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How Supergirl‘s weekly villain just saved an otherwise flailing series

There was such awesome buzz around CBS’ Supergirl in the first half of 2015. Unfortunately, with the debut of each new episode since the series premiered, I keep holding my breath that it will get better.

The latest installment — which aired out of sequence due to CBS pulling the originally scheduled episode because of bombing imagery that may have been insensitive due to the recent attacks in Paris — wasn’t that much different than the first three to air, but a little bit of hope was delivered for the series after all, courtesy of the weekly villain, Livewire.

Livewire on Supergirl
Image: Darren Michaels/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

So far this season, Supergirl has been plagued with some pretty glaring problems. For one, we’re already four episodes into Season 1, so shouldn’t we care more about the characters at this point? Kara/Supergirl, Alex Danvers, James Olsen and Winn Schott are all so one-dimensional. Admittedly, I had to rewatch the last two episodes of Supergirl because the plot and characters were so unremarkable, I couldn’t even really recall them.

Where’s the backstory (besides Kara Zor-El escaping from Krypton)? What makes the characters tick? Sadly, even after learning Winn’s sad tale and seeing Mrs. Danvers (shout-out to Helen Slater, the OG Supergirl) treat Alex like shit this episode, for some reason I still just don’t give a rat’s about either of them. The only exception to this rule seems to be Calista Flockhart’s Cat Grant, who does seem to have some pathology going on.

More: 7 Times the Supergirl premiere set up Alex to be Kara’s biggest enemy

Secondly, the fight scenes up until this point have been frustratingly lame. For a show that’s about the clashing of good and evil at its core, there hasn’t been suspense in any of the brawls and they’re over before they start.

Perhaps the worst issue with the show is the completely over-the-top feminist quips, which are beyond insulting and distracting. It’s kind of like the old rule about money: If you have to talk about how rich you are all of the time, you probably aren’t that wealthy; similarly, if you have to talk about being feminist so much, you probably aren’t feminist.

Livewire/Leslie Willis, played by Brit Morgan, even called out Supergirl for being too “adorkable” and chaste, but she remedied this show issue by quickly mastering her own powers and kicking some major butt without mentioning that she was a “girl” or obviously stating that she is just as good as the other male villains. She just was better than any of the male bad guys we’ve seen so far; no hemming and hawing about her newly acquired abilities needed.

Supergirl, however, did manage to sneak in one of the super-blatant one-liners that have become a hallmark of the show. It wasn’t about Livewire, but it was a bit grating, nonetheless.

Livewire also upped the ante with the fight scenes. Everything about the combat in this episode seemed to be leveled up, from the special effects to the sheer grittiness of the blows delivered by both our villain and our hero.

Furthermore, an instant connection was felt with Livewire, something none of the other main characters have been able to achieve yet with way more screen time. Sure, you can tell she’s pure evil, but there was just something more there that made me want her to win.

With all of the superhero competition on the small screen right now — like Arrow, The Flash and Netflix’s upcoming Jessica Jones, which looks totally badass — Supergirl just can’t afford any room for error. Thankfully, the emergence of Livewire in Episode 4 provided us with just enough oomph to stay optimistic. Here’s hoping that this isn’t the last we’ve seen of her — because I’m pulling for Supergirl to win, I really am.

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