Like the hero at its focus, Supergirl is intelligent, adorable and funny but still has its flaws. This first half of the season has seen Kara Zor-El, aka Kara Danvers, aka Supergirl, find her and its feet. With each episode Kara has grown into the hero she was meant to be, and learned that she isn’t nor should she be, Clark. Kara has also learned that everything isn’t actually about her, her actions as Supergirl and as Kara, have consequences, of which we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface.
Those consequences start at home, as her sister Alex makes clear. Unbeknownst to Kara, Alex has spent half her life keeping Kara safe, from outsiders and from herself, and Kara’s becoming Supergirl sends shockwaves through their family on every level. Revelations come forth about just how far the Danvers have gone to keep Kara from becoming a government experiment, or worse, that changes Kara and Alex’s entire worldview. While the mystery surrounding their father’s death has been resolved, it has also opened up an entire new can of worms.
In her professional life, Kara is learning what every woman on earth has learned since the beginning of time: you have to do everything twice as well as a man, flawlessly and without complaint, to be given even half the respect a man does just for existing. The comparisons to Clark run amuck throughout the first half of the season and it’s the grounding tag team of series MVPs James ‘Jimmy’ Olsen and Cat Grant who get her through.
The casting of these two characters was a stroke of genius as Mehcad Brooks’ Jimmy Olsen is world weary yet still hopeful and unfailingly kind even as he points out to Kara her privilege on multiple levels. As someone who not only knows Clark but knows Superman and is considered the best friend of both, publically and privately, he has a unique perspective on Kara’s dilemma of reconciling who she is to who she wants to be. He is also trying to remove himself of the shadow of his closest friend and his moving to National City has been a chance for him to grow away from Clark and become the hero he was meant to be as much as it has been to help Kara in her transition.
Then there’s Calista Flockhart’s Cat Grant. Flockhart has been a revelation, one part Miranda Priestly, one part Mama Bear, all parts awesome, her constant real talks to Kara and Supergirl are amazing. Cat’s snark, even in the face of danger, is as much of a weapon as Kara’s powers and her compassion shines through even as she eviscerates everyone in her path for not meeting her standards. You realize early on that it’s not because she’s trying to make herself feel better by belittling them, but because she wants them to be better and reach their fullest potential. You can already see that she’s grooming James and Kara to take over her empire when the time is right, as she sees in them what they don’t see in themselves and her constant pushing is her way of helping them grow. The fact that she’s the first person to figure out exactly who Kara is without being told? Icing on the awesome cake.
While the series soars in terms of characters and actors (there is not a weak link in the entire cast), its biggest flaw is that it hasn’t quite decided what its structure is: overall mytharc with one off crisis of the week or crisis of the week with small mytharcs that take up only three or four episodes. At last count there were three major storylines going on, each of which could be the entire focus of a season, and all of which are still up in the air in terms of where they’re going. The midseason finale saw at least two of those storylines come into direct contact for the first time and even then I could see at least two more plotlines spiraling out from the huge confrontation the show ends on. Going into the second half of the season, tightening up these stories and making better use of the fantastic cast in the process will go a long way in making Supergirl the runaway hit it should be.
I give this first half of the season 4 out of 5 Kryptonite Knives