Comics/Graphic Novels

Recap: Supergirl 1×03 – Fight or Flight

Jessica Plummer

Contributing Editor

Jessica Plummer has lived her whole life in New York City, but she prefers to think of it as Metropolis. Her day job is in books, her side hustle is in books, and she writes books on the side (including a short story in Sword Stone Table from Vintage). She loves running, knitting, and thinking about superheroes, and knows an unnecessary amount of things about Donald Duck. Follow her on Twitter at @jess_plummer.

Welcome to National City! Every week, I’ll be recapping the adventures of everyone’s favorite Maid of Might, Supergirl! This week, I am BETRAYED by Superman’s butt. I know. I never thought it would happen either.

We pick up where we left off last week, with Kara floating above Cat for their interview. I know Melissa Benoist’s background is in musical theater but dangling on those wires she could not look more like she’s about to burst into “I Gotta Crow” if she tried. Cat is deeply unimpressed by Kara’s…well, everything. She asks if Kara has plans to “start a family,” Kara snaps that no one ever asks her cousin these questions – and Cat preens visibly over her new scoop. Oops!

If you don't want Cat to know you're related to Clark, Kara, stop standing in the apparently genetically-mandated El pose.

If you don’t want Cat to know you’re related to Clark, Kara, stop standing in the apparently genetically-mandated El pose.

“DO YOU HAVE A DAY JOB?” Cat shouts as Kara flies off in a huff. O irony!

Restaurant, day. Kara and Alex are sistering it up over breakfast (our cinnamon roll is eating cinnamon rolls!). Jimmy arrives and makes a truly terrible joke about tea that sends Kara into gales of besotted laughter. It’s precious. Alex shoos him away with a protective big sister act and reminds Kara to keep all deets about Supergirl on the downlow – just as the news announces Cat’s exclusive discovery that Superman and Supergirl are cousins. Alex’s expression is a joy to behold.

Work. Kara declares Cat to be “a villain. A super interviewing villain,” which Winn declares “literally the most boring power ever.” Winn’s so much better now!

In her office, Cat declares that “the Daily Planet can suck it” (hee!) and that she’ll be writing the Supergirl expose her own tiny self. She tells Kara that they’ll be publishing it in a special edition of CatCo Magazine in two days, to organize a launch party with a thousand guests, and, hilariously, to move a dude with bright red hair further away from her desk because his head is “distracting.” As a fellow ginger, I long to know when this persecution will end!

Junkyard. A guy with half his face burned off glowers at a TV as it announces Clark and Kara’s familial Super-ties. Donning a beat-up Iron Man suit, the Phantom of the Junkyard blasts the TV.

DEO. Henshaw makes a terrible “Keeping Up with the Kryptonians” joke; no one laughs. HIS ROBOTIC RAGE WILL DESTROY YOU ALL, GUYS. He and Alex are pissed about the interview, of course, but the subject’s changed when a background tech tells them about a pile-up on the highway, which the DEO is monitoring for…reasons?

Anyway, Kara flies off to the crash scene and rescues a bus driver. It’s very sweet – until the Iron Mantom of the Junkyard shows up and blasts her across the road. (Side note: we see for the first time that she’s wearing blue spanky pants under her skirt. Long time Supergirl fans will be pleased since we spent 2004-2009 in a depressing liminal state full of artists who liked to imply she was wearing nothing at all.)

"The Iron Maaaaaantom of the Junkyard is therrrre/ On Interstate 39..."

“The Iron Maaaaaantom of the Junkyard is therrrre/ On Interstate 39…”

Iron Mantom announces that he wants to make Superman suffer, and killing his cousin sounds like the perfect way to go about it. He zaps Kara around a bit, but she’s gained some moves since the last episode and manages to damage his suit, so he takes off – literally.

DEO. Henshaw informs Kara that she fought “Reactron,” according to the Daily Planet. “That’s kind of a stupid name, who named him that?” she asks. “Jimmy Olsen,” he says. Hee! Mine’s better, Jimbo.

Apparently Reactron fought Superman to a draw multiple times but no one knows anything else about him – except that he’s human, not alien, and thus outside of the DEO’s alien-focused jurisdiction. Kara’s more concerned with who he might hurt than what planet he was born on.

