Supergirl – Season 1 Episode 18
Supergirl joins the crossover club when Barry Allen aka The Flash (Grant Gustin) appears from another universe and decides to stay a while to help Kara out with a well-timed villain team up.
I’ve been eager for a crossover between Supergirl and The Flash ever since the announcement that there would be a TV show featuring the character. To me it just makes sense for these characters to be able to interact and having them living in different universes really limits the storytelling potential on both shows.
Luckily the multiverse is already established on The Flash so having these characters interact despite not being in the same universe is very possible and that is exactly what has happened here. It is a big week for DC Crossovers with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice recently released in cinemas and now this.
The reason I wanted these two characters to interact is because both shows are pretty light hearted and fun so tonally they are already a match. Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist are both engaging leads with solid comic timing and their characters are both really optimistic most of the time so their personalities had every chance of mixing well together.
This episode completely delivers on a fun crossover that plays to Barry and Kara’s strengths. I liked that very little time was spent establishing who Barry is or what his powers are. The audience were expected to either know already or simply be able to accept it. I do wonder how non viewers of The Flash will react to this episode, will this open doors for non viewers of either show to check the other one out?
It was also refreshing that the two heroes didn’t battle before realising they were on the same team. So many meetings of heroes involves a misunderstanding that leads to a fight before they end up working together so it felt different to have them immediately on the same team.
Barry’s arrival wasn’t in any way announced which I didn’t expect. He simply turned up and caught Kara after she was thrown out of a window. Their first interaction after the fact was excellent with Kara’s clothes catching fire and Barry awkwardly stopping himself from putting the fire out considering where he would have to touch her to do that. His realisation that Kara wasn’t bothered about being on fire was really amusing and their shared confusion over their abilities and identities was a nice touch.
Kara and Barry are a delight to watch together. Barry clearly isn’t worried that he will be stuck on this Earth so is content to hang out for a while until a way home can be found and Kara is just glad to have another superhero to talk to. She is clearly very excited by the prospect and finds Barry’s powers to be a lot of fun especially when he can bring her instant ice cream.
In terms of superheroes the two universes are very different. Barry’s universe has an ever growing list of superheroes that keeps getting bigger but Kara’s universe only has two at this point. The idea of another super powered being committed to helping others is fairly new though Cat isn’t surprised about it. This makes sense as metahumans do exist but have all turned out to be villains at this point. This very episode has two such examples of that.
The differences between the universes beyond the lack of super powered beings are only really touched on. Barry mentions that there is still a Central City but Cisco and Caitlin don’t turn up in his search and neither does S.T.A.R. labs. After that the episode shifts gears into having fun with the two characters being able to bounce off one another.
Another thing Barry doesn’t seem all that bothered about is the fact that Kara is an alien. He thinks the whole idea is really cool and certainly doesn’t hold that against her. Not that he should considering being from another universe would technically qualify him as an alien as well. In true Barry Allen fashion he nerds out over seeing a real spaceship and the DEO in general. He’s clearly having a lot of fun in this unfamiliar universe and it’s infectious. I wonder if alien characters will be introduced over in The Flash, Arrow or Legends of Tomorrow in the near future after this.
Barry also gets along really well with Winn who seems to be completely on his intellectual wavelength. Winn understands all of the jargon that Barry uses and is able to translate it for James and Kara. He has found someone he is able to relate to really easily and the whole experience elevates Winn to a more dynamic presence than usual.
James is somewhat jealous of Barry’s sudden arrival as at a distance he can see Kara and Barry have a lot in common and there’s an instant spark between them. There’s definitely an attraction that neither of them act on but it is more used to make their friendship grow organically in a short period of time. It’s enough to makes James jealous but not enough to suggest that there is anything that should be acted on so it becomes a love triangle without ever being one. It also ties into Cat’s advice to Kara about how to get James to realise what he’s missing. She tells Kara that she needs to be unavailable to make her more desirable and the arrival of Barry provides that distraction that makes James realise what he’s missing. It works well and further shows how well Cat can read people.
After her attempts to make herself appear less available to James she takes Barry’s advice about not holding back and confessing her feelings. It’s obvious to Barry, Lucy and Cat that James is into her so the whole thing is fairly low risk. Her confession is poorly timed as Non starts his endgame just at that point and seems to have everyone under some form of hypnosis. For a second I thought that Kara had discovered the infamous memory erasing kiss from Superman II but I’m glad that I was wrong as we don’t need that.
Barry represents the voice of experience to Kara. As far as she knows he is a well-established superhero who has everything figured out and is able to be used as a source of advice for her. She is still dealing with the public losing faith in her after being infected with Red Kryptonite and Barry is able to offer her advice on how best to deal with it. He went through the same thing back in “Flash Vs. Arrow” and had to rebuild the trust of the public by continuing to protect them. He advises Kara to do the same and they will come to trust her again in time but the trick is not to worry about not having won them over. It’s something that was probably going through her head but hearing it from someone who has been there is the confirmation she needed that everything would turn out fine eventually.
