Wednesday 30 March 2016

REVIEW: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Firstly, let's just get it out there: Batman v Superman isn't very good. I don't think there's going to be any argument there. Personally, I didn't think it was as terrible as many people are saying. I found a lot to enjoy. But having criticism dominated by whether a production is very bad or merely quite bad is not a desirable position for any production to be in. Naturally, the movie will make a ton of money, because it's a major event: the first time ever that the two most recognisable superheroes in pop culture have come together, in live action, on the big screen. Which is more to the point. Batman and Superman deserve better than this for their first proper cinematic outing together.

There's a lot here I'm on board with. Surprisingly, I really rate Ben Affleck as Batman. I was as dubious as anyone when that casting was first announced, but it works for this take on the Caped Crusader. Batman can, and has, been many things over the years, and it's interesting to see something a little different to previous cinematic versions. Joining Bruce Wayne years into his career as Batman, embittered and resigned to this endless fight, offers plenty of potential for interesting storytelling. There's no way of getting around it, this version of Batman is trigger-happy and genuinely psychotic, but the glimpses we have of his past - post-Joker, post-Robin - give us tantalising hints as to how he became such. I love the conceit of having Superman be the new guy, crashing into Batman's world and upsetting the balance of his worldview. There's a satisfying strangeness in hearing Bruce Wayne call Clark Kent "son."

I'm also one of the few who liked Man of Steel. I get what Zack Snyder wants to do, by exploring Superman as the modern America, representing the potential of great good, against the danger of unfettered power and collateral damage. I see what he's exploring. Batman and Lex Luthor both have a point here. Superman is potentially the most dangerous being in the world and the desire to keep him in check, to have safeguards against him, makes sense. We know he's a hero, but he has to earn that place in the fictional world. There are better ways of exploring this, though. Nobody communicates in this film. There's barely a line of dialogue between Bruce and Clark that hasn't already been heard in the trailers. There's never any particularly clear reason why Clark is so determined to stop Batman, and there's the overwhelming sense that if the characters just spoke they would actually cut to the chase and sort this out by the halfway point. Despite having a ton of things to cover, both in itself and to set up DC's new cinematic franchise, Batman v Superman is overlong. The first half hour is, simply put, dull, and this has a massively negative effect on the film as a whole. It never quite recovers from the trawl through the first act, so even once it gets going, there's a lot of good will lost.

While Affleck impresses, Henry Cavill doesn't get to do much as Superman except scowl. OK, neither does Affleck, but dramatic scowling is Batman's thing. I enjoyed Cavill's performance in Man of Steel, but he has little to work with here. I've only good things to say about Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Jeremy Irons - whose Alfred reinvents the character as Q to Bruce's Bond - but the standout is Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonderwoman. Casting a talented actress who has been both a model and a soldier in her career is perhaps the perfect decision for Wonder Woman, and Gadot is very easily the best thing about this movie. Admittedly, for a large part of the film she mostly gets to smolder in provocative dresses - for the same reason that Amy Adams has one of her major scenes naked in the bath - but she has a powerful presence whenever she's on screen.

On the other hand, we have Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. I tried to keep an open mind about this one, but it really is the worst case of miscasting I've seen in a long time. It's not purely the actor who's wrong, the entire conception of the character is a mistake. There's not a thing here that recollects Lex Luthor in the comics or any previous iteration. The eccentric, babbling youngster is more like the Riddler, and having the Riddler almost bring down Superman is as poor as it sounds. This Lex is driven by daddy issues, and I can only assume that in this universe the real Luthor is dead and this is his brat offspring. At least he seems to be having fun, which is more than you can say for anyone else in this movie. There's some good material to be had from his interactions with Holly Hunter's Senator Finch, but god, that poor woman has to deliver some of the worst dialogue in recent memory. It's as if the script is trying to sabotage her performance.

Which is a shame, because - CG overload accepted - once the battle finally hits, the film goes into melodramatic overdrive. The fight between Batman and Superman is just as dramatically over-the-top as we'd hope, and, once it twists into the battle against Doomsday and brings Wonder Woman into the mix, it's spectacular. Lex's back-up plan, resurrecting Zod as a malformed killing machine, would have been a great surprise if it hadn't already been revealed in the trailers, but it still works. I'm all up for three heroes fighting a monster, and for me, this is what it's all about. Operatic and ludicrous, like a superhero fight should be.

