Supergirl “Truth, Justice and the American Way” Review (Season 1 Episode 14)

This week’s episode of Supergirl was a mix of highs and lows, with things overall leaning more towards the negative side. “Truth, Justice and the American Way” was ultimately a bit heavy-handed in regards to its moral lesson for the week, one that tried to deal in shades of gray while also giving us some solidly black-and-white guest characters in Master Jailer and his final victim. Still, a strong subplot for James and one of the show’s best fight scenes helped to elevate the episode.

The biggest problem for the episode is that Master Jailer just failed to make much of an impression. There wasn’t a compelling reason to explain his crusade against Fort Roz escapees, simply being a guard because it’s what member of his family did. Really, he mainly served as a plot device to show Kara that she might be on the wrong path in terms of how she’s dealing with Maxwell Lord.

Still, the suggestion of moral grays didn’t quite land because of how flat Master Jailer was. It’s not as if he was taking each prisoner on a case-by-case basis; he was simply enacting wholesale execution of every escapee he could get his hands on. Sure, the professor he captured at the end was ultimately a good person, but Maxwell Lord isn’t, and letting him go free seems like the sort of decision that we should’ve at least seen J’onn arguing against.

While Master Jailer failed to make much of an impression as a character, he did prove to be one of Supergirl’s best opponents yet in terms of visual spectacle. Though he went down fairly easily at the end, his early episode chain battle with Kara made for an action highpoint for the show. There was a lot of creativity to the way the two were dancing around in combat, and it made a good departure from the high-speed collisions between characters that normally dominate combat.

Also, it was good seeing James deal with the conflict between his loyalty to Kara and his own journalistic integrity. Up until now, it hasn’t been that hard to accept what Kara’s been doing in the name of the greater good, but seeing Max illegally imprisoned had a clear effect on James. It adds some much-needed depth to the character, letting him challenge Kara instead of simply being her constant cheerleader. In fact, James calling Kara out is what allows me to believe she would let Max go at all.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!