Supergirl 5.14: “The Bodyguard” Review

NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Supergirl” are present in this review



It’s finally the day of Obsidian’s big VR lenses launch, and as you can imagine, it’s an event that won’t go unnoticed by some less law-abiding citizens. “The Bodyguard” presents some initially pedestrian Supergirl ideas, but eventually brings them to unexpected and fairly satisfying payoffs, with Alex, Lena, Brainy and Lex all getting fairly interesting story material this week. The trade-off however is that some of the show’s stubborn storytelling flaws from this season in particular naturally remain in place here, namely Kara’s increasingly tedious romance with William, though fortunately, these dark spots don’t manage to drag down what’s otherwise a fairly solid Supergirl episode.

The core storyline of this episode involves Andrea being attacked by a mysterious individual that wields pink lightning, right before the public rollout for Obsidian’s revolutionary new technology. With the launch of Obsidian’s VR lenses being threatened, Lex decides to capitalize on the growing anxiety around Obsidian management, as a means of getting closer to Gemma, and in turn, to Leviathan. This is another great way to frame Lex as more of an anti-hero than a true villain, especially with Superman not being present on the series at this point, and instead being primed to headline his own spin-off next season. Brainy also continues to get dragged into Lex’s plotting to boot, deliberately feeding Alex and J’onn misinformation (not that it matters in the end), and essentially continuing to be responsible for the DEO becoming a puppet organization in the Arrowverse.

Speaking of Alex, she’s naturally having trouble adjusting to her post-DEO life, despite preparing to work with J’onn at his detective agency. Alex’s existential crisis is fairly heartfelt as well, since Alex has always been serving someone else’s cause, albeit for noble reasons, and now that she has absolute freedom, she doesn’t quite know what to do with herself. This was an interesting way to ease Alex into her new status quo, while eventually allowing her to assist against our villain-of-the-week to boot, who is initially believed to be a ‘chlorophyllian’ named Todd Sapphire. In a decent twist however, Todd actually died a year previous, with his wife, Amy actually being the attacker of Obsidian and Andrea, wanting revenge for her late husband’s VR addiction.

The Arrowverse has a rather sub-par record when it comes to villains-of-the-week, but Amy Sapphire proved to be a cut above the usual crop, having interesting and relatable motivations, as well as being more than a one-dimensional baddie. The character doesn’t appear to exist in DC Comics lore either, though I have a sneaking suspicion that she could be a heavily re-worked version of Green Lantern villainess, Star Sapphire, namely due to her last name, and her gauntlet that wields pink lightning. Regardless, Amy has the ability to absorb alien energy through her gauntlet, leaving Kara and J’onn unable to directly attack her (she just grabbed this technology off of the black market? It’s even more dangerous to Kara than Kryptonite! Who built this thing?!), and instead forcing Kara to try and appeal to Amy’s tortured soul, and lack of desire to hurt innocents, in order to win the day. Kara is successful as well, with Lex in turn getting his chance to get into Gemma’s good graces to boot, so it’s a win-win for the so-called ‘heroes’ of National City.

This is why it’s a bit of a bummer that, while Supergirl’s battle against Amy Sapphire is fairly interesting, the rest of the story material involving Kara is a little less engaging this week. A lot of Kara’s civilian storyline is anchored too much around her budding romance with William, whom the show seems to be heavily backpedaling on yet again, now firmly portraying him as a heroic, altruistic figure, and not the gruff asshole that he’s been for much of the season. The thing is though, because of that narrative backpedaling, William went from being an unlikable character to a boring character, and his relationship with Kara feels boring as well. Not only that, but the idea of Kara having to be Andrea’s bodyguard is too quickly abandoned here too, with Andrea instead just being dumped at the DEO the very second that Alex calls for Supergirl’s help. At least this does provide an efficient, albeit hasty excuse for Andrea to re-discover her Acrata powers though, which were formerly erased from the revised Earth-Prime history.

Finally, Lena anchored one of the best storylines of this episode, as she goes forward with Non Noncere, testing it out on some inmates at National City’s local prison. The VR lenses appear to make Lena’s technology work as well, pacifying the violent inmates, and leaving the more defenseless inmates better able to survive in prison. To Lena’s surprise however, the VR lenses also fail to account for violent urges in the sub-conscious, which result from frequent bullying and victimization. Lena does manage to tweak Non Noncere to work properly by the end of this episode, but this turn begins to lay the groundwork for Lena’s technology having unintended consequences in the near future. At least Lena is stopping to re-examine her character though, pondering whether she’s headed down a dark path, despite Lex’s assurances that she’s doing better than he once did.

“The Bodyguard” doesn’t ultimately realize all of its narrative ideas to their full potential, especially regarding its titular hook, but the storylines surrounding Supergirl’s supporting cast still managed to thrive fairly well here. We got a solid villain-of-the-week for once, an interesting conflict for Lena after she puts Non Noncere into action, and Alex got an interesting chance to find her new place in the world, after having to leave the DEO. It was nice to see Supergirl not take the easy, hard left-leaning narrative path for a change as well, instead attempting to provide interesting, impartial commentary on the pros and cons of highly immersive, gripping technology in the modern world. Still, the show is being held back by its dull Kara/William romance nonetheless, which I’d rather simply see scrapped at this stage. It’s not like William exists in DC Comics lore, and frankly, Kara really doesn’t need a love interest at this point. She’s got enough problems with Lex about to provoke Leviathan, and with a new technical scourge about to make its way through National City, if not the world as a whole.

Supergirl delivers an eventful, engaging launch for Obsidian's VR lenses this week, presenting a good mix of storylines throughout the show's supporting cast.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Interesting villain-of-the-week
Alex struggling to find her place post-DEO
Lena facing unexpected consequences from Non Noncere
Bodyguard hook with Andrea isn't used to its full potential
Kara/William romance continues to be tedious