Recap: Supergirl 1×04 – Livewire

This post originally appeared on Panels, which is now Book Riot Comics

Welcome to National City! Every week, I’ll be recapping the adventures of everyone’s favorite Maid of Might, Supergirl! This week, we’re in for some SHOCKING revelations about the Danvers family, and some ELECTRIFYING action scenes! Also, like, Livewire and stuff.

[Before we get started, I should note that CBS aired this episode out of order – the original fourth episode deals with bombs and CBS decided to hold it until next week due to the events in Paris.]

Anyway, Episode Four-Was-Five! It’s Thanksgiving, and Alex is freaking because her mom’s on her way to National City for the holiday, and she plays favorites. “Last year, she got mad at me for you not dating enough,” Alex points out. Kara soothes her with promises of chocolate pecan pie, which, having been to 12 planets, she can confidently say is the best dessert in the galaxy. I want to know more about this interplanetary travel!

And here’s Original Supergirl Helen Slater at the door! She hugs them both, and tells Kara (who calls her “Eliza”) that she looks great and Alex that she looks tired. Womp womp.

SO MANY SUPERGIRLS IN ONE SHOT

SO MANY SUPERGIRLS IN ONE SHOT

CatCo. Shock jock Leslie Willis is ripping into Supergirl, and we get a hilarious montage of the cast reacting to various insults: Kara clearly pissed at Leslie’s (accurate) reference to Kara’s “oops, I’m adorkable!” demeanor; Winn offended by her digs at the costume; Jimmy disdainful of Leslie’s reference to “piercing Supergirl’s chastity belt” (ew) and then slightly concerned at Leslie’s suggestion Supergirl might be gay; and Cat amusingly contemplative when Leslie suggests Kara’s alien genitalia might involve tentacles. Honestly this speech is racier than I would’ve expected, and rather foul – which is perfectly in character.

Did you just listen to your own chastity belt line, Leslie?

Did you just listen to your own chastity belt line, Leslie?

Kara asks Winn about his Thanksgiving plans, and when she learns he doesn’t have any – he’s evasive re: his family – she invites him to “Friendsgiving.” Aw. She’s shocked (ha) to see Leslie in Cat’s office, and tunes in (ha) with her super-hearing to learn that Cat is pissed that Leslie went after Supergirl, especially in such a nastily gendered way. This show thumps the Feminism 101 handbook pretty hard but Cat’s displeasure here is subtler than expected, and well done.

Though Cat exposits that she mentored Leslie from nothing, she’s firmly Team Supergirl, who she tells Leslie is “off the table…People don’t want your brand of negativity anymore. They want optimism, hope, positivity.” THIS IS SO META AND I LOVE IT. Cat gleefully reassigns a furious Leslie to traffic copter duty. Ouch.

Restaurant. While picking up takeout, Kara spots Jimmy sitting by himself and invites him to Friendsgiving, but he and Lucy have plans for a weekend getaway – so I guess they got back together in the episode we didn’t see. Kara’s slightly awkward but gracious, and she and Lucy are perfectly friendly before Jimmy and Lucy split, which I like.

Enter Alex, in a tizzy that Eliza might only be pretending to be okay with Kara being Supergirl. Kara thinks Alex is paranoid and that she should ‘fess up to being a DEO agent. Also everyone keeps referring to Supergirl/DEO agency as Kara and Alex respectively “coming out” but without the expected jokes, which is…odd. Like, cool that you’re not making weird gay panic jokes, show, but also that phrase has a specific meaning?

Outside, a storm is brewing, and Leslie’s traffic copter is in peril. Spotting it, Kara switches to Supergirl, rescues the pilot, and flies back to grab Leslie. But as she takes Leslie’s hand, she’s struck by lightning, which zips through her to electrify Leslie. Whoops!

#science

#science

Hospital. Cat and Kara are visiting a comatose Leslie, whose new trauma-bleached (tragically too late to make the cut (GET IT???) for this) is, as Cat declares, “very Katy Perry.” They’re both guilt-ridden, though Cat won’t admit it and Kara can’t. After they leave, though, Leslie’s lightning-addled eyes snap open.

Cat, I adore you.

Cat, I adore you.

Urban Outfitters. Eliza’s sniping at Alex and finally admits that she’s pissed that Alex didn’t stop Kara from becoming Supergirl. Alex rightfully points out that Kara’s an adult who can make her own decisions, and storms out.