This pays off in the episode when she puts herself in the line of fire and has the bystanders stand around to protect her when she is injured. I found this payoff to be fairly contrived as I was expecting Kara to be trying to prove herself to the public at least for the rest of the season. It seemed like proving herself once again was an arc that was going to progress but now it has been resolved and doesn’t feel organic. The scene itself reminded me of Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2 where Spidey had bystanders rally around to protect him at critical moments. It’s a nice sentiment that would make sense if arrived at properly and not rushed like it was in this episode. I did like that it was the firefighters that defeated the villains and I’m glad that the overly cheesy “real heroes” statement didn’t become the moral message of the episode. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing but respect for what Emergency Services workers do but recognition of “the real heroes” happens too often in superhero stories and it comes across as insulting more than anything else.
Siobhan Smythe’s descent into villainy completes with her fully becoming the Silver Banshee. She goes from being studied at the start of the episode to teaming up with Livewire to bring down Supergirl so that she can get to both Kara and Cat. It’s a simple motivation and it works well enough. I like that she hears Livewire being interrogated at the DEO and gets the idea to use her newfound abilities for personal gain from there. The conversation with her aunt where she is told that the only way to break the curse is to kill the person who wronged her is completely unnecessary as her hatred for Kara, Cat and Supergirl was already believably established so giving a reason for her powers manifesting wasn’t really needed in this episode. It’s something that could have been dealt with in a later appearance as the whole thing felt shoehorned in.
Her team up with Livewire worked really well as she has been the most engaging villain Supergirl has had up to this point so seeing her return is a good thing. Her casual revenge mission and love of causing chaos makes her really memorable and bringing Siobhan into that is a solid pairing. They are both very powerful so they present a suitable challenge for Supergirl and the Flash working together. The Silver Banshee design was comic accurate but looked pretty silly in live action especially since it was after a Livewire induced makeover.
The action sequences were really well done with Barry and Kara’s powers both fully on display. I have no idea what Barry thought would happen when he threw lightning at someone with electrical powers but I would say he was justifiably punished for being so stupid. Despite small flaws like that it was a lot of fun seeing them work together and the stakes felt appropriate without being overpowering. I also liked that Barry was completely willing to follow Kara’s lead since it was her universe. He was there to help, not tell her what to do but his experience proved useful when he suggested leaving a battle that they weren’t going to win. It was a good use of Barry and what he has learned when fighting metahumans in his universe. I also like that he showed the police how to contain them to further the theme of Supergirl making sure that metahumans get a fair trial.
Another slight gripe is how cavalier Barry is with his secret identity. This is actually consistent for him but he unmasks and introduces himself to Kara almost immediately and is happy to talk freely in front of Winn and James without knowing who they are. He also unmasks around Lucy and doesn’t seem to worry about anyone knowing. Fair enough he isn’t from this universe but if the Barry Allen native to this Earth ever becomes the Flash then he starts his career having people he has never met knowing who he really is. Kara is really quick to reveal her identity to Barry within seconds of meeting him as well. Why bother with secret identities if they aren’t ever going to be taken seriously?
It amuses me that Cat managed to figure out that Barry and the Flash were one in the same while still being unaware that Kara is Supergirl despite her insistence that she can see through disguises easily. The only explanation is that Cat knows Kara’s secret but wants her to think that she doesn’t for her own piece of mind. It’s the only explanation that makes sense.
Cat had some great moments throughout this episode. She was brave in the face of the threat represented by the escape of Livewire but showed vulnerability when her life was threatened by begging on behalf of her sons who would have nobody if she was killed. Her dismissal of Barry’s suggestion of calling this new hero “The Flash” because it sounds like someone who exposes themselves in public rather than a superhero was hilarious and her line about Barry, Winn, Kara and James looking like “attractive yet non threatening racially diverse cast of a CW show” was great as well.
Last but not least we get to the race. Since both characters have powers involving speed it makes sense for them to test how they compare to each other. Unfortunately it wasn’t really about that as Barry only intended to use her to propel him to a speed that would allow him to get back to his own universe. The question of who can run faster goes unanswered which is probably the only way to keep fans of both shows happy but I’d have liked to see a result.
The explanation for Barry returning home was fairly flimsy but it didn’t really need to go into a lot of detail. How can he be so sure he won’t be sent to a random universe? I would quite like to see a season of The Flash where Barry spends the entire time trying to get home and visits different versions of the DC universe along the way. He’d be in for some shock when he got to the Cinematic Universe and finds that there’s a Barry Allen who looks nothing like him.
An excellent episode that proves how great a team Supergirl and the Flash are. Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist are great together and their scenes are a lot of fun. Barry blends in well with the entire cast and is a good fit for this show so the whole thing feels effortless. The team up of Livewire and Silver Banshee works well enough as the motivations are clear and the action sequences look great though there is some unnecessary backstory for Silver Banshee. Supergirl regaining the acceptance of the public didn’t work all that well as it didn’t feel like it had been earned and there are some questionable choices around keeping identities a secret. Despite the few flaws this episode is pretty much everything that could be hoped for when crossing over these two characters. It’s a lot of fun and feels like an event. Hopefully more of these can happen in future.
- Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist
- the good use of crossover potential and having a lot of fun with the idea
- solid action scenes
- the way Barry fits right in with the cast and Kara benefiting from his experience
- unnecessary backstory for Silver Banshee
- Supergirl’s rushed forgiveness by the public