Wow, there were a lot of Easter eggs in tonight's episode of Supergirl.
Last week, there were quite a few -- but this week, it felt like even more...although, oddly, it also didn't feel like they were particularly intrusive, so it's a nice balance. There were also some that were dialogue-driven, so we won't use them if they continue to come up in the future unless those concepts actually make an onscreen appearance.
So...what did we see? What did we miss? Read on...!
"THIS SOUNDS LIKE A JOB FOR SUPERGIRL"
This episode gets a few notable Superman catch-phrases applied to Kara...
...which feels a little weird, since it reinforces the whole "she's just a female version" thing. On the other hand...it's not like the bleak and "grounded DC movies are going to use things like that.
There's at least one more of these to come...!
"MIRACLE OR MENACE?"
Menace? Is J. Jonah Jameson writing those headlines?
It's funny because "hero or threat" wouldn't have felt so much like an Easter egg. "Hero or menace," though? That totally feels like a wink and a nod to Spider-Man.
A SINGLE BOUND
“Superhero to eco-terrorist in a single bound.”
I see what you did there.
See? I told you there would be another Superman catch-phrase popping up here.
Lord was first introduced in the Justice League International era of the comics, as a liaison between the League and the United Nations. Later, he would be used as a villain in Infinite Crisis. In that iteration of the character, he headed up Checkmate, a quasi-governmental organization which under Lord was aimed at policing and sometimes terminating superhumans.
On Supergirl, Maxwell is a green tech billionaire who enjoys a friendly rivalry with Cat Grant and a fascination with National City’s newest arrival — Supergirl.
Expect to see him more coming up soon...!
Worth a note: Winn owns Lord's autobiography. I can't help but wonder whether it's called The Secret Gospel of Maxwell Lord.
This episode, we got explicit name-drops not only of the Daily Planet (which happened in the pilot) but of Lois Lane and Clark Kent, as well.
In fact, there's very little shying away from the Superman mythology in this episode, as executive producer Greg Berlanti notes.
Yes she's says "Superman" in this episode. So you can stop stressing about that. #supergirl— Greg Berlanti (@GBerlanti) November 3, 2015
...Well, that's a fair response, considering The Internet.
HIDING BEHIND THE GLASSES
It seems Supergirl did feel obliged to address the elephant in the room of every Super-adaptation: do people really not recognize their friends, loved ones and co-workers if they're wearing glasses?
Well, she's worried about Cat Grant recognizing her, but Cat tried to romance Clark Kent for a while, and worked with him for much longer...but as you can see at top, that's not such an issue.
"I CAN HANDLE CAT GRANT"
...Says James Olsen with a smile.
Well, yeah. In the old days, Jimmy and Cat had a history.
As a young cub reporter, Jimmy had a crush on the gorgeous gossip columnist...but she barely paid him attention, falling all over him only when she'd been drinking.
Jimmy's signal watch makes an appearance.
No, he doesn't use it the way he does in the comics, but we know becuase he's got a big honkin' watch (it seems noticeably larger than in the pilot, though maybe that's just me) and because Mehcad Brooks told us so.
"Yeah, it's a special watch," he told us with a knowing look at New York Comic Con.
Just when we thought he was ready to walk away to his next interview, he added, "You know what kind of watch it is, right? Yeah, you do."
Al Plastino, co-creator of Supergirl with Otto Binder, gets a nod here in the form of a giant sign for a chemical company.
Binder, of course, shares a name with the bridge Supergirl saved last week.
In DC Comics, Hellgrammite is an entomologist transformed into a humanoid bug-like creature by an experiment, but the report suggests the TV version will instead be an alien. In the comics, Hellgrammite’s powers include super-strength, enhanced hopping abilities, and trap others in his cocoons and transform them in larvae.
Hellgrammite has appeared in animated form previously as part of Justice League Unlimited and Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
"We have a security breach in Sector 52," says the security guard who comes across Hellgrammite.
Sector 52 is the part of S.T.A.R. Labs where the villains were held last season on The Flash. And, yeah, "52" just pops up pretty much everywhere in Greg Berlanti shows.
