It’s hard not to compare tonight’s Supergirl episode featuring an appearance from The Flash with the other superhero “team up” currently making pop culture waves: Batman v Superman. Where the latter is dark, brooding, and antagonistic, the former literally features ice cream cones, doughnuts, and squeals of giddy delight from both participants. There’s nothing saying you can’t enjoy both Supergirl/The Flash and Batman v. Superman, but, if you’re looking for one to fill you with hope in the future of humanity in this dark, dark time, might I suggest Supergirl and The Flash?
If you couldn’t tell from that intro, I was a big fan of “World’s Finest.” As both a regular watcher of Supergirl and The Flash, I think it was a boon to both shows, impressively advancing the plot of Supergirl, while managing to integrate Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) into the action in organic, substantive ways. The set-up: Barry accidentally jumps universes to end up in National City just as Silver Banshee is throwing Kara (Melissa Benoist) from a skyscraper. Barry saves Kara (even though she doesn’t really need the help), immediately creating a bond between the two.
This worked well for the purpose of the episode. We didn’t have to waste narrative time seeing these two gain trust. They immediately trust one another, which is not only indicative of their meeting, but of who these two are as superheroes: trusting, optimistic, and always willing to believe the good in people. Frankly, the team-up was like a minty mouthwash after the gritty antagonism of Batman v. Superman, and I recommend it to any fans who are looking for a palate cleanser.
As a vehicle for introducing viewers to the world of Supergirl, this episode was the show at the top of its game. It gave plenty of time to Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart), who does for sarcastic, unimpressed one-liners what Oliver Queen does for salmon ladders. It highlighted how similar a superhero to Barry Allen that Kara Danvers truly is. And, in her dynamic with Barry, it reminds viewers just how much Kara Danvers owes to Felicity Smoak in terms of personality. Barry and Kara’s dynamic is so similar to Barry and Felicity’s: joyous, intellectual, and full of adorkableness.
If Barry was your surrogate viewer into the world of Supergirl — the newcomer experiencing these things for the first time — then the show couldn’t have asked for a better example of how to respond to these characters and their world. He not only immediately accepts that Kara is from an alien planet, but is excited by the fact. He even tries to take a selfie with her spaceship. If Supergirl is often a parable to how we treat immigrants and refugees, then Barry is the best possible example.
Of course, the crossover also served as a vehicle to introduce Supergirl fans to the world of The Flash through its main character. Though we don’t truly get a sense of what The Flash the show looks like, it is hard not to fall in love with its main character. Watching this episode reminded me that this is how we were first introduced to Barry’s character in general: as a guest star on Arrow. As with his introductory stint on that show, Grant Gustin brings charisma, heart, and humor to every scene he inhabits. If the DC television universe has gotten anything right, it is in the casting of its superheroes. Who wouldn’t fall in love with them?
There was plenty here for fans of both Supergirl and The Flash, too — mainly, the chance to see these two superhero characters confiding in and understanding one another in a way they really can’t with their non-superheroed friends. The superhero-protagonist group therapy that happens whenever DC television shows cross over has got to be the best element of those episodes. We’ve seen it with Barry and Oliver, and now we see it with Barry and Kara. However, unlike the former example (and that blockbuster movie I keep mentioning), this episode proves that superhero team-ups don’t have to include a clash of values to be compelling.
Perhaps most impressively, the Supergirl/The Flash team-up managed to succeed as not just a standalone episode, but also as an important part of Supergirl’s story. In a pivotal moment, Supergirl won the people of National City over, showcased in a saved-by-the-masses moment reminiscent of Spider Man 2. Siobhan evolved into Silver Banshee. Kara finally kissed James. And, in a killer cliffhanger ending that will hopefully bring The Flash viewers back, Non has unleashed “Myriad” on the people of National City. The weapon seems to act as some kind of body-snatching device, making humans into sheep-like zombies who are currently flocking to some undisclosed location. (Hopefully, not off a cliff.)
Overall, “World’s Finest” was a delightful way to spend an hour of television — it was short, sweet, and left us wanting more. Next on my wish list? A crossover that features Kara, Barry, and Oliver. If this episode can happen, anything’s possible, right? Long live the DC television universe: the best place for on-screen DC superheroes. There, I said it.
Supergirl airs Monday nights on CBS, The Flash airs Tuesday nights on the CW.
Supergirl helped a family assemble an Ikea table? She’s very desperate to win back the people of National City.
Barry’s first comment about this world is that there is no Cisco Ramon. That’s kind of adorable. Best nerd friends forever.
Melissa Benoist’s reaction to getting ice cream has got to be one of the best things to air on TV this decade, right? (Editor’s Note: Yes)
“You four look like the attractive yet non-threatening, racially-diverse cast of a CW.” Supergirl does topical, meta commentary more than any other show on TV.
“My name is Barry Allen. I’m not actually anybody’s cousin.” Can Barry always introduce himself like this please?
“Sounds like someone whose only superpower is jumping out from an alley in a trenchcoat.” Cat’s reaction to “The Flash” as a superhero name.
“Boys-be-gone. Girl stay.” Between this Cat comment that sounded like a spell and Siobhan’s aunt’s Muggle reference, the Harry Potter was strong with this episode.
“Is this a spaceship?” “That’s actually my spaceship.” Kara’s so proud of her spaceship.
“As it happens, catching criminals is both my night and day job.”
“You have a sister?!” Barry Allen loves family. Also, both Gustin and Benoist’s line readings in this episode were even better than usual.
“Like an evil Taylor Swift squad?”
“Catch the bad girl. Bring her back here so she can’t hurt anyone else. Eighty-five percent chance of punching.” Kara is too excited about this superhero team-up to spend time on plans!
“For the record, I went around the block to check the perimeter.”
Kara to Barry: “I’m really sorry you’re locked out of your world, but I’m really glad you’re here.” Us too, Kara. Us, too.
“I see that my ex-minions have united.” Nothing fazes Cat Grant.
“Sorry I keep saying bad boys.”
“Why don’t you say we step away from the nice lady. Settle this like women. What? There’s more of you here than me.” Barry Allen, feminist ally in every universe.
“I hate helicopters.” Totally justified, Livewire.
“Like you taught Supergirl, our enemies deserve a fair trial.” Maybe James Olsen could teach this to Team Flash, too…?
“He was so unfailingly, charmingly nice that he was either a superhero or a Mormon.” I loved this line, but I’m still mad Supergirl backtracked on Cat figuring out that Kara is Supergirl.
“I just wanted to talk to you about infinite Earths.” Best. Pick-up line. Ever.
“Think you can keep up, Girl of Steel?” “Just you watch, Scarlet Speedster.”