Once again, Melissa Benoist carries the show and like before she’s able to win you over immediately with charming warmth and likeability. This episode sees Kara trying to build upon her confidence as a superhero, and Benoist makes that arc utterly believable and engaging to the point where you’re son involved that you want her to succeed and become a better hero. Whilst Benoist handles the comedy well (the part where she rescues a child’s pet snake from a tree springs to mind), she can also handle the emotional aspect effortlessly. The particular scene where Kara is introduced to an A.I. of her mother was particularly emotional, especially since the first instinctive thing Kara requests from her digitized mum is just simply a hug, which crushingly she obviously can’t have. Benoist perfectly balances the humour and the vulnerability fantastically well, and just further goes to show that this role was tailor-made for her.
We also see growing character development for the supporting characters as well; now that we know Alex is part of the DEO, we start to see more of the overprotective side of her and why she’s seeking the best for her sister. Winn is starting to become more involved now that he knows James is involved, which sets up a potential love triangle between him, James and Kara. Despite the drastic overall change, Supergirl’s James Olsen has become a strong individual who’s trying to break away from the “Superman’s best pal” image and make a name for himself, which makes sense as to why he’s moved to National City. We see a lot of similarities between him and Kara, and making them kindred spirits is a sensible move. We even get more of an insight into Cat Grant and understand her goals and motivations behind what she does. Supergirl’s willingness of making her way to the top in a world dominated by her cousin is something that Cat respects as it’s revealed that she started out as Perry White’s assistant before working her way up the magazine-selling tree, which was a great nod for Superman fans.
As predicted, General Astra and her gang of Fort Rozz escapees are still the weakest link in this show so far. The concept of Kara facing off against a family member is strong and great for dramatic purposes, however, Astra’s motivations for taking control of Earth is very clichéd and a complete rip-off of a certain other General in the Superman universe, plus the writing doesn’t help her much either. Laura Benanti is trying her best, but Astra ends up being your stereotypical sci-fi baddie, and if this is supposed to be your series’ main antagonist, that’s not a good thing. The final climatic battle between her and Kara was poorly handled with the flying effects looking obviously wirework and unconvincing in its execution. The Hellgrammite was an interesting adversary, but he was quickly pushed to the side in favour for Astra. However, we do see that Hank Henshaw may have a villainous role to play in future as we get a glimpse of his apparent otherworldliness.
This episode was a strong follow-up to the series premiere, whilst improving on most of the pilot’s missteps, and further establishing Kara’s character and the kind of hero she desires to be, plus including some great character development for its supporting characters. If the show continues on in this direction, then this series will have strong legs.