In this episode of Supergirl Kara finds establishes what “kind of hero” she wants to be.
Supergirl is testing her powers out with the DEO under the watch of Henshaw and Alex. They manage to make another “assume you’re giving me a hard time because I’m a woman” before, she’s called away to help with a fire by an oil tanker. Supergirl tries to use her breath to put out the fire, but just makes it worse. Then she tries to move the oil tanker, but ends up dumping oil into the bay. It’s a PR disaster for Supergirl and a prime opportunity for Cat Grant. Cat wants to become the one responsible for Supergirl’s public image in order to scoop her competition. To that end, she orders James Olsen to use his Superman connection to get an interview with Supergirl.
While Kara’s having a crisis of confidence, National City is attacked by a new alien. It turns out that it’s some kind of creature called a “Hellgrammite”. Kara is familiar with that race of alien from her childhood on Krypton and is able to convince the DEO to let her help. However, before they’ll let her help, Henshaw wants her to prove that she can take care of herself. She has Alex take on Kara in a kryptonite laced room. Without her powers, Kara is no match for her sister and she’s left to pout even more. She heads back to her job and, after a talk with Cat, decides to start up her own team. She brings James and Winn together to help her get some experience at being a hero. This leads to a montage of Supergirl performing heroic acts to the soundtrack of “Hit Me with your Best Shot”. Even though Supergirl is doing better, Cat still wants her interview and threatens to fire Jimmy if he doesn’t get her what she wants. This sends Jimmy into a spiral of self-doubt and insecurity much like Kara’s from earlier in the episode. He worries that he only has value if he’s attached to Superman. Kara gives him a pep talk, during which she reveals the meaning of “S”. It’s the symbol of the “House of El”, and stands for a Kryptonian phrase translating to “Stronger Together”.
While this is happening, it’s revealed that the Hellgrammite is an outlier in the group of alien criminals that are being controlled by Astra (Kara’s aunt). He just wants to find something to eat, which just happens to be dangerous chemicals. The DEO tries to go after him on their own, but Alex ends up getting captured in the process. Alex is brought to Astra, while Henshaw reaches out to Kara for help. Kara locates Alex and walks right in to the trap set by Astra. While Astra and Kara fight, Alex kills the Hellgrammite with her bare hands. The one martial arts lesson that Alex gave her allows Kara to stay in the fight against Astra who’s stronger and better trained. Fortunately, backup arrives in the form of Henshaw. He bursts in and stabs Astra in the arm with a Kryptonite knife. Not knowing that she was vulnerable to any weapon, Astra is surprised and flies away.
The overriding theme of the episode is unity and that being one of the defining characteristics of Kara: That she trusts in people and believes that they are stronger together. The events of this episode have made her realize that and have humbled her enough to ask the DEO for help. Alex also shows her an interactive AI hologram of her mother. It was left as part of the capsule that brought Kara to Earth. It’s not really her mother, but it’s like an echo of her mother. It’s like they’ve given Kara her own little fortress of solitude. After asking the AI to tell her about Astra, Supergirl leaves to start her interview with Cat Grant.
- Cat Grant uses the terms “#TerribleGirl” and “bro hang” in the same conversation
That just makes me sad.
- Maxwell Lord
We see him on a TV interview, but Maxwell Lord has been introduced to the show. He’s a significant character in the DC universe, especially in the modern era. He’s likely to end up being Supergirl’s version of Lex Luthor.
- Henshaw has glowing eyes
For those who might not know by now, Henry “Hank” Henshaw is primarily known for being the astronaut-turned-cyborg-villain known as Cyborg Superman. Obviously, this character won’t be exactly the same as its comic book counter part. Still, this is a clear acknowledgement that Henshaw is more than he seems.
I was really hoping that the feminist commentary thing would die down and, to be fair, I do think it was more under control in this episode. This week it was mostly contained to the opening scene and Cat’s conversation with Kara. However, with lines like “Every woman worth her salt, knows we have to work twice as hard as a man to be thought of as half as good”, it’s hard to not still feel like it’s slapping you in the face. Meanwhile, the show continues other annoying idiosyncrasies like having Kara say that the “S” isn’t an S, while still continuing to refer to it as an “S”. Then there was Jimmy’s sudden (albeit brief) spiral into insecurity. I like the confident, experienced version of Jimmy that they’ve chosen to create for this show. I’m not so much a fan of the “I’m only important because of my friends” attitude. It’s like they wanted him to be more like comic-book Jimmy, but only so Kara would have an excuse to voice her beliefs.
The best parts of this episode were in the little moments. Like when Jimmy and Winn both realize that the other one knows about Kara or when Alex walks in to find the two guys with Kara in full Supergirl costume. Not to mention all the oil spill jokes that were aimed at Supergirl. Over the first two episodes, I feel like those are the best parts of the show in general. Those, and most of the Calista Flockhart scenes. The visuals are still holding up strong, which is always an issue with a show that has super powers. But, I have to admit, there were parts of the flying fight scene that didn’t really work for me. Nothing terrible, just a couple of moments where it really just looked like two people hanging from wires instead of flying. I still don’t know how I feel about this show overall. It’s gonna be interesting to see where the season’s story arc is going to go. With only two episodes in the books the show still doesn’t really feel like it has an overarching story outside of the prisoner outbreak. And that seems like more of an excuse for a bad-guy-of-the-week setup.