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, Kara sees red. AND IT’S THE BEST!!!
We open with Kara stopping two beardy jerks from mowing down a soccer team full of kids while being distracted by their road rage. One of the jerks takes his frustration out on Kara, but when she stops his attempt to punch him by grabbing his fist in her super-strong hand, she’s the one who looks like the bully on the news.
DEO. Henshaw tells him she can’t lose control like that – look at him, not yelling at her but controlling his anger! (He’s totally yelling at her.) As he storms off, a DEO redshirt shows Kara news footage of Max saying that Supergirl’s dangerous. Of course.
Restaurant. Lucy tells Jimmy that her dad’s in town and wants to have dinner. Jimmy’s not thrilled – nor should he be, since Sam Lane’s a genocidal, emotionally-abusive jackass – but agrees. Lucy leaves, passing Kara on the way out and thanking her for “the invite,” to Kara’s obvious confusion. Turns out Jimmy invited her to “Game Night,” which Kara’s awkwardly okay with. Meanwhile, he reveals that Sam doesn’t like him because “I consort with aliens,” which is AMAZING and I want it on a bumper sticker post haste.
CatCo. Cat’s long-awaited mother is here, undermining up a storm and refusing to spend any time with her grandson. Pointing to the blow-up of CatCo Magazine’s Supergirl cover – and clearly baiting Cat – she snides that she feels safer in Metropolis: “Call me old fashioned, but I still prefer male doctors.”
Kara arrives to find Alex waiting – but not for her, for Winn. She wants him to hack into the DEO mainframe. Winn refuses, pointing out that it’s treason, but Kara says it’s about Alex’s dad. “That’s dirty pool, Danvers, you know I have daddy issues,” Winn mutters. I really love Winn, you guys.
DEO base camp. Henshaw’s called the Danvers sisters in. General Sam Lane shows up and demands that Henshaw hand Kara over to help with “an anti-insurgent combat device…codenamed ‘R.T.’” And here’s Lucy with an executive order commanding Kara to do it, plus a very hostile attitude. “It’s been signed by the president,” Sam adds. “You can take it up with her if you like.” Intriguing.
Her dander up (her Danvers up?), Kara agrees. She’ll be fighting a robot – or “an anthropomorphic psuedo-entity” named Red Tornado, according to its inventor, Dr. Morrow. Reddy has an…oddly alien aesthetic for something homegrown, but okay.
CatCo Supercave. Kara tells the boys “apparently I’m fighting a robot tomorrow,” which is. Just. So great. Winn asks if that means Game Night is canceled, but Kara’s determined to hold onto that shred of normalcy. I feel like Game Night might get canceled, you guys.
Meanwhile, Kara’s made dinner reservations for Cat and her mom, but Mama Grant, who is apparently a hotshot editor, promptly takes obvious glee in bailing on Cat for Toni Morrison’s intimate dinner party, to which Cat is pointedly Not Invited. Cat takes her anger out on Kara, nitpicking a fashion spread and telling Kara to stay late to ensure that it’s fixed. There goes Game Night! When Kara mentions it, Cat asks, “Don’t you think you’ve made enough of a fool of yourself over James Olsen for one day?” YIKES.
Urban Outfitters. Game Night! Wait, this is still a thing? I’m confused. Jimmy and Lucy are kicking Kara and Winn’s asses in Generic Taboo and being super cutesy in the process, to Kara’s increasing frustration. Lucy refers to Superman as “Jimmy’s special boyfriend,” then adds that she wasn’t impressed with “his little cousin.” It’s very awkward.
DEO base camp. Kara and Red Tornado square off. Reddy fires off a bunch of missiles at Kara, who evades them, then tunnels under the ground to come up behind it and knock it off its feet, a classic and rarely-seen Super-move that delights me. She starts clobbering it, and doesn’t stop when the army admits defeat, breaking off an arm and triggering Red Tornado’s self-preservation programming. It flies off and disappears via stealth mode. Lane promptly blames Kara for “unleashing an uncontrollable killing machine on National City.” Um, why did the army commission an uncontrollable killing machine and test it near a civilian population?
Lane wants Red Tornado destroyed. Morrow resists, so Lane fires him. Definitely piss off the mad scientist, that’ll go well!
CatCo. Cat, still cranky, berates Kara for basically no reason (“One second of my time is worth ninety times more than your pointless, sad, pathetic…”) until Kara snaps, “Don’t talk to me like that!” and “Why are you so mean?” She realizes what she said and backtracks in horror, but Cat just tells her to follow her, and walks out.
Lord Tech. Alex shows Max Red Tornado’s arm and asks him to help find the robot. She clearly simultaneously doesn’t trust and is begrudgingly charmed by Max, who is Smarm Central here but also calls Supergirl “the Maiden of Might,” so, like, I feel you, Alex. Max declines to help and Alex leaves.
Fancy restaurant. Awkward dinner with Jimmy and the Lanes. (Minus everyone’s favorite Lane, of course. I like to imagine Jimmy was texting her furiously under the table every time her dad said something douchey and she was replying with angry emojis.) Lucy excuses herself and Sam informs Jimmy that he’s not good enough for Lucy, because…well, Sam says it’s because he’s “a glorified paparazzo,” but no one addresses the racial elephant in the room.
Bar. Cat goes to town on a martini as she tells Kara that everyone gets angry, but “Whatever you do, you cannot get angry at work. Especially when you’re a girl.” Ahhh I love Mentor Cat!
