Martin Carr reviews the eighth episode of Supergirl season 4…
This episode belongs to Manchester Black. Sub-plots revolving round sleep deprivation and the incarceration of Agent Liberty might work effectively, but ‘Bunker Hill’ is all about that grey area inhabited by our own home grown vigilante. Between that and the hat tip to Joe and Anthony Russo, Supergirl continues bringing the topical hammer down. In a forty five minute timeframe homage is paid to Spartacus, Welcome to Collinwood and North by Northwest not to mention marquee favourite Hook. Combine that with the historical facts peppered throughout the dialogue and it is clear that we have moved beyond conventional expectations.
Flash forward dream sequences, Presidential self-interest and a kneejerk public backlash stir the pot of extremist behaviour. Lockwood is apprehended, incarcerated and becomes truly symbolic all within a matter of minutes. Both actors provide an intense dynamic in their scenes togefther adding a darkness, potential volatility and decidedly adult theme. These showrunners are still pushing the envelope regarding Kara’s ability to constantly solve the problem. Banning direct involvement, tarring her with the same brush as everyone else and taking away everything she has invested in strengthens Supergirl further.
For Beniost, Leigh, Rath, Lockwood and company this level of emotional complexity not only provides the subject matter with much needed backbone, but advocates a move away from convention hero dynamics. This mainly makes the series stronger, feeds into their ethos of ambiguity regarding an ultimate bad guy and makes humanity a singular threat. In those final moments potential futures are changed forever as Lockwood’s position becomes almost infallible. No longer is he the man hiding behind a mask but rather the bold call to arms for those still in hiding. Locked behind bars and brooding on actions unfulfilled and promises momentarily scuppered Manchester Black owns the screen. Confined in quiet reflection, incarcerated by concrete and metal yet ethically unchanged, he looks out on crowds and placards as human mob rule gains a foothold.
Seemingly this is the cost of justice metered out by those with self-interest whatever the species. There is no one here without an agenda, no one here without something tangible to be lost through inaction and apathy. Never let it be said that hard edged contemporary topics have no place on television, near spandex or within a plot line or story thread without real world relevance. Precursors are few a far between for the HBO adaptation of Watchmen currently in production but the times they are a changing.