CatCo. Winn very unsubtly sneaks Kara and Jimmy off to an abandoned office which he’s converted into a Supergirl Cave. He’s also written an algorithm that should find Reactron for them. Algorithms – what can’t they do?!

Jimmy thinks Kara should call Clark on this one (Winn: “Clark Kent is Superman???????” Great job, Jimmy, no wonder Clark didn’t tell you for 77 years!), but she points out that National City can’t afford her looking weak, “and if I’m going to be defined it’s going to be by my victories and my losses, no one else’s.” I LOVE HER.

Lord Technologies. Max is smarming something about his new magnetic levitating train (sure) when Reactron shows up and demands a scientist hostage who can help him. Max insists that Reactron take him, saving one of his underlings; impressively, he manages to be slimy even while engaged in heroics.

CatCo. The news is full of stories of Max’s abduction (Perd’s back! Hi, Perd!) and Kara’s guilt-ridden. Alex shows up to help, and up in the Supergirl Cave the Super-Scoobies exposit/deduce that Reactron is actually Ben Krull, injured and widowed in a nuclear plant meltdown that was otherwise stopped by Superman. He hates Superman for not saving his wife, hence the mad-on for Kara.

Junkyard. Max is strapped to a chair. Reactron murmurs in his ear that Max is his angel of music and…no, sorry, he wants Max to fix his Iron Mantom suit. Still with the ear-murmuring, though. That’s weird, dude. Max is unintimidated but rattles off a list of supplies, “and a Dr. Pepper. That last one’s for me. I’m thirsty.”

Do, uh. Do you guys need a minute?

Do, uh. Do you guys need a minute?

CatCo. Kara’s unhappy with Cat’s profile on Supergirl, who Cat’s pegged as an entitled, untested millennial who will call Superman the minute things get tough. Kara insists that Supergirl’s every bit the hero Superman is, but Cat’s unconvinced.

That office is literally bigger than my apartment, btw.

That office is literally bigger than my apartment, btw.

Jimmy interrupts with a fake excuse to pull Kara away – Winn’s found Reactron’s junkyard. Jimmy warns Kara that Reactron’s dangerous, but she insists that he’s just “a human being who’s been hurt enough. That’s something my cousin never knew, and that’s why I’m going to go talk to him the way I would want someone to talk to me.” “And if he doesn’t want to talk?” Jimmy asks. “Then I’ll punch him real hard until he falls down,” she replies. Shockingly, Jimmy does not propose on the spot. What a dope.

Junkyard. Kara frees a still-unimpressed Max (“You look taller on TV”). She tries to talk Reactron down but he’s not hearing it – and in fact kicks her ass up and down the yard. As she’s losing consciousness, though, A WILD SUPERMAN APPEARS! I am enraged to see that he is NOT WEARING HIS RED SHORTS. I thought we understood each other, Supergirl! I thought you got what was truly important about the Super-mythos! How could you.

It's a perfectly fine but but it SHOULD BE CLAD IN SHORTS.

It’s a perfectly fine butt but it SHOULD BE CLAD IN SHORTS LIKE A 1930S STRONGMAN.

Urban Outfitters. Kara wakes up to find Alex and Jimmy there; Clark’s already gone off to deal with another crisis. Max is on the news, declaring that Superman saved him. What a dick.

Jimmy gives Kara an absolutely hangdog expression and tells her he called Clark…USING THE SIGNAL WATCH!!! OMG. Okay, Supergirl, I’m still mad about the shorts but I’m working through it because SIGNAL WATCH.

I want it.

I want it.

Kara’s furious that Jimmy didn’t believe she could do it, and kicks him out. Alex assures Kara that someday she’ll be the one saving Superman. I’m holding you to that come sweeps week, Alex.

Oh, and Kara’s late for Cat’s party! Luckily, Alex has a brought a fancy – and bulletproof – dress from the DEO’s Femme Fatale closet. I actually love that Alex picked this gown, which is clingy and green with black netting, because it’s not Kara’s style at all – but it is basically Lex Luthor in dress form and I don’t think Alex’s name is a coincidence.

Master of disguise.

Master of disguise.

Party. Cat asks Kara where the magazines with the actual story in them are – you know, the ones Kara’s clearly forgotten? Winn steps in and smoothly covers for her. Kara says she owes him and he suggests she “repay [her] debt” by dancing with him. Oh, and you were doing so well, Winn.

