NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of “Supergirl” are present in this review
Supergirl had quite the interesting offering this week. On the one hand, this episode was a mostly fantastic showcase for Supergirl’s character, who faces one of her deadliest villains yet in this latest episode, “Solitude”, and one that also has a critical link to her past. On the other hand though, the episode also feels like it’s being held back from true greatness, on account of once again focusing on the Kara/James/Lucy love triangle, which is still very tedious, and still adds very little to the series.
This week’s episode also served as something of a reunion for the Supergirl character, as our villain-of-the-week, Indigo, is actually portrayed by Laura Vandervoort, the Supergirl actress from The CW’s Superman prequel series, Smallville! Indigo is also an established personality from DC Comics lore, being a former member of the Teen Titans that is later a full-fledged villain. Her proper name is also Brainiac 8, making her one of the successors to long-running Superman nemesis, Brainiac.
This seems to continue the trend of Supergirl finding excuses to simply create altered answers to Superman’s gallery of villains, after grooming Maxwell Lord to be the Lex Luthor stand-in, Astra (and now Non) to be the General Zod stand-in, and the new Supergirl-themed version of Bizarro made for this series, with no affiliation to DC Comics’ Bizarro Girl. Indigo is obviously being positioned as the Supergirl version of Brainiac, with her lineage from Brainiac even mentioned at one point by Non (suggesting that Superman has battled Brainiac in this universe at some point, or perhaps multiple points), and despite Indigo appearing to be destroyed at the end of the episode, Non conveniently re-assembles her in the final moments, suggesting that Indigo will likely be a persistent nemesis for Supergirl throughout this series.
On that note, Indigo has virtually unlimited power, to the point where it comes off as being a bit absurd at times. Yes, Brainiac is extremely powerful in DC lore, but even Brainiac doesn’t make a habit of literally grabbing people out of a computer screen while simultaneously being at the station of a nuclear launch site, after stretching Mister Fantastic-style to turn the two keys controlling a nuclear warhead. Yes, that seriously happens during this episode’s climax, and it makes Indigo sometimes come off as unintentionally goofy, rather than the serious threat that she’s supposed to be.
Still, Laura Vandervoort fits the character well, and her performance isn’t bad. The idea of Supergirl relying on Winn and James to help her along this week is also pretty good, since Kara is mad at Hank, after believing that Hank killed Astra. This feels like a stretch, to have Supergirl quit the entire DEO on account of the death of her aunt that she didn’t like that much anyway, but it allowed Kara to once again develop her dynamic with Winn and James, with James in particular not getting many useful moments with Kara lately.
This brings me to the other highlight, or supposed highlight from this episode, that being that Supergirl visiting Superman’s Fortress of Solitude! Disappointingly though, there’s not a whole lot to it. James merely directs Kara there to look up information on Indigo, they get the information, and that’s about it. Even the set didn’t look that impressive, and felt like a step down from the Fortress of Solitude set that the far smaller CW network put together for Smallville during the previous decade. That’s a bummer. On the bright side though, there was a blatant shot of Superman possessing a Legion of Super-Heroes ring during this trip to the Fortress, which was another very cool tease that Supergirl will likely bring in the Legion of Super-Heroes during Season Two!
The moments with Indigo, and how she related to Supergirl, particularly with the reveal that Indigo is the only reason that Supergirl’s pod was activated and successfully led Kara to Earth (even if it took Fort Rozz with it), were great stuff, which is why it was a let-down that the subplot with James and Lucy yet again fell short. Lucy is once again peeved that James is spending too much time with Supergirl, and not enough time with her, and who even cares anymore? Lucy is starting to become a bit unlikable if I’m being honest, and for a woman with a military history, she’s surprisingly emotionally fragile. It’s almost a relief when Lucy just finally dumps James towards the end of the episode, possibly suggesting that this insufferable love triangle is hopefully at an end, even if it will no doubt also lead to a, “Will they/won’t they?” element to Kara and James now.
Much more interesting is the budding relationship between Winn and Siobahn. This is no doubt a doomed relationship, as Superman fans and general DC enthusiasts would know that Siobahn ultimately becomes Superman baddie, Silver Banshee, a character direction that we already know is going to take place on Supergirl, but the idea of Winn being torn between Kara and Siobahn sounds kind of interesting. Could this result in strained loyalty between Kara and Winn in the future? Winn has already been turned down by Kara, after all, and it makes sense that Siobahn could eventually woo him to the dark side, in turn setting up another good Toyman conflict. Siobahn eventually caving to desire and making out with Winn in an elevator felt far more tantalizing and fun than the tired James/Lucy drama, frankly.
Things wind down with Alex finally confessing to Kara that she was the one who really killed Astra, just in time for Kara to save the day with Hank’s help, and finally forgive him for his supposed murdering of her aunt. This does result in kind of a sweet moment, where Kara hugs a sobbing Alex, and solemnly clutches Hank’s hand briefly, as the DEO’s darlings are reunited, just in time for Non to seemingly gain the full loyalty of Indigo for whatever ‘Myriad’ ends up being. It’s inevitable that the Hank conflict wasn’t going to stick, especially when we knew that Hank wasn’t the one who killed Astra, but Alex sure earned Kara’s forgiveness pretty easily, even if the scene was still a pretty great one.
“Solitude” had standout material with the show’s title heroine, and even plenty of moments to shine for Winn, but it’s too bad that it had to be held back by the overdue break-up between James and Lucy. This means that, “Solitude” definitely isn’t the season’s best episode, but it’s still one of the better ones, especially with a promising new villain in Indigo, and Supergirl herself remaining as appealing as ever. If we’re ever to return to the Fortress of Solitude though, hopefully Superman cleans it up a bit for Kara’s next visit, and makes it look a little less shabby and “budget cut.”
- Fun, exciting introduction to Indigo
- Kara's emotional and heroic moments
- Winn's unlikely new sweetheart
- Lucy/James drama continues to annoy
- Some of Indigo's powers are a bit ridiculous