REVIEW: Supergirl, S5E1 – Event Horizon

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Supergirl lays its theme for the season on thick in “Event Horizon,” which ends up being the show’s best premiere ever despite the total lack of subtlety. Technology is the villain of the year, or at least the one Kara (Melissa Benoist) can see, and no one embodies the incoming threat better that the new CatCo owner Andrea Rojas (Julie Gonzalo). As for the ones Kara can’t see? Well, more on that later.

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The couple that slays together…

It is technology that opens the hour, with Lena (Katie McGrath) using the already suspicious Obsidian North VR contact lenses to simulate a confrontation with her ex(?) best friend about the fact that she’s Supergirl. Considering that Lena’s latest version includes punching Kara into a flaming school bus, it’s no wonder the friendly Gideon-esque voice immediately asks if its owner would like assistance in murdering Supergirl. But has it learned such violence from Lena herself, or is it implanting said violence her? “Event Horizon” doesn’t actually ask the question, but it seems worth considering. The fact that she claims to trust technology more than people is already a dead giveaway that things are about to go very, very wrong – but I’m more than ready to see that chaos unfold.

Another way in which technology proves insidious is when Lena sells CatCo to Andrea, the daughter of Obsidian North’s CEO, who then takes over as Editor-In-Chief and implements a “clicks first” policy. There’s nothing wrong with maximizing one’s monetizing, but there’s definitely a problem when hard-hitting news is being ignored in favor of kitten videos because that’s what the people prefer. And I’m no lawyer, but something tells me Lena could get sued for the clearly passive-aggressive move of bringing in a new owner and EIC under James’ (Mehcad Brooks) nose because she’s mad her ex-boyfriend and best friend – also her employees – lied to her about a personal matter. Regardless, aside from setting the scene for the central conflict of Supergirl‘s fifth season, Andrea’s power play sets James on his new path towards the unknown. Rather than play by the rules on a money-hungry, views-driven system, he quits his job and risks being blacklisted as a journalist entirely. Hopefully this means his departure from the show will be voluntarily, and not the death-during-Crisis kind.

While her paper is under attack, Kara is busy receiving the Pulitzer Prize for her year of journalistic endeavor. And the presenter for said award is none other than Lena, which thankfully leads to an important reveal from the Girl of Steel. Benoist and McGrath both shine in this moment of truth, which Kara’s fear and Lena’s pain coming through in both their speeches and their silences. Kara’s confession, given while Lena looks on in disbelief, is mirrored by Lena’s public show of forgiveness during her introduction, and that time it is Kara who watches with relief. The reunion between the girls feels genuine and necessary, which is why it’s all the more upsetting when it turns out to be an act. As Lena confides in her new best friend, the AI, she’s only biding her time until she can use Supergirl’s trust against her.

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O, brother, where art thou?

In happier news, Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Kelly (Azie Tesfai) are going strong and expression their affection all over the place. Which is a little awkward for Brainy (Jesse Rath) and Nia (Nicole Maines), who haven’t even made it past the world’s tamest handshake. They also have a silly argument about who the best movie villain is, but both those seemingly minor things culminate in one of their best scenes yet Which seems to be another running theme for “Event Horizon,” come to think of it. Brainy admits he’s been distant because his sojourn as Brainiac made him afraid he would hurt the woman he loves, and he doesn’t want to be like Miranda Priestly. Nia, of course, has faith that could never happen and the two resume their sweet-as-pie romance; only now they kiss too.

Finally, “Event Horizon” did contain an actual villain for Supergirl and J’onn (David Harewood) to battle. A Lost World of Krypton museum tour is hijacked by a shapeshifter who transforms from little girl to dinosaur, destroys Supergirl’s cape, puts a psychic whammy on J’onn, and then takes off with Superman’s pod. While said pod could explode under the right circumstances and wipe out life across three solar systems, the most pressing matter is fixing Kara’s suit for aerodynamic purposes. The results are revealed when Midnight, a mysterious being who fought for the White Martians, interrupts the Pulitzer ceremony. Kara changes into her surprising and exciting new pants, and one literal event horizon later, Midnight is dispatched to the Phantom Zone while the shapeshifter behind it all watches from a distance. As it turns out, said shapeshifter is none other than J’onn’s brother, a man J’onn himself refuses to recognize and who is seeking vengeance for undefined wrongs. It seems fighting with friends and family is the other of the day on Supergirl.

If future episodes keep up the pace and sincerity of “Even Horizon,” Supergirl is looking to have its most solid season yet. Find out when new episodes air Sundays at 9/8c on The CW.