The moment fans have been waiting for -- or perhaps dreading -- is now imminent: Superman will appear on "Supergirl" next season, and it won't just be as a faceless figure obscured by shadows and trick camera angles. No, the one and only Clark Kent will show his face in "Supergirl" Season 2.
Ahead of the second season pick-up, executive producer Ali Adler was adamant that the show's focus will remain on Kara Danvers' story. "Right now, we're just telling Supergirl's story," Adler said in response to a question about the Man of Steel appearing in Season 2. "We'll see where that takes us." Apparently, it takes us to Clark Kent's arrival, as Superman is now slated to appear in the first two episodes of the season.
So, what does this mean for the show as heads into Kara Zor-El's second year of adventures? We considered a few ways Superman's arrival could help -- or even hinder -- Supergirl's progression as a character in her own series.
Throughout Season 1, "Supergirl" consistently glossed over Superman's absence. Sure, there would be a dedicated line or two to explain why he wasn't there when trouble rolled around, but the end result often sounded forced and contrived. Take, for instance, the idea that Myriad could control him because he was raised on Earth; that was quite a tremendous leap of logic -- but it was necessary, even if the writers fumbled the execution, because they couldn't very well involve Superman when they had no one to play him. Nevertheless, the excuses piled up over the season, and they all too quickly became trite and obvious.
If Superman reoccurs in a guest role, it should hel dial back the eyeroll-worthy lines that so often explained away his absence. By showing up a few times over the season, his other absences would hold more weight and more meaning, simply because they will feel true to the story, not like a product of necessity. Of course he can't be around for every disaster in National City -- he's got a whole world to save, after all! But an occasional check-in from the Man of Steel will make those times he's not there feel a whole lot more natural.
"Supergirl" Season 1 spent a good chunk of time on Kara's feelings of isolation as one of the only surviving members of the planet Krypton, with "For the Girl Who Has Everything" tackled this issue head-on. Of course, she's had a lot of support from her friends and adoptive family, but her transition to Earth was arguably more difficult than Superman's, since she can vividly remember her family and her life on Krypton, which makes her much more acutely aware of what she has lost. To top it all off, Superman had little to do with her over her formative years, despite his infrequent check-ins. The one Kryptonian who should be on her side simply wasn't there when she needed him most, and that idea grinds against everything Superman stands for (well, at least the non-cinematic version of the Man of Steel).
Having Superman in the first few episodes of "Supergirl" Season 2 could easily resolve this, and perhaps repair the broken and uncharacteristic rift between the two characters. Superman wasn't completely removed from her life -- he saved her from Reactron, maintained contact through technology and attempted to assist when Non activated Myriad -- but it was oddly jarring that the two barely had any interactions outside of their superhero lives. His new role on "Supergirl" should allow him to have a much more casual relationship with Kara, as cousins do; perhaps they'll even have a chance to talk more than shop once he's around in the flesh, offering the writers a chance to prove he really is a hero worthy of other characters -- including Kara -- to look up to.
New Cast Dynamics
Following the events of Season 1, "Supergirl's" main cast of characters has gotten pretty comfortable with one another. Superman's arrival may just shake that up -- but in a good way. While some characters (J'onn and Jimmy) have had multiple experiences with him, many of them (Alex and Winn, to name a few) have not. This is an opportunity primed for fun; introducing him to characters new and old will inject a nice sense of fun into the opening two episodes, perhaps even enough to hook new viewers into watching the series on its new network.
Additionally, with Calista Flockhart's Cat Grant likely appearing in a smaller capacity next season, Superman may just be able to fill the mentor role for Kara. That isn't to say he would replace Cat; it's important for Kara to have a female mentor, after all. However, he could always step in for a quick cameo whenever Cat is out of the office. As a superhero, he can see things from a perspective that Cat simply can't, so he may be able to offer Kara some invaluable advice. Together, Superman and Cat could tag-team this role in Kara's life, even if they don't realize they're doing it.