So, while I found much to enjoy, it's too little to save the film. When looking at the films of both Batman and Superman in the colour era, Batman v Superman is probably the second weakest of each run (I've leave it to you to guess which of each hero's movies I think is worse). The biggest problem is how joyless it all is. I'm not averse to dark and issue-driven takes on popular heroes, and these kinds of productions can work. Jessica Jones is dark. Daredevil is dark. But they both have room to have fun and entertain. While I might question the wisdom of producing a Batman/Superman film that's unsuitable for kids, I can see why it's been done. However, it can, and should, be fun.

Saturday 19 March 2016

TREK REVIEW: Star Trek: Horizon

The majority of Star Trek fan films are intended to recreate the classic series, either as new adventures of Kirk and Spock  on the USS Enterprise or with newly conceived crews on her sister ships. A few look to recreate other series, though (or even "missing" eras, such as the now aborted Star Trek: Axanar).  Star Trek: Horizon is a new feature length fan production, that, while creating a new ship and crew, works very much as a lost episode of the series Enterprise.

Set in 2160, five years after the conclusion of Enterprise and at the height of the war with the Romulan Empire, Horizon introduces the starship Discovery NX-04 (NX starships traditionally being named after space shuttle orbiters). Commanded by Captain Harrison Hawke (Paul Lang), the Discovery has taken a beating on a mission to collect a Romulan defector (Tamar, played by Callie Bussell), but is soon repaired and rearmed to go on a new mission into disputed space, as part of a fleet of Starfleet and Vulcan ships. Things do not go as expected, with the Discovery pulled through time and space to a distant galaxy, arriving at a planet that is central to a deadly Romulan plot.

Horizon pulls together various elements of Trek lore to create a fan-pleasing but quite inventive storyline. As well as the fabled Romulan War that was never seen on screen, it brings in the Temporal Cold War that ran through Enterprise, with characters originating from various centuries. The Horizon of the title is a superweapon, created by aliens who fought the Iconians tens of thousands of years ago. Relics of the Iconians appeared in The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and we get to see a little more of the ancient civilisation here, depicting them rather differently and certainly more benevolently than we'd been led to believe. Events from the new Abrams movie franchise are even alluded to; the film also takes a few stylistic cues from the blockbusters.

The plot is enjoyable and well-paced, with some finely directed action sequences as well as quieter, more emotional moments. I particularly liked that we get to see the senior crew in their off hours, acting like normal people away from the front line and their stations. Horizon was made on a tight budget, and that shows, with a small cast and limited sets, but the effects work is excellent and there are some fine visuals. On the other hand, the film has a low-res, soft focus quality throughout. This may be a stylistic choice, or intended to mask production shortcomings, but it detracts from the end product.

The acting, to be perfectly fair, isn't great. It's not terrible, it's never unwatchable, but it's quite mediocre. The dialogue is quite cliched and stilted, although there is the occasional fun line. It's significantly better in these regards than Star Trek: Renegades, which was made with the involvement of several professionals. Considering the tiny budget and the amateur nature of the production, this is quite the success, and worth your time if you're an Enterprise fan with 100 minutes to spare.

Watch Star Trek Horizon here.

Thursday 17 March 2016

REVIEW: The X-Files Season Ten

Now that this short return to the dark secrets of the FBI has finished airing on both sides of the pond, it's time to sit back and look at how The X-Files has changed in the fourteen years since the original run ended. The answer is... not very much. Mulder and Scully (and sometimes Skinner) return to their roles as if nothing much has happened. The world didn't end in 2012, there was no invasion, and everything you believed was wrong (probably). Immediately, it's clear that this is intended as a pure, direct continuation, with the twenty-year-old and now very cheesy looking titles playing. For a moment you wonder that they've broadcast an old episode in error.  The most (indeed, only) surprising thing is that, rather than embrace the more current, extended storyline style that a six-part miniseries would be so suited to, Chris Carter has decided to produce a mixture of mythology-focused and one-off episodes, just like in the nineties.


