Supergirl -- “Prom Again!” -- Image Number: SPG606b_0315r -- Pictured (L-R): Eliza Helm as CJ Grant, Peter Sudarso as Kenny Li, Nicole Maines as Nia Nal and Jesse Rath as Brainiac-5 -- Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

One of the things WandaVision excelled at was making itself feel like shows from the ’50s, ’90s, and other decades. One show style they didn’t try to replicate was “CW show circa  2010.” It’s a good thing Supergirl is here to handle it. Spoilers follow for Supergirl Season 6, Episode 6, “Prom Again!”

Prom Again!

Part 2, appropriately, picks up where part 1 left off, with Brainy and Nia on their secret mission in the past. Looking back at the episode, this two-parter feels like an intentional relic of the CW’s past. It’s a story about a bunch of high school kids on the precipice of graduation trying to solve an extra-terrestrial mystery while keeping their high school experience intact. The kids look and act like high schoolers (I’m looking at you, Riverdale), and are just trying to do the right thing in an absurd situation.

Even the villains, the Intergalactic Zookeepers, feel like an intentional pull from shows of another time. For Kara and the crew, they’re absolutely terrifying, but they’re given such silly framing that we the viewers know better than to take them seriously; they’re there for comic relief more than anything.

Small town mystery

As with the first part of the story, so much of this rests on the shoulders of the younger actors playing Kara, Alex, and Cat “C.J.” Grant. They feel so much like their older counterparts that it’s as upsetting as it is impressive. The actress playing young Kara, Izabela Vidovic, does an amazing job of capturing Melissa Benoist’s little quirks. I have to imagine that Benoist was there on set acting through scenes with her so that she could capture the character accurately, but that doesn’t really make it any less impressive.

We also get more time with Cat Grant this week and Eliza Helm on her own almost makes a case for why a Midvale show should be a thing–even though it would make even less sense and cause more plot holes than Young Sheldon.

Most of what I said last week continues to apply to this episode.

Coupling

It’s interesting that of all the pairings Supergirl has tried with its primary cast, it wasn’t until Brainy and Nia came along that they found one that felt organic. I enjoy watching both the actors and characters alike, separately and as a couple. And that’s maybe kind of the problem that’s plagued all of Kara’s relationships.

James Olsen was never super interesting on his own. Mon-El almost got there. William the Reporter meanwhile, is an absolute snooze. It seems like the writers were focused on giving Kara a handsome guy to faun over but forgot to make him interesting. Humorously enough, Mon-El actor Chris Wood is now married to Melissa Benoist, and they have a child together–part of the reason she’s choosing to end Supergirl this year. They clearly have chemistry. But the show never really picked up on that because it was too busy pairing the most perfect woman on Earth (being that she’s Supergirl, that’s not a value judgment of Kara or Melissa) with a deeply flawed guy that she has to fix. No one (except Lena) has felt like a match for her the way Brainy and Nia do for each other.

The adventure back in time here is fun, but Nia and Brainy’s relationship is the driving force that lets the show do things like recursive time travel without it completely jumping the shark.

Where does it go from here?

Supergirl has 14 episodes left total as of this writing, and the next episode is the mid-season finale before we shift back to Superman & LoisSupergirl still has a lot of work to do–right now it’s hard to see where the current season is heading when it comes to wrapping up the story. Lex is off doing whatever, and the whole reason for the show right now is rescuing its own main character.

There are lots of things I enjoyed about this pair of episodes, but it still feels like a distraction from what should be a huge season for the show.