Melissa Benoist (Glee) is Kara Zor-El. She is Kara Danvers. She is Supergirl. And she knows that she is destined for great things after being sent from Krypton to Earth to look after her cousin Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman.
In the pilot episode, we see the beginning of Kara Zor-El’s journey to Earth – which is critical to explain to viewers who don’t know her back story – and her starting a new life with the Danver family.
The episode then jumps to when she is a grown woman of twenty-four years of age – known as Kara – working in a media centre fetching coffee and running errands for her boss, Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) -who is maybe trying too hard to be Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada? She’s fresh faced, dopey and cute; she’s very similar to her role in Glee as Marley Rose. Very similar. But she’s fun to watch and Benoist brings the character of Supergirl to life with her charm and kookiness.
The show allows Danvers to be a hero in her own right after she starts to feel like she’s living in her cousin’s shadow. She wants to finally start doing the things that she came to Earth to do; to start helping people. Kara gets the chance to do that when her sister – Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) – is on a plane that’s about to crash who then goes on to fly up to the plane and land it in the water, saving everyone. From then on, she’s branded as Supergirl by the media.
Another brilliant thing about this episode is the introduction of the character James Olson (Mechad Brooks). His on screen chemistry with Kara is electric and acts as a personal connection for her to her cousin which gives her a sense of comfort and that she knows that she can trust him.
The only problem with this pilot episode is that it was too packed, too much happened, it was too fast-paced that it’s hard to keep up. One moment she’s working for her boss in the newsroom, the next she’s telling her trusty co-worker (yet again, we see the boring “friend zone” moment happen) that she’s the girl on the news and shows him that she can fly.
Too many people find out who she is in the first episode and then there’s the villain. We meet Vartox (Owain Yeoman) and then we lose Vartox in the same episode. This sets up the whole show and gives viewers the feeling that it’s going to be one of those “different-villain-a-week shows”. One second, he’s hell-bent on destroying Kara due to the fact that her (real) mother put him in Krypton’s jail and the next he killed himself when Kara destroyed his axe. He just killed himself. Like that. Because he didn’t want to disappoint his boss.
Who by the way, looks exactly like Kara’s (real) mother, but she calls Kara her niece. So either, her mother was actually her aunt all along, or it’s the same woman playing different roles, or they’re twins, or it;s two different women who look exactly alike.
The first episode was really good. It was upbeat, Benoist makes a brilliant Supergirl, but too much happened. The writers should have taken more time to lay the characters’ foundations first rather than jump to her saving a plane and then destroying a villain in the first episode. Hopefully episode two will be a bit slower and we’ll see some character development.