The problem, for me, is that I was never overly fond of the mythology episodes. The arc plot became tiresome long before the ninth season arrived and even the die-hards got bored with it. There's a lot to appreciate in My Struggle, most notably the still excellent chemistry between Duchovny and Anderson. They look older, especially Mulder, dragged down by life and the absence of mystery. My Struggle initiates Mulder's return to the life of a believer, reinvigorated. The clear theme of the series, that of family, is laid on heavily, with considerable time spent on the duo's long lost son. It's a series that looks inwards and backwards. It's a real shame, then, that the new elements are the most disappointing. Mulder falls head first into a world of conspiracy lunacy that makes his earlier obsessions seem quite reasonable, lapping up web-caster Tad O'Malley's populist ravings. There's some spectacular imagery, brought to life by effects work the originals could only dream of, but it's in the service of the most banal story. Carter's modern twist on the X-Files turns out to be the sort of contrived, absurdist ravings that clog up my news feed on Facebook.


This is straightforward, vintage X-Files. It ties in to the overarching plot and the family/children themes, but does so in a standalone, mystery-of-the-week episode. Genetic engineering, horrifying breaches of consent, disturbing make-ups (especially considering that they are designed to recreate genuine congenital deformities) all make for solid X-Files story. It's also extremely predictable, unfolding without a surprise or an unforeseen twist. Mulder and Scully both appear reinvigorated by being back on the X-Files, with Duchovny and Anderson somehow looking years younger than in the previous episode. (They look even younger in the next one, I'm convinced. For a time I thought this was meant to be part of the ongoing plot.)


This is an episode that separates the straights from those of us who who have a sense of humour. While I was never that into the mythology episodes, I always loved the funny ones - the ones that didn't take themselves so damned seriously. The best were, like this, written by Darin Morgan. Were-Monster is the pinnacle of comedy X-Files, gleefully taking the piss out of the series and its monster-of-the-week conventions. Rhys Darby is in it, for gawd's sake, basically just being Murray from Flight of the Conchords as a monster who turns into a man. Dressed as Kolchak. This is genuinely funny; the absolute highlight of this series. (Oh, and everyone kicked off over the "negative portrayal" of a trans character. But, you know, there are black trans hookers working the West Coast. They can't all be heroes.)


Again, this is by-the-numbers traditional X-Files. All quite enjoyable, if not remotely new or surprising. To be fair, the series was running out of steam long before it reached its original end; to continue it now would require something genuinely new to make it remarkable again. The family theme continues, with some truly affecting scenes between Scully and her dying mother (a return appearance by Sheila Larkin). For the most part, though, this tale of a murderous, stalking bogeyman feels old hat. It's conspicuously bloodier and more violent than anything they got away with back in the day, and the killing to the belting chorus of "Down Town" is kind of wonderful, but still, it feels like a cover version of an old show. Mulder and Scully continually referring to "back in the day" doesn't help. "This is back in the day!" Yes, yes it is. Nothing has changed. Also, they faced a tulpa already, I recall, so why Mulder finds it so dubious in this context confuses me.


Tackling Islamophobia and extremist religious movements is a brave route for the series to go in, and perhaps, a necessary one, being such an obsession for our current culture. Still, it's perhaps not a surprise that The X-Files isn't able to actually make such an episode work. I don't agree with any attacks on the episode for being Islamophobic; it clearly and expicitly attacks Islamophobia and parochial attitudes and treats the Muslim community seen in the episode as people. It just doesn't do it very well, so its message, whatever it's meant to be, gets hopelessly muddled. Throw in the indulgent and utterly boring Mulder hippy mushroom trip and you have an episode that's tough to watch. I'm still not certain what the point of Einstein and Miller though. Lauren Ambrose - whom I adore - almost saves the episode, and Robbie Amell is less boring than in The Flash, but quite why they felt the need to introduce Mulder and Scully's junior clones is anyone's guess. Perhaps they really are setting up to replace the leads, should they get that eleventh series on the back of this.


And then there's this crap, and any good will left goes out the window. An incoherent mess, this almost plays like a parody of the series at points, except for the not being in any way funny. At least with part one there was a sense of the show needing to get back into its stride. This is just insulting, making zero sense, painting Scully as a completely credulous idiot and failing to have any real sense of jeopardy. This, in spite of a plot which features the X-Files finally move out from the shadows and into the wide world, with death and disease spreading through America in what should be a terrifying vision of the apocalypse. Instead, the tired old ghost of the Cigarette-Smoking Man wheezes on to have a tiff with Mulder. And Reyes, why bring back Reyes? Nobody liked Reyes. It ends, not with a cliffhanger, so much as an unfinished shot. True, after this The X-Files can never be the same again, and frankly, that's a good thing.

