“Supergirl” Episode Review – S04E13 “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?”

Superman Homepage writer Michael Bailey reviews episodes from the “Supergirl” TV series, airing on The CW.

Check out his review of the thirteenth episode of Season 4 in which Manchester Black (guest star David Ajala) breaks out of prison with the help of his new team, The Elite, who are set on punishing the anti-alien forces. Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) pulls double duty as she tries to apprehend Manchester Black and his team as well as deal with a shocking new development with Ben Lockwood (Sam Witwer).

What's So FunnyOriginally Aired: March 3, 2019
WRITTEN BY: Eric Carrasco and Aadrita Mukerji
DIRECTED BY: Alexis Ostrander

REGULAR CAST:
Melissa Benoist (Kara/Supergirl)
Chyler Leigh (Alex Danvers)
David Harewood (J’onn Jones)
Mechad Brooks (Jimmy Olsen)
Jesse Rath (Brainiac 5)
Katie McGrath (Lena Luthor)

GUEST STARS:
Nicole Maines (Nia Nal)
Sam Witwer (Benjamin Lockwood)
David Ajala (Manchester Black)
Jessica Meraz (Pamela Ferrer/Menagerie)
Louis Ozawa Changchien (Hat)
Bruce Boxleitner (President Baker)
Andrea Brooks (Eve Teschmacher)
April Parker Jones (Colonel Haley)

4Rating – 4 (out of 5): Before I get into the review, I wanted to mention that, unless I am completely wrong, the guy playing Cougar (the bearded man that met Ben Lockwood in the bar and then got beaten with an Agent Liberty mask at the end of the episode) is the same guy that played Andrew Conners in “Precipice”, a second season episode of SMALLVILLE. Andrew was one of the three guys that were threatening to assault Lana and then got thrown into a police car by Clark. I’m not 100% sure of this but if it is the same actor then two guys from SMALLVILLE were in two scenes together on another Super-related show. I think this sort of thing is cool, but to be fair it doesn’t take a whole lot to amuse me.

This was a strong episode of SUPERGIRL and I liked it quite a bit. The main strike it has against it is that the episode was titled, “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way”.

For those of you that may not be aware, that was also the title of the story that appeared in ACTION COMICS #775, which was published back in January 2001 and was written by Joe Kelly with art by Doug Mahnke and Lee Bermejo. In that comic, Superman is confronted not only by a new super team called The Elite but also a crisis of confidence and morality. The Elite (made up of Manchester Black, The Hat, Menagerie and Coldcast) are a take no prisoners style group and essentially call Superman out for his seemingly outdated methods and outlook. The story made a point and that point was summed up by Superman’s final bit of dialogue to Manchester Black. “Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us. And on my soul, I swear… until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice becomes the reality we all share – I’ll never stop fighting.”

“What’s So Funny…” is one of those Superman stories that constantly make the top of whatever TOP (Fill in the number) SUPERMAN STORIES OF ALL TIME lists that make the rounds when comic book sites want to generate some ad revenue. It was even adapted into an animated movie called SUPERMAN VS THE ELITE. With that sort of pedigree you would think that if you titled an episode of SUPERGIRL with the name of one of the best rated Superman stories of all time that you would…you know…in some way adapt it.

And to my mind the writers and producers completely dropped the ball in that regard.

Again, this was a great episode. I liked it much better than the last few installments. It moved the story along, threw us some great curve balls and ramped up the drama. Every member of the main cast had their stories advanced in a meaningful way and the various plots threads that have been going on their own started to get weaved together.

Nia progressed in her training as a hero. Brainy was dealt a blow to his ego. J’onn began to realize that he might need to pick up the sword again. Lena began working in the DEO. James okayed a story that might make Lena look bad. Ben Lockwood not only became a part of the current administration but re-asserted his authority with the Sons of Liberty. The President showed what a bad guy he really was. Alex started doing what she felt was right as opposed to following protocol. The Elite, led by Manchester Black, were introduced. Finally, Supergirl stood her ground with the President, fought against the Elite, and destroyed a satellite she thought was morally wrong.

Oh, and the President is doing things behind Col. Haley’s back and she didn’t seem happy about that.

When you combine all of that with the fun banter between Kelex and Brainy then this was an amazing episode.

That should have had another name.

Nothing that happened during the course of the forty-two or so minutes, outside of maybe the introduction of the Elite, had anything to do with ACTION COMICS #775. You could make the argument that naming this episode “What’s So Funny…” was just a nod to the first appearance of The Elite as a team and you’d be right. To me, that is the title of an episode where Supergirl proves to everyone that her philosophy is the right one. It’s not the first appearance of The Elite. It’s the one where she takes them down and proves to the President and to Col. Haley and to Lena that her way to the way they should go.

It should have been the title of the season finale.

At the end of the day, though, it was a minor thing. I may have taken up a lot of my review writing about it, but I meant it when I wrote that this was an amazing episode. It put the season back on course and made me excited for the next episode. The show continues to treat the themes and the social commentary with a deft hand and this could end up being the best season yet.

Check out the “Supergirl – Episode Reviews” Contents page.

