When Supergirl debuted last year, I wasn’t sure it was fully going to work. The “aw, shucks” innocence of Kara was hard to take without more backstory, but it was precisely that missing backstory that probably made it work. There are few “other” Supergirls to contend with…Laura Vandervoort played her on Smallville, and was decent but only amassed about a season’s worth of episodes overall, and often as a secondary character. And of course Helen Slater in the Supergirl movie. Let’s forget about her though. Which is easy to do. So, when Melissa Benoist started as SG last year, she had almost a clean slate.
But the first episode of Season 2? Her cousin stops by. Yep, Superman. Clark Kent. The Man of Steel. The big ICON that everyone knows. And honestly, I wasn’t that excited by it. Sure, the Flash stopped by last season, but that was Grant Gustin, who is already playing The Flash. This one is an entirely new Superman. A HUGE ROLE. For anyone.
I love Smallville, mostly as it focuses so much on the origin — how he learns to become Superman as opposed to “hey, look, I’m Superman today”. And Tom Welling was perfect in that role — not sure how I would like him in the suit, but as young Clark Kent, he was awesome. Other TV options include Dean Cain, George Reeves. In the movies, you have Henry Cavill, Brandon Routh, Christopher Reeve, or Bud Collyer. Sure, lots of others too, but those are the main ones. For me, Christopher Reeve was one of the few who got both Clark and Kal-El “right”. It’s really hard to not make Clark look “like” Superman, but not “like Superman”.
So who is the new Superman? Tyler Hoechlin. Wait, who? Sure, he might have been big on 7th Heaven or Teen Wolf, but I didn’t watch either. For me, he is brand new. And you know what?
I loved him. He is good as Superman…looks pretty young, almost a bit “youthful”. But he is GREAT as Clark Kent. Not bumbling, some steel in his role as reporter, confident, settled. The contrast with Kara was of course deliberate, but I was totally sold on him being Superman. Not like the others, all his own rendition. But believable. Totally in line with the way they have Kara written, with a bit more edge.
Overall, great episode. I’m not sure I want the entire series to be “Flying Cousins”, but for an occasional visit, it’s nice.