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There are the requisite bumbling antics, the fetching of coffee, the swooning over James (I would hate this giggling/stuttering girl-with-a-crush trope but, well, I assume I would be the same way in Brooks’ presence), and the job frustration. But that quickly gives way to the actual heroics: Alex’s plane is about to crash and Kara can’t help but fly — for the first time in forever — and use her super strength to save everyone on board. It’s here where the episode picks up the pace and momentum, and where it displays the potential that the series has.
One of the best aspects of The Flash, also from Greg Berlanti, is how much fun Barry has as The Flash. Berlanti uses that idea here, too, to a certain extent. In one of the best scenes in the whole episode, Kara is positively overjoyed and enthusiastic after saving the plane — you can see the exhilaration, the sudden realization of what she was sent to earth to do. Kara excitedly talks about how good it feels to fly again. She shows off her powers to Winn, who helps her choose an outfit (with a proper cape that can withstand all the damage) and sends her off on most life-saving challenges, each one filling Kara with more confidence and more determination. You can’t have a hero without a villain, though, and the pilot gives us both a disposable bad-of-the-week and an overall bigger problem that Kara will have to face throughout the season.
The problem, however, is that even when Supergirl gets good, it still doesn’t make a case for itself. It’s not enough to be a pretty good comic adaptation when you’re surrounded by stellar adaptations, and Supergirl fails to stand out. The potential is certainly there — I can see the show getting really watchable around midseason, or maybe seriously finding its footing in Season 2 — but as of right now, it’s too average to make a dent in the ever-expanding world of superhero stories.