The comparison to be made is with Star Wars. The last few years have been filled with nostalgia-bait, and while there is a thrill to see our favourites recreated, there has to be something else there too. The Force Awakens managed to be a virtual remake of Star Wars while at the same time feeling fresh and reinvigorated for a modern audience. The X-Files, on the other hand, feels like a show that never escaped the mid-nineties and isn't going anywhere. The solution seems clear: like Star Wars needed to lose George Lucas to stand a chance of surviving, so The X-Files needs to lose Chris Carter. Yes, and Darin Morgan, for as much as I enjoyed episode three, it still felt like the best track on a compilation album. This show needs someone new to reinvent it.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

WHO REVIEW: All-Consuming Fire

Big Finish have begun to listen to the overt requests from fans when planning their Doctor Who releases. This isn't necessarily a great idea, since fans like me can come up with truly terrible ideas, but I'm pleased that we're getting a "Two Masters" story, and a return for the David Warner incarnation of the Doctor, both requests I added my voice to. And then there's this: perhaps the most obvious choice for a novel adaptation, and one that I, among other fans, have suggested.

Big Finish have already adapted several of the New and Missing Adventures, the popular Doctor Who novels released by Virgin Books in the nineties. They also have a successful range of Sherlock Holmes adventures, starring (Big Finish top bod) Nick Briggs as the great detective. So All-Consuming Fire, Andy Lane's excellent Doctor Who/Sherlock Holmes/Cthulhu mythos crossover is an obvious choice.

The original novel was split into three sections, each with a different setting. The first sees Holmes and Watson in their natural environment of smog-bound London, assigned a mission of vital importance by none other than the Pope himself. The second sets them further afield, into India, where the otherworldly elements of the plot become more overt. Finally, they travel through a rift in space to another planet in another dimension entirely, in full-on science fantasy territory. The adaptation follows this quite solidly, with two episodes set in London, followed by an episode each in the subcontinent and the alien realm.

I like that the audioplay opens with BF's marvellous Holmes theme, introducing the setting through the words of Richard Earl's perfectly cast John Watson. It's only then that the late eighties Who theme rolls out, juxtaposing with the Victorian setting in a suitably weird way. Both Briggs and Earl are on fine form, and the guest cast - which includes the wonderful Hugh "Captain Hastings" Frazer as Sherringford Holmes - are uniformly good. The third episode brings focus onto Bernice Summerfield, the Doctor's hard-drinking archaeologist companion, who is now so completely inhabited by Lisa Bowerman that there doesn't seem to be anything else to say on the matter. She's spot on. Her rapport with Earl's Watson is one of the highlights of the story.

The original novel, although very good indeed, loses its way somewhat in its final section, with Lane seeming more comfortable writing the Victoriana than the sci-fi stuff. (He's actually written many Doctor Who stories, and while there's some peculiar stuff in there, his period writing is generally his best. Indeed, he's since gone on to become the author of the Young Sherlock Holmes novel series.) Part of this is down to the focus on Ace. I never much enjoyed reading "new Ace," the hard-bitten space marine, and I don't much enjoy hearing her either. One of the strengths of the novel, though, was the intelligent examination of Holmes. Within London, his abilities and knowledge are so finely honed that he is almost invincible; in India, he's out of his element but still remarkably capable. On another world entirely, however, he's almost adrift, his knowledge next to useless. This is mostly lost in the adaptation, and the story is less interesting for it.

On the whole, the adaptation is highly successful, and remains a very enjoyable adventure. The weakest element is, sadly, the Doctor himself. While it's a joy to hear the Doctor and Holmes squaring off and teaming up, Sylvester McCoy gives a weak performance that detracts from the fascinating version of his character the novel range developed. Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to hearing further adaptations of classic Doctor Who novels.

Saturday 5 March 2016

Casting Call: MCU update

A brief round-up of new characters cast for the Marvel Cinematic (and televisual) Universe.

Spoilers within, of course. If you don't want to know things you don't want to know... well, don't read them.

