/social themes and commentary. While the other Arrowverse shows haven’t avoided doing that, it was in later seasons, happened very rarely, and was so vague that it was arguably entirely worthless to include it. Now, in the case of “Supergirl”, those themes have been mainly in the background for season 1-3. But with season 4, it is brought more into the foreground. This alone can turn certain people away for a variety reasons, ranging from they don’t want these themes and messages in any TV shows/films to they don’t like the specific messages this particular show has. So I guess the first thing I should discuss is this – how does season 4 handle its political/social themes?

The answer is…surprisingly well. Granted, there is an obvious liberal leaning. And in the season finale, it made it seem that the anti-alien movement is gone for the most part, which is something that wouldn’t actually happen in the real world. But it is smart commentary on the current political climate in the US. The villains aren’t really portrayed as evil (most of them anyways, but more on that later), but people acting on grounded fear and emotions. You can connect to them and understand why they would act this way, even when their methods are clearly wrong. I was impressed with how grounded it ultimately was, even if there were a few flaws here and there in regards to execution.

Which brings me to one of the main villains in this season, Agent Liberty. Now, I have never heard of the character before, but I have heard a lot of people were displeased with this show’s version. Mainly because in the comics, Agent Liberty is a hero. Well, antihero to be exact, but still one of the good guys. So I get why people are a little pissed off about this. But if I’m being honest, I actually really liked this show’s version. Yes, he is a bad guy for Supergirl, but he is clearly a hero in the eyes of so many people that it once again parallels the real world. He actually reminds me a little od real life former KKK leader David Duke. He becomes someone who seeks a political position and use that platform to spread his ideas and messages. I thought this handling of the character, while completely contradictory to the OG hero version of him in the comics, helped give Supergirl an interesting antagonist.

Now, let’s talk about The Elite, specifically Manchester Black. Another character and group I have never heard about, but I ended up really liking in the show. If Agent Liberty and the Children of Liberty are meant to be the Alt Right, then Manchester and The Elite are the Intolerant Left (Manchester actually jokingly calls himself that in the show). I also enjoyed Manchester’s journey from antihero to antagonist, but again, he has a very relatable and understandable reason for why he is doing these things in the show.

Switching away from villains for a little bit, let’s talk about Nia/Dreamer for a little bit. Now, the character is played by a trans woman and the character in the show is also a trans woman – as well as half human and half alien, but that’s not what I want to talk about. I was a little nervous when I first heard this that they might put too much focus on her. Again, I am pleasantly surprised with how they handled this character. The fact she is trans only comes up 3 times in the show, and every one of those instances it was appropriate to mention it and wasn’t given too much focus. Also, I think she had the perfect amount of screen time, not too much and not too little. She played an important role and was also an enjoyable character.

But now, back to villains, and the real star of this season. After years of mentioning and teasing him, this show finally gives us the ultimate enemy of any Kryptonian…Lex Luthor. Now, when I first heard Jon Cryer was cast as Lex, I was confused. Seriously? You guys casted the man behind Lenny Luthor, the worst character from the worst Superman movie? But, after seeing his performance, I am happy to say I was completely wrong. He commands the screen. He is frightening, intimidating, confident, intelligent, everything I could have wanted from this performance. I even think he is better than Gene Hackman (ironic on so many levels).

Other good stuff about this season, let’s see…I really liked J’onn J’onzz’s story this season. Alex is once again great. I have always loved Lena Luthor, but I have grown especially attached to her. Kara/Supergirl is consistently great in every season. There was a recurring character called Colonel Haley that was complex that I enjoyed watching. Jimmy had a solid story this time around as well. But there was something I wasn’t a huge fan of, which leads me to the next topic regarding this season.

I think this season is the best season of “Supergirl”. But, that doesn’t mean it was perfect. Some of these issues are admittedly pretty small in the grand scheme of things, but I just want to go over them quickly. While most of the political/social themes and commentary are pretty grounded and realistic, there are moments where it isn’t quite as subtle. There isn’t a lot, but it’s there, and that’s probably unavoidable. Also, while I like Jimmy Olsen, I was glad that he and Lena broke up. Not that it was a toxic relationship or anything, but the show has a problem forcing him into relationships that just don’t really work. But to be fair, a big reason I’m pointing this out is because I want Kara and Lena together. I am a SuperCorp shipper until the day I die! Moving on…the Red Daughter story seemed to be pushed to the side for most of the season. When Lex showed up, we got a lot more focus on it. But I felt like they could have put a little more focus on it before his appearance. There was a plot where Alex asked J’onn to wipe her knowledge that Kara was Supergirl in order to protect her until everything was figured out, which ended up altering her personality to a certain extent. I feel like there could have been several ways to protect Kara’s identity that didn’t include wiping Alex’s memory. Also, in the season finale, it seemed liked most of the anti-alien movement seemed to disappear for good, in large part due to an expose on Lex Luthor that was released online. In the real world, if something like that happened to a high ranking US political figure, there would still be a lot of people saying the expose is fake and still support the figure. So, it isn’t 100% realistic, but it’s a TV show so I can let that slide. Plus, the whole message of this season seems to be that if people communicate and try to understand one another, then we can find a way to live with one another and be kind. Which is a good message, if not a bit obvious at certain points.

Of course, I have so many questions about the future of this show. Are we getting an evil Brainy/Brainiac story in season 5? Why did The Monitor bring J’onn’s brother to Earth? Why does J’onn’s brother hate him so much? What role does Lex Luthor have in the upcoming “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover? Does he have a future in the show after the crossover? What is Lena going to do now that she knows that Kara is Supergirl? (Also, PLEASE don’t turn her into an irredeemable villain or into a villain that redeems herself by sacrificing herself for Supergirl! If we can’t have them as a couple, the least you can do is let them remain friends!) Are we ever going to get Cat back? What was with the brief Bizarro reference? Is she coming back? Is Maxwell Lord? What kind of villains and/or new characters can we expect in the future? (It might be too much to ask for Darkseid, but a couple of New Gods would be appreciated)

Overall, I am very pleased with this season. I think it is the best from “Supergirl”! And, after going through “Arrow” season 7, “The Flash” season 5 and “Legends of Tomorrow” season 4, I actually think this is the one I enjoyed the most.

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The episode where the progessor gradually turns into one of the two main villains was masterfully.

Every other episode with him was difficult to watch. He was a cardboard villain, without any nunance, with no ambiguity. In the end, his politics mattered more than even his family. Very badly done.

Lex Luthor was convincing.

James Olson irrelevant.

Brainiac and Dream Girl were good.

Supergirl and Alex seemed to have minor roles in their show all season long. Kara Danvers, her alter ego, had more time than Supergirl.