Flashback. Dean “The Best Live Action Superman, Deal With It” Cain and Eliza banter while stargazing. They call each other “Dr. Danvers,” which is adorable. Meanwhile, Young Kara and Young Alex (Jordan Mazarati, who looks uncannily like Chyler Leigh) sneak out and go flying.

Present day. Leslie staggers out of the hospital, leaking electricity everywhere. Some guy who looks more like the missing sixth original member of One Direction than a drunken bum gets assault-y on her and she zaps him unconscious, grins at her newfound power, and turns into pure electricity. Well, that was a quick adjustment!

Here we have Leslie in her best "Anna Paquin as Rogue" cosplay.

Here we have Leslie in her best “Anna Paquin as Rogue” cosplay.

Urban Outfitters. Kara roasts the turkey to a perfect turn with her heat vision, which is adorable. Alex is well into the wine and somewhat belligerent; everyone else is clearly uncomfortable. (Well, Helen Slater looks like she’s about to fall asleep in her mashed potatoes, but I don’t think that was scripted.)

"That's what you get for talking smack about my whimsical paper lanterns, bird."

“That’s what you get for talking smack about my whimsical paper lanterns, bird.”

Kara rudely excuses herself to take a phone call from Jimmy, who rudely called during dinnertime while rudely ignoring his actual girlfriend. Seriously, you two, get married and all, but get your act together first.

It me.

It me.

When Kara returns to the table, Alex has just confessed her DEO career to Eliza, who is livid. Eliza asks if Alex thinks her father would be proud of her for this. OUCH.

Alex storms out again; Winn awkwardly excuses himself as well. Kara, frustrated, reminds Eliza that being Supergirl is her choice and not something to blame Alex for, and asks why Eliza’s so much harder on Alex. Before Eliza can answer, Cat texts Kara with an emergency.

Did they seriously not have enough in the budget to give Young Kara a tiny blonde wig?

Did they seriously not have enough in the budget to give Young Kara a tiny blonde wig?

Flashback. The girls are caught sneaking back in; the Danverses are furious, and Helen especially so at Alex despite Kara pointing out that sneaking out was her idea. There’s a knock at the door and the girls are sent upstairs, with Eliza warning Kara not to use her super-hearing.

Jeremiah opens the door…and it’s Hank Henshaw! Dun dun dun!

"Hello, I'm Evil Robot Cobra Bubbles."

“Hello, I’m Evil Robot Cobra Bubbles.”

CatCo. No electronics are working except the lights. Kara suggests Cat shouldn’t work on Thanksgiving but Cat exposits that her son Carter is at his father’s (LOVE that we’re getting Carter on the show; v. worried for him with the Toyman showing up too) so she’s free. We also learn that she has no idea who Winn is. Ha!

Suddenly Leslie takes over all of the screens in Cat’s office, declares her new name to be Livewire, then materializes in the office and attacks. Cat and Kara flee; if you watch closely, they’re each trying to shield the other. I may weep.

Someone's about to drop the sickest music video of 1997.

Someone’s about to drop the sickest music video of 1997.

Cat sends Kara to fetch security and Kara scurries off, but flies back in as Supergirl just in time to save Cat from a lightning bolt from Leslie. She tries her heat vision on Leslie but it just boosts Leslie’s powers.

Cat flees into the elevator, which, I don’t care how tall that building is – take the stairs, lady. Leslie sends it plunging to the ground, but Kara catches it in time. Her steady “You’re safe now, Ms. Grant” is what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving. #SUPERS

Later, there’s a citywide blackout, and the DEO is at CatCo in the guise of FBI agents. Henshaw wants to relocate Cat to a secure location but Cat refuses to shut down operations because tomorrow is Black Friday, even though…they’re not…a retail business? Sure. Henshaw discreetly offers Kara an energy containment unit to fight Livewire and the Faux-BI bails.

Kara checks on Cat, who is pretending to be chill and urges Kara to get back to her family. Kara tells her that things aren’t pretty right now with her sister and foster mother; Cat, who didn’t know Kara was an orphan, appears startled by her own sympathy. She tells Kara about her own rocky relationship with her mother, and that she blames herself for what happened to Leslie, and that she needs to fix this by talking to Supergirl. Kara scurries off to “fetch” her. It’s a truly great scene; Benoist and Flockhart are always brilliant, but especially opposite each other.