Owing to the Richard Donner Superman films, we get a look at the robes-and-crystals version of Krypton that doesn't gel at all with the Man of Steel film.
However, the look of Donner's Krypton -- and, yes, its crystal technology -- was so popular that it carried over to the comics, to Smallville and Lois and Clark...even, after a fashion, to Man of Steel. Just much less pretty.
We saw it in the pilot, but this is the first we've seen that Kryptonite is apparently basically a secret in the world of this show?
Kara says that only the DEO knows it hurts her, and Clark never mentioned it to her along the way.
...That seems odd, maybe, but it's worth noting that during the post-Crisis era when many of the characters and concepts prevalent in the show were big in the comics, there was very little Kryptonite on Earth and most people didn't even know that it existed.
Cat Grant's backstory here -- that she started as an assistant to Perry White and worked her way up to gossip columnist and then onward from there?
...That's actually kind of close to her backstory when she was introduced in the comics.
Created in the '80s, Grant was ostensibly going to replace Superman as the "other side" of the Lois/Clark love triangle, but it never totally panned out that way. Instead, we got a character who ingratiated herself to readers primarily because of her relationships with the other characters and eventually her excellent work at the Planet.
(Yes, we used that same image again. You can't win 'em all.)
KRYPTONIAN MILITARY UNIFORMS
It's hard not to notice that the uniforms worn by Astra and her foot soldiers are very similar to the ones seen during the World of New Krypton storyline.
In that story, a number of Kryptonians ended up on Earth and ultimately had to be sent away to colonize the moon for a while.
That pizza place is at 5th and Siegel?
Jerry Siegel, of course, is the co-creator of Superboy and Superman.
That ambulance on Donner Avenue?
Another hat tip.
This time, to Richard Donner, director of Superman: The Movie and (a version of) Superman II.
KITTEN UP A TREE
One of those things that Superman does but you'll rarely see other superheroes tackling is the "super-feats" like those seen in this little montage.
One of the "classics," as Winn calls it, is rescuing a cat stuck in a tree.
Of course, not everybody likes it. There is a sense that doing good deeds that don't involve action can sometimes reinforce ideas that Superman is dull. Rescuing a kitten from a tree was rumored to have been specifically called out as not reader-friendly by DC brass.
"FAMOUSLY HIS PAL"
In this episode, we see James Olsen struggling to carve out an identity for himself separate from Superman.
That's something that we've seen a few times in the comics because, yes, he is indeed "famously" Superman's pal.
In fact, there was a long-running series actually titled Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen.
WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Man, that pentagonal shield with an "S" in the center of it has a lot of meanings.
As far as I know, the idea of it being the El family's coat of arms originated in the Richard Donner films. It's been repurposed as "hope" in Man of Steel, following its use as same in the comics. Upside down, it can mean "resurrection."
And, yeah, sometimes it's just an S.
But here, it means "Stronger Together."
The score to this series, from Blake Neely of The Flash fame, feels heavily influenced by the tone of the Richard Donner movies.
Nowhere is that more true than in the scene Supergirl shares with James Olsen.
A man who loses his family is unlikely to be totally stable.
Henshaw, we know, doesn't particularly like metahumans. So...what happened to make him that way?
In the comics, Henshaw survived -- ...ish... -- a space shuttle crash after being bombarded by radiation; his best friends and his wife all died as a result of the crash, either directly or indirectly. Could a version of this be his backstory?
In the comics, he blamed Superman, who showed up just slightly too late to save them...!
There's a lot of Donner influence in this show in general...
...but tonight, in the second installment, we got the El family standard-bearer squaring off against a Kryptonian general who's basically an evil version of the hero, and two additional Kryptonians just there to be muscle.
That's basically the plot of all of Superman II. However, Kara gets through it much faster because she's got a team by her side, where Superman works alone.
FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE
Here, we get Kara's version of the Fortress of Solitude, which is...pretty great.
Yeah, it's not quite as snazzy as Clark's is, but it's analogous to one of the most recognizable pieces of the Superman mythology to casual fans.
And, who knows? Maybe with a little makeover, that space could ultimately become a little more personalized.