Deadshirt Is Watching…is a weekly feature in which Deadshirt staff, contributors, and guests sound off on the television shows we’re tuned into, from intense dramas to clever sitcoms to the most insane reality shows. This week: Supergirl and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!
Mike Duquette is watching…
Season 1, Episode 2: “Stronger Together”
Mondays at 8/7c on CBS
With a fun star turn by Melissa Benoist in the title role and a much-needed dose of caped optimism, last week’s premiere of Supergirl on CBS may have been the most promising representation of the House of El since Christopher Reeve’s first turn as Superman nearly 40 years ago. Series creators Greg Berlanti and Andrew Kreisberg (the duo behind Arrow and The Flash) and Ali Adler (an executive producer of Chuck) paid respect to a number of audiences in the pilot: those who want a powerful superhero, those who want an optimistic lead (the wounds of Man of Steel still sting for this reviewer) and—crucially—the growing amount of viewers who want to see a female superhero given the same respect afforded to crimefighters with Y chromosomes.
The second episode, “Stronger Together,” doesn’t disappoint. This time, Kara Zor-El has to compete with a wave of cynical reports claiming she’s taking on too much for a nascent superhero (led by Calista Flockhart’s icy Cat Grant, who demands an exclusive interview before her competitors at The Daily Planet get to her first) and team up once more with the Department of Extra-Normal Operations, to face both the villainous Hellgrammite and Astra (Laura Benanti), Kara’s villainous aunt. The show does a pretty solid job thus far of balancing action and lightheartedness, and while the bad guy of the week formula may be better in less weekly doses, Supergirl seems as unstoppable as it did in the last episode.
Episode Highlight: Last week saw Kara experiment with Super-suit designs to the tune of Carl Carlton’s “She’s a Bad Mama Jama,” and this week offers another fun Supergirl montage set to a pop song. This time, it’s Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” scoring Kara’s rapid-fire handling of smaller incidents, from bank robberies to a surprising animal-in-a-tree caper, in an attempt to boost her image.
Dylan Roth is Watching…
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Season 3, Episode 5: “4,722 Hours”
Tuesdays at 8pm on ABC
You wanna know why I still watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? It’s not just because I’m an obsessive completist who can’t stand to miss a single canon frame of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (though there is that), it’s because every now and then AoS will surprise you with a really strong episode like this one. In the final moments of last season, Dr. Gemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) was plucked away by a portal through space and marooned on a desert planet. She was rescued six months later by her best friend/potential love interest Dr. Leo Fitz (Ian DeCaestecker), but it’s only now that we get the whole story of what happened over there.
“4,722 Hours” is essentially a two-person play starring Henstridge and guest star Dillon Casey, who plays astronaut Will Daniels, the only other human being on the hell hole of a planet. It’s a tale of survival not unlike The Martian (though admittedly nowhere near as good), as Simmons and Daniels try to evade creeping death and figure out a way home. Of course, romance eventually blooms between the castaways, but it takes long enough and is framed with enough grace that it doesn’t feel forced. Henstridge carries this episode, proving to have much stronger acting chops than this series has ever allowed her to demonstrate before. Simmons has emerged from this ordeal a more interesting character, and hopefully will continue to grow as a result.
Episode Highlight: The episode opens with the final moments of last season, with Fitz finally mustering the nerve to ask Simmons out on a date, and Simmons actually saying yes. (She’s then immediately swallowed by the portal.) When the episode catches up to the current day, we witness Simmons relating the story to love-lorn Fitz, explaining how she needs to reopen the portal to rescue her new boyfriend. Fitz runs off, and for a moment we think Fitz is heartbroken and can’t hear anymore. Simmons chases after him and discovers that, in fact, Fitz has wasted no time in beginning the rescue plan. Whether or not they ever get around to becoming a couple (I’m sure it’ll happen eventually, though I kind of hope not), it’s continually refreshing that no matter what, FitzSimmons are best friends and would do anything for each other.