With the obstacle of having to rearrange a few episodes’ airdates now past, CBS’ Supergirl has remained a strong new entry into the television superhero genre, as star Melissa Benoist continues to find unexpected notes in her performance as Kara/Supergirl. While the show continues to stumble at times to pull of the monster-of-the-week format, it’s still turning in strong episodes.
The latest contained some of the show’s best moments yet, as Kara — with more than capable assistance of her sister Alex (Chyler Leigh) — takes on an evil scientist and his mind-controlled killer robot Red Tornado. Kara taps into a deep well of rage, unloading her heat vision on the android. The effort also rendered her powerless.
According to Comicbook.com, executive producer Ali Adler teased this development’s connection to a new element recently introduced into the current run of Superman comic books, saying: “She, literally, like, put so much of herself out there to defeat this person that she loses everything and she has this solar flare, so she is rendered powerless in the next episode.”
The introduction of Superman’s “solar flare” power concluded the ‘Men of Tomorrow’ storyline earlier in 2015, Superman unleashed all the solar radiation stored in the cells of his body. To defeat Red Tornado, Kara did the same, depleting her powers for the time being. Supergirl‘s co-creator Andrew Kreisberg even spoke with DC Comics writer Geoff Johns about bringing something similar to television.
According to Kreisberg:
“It’s something that actually, it’s, sort of, new from the comics. It was a Geoff Johns idea, which was that Superman’s — or any Kryptonian‘s — cells are, basically, suffused with solar radiation and that’s where they get their powers from and the heat vision is an expulsion of that energy. You could actually just, basically, run out and you would need to recharge. I was such a fan of that comic and that run and talked to Geoff and said, ‘Could we do something with that?’ and he was like, ‘Absolutely!'”
Kreisberg had previously praised the ‘Men of Tomorrow’ storyline, from Johns and artist John Romita, Jr., saying:
“Geoff being such a good friend of mine, I always try to sit down and read anything that he wrote, and I was really digging on his Superman run that he did with John Romita, Jr., who’s one of my favorite illustrators. So I really loved the whole ‘Men of Tomorrow’ run. I thought that was a great storyline and there’s a little shout-out in an upcoming episode to one of the themes in that run.”
Indeed, as the teaser for the next episode of Supergirl, ‘Human For A Day’ indicates, Kara will face an almost identical situation that the de-powered Clark Kent faced in the comic books right after becoming de-powered (however temporarily) — a showdown with an armed robber when she is not bulletproof.
Just as Kara had to face her anger issues in the previous episode, Kara will have to dig even deeper to define — to herself and perhaps everyone else — just what a hero really is. Or more specifically, what kind of hero Supergirl really is. Is the cousin of Kal-El heroic because she’s invulnerable? Or is Kara Zor-El something much more than that? This new development also provokes questions of just what else from the current comic book continuity will appear in the show. Stay tuned to find out.
Supergirl returns Monday @8pm with ‘Human For a Day.’