In its first season, Supergirl lived and died by how well it handled Cat Grant. When the show began, the character was merely a Miranda Priestly analogue, an excuse to dump on Kara Danvers and frustrate her in ways alien menaces never could. Watching the pilot episode, you could see the entire season laid out in miniature: Kara would grow and learn to come into her own as Supergirl while slowly earning Grant's respect, even as her boss continued to treat her as a personal lackey.
This was fine, more or less. It wasn't terribly original, but damn could Calista Flockhart sling those wordy-as-hell pop-culture references and unbelievably ornate burns. And then Supergirl did something kind of surprising — it turned Cat Grant into the heart of the show. Of course, Grant was always going to warm up to Kara, but she also ended up becoming a moral compass for Supergirl, and one of the show's most articulate and impassioned voices arguing for a hero that doesn't just fight, but inspires.
And now, Cat Grant is leaving CatCo and National City and Supergirl, the first casualty in the show's move from CBS to the CW. There's no telling when or how often she'll be back — I'd wager she'll appear when the show breaks out the big guns coming out of the holiday break, or maybe during the buildup to the season finale in May — but as far as good-byes go, this one's pretty muted. Cat already gave her big farewell in the premiere, wherein she told Kara about the importance of change and growth and moving on. In this episode, she only adds that it's her turn to take the dive, and then introduces Kara to her new impossible-to-please boss, long-time DC Comics fixture Snapper Carr.
Oh, and she also gives her office to Jimmy Olsen, who is now the big boss. Awkward, right?
If "The Last Children of Krypton" has a central problem, it's the one signified by the way it approaches Cat Grant's story. Just about every thread it follows is a thin and underwhelming resolution to what was a pretty compelling setup. That's not to say it's bad, it's just doesn't seem to be quite enough to stretch out over two episodes. Maybe Cat's farewell should've happened in last week's premiere.
Everything is dragged out just a little bit longer tonight. Hank is still a little mad at Superman, who is also still a little mad at Hank for refusing to get rid of kryptonite. Alex is a little mad at Kara for being too caught up in her cousin's visit. Kara is still a little freaked out by all the changes happening in her life. Cadmus is still a little too mysterious. See what I mean?
That said, Cadmus does take center stage and announce themselves as the season's big bad, sending not one, but TWO super-villains named Metallo (John Corben and a Cadmus assistant who protested Corben's treatment a little too much) out to terrorize National City. Since the whole point of being a Metallo is that you're a cyborg with a kryptonite heart, they end up being quite a challenge for both Kara and Clark, who only manage to beat them by embracing the Supergirl mantra of family and asking Alex, Hank, and Winn for help.
The best moment of "The Last Children of Krypton" comes, surprisingly, from Winn, a character who is now closer than ever to the action but given little to do besides make geeky jokes at inappropriate times. When Alex and Winn are in the DEO lab, working to build some kind of armor to shield Kara and Clark from kryptonite so they can face the Metallos, Alex vents her frustrations about everything she's done to help Kara and how much it's cost her a personal life. "Family is not about scorekeeping or who did more," Winn says, reminding Alex of his time spent in an orphanage after his father was locked up the first time. "It's just about showing up."
Supergirl may stumble, but man, does it get the important things right.
Truth, Justice, and Other Notes:
- The Danvers girls like to hang out over Chinese food and Veep these days, which also happens to be Clark Kent's favorite show. I could hang with these folks.
- According to Cat Grant, watching Clark Kent walk away "is like transcendental meditation." I'm pretty sure this woman is on a higher plane of existence than I.
- Cadmus makes for an interesting big bad, no? It opens the door up for a lot of interesting threats and problems — most notably Superboy — but I don't really dig this whole Power Rangers–esque routine of inventing scary monsters to fight Supergirl. We need a bit more to chew on than that! At least give the doctor running the show a name, or else I will have to make one up. Most likely Dr. Cadmus, because I write these on a deadline.
- Someone please GIF the scene of Supergirl catching a bullet between her fingers, thank you.
- Also, this episode has a scene where Jeremy Jordan is complimented by Superman and he starts crying in response, which almost makes up for Winn's meager screen time.
- Jimmy Olsen is in charge of CatCo now?! What a weird decision! What do you have planned for this character, Supergirl? I'm apprehensive, but not worried … yet.
- Oh, and there's almost no movement on the whole comatose Kryptonian story line. Unless you count the part at the very end where he wakes up and grabs Kara by the neck. That seems pretty important.