Supergirl 5.1: “Event Horizon”
Robert Rovner, Jessica Queller, Sarah Schechter, Greg Berlanti (Executive Producers), Jesse Warn (director), Daniel Beaty (co-producer), Joanie L. Whoehler, Jennifer Lence, Carl Ogawa, J. Holtham, Jay Faerber, Chris Pavoni (producers), Derek Simon (supervising producer), Jesse Warn, Dana Horgan, Lindsay Sturman, Rob Wright (co-executive producers), Derek Simon, Nikki Holcomb (written by)
Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks, David Harewood, Chyler Leigh, Nicole Maines, Katie McGrath, Jesse Rath, Staz Nier, Julie Gonzalo, Andrea Brooks, Azie Tesfai (cast)
Aired October 6, 2019 on the CW
Supergirl has been an immensely important show in my life, and not just because it’s breathed new life into my favorite character of all time. That’s a big part of its importance to me, and it’s been wonderful these past four years seeing all the exposure Supergirl has gotten, and especially all the little girls who now look up to her. Sure there have been stumbles along the way, but for the most part this show is my heart. That was taken to new levels last season, as I and other trans women were offered a type of representation we’d never gotten before with Nicole Maines’ Dreamer. Just her inclusion makes the last season of Supergirl the most important season of television of my life, and because Maines is still a series regular, I’ve looked forward to the season five premiere, “Event Horizon”, more than any premiere episode since the pilot itself.
Right off the bat, the timeline for this episode is a little weird, but I suppose that can be chalked up to alternate Earths. Typically the Pulitzer Prizes are awarded in May, and while we only pick up a month after the last season ended, that puts us somewhere in the neighborhood of June, which is is too late for the standard award ceremony. Sadly, this isn’t the only questionable plot decision in the episode, but more on that in a bit.
I appreciate seeing the burgeoning relationship between Brainiac 5 (Jesse Rath) and Nia Nal (Maines), as again its not something that is common in terms of transgender representation, where the relationship is just a relationship, and the gender identities of the participants don’t matter one way or the other. Its refreshing, and so important to see that trans characters can be about more than just their trans status, and that’s something that has always been true of Nia Nal in this show.
As a big Veronica Mars fan, I’ve loved Julie Gonzalo for a long time, and I hope my opinion of her character changes as the season progresses, but at the moment, she’s my biggest problem with the new season. Specifically, her coming in as the new editor-in-chief of CatCo and unilaterally (and illegally?) amending the contracts of the entire staff by extending them three years and putting a non-compete in them. If a change in a contract is not agreed upon by both parties, there’s no way that non-compete will hold up in court. Now, surely they’d have to work out the remainder of their original contracts, but the additional time is in no way enforceable. I realize it’s there to add drama to James Olsen’s (Mehcad Brooks) story, but its insertion pulled me right out of the story.
The other two conflicts in the episode were much better done, starting with the conflict introduced by the Monitor at the end of last season between J’onn and his brother Ma’alefa’ak (Phil Lamarr). Family drama is always good, and the weight that will be brought by Lamarr will surely make the Supergirl leadup to Crisis on Infinite Earths enjoyable.
But the best conflict this season is going to be between Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) and Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist). After last season’s climax, Lena finally knows Kara’s secret identity, and the hurt and betrayal she feels at that fact are palpable. And while it seems midway through the episode that the ill will will be washed under the bridge, we see at the end that that will not be the case. This is the plotline I’m most excited for this season, and I’m eager to see it play out.
“Event Horizon” was a solid premiere episode that lays the ground for the upcoming season, but not without some major problems with one of the plotlines. I’m hoping they can course correct this plotline, and expect this season to continue ramping up until the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover.
Supergirl airs at 8 pm Sundays on the CW.