Over the first eight episodes of “Supergirl,” Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) has fought villain after villain, become emotionally and physically stronger, and developed better connections with her family and co-workers. But while the young hero has made tremendous strides and learned hard lessons in the first half of her first season, she can’t expect the second half to be any easier.
The CBS series’ midseason finale saw the introduction of fellow Kryptonian Non (Chris Vance) and the return of Kara’s aunt Astra (Laura Benanti). And with Toyman on the horizon, along with Silver Banshee, Kara has a new problem: Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) knows her valued assistant is actually Supergirl.
During a visit to the set of “Supergirl,” CBR joined a small group of reporters to talk to the cast as well as executive producers Andrew Kreisberg and Ali Adler about the different relationships in the series and what to expect in the back half of the season.
As mentioned, the dynamic between Cat and Kara is about to change, with the real question being, will it be for better or worse? “Their relationship is always going to be a roller coaster, and that’s one of my favorite things about it,” Benoist said. “It grows, and there’s this almost maternal mentorship about it. They both have insecurities and emotions that maybe guard them from each other sometimes — from themselves, I mean. So, I can tell you there’s an ebb and flow to it, and it’s up and down quite a bit.”
Flockhart thinks Cat sees something special in Kara and wants to help her develop. “[Cat] gives her advice without giving her advice and tells her what to do by being nasty and suggesting it in her way. Nobody really gets that, but I think that’s because Cat is so good at it and so smart,” she said. “She can manipulate that advice in a way that it doesn’t sound like advice.”
Both Cat and Kara will be affected by the upcoming introduction of Cat’s elder son, Adam Foster (Blake Jenner), to the show. Flockhart said Cat and Adam “haven’t seen each other in a very, very long time. Through a series of events, we then come back together.” Kara finds Adam to be interesting, Benoist added. “He’s really attractive. Also, I think there’s a mystery about him. There’s a connection because of their past and what they’ve both been through, in terms of family and loss.”
As fans know, the concept of family is an important part of the show, and will continue to be so as Season 1 enters its second half. Kara and her adoptive sister Alex’s (Chyler Leigh) relationship has been one of the key parts of the series, and important to Kara finding her place as Supergirl. “Their relationship is my absolute favorite, hands down,” Benoist said. “Chyler is incredible, and it’s hard to pinpoint how their relationship — it’s so complicated, the way female relationships can be, especially between sisters, and that’s what’s so beautiful about it. You will only see their love and their bond get stronger and more unbreakable.”
“The great parts that we do have, and some of the work I know Melissa and I love most, is the scenes that we get to just be sisters,” Leigh added, affirming her co-star’s comments. “[The scenes] in the loft where we’re stuffing our faces with pizza or ice cream or whatever it is, there’s a reality to that, that I think is very special. A lot of times you see the cattiness between sisters and siblings; you don’t get to often clue in on the really sweet moments. You’re not judged. You’re just [on a] level playing field. Those scenes are really fun for us.”
Alex is also working to grow her relationship with her DEO boss, Hank Henshaw (David Harewood). Alex only recently learned about Hank’s true identity as J’onn J’onzz, the last survivor of Mars, and Leigh said Hank looks at Alex like she’s one of his daughters. With Alex being the only one in on Hank’s secret (for now) she’ll be helping him come to terms with being an alien on Earth. “There’s the emotional side, the personal connection side, but she’s also a scientist, so it’s like she’s asking him questions because he’s the great Martian,” Leigh explained. “He’s the only one left. She’s just mind-blown because he’s literally the last one.”
“Having lost his own child, Kara and Alex almost become his children,” Harewood said of how his character views the sisters. “He loves them. Again, you’ll see that going forward, but they are his children. I don’t know if you know that much about the character, the Martian Manhunter, but having lost his own children, he has a lot of pain and a lot of melancholy, which is fantastic to play. It gives you an enormous amount of stuff to play. I think these two girls represent something that’s very close to him.”
The exploration of family and familial connections continues when Winn’s (Jeremy Jordan) father arrives in National City. Winslow Schott, Sr. (Henry Czerny), a.k.a. Toyman, has been in jail and separated from his son for an extended period of time when we meet him, and Jordan promises a different side of Winn when he faces his father. “For Winn, it’s abandonment without reason and without understanding, and we’ll learn a little more about why and what that was. He’s definitely holding on to some pretty deep, dark emotions when it comes to confronting his dad that are brought to the surface very quickly.
“The exciting thing for me is, you start to see what’s behind the fun quippiness and why Winn is like that, because nobody’s just that lighthearted all the time,” Jordan continued. “It’s compensating for something. I would say that we really get to have an idea why he’s using that — I don’t want to say defense mechanism — of always being the happy go lucky kind of guy.”
At the time of the set visit, six episodes of “Supergirl” had aired, and Kreisberg said everyone involved with making “Supergirl” was aware of the scrutiny the show was receiving. “Everybody has their view of what this show should be and what it should mean, and what it should mean to women and what it should mean to men, and what we are saying, and how every decision that Kara makes, is she speaking for every woman, or is she just speaking for herself? I actually think that what’s happened is, now that those first episodes are out there and we’ve been done with them, we’ve been able to, just even for ourselves, relax and just be like, ‘Look: it is what it is, and people are going to say what they’re going to say. We just need to make the best show we can.’
“I think, in some ways, now that the show is out there and people have commented — both positively and negatively — we’ve been able to just go, ‘Well, what’s making us happy?’ Which, again, is always our guiding star,” Kreisberg continued. “I think this next batch of episodes that we’re making now are just much more like, ‘What’s the best show we can tell?’ and not try to feel like we have to speak for everybody and please everybody.”
“Supergirl” returns tonight at 8:00 p.m. on CBS.