‘Supergirl’ (Season 2): An Unfocused Midseason

J'onn and M'gann - Supergirl

More than any of its CW superhero compatriots, Supergirl is a show that radiates fun and energy on a regular basis. Even its nearest counterpart in terms of lightheartedness, The Flash, has leaned far harder into grimmer storytelling of late. The plus side of this approach is that Supergirl stands out, and it always serves as a delight to watch in the moment. However, the more carefree approach has also led to a show that feels a bit aimless at the halfway point of its second season.

There’s nothing wrong with a series offering up self-contained adventures. In truth, I like it when each episode of a show is distinctly its own thing, which is where the villain-of-the-week structure works well. The thing is, while most modern superhero shows manage to push the plot forward in some way big or small each week, Supergirl has felt fairly aimless since returning from the winter hiatus.

Obviously, there hasn’t been a complete lack of plot progression. Mon-El and Kara’s awkward romantic situation has stumbled along, Kara has found out that James is Guardian, and J’onn has found a way to forgive M’gann for her past. That said, all of these stories have had the problem of being fairly small and inconsequential. James’ transition to vigilante has been more or less a wash so far, and the romance angle has played out on the same awkward beats as Kara’s failed romances from season one. Even the Martian drama, which has been the most successful, seemed to be brought to a conclusion with M’gann’s decision to leave Earth last week.

This has been solid enough in terms of character development, but it’s dealt more with subtle shading than anything truly revelatory. And while there are hints of a larger story arc in regards to the aliens searching for Mon-El, it’s yet to come to the foreground in a significant way. At the very least, we got more Luthor drama this week, but it also leaned more towards character drama.

If it seems that I’m complaining, it’s only insofar as that I’d like for the show to have a stronger sense of purpose. I love Supergirl for just how much of a joy it is to watch on a weekly basis. But it’s also nice when the show is able to make each episode feel inherently important to see, rather than just being a string of solo adventures that can be missed just as easily as seen. Hopefully, the show can find a good balance when Mon-El’s alien pursuers arrive later this season. At the very least, I know I’ll have a good time waiting to find out either way.