Superman on Television
Supergirl: Episode Reviews
Season 3 - Episode 22: "Make it Reign"Reviewed by: Marc Lax
Originally Aired: June 11, 2018
WRITTEN BY: Ray Utarnachitt and Cindy Lichtman
DIRECTED BY: Armen V. Kevorkian
Melissa Benoist (Kara Danvers/Supergirl)
Chyler Leigh (Alex Danvers)
Jeremy Jordan (Winslow "Winn" Schott)
Mehcad Brooks (James Olsen/Guardian)
David Harewood (J'onn J'onzz/Martian Manhunter)
Odette Annable (Samantha Arias/Reign)
Chris Wood (Mon-El)
Katie McGrath (Lena Luthor)
Anjali Jay (Selena)
Chad Lowe (Thomas Coville)
Andrea Brooks (Eve Teschmacher)
Rating - 2 (out of 5): "I promise you - I am not dying today." - Samantha
Sometimes the writing on this show can grow lazier as we drift into the final act of a season. Season 2 suffered a little from that and now Season 3's currently suffering from the same problem.
New writer Ray Utarnachitt scripting their first ever episode of the show (alongside seasoned Supergirl writer Cindy Lichtman) might have something to do with it, but I don't think the whole blame should be placed on them (Utarnachitt has written a whole bunch for Legends of Tomorrow and that's show is often solid). More likely, it's byproduct of lengthy, 23-episode seasons and a lack of collective ideas in the writers room.
I say collective, because writing on micro scale was good - everything from Winn's pleading call for "ALEEXXX" to Eve's tiny additions was spot on (and it's not the writers' doing, but I loved Alura's outfit too). But the writing for the wider arc of the episode wasn't. When you bottom line the plot, it was about three old witches - none of whom we care about - conniving to destroy the Earth.
Selena's been a villain for a while, but she was only credited with a name recently (before that, she was simply credited as 'Dark Kryptonian'), which highlights how unimportant she's been along the way. Even her murder of Thomas Coville was poorly conceived - a villain killing an underling who helped them, for no real reason other than being evil, is tiresome and cliche.
Her two companions were even more pointless - two haggard, old witches, who the writers tried to characterise a bit with lines like "You've always been stupid," but who came across as nothing but irritating. The writers didn't leave Purity and Pestilence around long enough to allow us time to care about them (yes, I'm still not over that), so them asking us to care (in the liking-them-as-villains sense) about these two backdrop she-devils is far too big of an ask.
Amidst the chaos, we had Winn showcasing his latest (non-lethal) invention (something so useful and brilliant, it's difficult to believe he could come up with it on his own) - a belt that shields your entire body (with a close field) at the push of a button. This all-too-convenient plot device paid off later on, when Winn used it to avoid death, then Demos (Curtis Lum) found it incapable of withstanding the laser beams of all three witches simultaneously, and lost his life.
This week was directed by the great Arrowverse visual effects supervisor Armen v. Kevorkian, who Kevin Smith praises a lot, and who had his second outing directing on Supergirl here ('Ace Reporter' was his other episode, which was also sub-par) and his fifth time directing in the Arrowverse as a whole. As Smith will tell you - a director doesn't have that much sway on how an episode turns out, so the pitfalls here might not be Kevorkian's fault (my theory is they deliberately choose to give him the bad episodes to direct, so he can test the waters directing without rocking the boat if he gets things wrong).
The penultimate episode of any season should be steeped in endgame content centred around the primary villain - the one we've spent 23-or-so hours investing in; Reign. While the goal of our crinkly Kryptonians was to revive Reign fully (by stealing the blood of Purity and Pestilence), the episode had little-to-nothing to do with Reign herself.
Instead, it was gap-bridging filler content designed mainly to do two things: to set up Reign's return for the finale and to give our heroes a reason to scurry back to Earth. Now, we have a worldwide outbreak of natural disasters, with Reign close to her goal, but we also have Samantha voluntarily in The Dark Valley.
I think she'll be key to saving the day next week. A lot of this season has been about overcoming and driving out your private demons (Kara's overcoming her heartbreak, Alex overcoming her break-up, the hosts regaining control of their Worldkillers and so forth), so it makes sense that Samantha will be pivotal in taking down Reign, hopefully (as she promised), without losing her life in the process. And Ruby will be her muse and motivation.
The writers on this show know how to start seasons really well and they know how to throw in some great episodes along the way, but there's a trend in them not knowing how to end a season with any expertise or grace. The finale next week will be the moment to truly decide that, but based on this week, it's not looking promising.
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