The fifth episode of Supergirl on CBS finally aired last night, and now we know how the continuity glitches from last week’s episode would be resolved. In case you didn’t know, the episode “How Does She Do It” was scheduled to air last week, but was postponed after terrorists attacked several sites in Paris and Beirut. Instead, they aired the Thanksgiving episode that introduced Livewire, but also picked up a couple story threads that weren’t woven until last night. So was the delay worth it?
It depends. Of the five episodes that have aired already, this one was probably my least favorite. While there were some nice bits — particularly, Kara’s battles with a mysterious drone and a sequence in which she prevents a building from collapsing after a bomb is detonated — the episode felt really flat to me.
Maybe it was the scheduling switcheroo, but I didn’t find myself caring for many of the subplots. The main plot revolved around a series of bombings around National City — which is why this episode was postponed in the first place — that seemingly targeted billionaire tech magnate Maxwell Lord. The continuity glitches from last week were even more apparent last night. References to Reactron, the Jimmy/Lucy deal, and “good guy” Henshaw made it obvious this episode was out of order.
The lesser plots focused on Kara’s attempts to babysit Cat’s young son while she was away beating Lois Lane for an award and a will-they-or-won’t-they between Lois’ sister Lucy and the man formerly known as Superman’s Best Pal Jimmy. The latter plot was even more distracting since we saw they had already reconciled by Thanksgiving. I guess foiled terrorists attacks work wonders for strained relationships.
I will say that the character of Maxwell Lord is actually growing on me. He’s being played very much in the Lex Luthor vein, and Peter Facinelli’s portrayal is very reminiscent of Michael Rosenbaum’s Lex on seven seasons of Smallville. Except Maxwell is pretty much leaning in to his evil.
Turns out that the bombings and the drone strikes were all orchestrated by Lord, not to murder anyone, but to test Supergirl’s abilities. Her speed, strength, stamina, and morality were all bagged and tagged by various pieces of Lord Tech. Moreover, several scenes between Lord and Alex set off a dozen new ships to sea as the internet began fawning over potential #AlMax pairings.
The plots all come to a head when Kara is forced to choose between saving a train full of a hundred passengers and a bomb at an airport which could take out thousands more. Because Winn and Cat’s son are on the train, Kara decides to go for the train and sends the DEO to the airport — where James, unbeknownst to Kara, has gone to find Lucy who might be in danger.
On the train, Supergirl tries to reason with the bomber, who is a disgruntled former Lord Tech employee, but is unable to convince him to disarm. The perp flips the detonator, and Kara has to sever the car from the rest of the train. She watches the bomber’s car travel several more yards before blowing up.
She also realizes that the bomber may have been operating against his own interests and finds out that he was merely a pawn in a larger game. Later, Lord indirectly reveals that he was behind the whole plot and was particularly interested in the fact that Supergirl saved the train rather than the plane. This turn of events leads Lord to believe that Supergirl’s secret identity is tied to one of the passengers on the train, pretty much telegraphing a future episode in which Lord kidnaps Winn — thinking he’s Kara’s sweetheart.
The end of the episode mirrors a pretty classic Supes/Lex tête-à-tête as Supergirl confronts Lord in the window of his high-rise office, promising that Maxwell Lord will be Supergirl’s arch nemesis for the duration of the series.