Finn Jones
Danny Rand/Iron Fist
Marvel's Iron Fist

Marvel have finally cast the lead for their fourth Netflix series. English actor Finn Jones is best known as Loras Tyrell in the insanely popular Game of Thrones, one of many in the cast who started out on Hollyoaks (because British and pretty). Among other roles, he was Jo Grant's son Santiago in The Sarah Jane Adventures, so he has plenty of genre experience.

Danny Rand, aka the Immortal Iron Fist, is the supreme martial artist of the Marvel world. An American man who trained in K'un L'un, a lost Eastern realm, Rand became the latest in a line of Iron Fists, gaining the ability to channel his chi. This allows him to manifest his natural energies in his hand to punch with an impervious "iron fist," plus the usual superhuman stamina, strength and reflexes. Given the more down-to-earth nature of Daredevil and the urban setting of the Netflix shows, the supernatural angle might be downplayed, although with Doctor Strange now filming, maybe not.

Following the Iron Fist series, Jones will join the other Netflix stars for Marvel's Defenders, although that may be some considerable time off.  Given that Danny Rand is Luke Cage's best mate, and formed the Heroes for Hire with him in the comics, it's more than likely he'll first appear in the Luke Cage series, which will either land late this year or early next. A lot of commentators are upset that they didn't take the opportunity to cast an Asian actor in the role, which is a fair point. The story of an Asian-American kid reclaiming his heritage rather than a white American kid appropriating it would have been preferable.

Pom Klementieff
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

A French-Canadian actress, Pom Klementieff sounds like a Star Wars character. She's naturally mostly been in French language films, including the very successful (in France) comedy Les Kaira, aka Porn in the Hood. She's most recognisable to English-speaking audiences for a role in the Oldboy remake.

Mantis is a character with a complicated publication history. Created by Steve Englehart for Marvel Comics, she was a short-term member of the Avengers, before leaving the Earth - and Marvel - to start a family. Englehart took the character with him to DC, renaming her Willow and importing her to the Justice League of America. Although under a different name, she was clearly intended as the same character. After that, Englehart went to Eclipse Comics and Scorpio Rose, where Mantis became known as Lorelei, the last issues of which were published by Image. Eventually, she was reclaimed by Marvel, going through all sorts of peculiar adventures and iterations before becoming one of the many reimagined characters who became part of the new Guardians of the Galaxy.

Originally an earthly but mystical character, Mantis was a martial artist not entirely unlike Iron Fist, later developing new abilities after communing with an alien race. She now has multiple ill-defined powers, many of them plant-based, and is, of course, green. The Guardians of the Galaxy sequel is set to hit May next year.

Kurt Russell
Star-Lord's father
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

64-year-old Kurt Rusell surely needs no introduction. If he does, go watch The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China and Stargate and feel suitably chastised. In the comics, the father of Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, is King Jason of the Sparta. Sorry, J'Son of Spartax. Writer-director James Gunn ahs confirmed that this is not the case in the movies, and that Quill's dad - who hired the Reavers to abduct him in the first place - is something quite different. Quill's mother Meredith called him "an angel." Kurt Russell does not look like an angel.

Natalia Cordova-Buckley
Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez/Slingshot
Marvel's Agents of SHIELD

Agents of SHIELD has been renewed for a fourth season, just in time for the the third season to resume in the US (it's running a few episodes behind in the UK). Brett Dalton is still on the cast list, but not as Grant Ward. New to the team is Elena Rodriguez, who was part of the original Secret Warriors team in the comics. Her "Yo-Yo" nickname refers to the fact that she can run at superhuman speed but always snaps back to her original position. She also lost her arms and had them replaced by mechanical prostheses, which is obviously possible in the series since Coulson has a cyber-hand. Undoubtedly she'll be an Inhuman in this version.

Thursday 3 March 2016

Bustin' continues to make me feel good

The trailer for the new Ghostbusters is finally here. If we can manage to drown out the meninists and dudebros ("Urgh, they put girls in it! Women catching ghosts is so PC and unbelievable!") and the nostalgia-entitled ("This isn't Ghostbusters and now my childhood has been retroactively destroyed!") we can start to talk about what the movie is actually going to be like.

To be fair, the trailer doesn't scream classic to me, but then, trailers rarely do. (They can't all be Deadpool). What it does look to me is good fun, with plenty of slapstick humour and above all, plenty of slime. It's colourful and refreshingly free of grimdark, even as it parodies The Exorcist. It doesn't evoke the feel of the original, which is perhaps a good thing. It certainly feels like Paul Feig's other releases, such as the recent, underrated Spy. To me, it also has a feel of the animated series, The Real Ghostbusters, with its cartoonish, primary-coloured visuals.

