Wednesday, October 31, 2018

What I’m Watching: Supergirl

Supergirl: Season 4, Episode 3 “Man of Steel” (B+)

Apparently, this character of Agent Liberty first appeared in comics decades ago, but this version is extremely prescient today, representing all of the anti-immigrant xenophobia that has led to so much hate and violence. The way in which the story of Agent Liberty was told in this episode was very effective, explaining his motivations as inspired by events that we’ve seen already, like Supergirl helping people get out of their hypnotic daze with her televised speech, the Daxomite invasion, and interactions with all of the characters we know well. I appreciated the casting of Xander Berkeley, alumnus of “24,” “Nikita,” and much more, as Ben’s spiteful father, who transmitted his disdain with the fact that alien influences were taking away human jobs to his son long before Ben ever became radicalized. Watching him start to believe that progress is not a good thing because it erases achievements from the past and proudly give a lecture about nativism with multiple alien students in his class was powerful and disturbing, and this show really does hold up a mirror to our own society. What that means in the long term for Supergirl and the fight to keep Earth safe from all threats will be resolved eventually, but for now, we have a dedicated resistance fighter who is eloquent and feels like much more of a formidable villain than the stunt-heavy Graves siblings since he can, has, and will articulate his sentiments in a stirring fashion designed specifically to encourage others to adopt his worldview.

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