Title: Supergirl: “Midvale” Review
Release Date: November 12th, 2017
Network: The CW
Genre: Superhero, Drama, Action
So far this season on Supergirl, the show is focusing less on Supergirl’s powers, and more on internal struggles Kara Danvers, and those around her, are facing in their lives. While “Midvale” is no different, this week episode exaggerated High School drama makes up a poor flashback focused episode of Supergirl.
Flashback oriented episodes, or even portions, are a really difficult storytelling device to pull off. Not only are certain things already established and pre-ordained going into these looks back in time – knowing certain characters are alive and well being the best example – but more often than not, plot points are manufactured for the sake of convenience.
The flashback in “Midvale” primarily focused on Kara Danvers relationship with not only her sister, but those around her in high school. Like any cliche drama show or movie, jocks and popular kids are relentless bullies to anyone who is smart or different (with Alex being the rare outlier at the start), and of course Kara is different for being adopted.
Kara isn’t completely alone though, as fellow outcast Kenny Li is introduced as her only friend in school. The biggest problem I have with this is that this is the first time we have heard of Kenny throughout the entirety of Supergirl. As the episode goes on, we learn that he is a pivotal character in Kara’s formative years, yet he hasn’t been mentioned once before “Midvale.” I can let that slide if it was simply the fact that he was a good friend to her during a rough time, but it’s much more than that.
Based on everything that happened in “Midvale” Kenny might actually be the reason Kara is Supergirl today. First, he is the first friend, and love interest, that the future women of steel finds on earth, tying her to the planet a bit more. Second, he is the first person that Kara cares about that is killed, starting her relentless drive to use her powers to save people. Third, he is the reason Alex and Kara were able to bond, as the two work together to solve his murder, forging Kara’s most important bond in the show.
He also plays a significant role in Alex’s life, as he tutors her in calculus, but more importantly, serves as a caveat in death as his murder teaches her the skills she would later hone as a DEA agent. That’s why it feels forced that this alleged important character was never mentioned before this, and it’s because he was simply manufactured for this episode.
It’s a shame too because Ivan Mok does a fantastic job as Kenny, winning me over quickly. Izabela Vidovic and Olivia Nikkanen do a bang up job as teen Kara and Alex as well, allowing the show an outlet to flashback again if need be, but the campy teen detective vibe (with superpowers) felt like a bad retelling of Smallville. The only problem is that Smallville did it better, even given the fact that it was done years ago. Between the high school is hell atmosphere, the teens solving crimes, and the villain turning out to be the corrupt sheriff, “Midvale” suffers from a lot of cliches.
The worst thing is that, while it does try to build on the overarching theme of the season of Kara not feeling human, it does nothing to build the supporting characters in Supergirl. Throughout the third season, the show has done a phenomenal job of building the future antagonist Samantha, who will soon become Reign. But just like I said last episode, characters like Winn, Jimmy, and M’yrnn J’onzz are left high and dry. Even J’onn has been left out this season, relegated to very little screen time, aside from posing as an FBI agent who comforts and counsels teen Kara in the episode.
While Reign certainly offers a lot of promise as an antagonist coming up, “Midvale” proves that Supergirl feels like it is just stalling for time with filler that doesn’t really add anything to the plot this season, without feeling manufactured at least.
Verdict: “Midvale” fails to implement a proper flashback storyline, as each new character and plotline that is introduced not only feels manufactured for the purpose of convenience, but is weighed down with cliche high school melodrama. Supergirl needs to either come up with an interesting filler plotline, or get moving with the Reign story if they want viewers to stay tuned in.
What did you think of the most recent episode of Supergirl? What scene or scenes did you like the most? What are your predictions for the rest Season three as things begin to unravel? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. Also be sure to check back next week for the next episode of the season, “Wake Up,” immediately after it airs on The CW next Monday 8 PM ET.
- Ivan Mok as Kenny Li
- Teen Kara and Alex
- High School Melodrama
- Manufactured characters
- Continued lack of side character usage