Cat, meanwhile, prowls up to Max Lord like a lioness cornering a wounded gazelle. They trade barbs while dancing before she purrs that he’s “big on promises but not much else” with a suggestive glance downwards. CATHERINE, MY QUEEN. She announces that she’s done with her own party – after like 20 minutes, okay, Cat – and twirls off, while he gazes after her like he’s posing for the cologne ad in his head. It’s MAGNIFICENT.

I'm so excited for their tango in the musical episode.

I’m so excited for their tango in the musical episode.

DEO. Henshaw’s eyes glow red and he mutters “Alex” before tracking her down in a room doing…something on a computer. So I guess he’s beep booped into the server? Anyway, whatever she’s doing, it’s to help Kara fight Reactron, and Henshaw grumps about Alex disobeying orders before agreeing to help.

Party. Kara and Winn are giggling and dancing when Jimmy appears and asks to cut in. Kara agrees, albeit not cheerfully, and Winn exits stage right with pretty good grace. Jimmy tells Kara he didn’t press the signal watch for her, but for him: “I call him when things get tough. I always have. That’s part of why I left Metropolis. My safety net became my reflex. I press that button when I get scared, and I was scared that I was going to lose you.” Now it’s Kara’s turn to inexplicably fail to propose. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU TWO.

Jimmy tells her that she’s amazing, that she never seems scared of falling. “What’s so bad about falling?” she asks, and they DEFINITELY ALMOST KISS…and Reactron shows up. I know I’ve made a bunch of Phantom jokes in here but I’m genuinely shocked that a chandelier doesn’t drop at this point.

Kara runs off to “slip into something more durable,” then flies back in just in time to save Max, yet again, from Reactron. Reactron turns his blasts on her; one bounces off and topples a huge stone pillar that nearly crushes Winn. Kara catches it, but now her hands are full. Before Reactron can attack again, Jimmy distracts him by offering himself, Superman’s pal, as snuff-bait. He runs off, Reactron in pursuit, and Kara tosses the pillar aside as Winn scrambles away. Neither Winn nor Kara says anything through all of this, which is really weird.

Alex comes in over Kara’s invisible headset – Reactron’s suit is powered by a “demon core” (i.e. arc reactor/the gift of song), so Kara needs to remove it, but encase it in lead immediately before it melts down. She X-rays a room until she finds a lead bust, then melts it enough to coat her hand in it, which is even more TOTALLY METAL than “demon core.” P.S. All of Cat’s guests have kidney failure now.

Outside, she brawls with Reactron a bit before ripping the core out with the lead-covered hand. Reactron drops. Winn is presumably crowd-surfing off screen. GOOD NIGHT, NATIONAL CITY!

*smashes guitars*

*smashes guitars*

Jimmy scampers over. “You could’ve been killed,” she says. “No,” he replies. “I knew you’d save the day.” KISS KISS KISS. (They don’t.)

DEO. Alex urges Kara to ask Jimmy out. Melissa Benoist radiates sunshine out of all of our screens and gives us a few more freckles.

CatCo. Kara rushes into Jimmy’s office – but he’s got dinner plans with his ex-girlfriend, Lucy “Lois’s Sister” Lane! Lucy is played by Step Up’s Jenna Dewan Tatum (yes, that Tatum) so I expect her and triple threat Benoist to settle this via danceoff. A heartbroken Kara proceeds to blow off Winn. Romantic sadness everywhere!

But then…Clark IMs Kara. He promises not to interfere again and points out that he was never able to stop Reactron: “Guess it was a job for Supergirl.” I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING.

I 100% believe that Clark overuses emoticons.

I 100% believe that Clark overuses emoticons.

Urban Outfitters, where we close out on some cute sister banter. Alex is much more consistent in this episode, which is great. This show really nails the sweet moments between these two.


Nerdiest Hat Tip: Bakerline Nuclear Power Station – the comics, Bakerline is a suburban borough of Metropolis.
Best One-Liner: “I’m a writer. It’s like riding a bike or severe childhood trauma; you never really lose it.” Same, Cat.
Worst Thing: You already know the answer to this. #SuperButtBetrayal2015
Best Thing: Honestly, I’m fascinated by Max, who exudes amoral smarm in literally every scenario. I can’t wait to see where they go with him.