Wisely, it hasn't tried to shake off the shadow of the original. Everyone knows this is a modern day remake, so to pretend otherwise would be foolish. The opening of the trailer makes it seem that this is actually in continuity with the original films, but this goes against everything else we've been told, and it seems this is just a way of introducing the concept for the audiences. This is a whole new Ghostbusters. Some elements feel very old school. The ghost faced by Kristin Wiig's character in the beginning of the trailer is clearly designed to evoke the original's Library Ghost, while Slimer is present and correct (and looking perfect). On the other hand, the possession angle is quite different to how the originals played it. It's admittedly hard to make a judgment from such scant footage, but it looks like this could be a major plotline in the new film.

I'm not keen on how they've used Leslie Jones. As in the original, it's the three white people who get to be the scientists and the black person who comes aboard later to drive the car. While the other leads don't seem to exactly reflect the original's characters, at first glance it looks like Patty=Winston. Hopefully there'll be more to her than that.

Overall, though, I'm very optimistic about this. Definitely worth a look.

(No dudebro comments please.)

Wednesday 2 March 2016

REVIEW: FLASH 2-14 & 2-15, plus SUPERGIRL 1-14 & 1-15


Well, it's a part two, and it does the things we expect it to. Killer Frost gets good, there's a lot of angst over alt-Joe's death and alt-Barry shows how pants he is compared to our Barry. The most interesting parts of this episode concern Barry's time in captivity, with the mystery of the man in the iron mask and the question mark is places over Jay's head. (The next episode will complicate matters even further, but that guy who's been pumping up with Velocity-7? He's no Flash.) Overall, straightforward, predictable but fun.


Only The Flash can combine heartfelt guilt at the loss of a comrade with the pursuit of a giant shark-man. King Shark's previous appearance was all too fleeting, so now they've brought him back for a proper fight, and it's joyous to have a proper monster stomping around on the show. While the apparent death of Jay is the catalyst, all the main characters' relationships are pulled to the fore for the episode, some more effectively than others. So much so that it feels a little overblown having Diggle turn up from Arrow as well. There's also a worrying trend developing with the newer, younger additions to the cast; I'm hoping this doesn't turn into a teen angst show. Jesse's just been saved from certain horrible death and can only complain about how she'll miss her friends, but at least she's positive and cute enough to remain likable. Wally, on the other hand, is just an insufferable oik, and the thought of him hanging around to become Kid Flash is off-putting in the extreme. Minus points: trying to find something to do with Caitlyn with the laboured "ice queen" tat. Plus points: we finally find out who Zoom is. Now that is interesting... although in this series, with face-swapping and dimension-hopping, it's still doesn't tell us much.


This series is definitely improving. It's still the least challenging of drama series but it's tremendous fun, and the stakes - both personal and global - are getting higher as the episodes progress. The Master Jailer makes a reasonably effective villain, and I'm enjoying the addition of more aliens for the DEO to track down. This is the way the show should go, in my opinion: more and stranger aliens, for a Men in Black sort of vibe, to make it stand out from the other superhero shows currently on TV. Interesting to see that not all the aliens in Fort Roz were murderous monsters. Kara's mother really was a right-wing nutter before her planet blew apart. On the less frivolous side, it's good to see there will be some fallout from the death of Astra. The addition of a rival PA to CatCo is a bland storyline, though, and Italia Ricci lacks character. The DC TV casting grows ever more incestuous, though: after having Melissa Benoist date her real-life husband on the show, now Robbi "Firestorm" Amell's partner is on the cast.


And I was just saying they should have Brainiac on the show. Naturally, for Supergirl they've gone for the female Brainiac-8 version, aka Indigo. Who, in the grand tradition of Superman/Supergirl actor recurrence, is played by Laura Vandervoort, who played Supergirl on Smallville. Anyway, this was a pretty fun episode, with all the best moments going to Calista Flockhart as usual. She really is the best thing in the show and the only thing that makes the otherwise dull CatCo scenes worth watching. Perhaps a little soon for the Astra/Alex/Hank debacle to be resolved, but then there's surely more room for exploration there.

Only three more episodes till the crossover!