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Superman2878
Member
Superman2878

While I do agree that the President hiring Lockwood is a bad idea(because Lockwood is a bad guy),I wouldn’t necessarily call the president a bad guy. Misguided maybe, but I wouldn’t say bad necessarily. We also haven’t seen him long enough to categorize him as bad I believe. Now hear me out, he’s the President, and one of the responsibilities of the presidency is protection for the United States from foreign threats. For the past three seasons earth already had been invaded by extraterrestrial threats. Season one we saw Non invade with his army of Kryptonians. Season two it was… Read more »

Anthony_Mage
Member
Anthony_Mage

Michael Bailey said: “To me, that is the title of an episode where Supergirl proves to everyone that her philosophy is the right one. It’s not the first appearance of The Elite. It’s the one where she takes them down and proves to the President and to Col. Haley and to Lena that her way to the way they should go. It should have been the title of the season finale.” I 100% whole heartedly agree with you. “The show continues to treat the themes and the social commentary with a deft hand and this could end up being the… Read more »

Superman2878
Member
Superman2878

Respectfully disagree with me or Bailey? Lol,
I sort of got lost.

redcape
Member
redcape

I found this episode hard to like. I’m trying to like this show but being a weekly series has meant that soap opera style of stories are invented to string out show concepts from week to week. Take for example Jonn Jones. When was the last time we saw him as the Martian Manhunter? His role has been pretty well diminished to second fiddle. This show is one reason that I don’t ever want to see a Superman TV series. It would just diminish into the same category of story lines. Supergirl spends far more time this season standing around… Read more »

Superman2878
Member
Superman2878

While I do see what you mean by the soap opera angle, I think that’s going to happen in any production. Tv or movie, there has to be some kind of drama to happen in order to progress the story.

As for Superman on tv, I say we agree to disagree on that topic.

redcape
Member
redcape

I think the concept of having a series with him sounds better than what we would actually get. Especially after the series continues the following few years. Do you REALLY want to see him reduced to the level of what we’re seeing now on SG?

Superman2878
Member
Superman2878

I never said his version was perfect. And I do think that they should have treated him better, but for the most part I enjoyed seeing Tyler as Superman. And I’m sure others as well. Given the problems that they have had with Superman,I would still like to see a series with Tyler as the Man of Steel. I understand that you don’t want to see a Superman tv series with Tyler as Superman. That’s fine. That’s your opinion. In my opinion, a Tyler Hoechlin Superman tv series would be cool to have. And I’m not changing my mind about… Read more »

redcape
Member
redcape

IT”S NOT ABOUT TYLER(or anyone else) AS SUPERMAN! It’s about what they’d do with his character on a weekly TV series. TV and the soap opera environments would just revolve around him getting smacked around and then getting propped back up and of course all the rest of the personal environments that would revolve around secondary stories. Just like what were seeing on SG. But hey….if that’s what you like I understand. And totally no offense but I think your a little to drunk on just seeing the suit on TV.

Superman2878
Member
Superman2878

“no offense but I think your a little to drunk on just seeing the suit on TV.” Whoa! What’s with the insult? Why are you insulted that I like Tyler’s Superman?Why are you be insulting? You say “ no offense” but then you say such a nasty mean thing to me. Why??? Seriously, tell me why? I was respectful and said we can agree to disagree, and I get this response? Look I’m not going to lie and say I’m not going watch any tv series with Tyler as Superman just to make you happy. I’m not. You have been… Read more »

redcape
Member
redcape

First of all…get a grip will you. There’s no insult(s) directed towards you. “nasty mean thing to you”. Come on…what are you 6??

The only issue I’ve brought up is what they’d do with his character on a weekly TV show and how they’d cheapen it. THAT’S ALL! Turn your sensitive meter down. Were only just talking here.

Superman2878
Member
Superman2878

Why is it whenever someone says “no offense” they say something offensive? You might not think that you were being offensive, but believe me when I say that you were offensive. I was offended. I’ve said nothing to deserve this kind of behavior from you. I don’t know why you take issue on me wanting to have a Superman series. I can have my say, the same as you can. If I want a Tyler Superman series, so what? What does that have to do with you? It’s my opinion. I can have one the same as you. And again… Read more »

Superman2878
Member
Superman2878

Look….. You have your opinions. I get that. I respect that.
I have my own opinions. I hope that you can respect that as well. Can we please, please agree to disagree and just put this conversation in the past? Because it really is I believe a conversation that is starting to get pointless. What do you say? Can we move on from this one?

Superman2878
Member
Superman2878

And one more thing. I just wanted to explain to you why the “no offense but I think your a little to drunk on just seeing the suit on TV.” comment was offensive to me. I don’t find any jokes on alcoholism funny. Alcoholism is a very very serious illness. It’s no joke. It affects a lot of people. So please next time keep that in mind. I’m not trying to start this argument again, I’m just trying to explain to you on why that comment was offensive to me. It’s a sensitive topic for some people. And knowing this… Read more »

redcape
Member
redcape

It’s only an expression not be taken to the extreme as you have done. Re-read my last two sentences. Contrary to what you’re saying there is NO “behavior” directed towards you.

Superman2878
Member
Superman2878

Well it’s not an expression that I’ve heard before. And no I did not take it to the extreme. Expressions can be offensive, and It was offensive. You can take my advice or not, but don’t say that I didn’t told you so if the next time someone else takes offense to that saying.

Superman2878
Member
Superman2878

Look, this conversation is going in circles. I say something then you say something. It goes back and forth. No winners in this debate. We clearly have different views and opinions. I don’t want to continue debating on this, do you?
As far as I’m concerned, the conversation is finished.
So why don’t we just move on from this one? I’m sure that there are other topics on the website to comment about.
Can we at least agree on that? To move on from this discussion?