Even after a disjointed first season, CBS’s Supergirl, based on the DC Comics character, closes with a thrilling, well-paced, and ofen funny finale. Picking up after “Myriad”, “Better Angels” sees Kara (Melissa Benoist) use hope and faith to wake up National City from Non’s control. Though successful, the side-effects linger like a killer hangover which will blow everyone away, literally, unless Kara can eliminate the source: the Fort Rozz prison.
Taken at face value, Supergirl’s finale is as kitschy and Golden Age-y as superheroes can get. Spreading a message of hope while sitting at a news desk is the kind of resolution you’d expect to see in the pages of a ‘50s comic, even if Supergirl has a reasonable scientific explanation. But Supergirl doesn’t posture. It’s confident in its silliness, a bravery Zack Snyder’s grim machismos of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman lack the courage to be. The Flash may be the best superhero show on television, but it doesn’t always feel as classic as Supergirl.
But what allows the finale, and indeed all of Supergirl, to triumph is the characters. Staring at imminent doom, Kara embarks on a Tenth Doctor-like goodbye tour, telling truths she meant to say — like thanking Winn (Jeremy Jordan) and Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) for friendship — while keeping secrets that must be kept — like not telling James (Mechad Brooks) why, all of a sudden, she can’t be with him on account of her probably being dead soon.
The climactic tag team fight between Supergirl and Martian Manhunter (David Harewood) versus Non (Chris Vance) and Indigo (Laura Vandervoot) is well-choreographed and technically impressive, but it doesn’t match up to the emotional resonance of Kara bidding one-way farewells.
Honest, emotional, tense, but still light and fun, “Better Angels” is a bold, punctuating finale to a troubled but charming freshman show, notable for its feminine spin on a masculine icon. That latter aspect became more than a novelty, allowing Supergirl to not only grow past the shadow of her gloomier cousin, but stand, and fly high on her own. I had my share of doubts about Supergirl. I didn’t expect to become so invested, even as an avid fan of all superheroes. But Supergirl has made me believe.
And you bet your longboxes there’s a cliffhanger, and it’s way less maddening than how The Walking Dead left its viewers. While enjoying a celebratory, we’re-still-alive dinner with her closest friends, another Kryptonian pod crash lands in the warehouses of National City. When Kara and J’onn investigate, it leaves Kara shocked. I’m sure we will be too.