Urban Outfitters. Eliza’s lighting candles when Alex returns. A cover of “Take Me to Church” is playing, which seems wildly inappropriate for a mother-daughter scene. Eliza apologizes and says she was harder on Kara because she didn’t know how to parent a space orphan, but that Alex has “always been [her] Supergirl.” They cry and hug. This scene would work better if I wasn’t distracted by the song and the fact that Helen Slater still seems like she really wants to take a nap.

Don't cry, Alex! Your hair is AMAZING in this episode!

Don’t cry, Alex! Your hair is AMAZING in this episode!

CatCo. Supergirl arrives and Cat offers herself as bait to catch Livewire.

"Also, 'W.S.' from National City has requested that we play like seven weepy Taylor Swift songs in a row."

“Also, ‘W.S.’ from National City has requested that we play like seven weepy Taylor Swift songs in a row.”

DEO. Henshaw gives Kara a containment unit to trap Leslie in. Alex warns her that Leslie’s strong enough to kill her.

CatCo. Cat broadcasts a challenge to Leslie to meet “where it all began.” Cat and Leslie haven’t not come off like exes this whole episode, but Cat really doubled down with that one.

Stars Hollow. No, really, I’ve been on the Warner Brothers lot and this is definitely the Stars Hollow town square set. Leslie confronts Cat, who sasses her before fleeing; Kara arrives, adorably declares Leslie to be “a mean girl!” (true), and attacks. Leslie fights back with some very cool lightning whips, which she uses to hurl Kara through the door of Miss Patty’s before knocking the containment unit away and zapping the life out of Kara.

"Why was everyone constantly arguing about Dean vs. Jess when clearly Logan was the one for Rory?"

“Why was everyone constantly arguing about Dean vs. Jess when clearly Logan was the one for Rory?”

Cat re-emerges from behind Luke’s to try to talk Leslie down; Leslie’s not hearing it, but it gives Kara time to rip a water pipe up from below the street and douse Leslie with it, knocking her out. Presumably after we cut away Taylor shows up to bemoan the property damage.

CatCo, day. Kara delivers Thanksgiving leftovers to Winn. He abruptly confesses that his dad – “a very bad person” – is in prison, and that though he never got to say what he was thankful for, it’s her, and her friendship. Aw. He leans in to kiss her on the cheek and Kara’s eyes go wide, though whether that’s because she’s uncomfortable or because Feelings have been ignited is unclear.

"Oh my God, no...PARIS was the right one for Rory!"

“Oh my God…PARIS was the right one for Rory!”

Annnd here are Jimmy and Lucy to awkward things up more! Pining looks all around. Sigh. Either pair the tallies and the shorties or let them all have a foursome, show, but this love polygon is tiresome.

Meanwhile, Cat rejects the usual Monday morning gossip items in favor of running a heartwarming story of people giving charity on Thanksgiving. Kara’s thrilled. I’m just wondering when they’re going to write and publish this story since it’s already Friday.

Urban Outfitters. Eliza tells the girls that the reason she freaked out is because Jeremiah worked for the DEO too – and she’s pretty sure they got (or had?) him killed and covered it up.

Flashback. Henshaw’s determined to take Kara into custody – so Jeremiah offers himself as an agent, as well as access to all of his research on Superman, in exchange for Kara’s freedom. Dun dun dun!

"Also, I'll get you Teri Hatcher's autograph."

“Also, I’ll get you Teri Hatcher’s autograph.”

Present day, DEO. As Livewire is carted away to an only slightly less sketchy metahuman prison than the one on Flash, Kara and Alex vow to figure out what happened to Jeremiah. I realize that this episode is about the complex relationships between five different women, with occasional comic relief from Winn, and sob into my turkey with joy. (Although, uh, CBS, not all women are white so you might want to reflect that in your casting. And by “might,” I mean get your shit together.)

Super-Highlights:

Nerdiest Hat Tip: Club Apokolips. Maybe don’t go there? You will die.
Best One-Liner: “My mother won’t eat a flightless bird.” So weird and I laughed so hard.
Worst Thing: Honestly, Helen Slater. I’m not sure what was up with that performance but it really sapped the energy out of all her scenes.
Best Thing: Cat steals every episode she’s in but this one more than most. What a brilliant character, brilliantly played.

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