Jump cut and Cat’s drunkenly reminiscing about the time Perry White threw a chair through a glass window because someone missed a deadline. “If I had thrown a napkin it would have been all over the papers,” she points out. She tells Kara that she needs a) a release for her anger and b) to find out what’s really making her angry, because she wasn’t angry at Cat. (“Actually, I was,” Kara points out, hilariously.)
Fancy restaurant. As Jimmy and the Lanes leave, they’re attacked by Red Tornado. Jimmy hits the signal watch, and it’s Supergirl to the rescue! She tells Red Tornado she’s not going to let him hurt anyone, but he creates a tornado, sics it on the city, and books it. Kara flies in reverse around the tornado to unravel it because Comics, but by the time she vanquishes it, Reddy’s gone.
DEO. Lucy thanks Kara for saving her life, but Sam accuses Kara of “letting” Red Tornado get away: “I thought you were on our side.” Lucy and Kara are in agreement (yes!) that Reddy’s learning somehow, and using Kara’s humanity against her. A furious Henshaw adds that Red Tornado’s got lead in its skin, indicating that it was designed not to be used against insurgents, but Kryptonians.
Sam witheringly says the only difference between Kara and the Fort Rozz prisoners is that she’s blonde. Henshaw snaps that Sam doesn’t “owe her fear and contempt, you owe her a thank you!” Kara’s clearly touched. Aw.
Sam storms off. Lucy follows awkwardly. Alex runs in: Max saw the Red Tornado fight on the news and wants to talk to her.
Lord Tech. Max has set up a romantic dinner for Alex, with hilariously oversized chairs that make him look like a little boy at a tea party. He tells her that Red Tornado’s a drone, not a true AI: “You’re looking for Frankenstein’s monster. You should be looking for Dr. Frankenstein.”
Warehouse. Kara’s made a “punching bag” out of a car dangling from its rear fender on a chain. Jimmy’s putting on gloves for his Regular Human punching bag. “You know, I never really noticed Clark having to get his rage on,” he says. “‘Cause he’s a man. And girls are taught to smile and keep it on the inside,” Kara says matter-of-factly. “Well, it’s not like black men are encouraged to be angry in public,” Jimmy points out. THIS CONVERSATION IS SO! IMPORTANT! AND IT’S ON FREAKING CBS ON A MONDAY NIGHT!!! YOU GUYS!!!
“Okay, so say what you’re mad and let the fists fly,” Kara says, and they’re off! Jimmy hates Sam. Kara does too – and how Cat treats her, and what happened to Jeremiah, and “that I’m never gonna get to have a normal life!” She punches the engine block out of the car, and – I love this – Jimmy’s not scared of her strength, but concerned because she’s so clearly upset.
She realizes that Cat was right – there is anger she wasn’t admitting too – and sideways confesses that she’s worried she’ll never have a relationship like his and Lucy’s, with someone who knows all of her. She’s never going to have a normal life, “and that makes me so mad.”
And Jimmy just listens. He doesn’t dismiss her or try to make it better. He listens. It’s beautiful.
DEO. The plan is for Kara to keep Red Tornado busy while Alex tracks the signal back to Morrow. They use a hologram of Sam to draw Red Tornado out, and then Kara engages him while Alex infiltrates Morrow’s bunker – but Morrow’s wearing a neural transmitter, so the only way to stop Red Tornado is to kill Morrow. We cut back and forth between the intense and fantastic Alex/Morrow and Supergirl/Reddy fights until Alex semi-accidentally shoots Morrow, and Red Tornado slumps…
…then attacks again. It’s achieved sentience.
Kara turns on the heat vision, screaming in rage as she flashbacks to Krypton’s destruction and her parents’ death. Her face isn’t even a little bit pretty and I love it so much. Stupendous work by Benoist.
Red Tornado explodes. Kara collapses. “Supergirl, are you okay?” Henshaw asks. “I’m okay,” she gasps. “It’s over.” I’m crying a little, you guys.
Restaurant. Lucy tells Sam she quits and she’s not returning to Metropolis with him. He tells her she’s making a mistake and leaves. Jimmy hugs her: “You’re my hero.” OMG CUTE. Also, Jimmy loves strong women and it’s amazing.
Urban Outfitters. Winn tells Alex that he found something: Jeremiah and another agent went to South America to apprehend a hostile alien, disappeared, and were presumed dead…until the other agent returned a month later with amnesia. It was Henshaw, of course. I guess we know how he got beep booped!
CatCo. Mama Grant berates Kara for not reading her mind and booking her a ride to the airport. Cat tells her not to talk to Kara that way. Aw. Mama Grant flounces off and Kara thanks Cat for the support, then promptly breaks a glass. As she hurries to pick up the pieces…she cuts herself. Bzuh??? Cliffhanger!
You guys. That was the best episode. I think I need to lie down.
Nerdiest Hat Tip: I mean, Dr. Morrow and Red Tornado is a fairly deep cut for primetime television!
Best One-Liner: “No offense intended, Jimmy, just reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite authors.” “Aw, Jane Austen.” I laaaughed.
Worst Thing: Honestly, I got nothing. This episode was fantastic.
Best Thing: Yeah, so a month ago I wrote about how women aren’t allowed to be angry on superhero television, and this episode kind of feels like a love letter in response. It’s a smart, pointed critique of how female anger (and non-white!) is policed, and it’s well-paced and funny and deeply emotional and every single character is firing on all cylinders. Gosh, Supergirl, and here I didn’t get you anything for the holidays!