With each passing week, I’m becoming more and more impressed with Supergirl as a series. Sure, the pilot was already strong, but last week’s episode definitely raised the bar. Now with episode three in the can, the sky’s the limit for Supergirl to blaze its own trail. It’s just too bad the ratings are not keeping pace with the quality of the series. Come on, America! Tune in because this show could use your eyeballs!
The episode, “Fight or Flight,” picks up right after the events of last week. Kara has taken Cat to a secluded area (in Los Angeles, apparently) to do her interview. Immediately, Cat is bored with the proceedings because Kara’s story is basically a carbon copy of Superman’s: Krypton, flying, yadda yadda.
The interview goes from bad to worse because Cat has figured out how to push Supergirl’s buttons. In addition to comparing her to Superman, she asks Kara why she hasn’t started a family. Offended by the sexist question, Kara cuts the interview short and flies away, but not before letting it slip that she and Superman are not only Kryptonians, but they’re family.
The next day, Kara and Alex are having coffee and cinnamon buns at a local coffee shop when James comes in. Alex can immediately see that Kara is crushing on him. She then chides her sister again about her not-so-secret identity. And I keep asking myself why Alex isn’t concerned about the 50 or so DEO agents WHO ALL KNOW KARA IS SUPERGIRL.
Of course, it doesn’t help that Cat has gone public with her news about Kara’s family ties. The news is so big that Cat is writing an exclusive expose and tasks Kara with organizing a launch party for the new Supergirl-centric magazine. The show continues its anti-ginger prejudice when Cat gets poor Dave removed from the premises because she finds his hair “distracting.”
Meanwhile, this episode’s Alien Threat of the Week is introduced, and we eventually learn he’s not an alien at all. In fact, Kara is actually forbidden from involving herself from non-alien threats. Or at least that’s what Henshaw and the DEO think.
This time the DC villain Reactron is up to bat and interestingly, he was originally conceived as a Supergirl/Power Girl villain. So it’s nice that the show is featuring someone from Kara’s rogues gallery and doesn’t have to crib from someone else — like coughArrowcough.
He makes himself known after Supergirl rescues a driver from a fatal bus crash. Even though Reactron is not an alien, his power level is high enough to go toe to toe with a Kryptonian. He’s even battled Superman himself to a number of standstills, so this bad guy’s no joke.
Though Kara gets roughed up a great deal in their initial encounter, she is able to damage Reactron’s containment suit before the villain flees.
Because Reactron isn’t an alien, Henshaw recommends that Kara call in her cousin to take care of the threat, and we realize that the episode’s running theme will be that people keep unfairly contrasting Kara to Superman.
Back at CatCo, Winn — adorably — shows James and Kara a secret office in the building that the #SuperFriends will use for their Superhero Sleuthing going forward.
The three of them use Winn’s tech to track Reactron, and James spends the whole time humblebragging about his Best Pal Superman while also telling Kara to stand down since this bad guy might be too much for her. As James and Kara argue, James lets slip that Clark is Superman, and Winn’s reaction is magic. Seriously, Jeremy Jordan’s performance in this scene — hell, this whole episode — has made me officially Team Winn.
Meanwhile, Kara is tired of being in the shadow of Superman’s cape — something Jimmy should be familiar with based on what he said last episode. And the first cracks in their relationship — Kammy? Jara? Portmanteaus are dumb — begin to show.
Elsewhere, at Lord Technologies, we get our first real taste of Peter Facinelli’s Maxwell Lord. He plays the part with just enough dickishness that you don’t quite want him to have his neck snapped by Wonder Woman, just yet. Besides, I can totally see Maxwell Lord palling around with Micheal Rosenbaum’s Lex Luthor (BECAUSE SMALLVILLE IS CANON!).
After droning on about a new maglev train (and firing one of his engineers), Reactron shows up and kidnaps the CEO because he needs his suit fixed. Who built the original, I wonder?
Supergirl investigates, without DEO approval, but her sister offers unsanctioned help to the Superfriends by figuring out Reactron’s origin story. Turns out Reactron is really a nuclear engineer named Benjamin Krull who gained his powers when terrorists tried to hijack the facility where he worked with his wife.
Though Superman saved the day, the ensuing radiation blast killed Krull’s wife and transformed him into a vengeance-seeking killing machine. That’s why he’s got a hard on to kill Superman and everything he loves. So since Superman took away someone he loved, Reactron feels that turnabout is fair play and will take out the only person who has a connection to Superman: Supergirl.
Armed with this knowledge, Kara wants to seek out Reactron and reason with him to give up Lord and come away peacefully. James doesn’t think she should go after Reactron, but she ignores the advice and finds the bad guy in an abandoned junk yard.
After freeing Lord from his shackles, she tells him to run away before a nuclear blast sends her backwards. After some more (poorly choreographed) fisticuffs — seriously, they need to get the Arrow or Flash folks on here for fight choreo — Reactron gets the upper hand and Kara’s down for the count. Just as he’s about to go for the finisher on her…
Sadly, Supes isn’t sporting the red trunks (boo!) and we may never know who’s playing the Man of Steel.
I know the whole point of the episode is to quell our expectations and to accept Supergirl for Supergirl, but seeing Superman actually on the show was still thrilling. And really, it’s kind of smart of the writers to address the Superman question in this way. I know one of the things that’s been swirling around the show’s premise is how weird it is that Superman isn’t around. Now we know, but we’ll get to that later.
After the commercials, Kara wakes up in her apartment with Alex and James. She’s been out for hours and Superman has flown off to save the day elsewhere. When she asks how Clark knew to rescue her, James confesses that he signaled the Big Guy because HE HAS A SIGNAL WATCH Y’ALL!!!
On TV, Maxwell Lord thanks Superman for saving his ass, and Kara is pissed. First Jimmy, now this? Fucking men.
James leaves the apartment knowing he might have just screwed things up for their relationship. Kara realizes she’s late for Cat’s party and doesn’t have anything to wear. Fortunately, Alex borrowed a party dress from the DEO’s closets.
Also, why the hell does the DEO keep party dresses in the closet?
At the party, Cat and Maxwell have some flirty banter on the dance floor. Kara arrives solo and is chided by Cat before Winn (in a bowtie!) makes the save. The two longtime friends share a dance clearly designed to manufacture Winn/Kara shippers (is there such a thing?) and activate my musical Berlanti-verse crossover dream.
Then James — not in a bowtie, but wearing a suit three sizes too small — cuts in and apologizes for not believing in Kara.
Before the two of them kiss, Reactron crashes through the ceiling, looking for Supergirl. Kara sneaks out of the party and “secretly” changes into her Supersuit (guess she had to speed back to the apartment first because it clearly wasn’t under her dress) and saves Maxwell Lord from Reactron again.
Kara has to break away from her battle with the villain when a column is about to fall on top of Winn. Seizing the moment, James taunts Reactron to come after him. Alex — who has convinced Cyborg Homeland to help her — feeds Kara instructions on how to defeat Reactron once and for all. She needs to remove the Arc Reactor from his Iron Man suit. The problem is that doing so will cause a nuclear meltdown that will turn National into a mushroom cloud unless she coats the core in lead. Fortunately, the museum has a lead sculpture on display that Kara proceeds to meltdown. Hope CatCo has a good insurance policy!
Now that James has led Reactron outside and get the danger away from the people — what a good idea, Zack Snyder — Kara is able to come in and finish off the villain. With her right hand encased in lead, she rips out the reactor and saves Jimmy and the city!
I bet they hug when the camera cuts away. Though, I’m a little worried for James being so close to the NUCLEAR REACTOR IN KARA’S HAND. After the authorities cart Reactron away, Kara thanks Henshaw and her sister for the assist. Alex convinces Kara to ask Jimmy out, and she agrees. The problem is that when Kara shows up at Jimmy’s door, he has a visitor from Metropolis. Lucy Lane has shown up in National City, and apparently, she’s James’ ex. Awkward.
A dejected Kara goes back to her desk to sulk. She even dismisses Winn’s suggestion to do some superheroing when an IM ding pops up on her laptop. And the most important text messages sequence in superhero cinema happens. And it’s brilliant.
BTW, in my head, this is what the other end of the chat looks like:
Seriously though, can every episode end in Kara and Clark texting each other? Though I hope they’re chatting on, like, a Wayne Technologies platform. Because if they’re using LexCorp or LordTech software, Clark totally just revealed their secret identities to the whole world.