After a couple of weeks of out-of-order continuity, we finally got back on track with “Red Faced,” the latest episode of Supergirl. In addition to the live action debut of Red Tornado — and despite the internet’s jokes when the look was revealed earlier, the Red Tornado actually looked pretty good in action. Still wish they kept his blue cape, though — the episode probably delivered the strongest storyline of the season so far.
The story kicks off with Kara peacefully soaring above National City when a road rage incident gets her attention. Supergirl swoops in and saves a group of school children from being run over by a couple of jerks in souped up BMWs. Rather than apologizing for almost committing vehicular homicide, the driver decides to pick a fight with Supergirl! He swings at her, and Supergirl sends the idiot flying. Of course, the media plays this up as a story of Supergirl losing her cool. So much for all the goodwill she’s engendered over the past couple weeks.
Kara isn’t the only one who is losing her temper in National City. James is upset that Lucy’s father — that would be General Sam Lane — is coming to town for a visit. Also, Cat Grant’s mother — who was mentioned but not seen last episode — is also in town from Metropolis, much to the dismay of the Queen of All Media. So clearly, the show’s theme is about how all of the main characters have to deal with their anger issues. Because things are boiling over for everyone.
It turns out that General Lane isn’t just in town for a daddy/daughter day. At least not in the traditional sense. Instead, the general’s reason for being in National City is to pay a visit to the DEO and show off the Army’s latest acquisition, an android known as Project
Retweet RT. It seems that the military wants to test out its new toy by having it go toe to toe with Supergirl. Henshaw and Alex scoff at the idea, but when Lucy shows up — see, it was a daddy/daughter day after all — with an executive order from the president, Supergirl agrees. Mainly, so she can pretend Red Tornado is Lucy Lane and punch it in its face.
At Game Night, Lucy and James prove that they are an annoyingly perfect couple together, while Winn and Kara prove that they are adorable together. I know they’re setting up Kara/Jimmy as the big romance on the show, so is it wrong that I kind of prefer Winn for her instead?
After Winn almost gives away Kara’s secret identity, Lucy reveals that she met Supergirl earlier in the day and proceeds to trash her in front of the SuperFriends. Not a good look, Lucy.
The next day, Kara arrives at DEO’s desert HQ and preps for her match up with Red Tornado. She’s probably still fuming from being with Lucy the night before and is itching to go all Holly Holm on the android. Tornado’s creator, Dr. T.O. Morrow is also on hand to control the robot’s movements in the what has got to be the world’s best video game simulator. The battle is probably the best super fight on the series so far, with Supergirl coming out on top after going all Bugs Bunny on the android before ultimately defeating him.
In fact, Supergirl beats Tornado so badly, she activates his emergency self-preservation protocols and flies off. Basically, Red Tornado flips a switch and can no longer be controlled by Morrow or the Army. Pissed that Supergirl has incapacitated their weapon (and likely wasted billions of dollars), the general chides Henshaw and fires Morrow on the spot.
Meanwhile, Cat is dealing with her mother’s not-so-passive aggressiveness by taking out her anger issues on Kara, who for the first time in forever, has had enough and finally gives Cat a piece of her mind!
Instead of firing her assistant, Cat is actually impressed by the outburst and decides to take Kara out for some good old fashioned day drinking. Believe it or not, the two actually begin to bond, and it’s great.
That evening, James is out to dinner with the Lanes, and the air is thick with tension. When Lucy excuses herself to go to the powder room, General Lane lays his cards out on the table. His problem with Jimmy isn’t his relationship with Superman (that’s likely his problem with Lois, though) it’s that he doesn’t think Jimmy is good enough for his little girl. It’s a dick move, but it resonates because deep down, James kind of agrees. Remember, he moved to National in the first place so he could be his own man.
When the three leave the restaurant, the Red Tornado shows up and intends to seek revenge by taking out the general. James stealthily flips the switch on his signal watch, but instead of calling on his best pal, it alerts Kara. Guess they reconfigured the watch after the text from Clark. Supergirl shows up just in time to stop the Tornado from killing the general, but not before it creates a cyclone to destroy an entire city block. Supergirl chooses to stop the cyclone instead of apprehending the android and he gets away.
In a nice scene between James and Kara, the two decide to channel their anger in more productive ways. James with a punching bag and Kara with a chained up automobile. And I am in awe that a superhero show on CBS went there in exposing the double standard that exists in society for how women and black men are allowed to show their anger.
Later, Alex has enlisted the help of Maxwell Lord in tracking the robot. And he deus ex machinas a way for the DEO to locate Dr. Morrow who had been manipulating the Tornado all this time. The DEO decides to set a trap for the Tornado while Alex locates Morrow and takes out the mad scientist while Supergirl takes out the android. However, when Alex kills Morrow, Red Tornado continues to function. It seems the android has gained sentience and is no longer linked to its creator. After learning that the android is sentient, Supergirl still kills it dead anyway. Has Kara never seen the Star Trek: TNG episode “Measure of a Man?”
I mean, the effect of seeing Supergirl’s hyper heat vision cross cut with memories of her leaving Krypton (which was the source of the “anger behind the anger”) was affecting, but I was disappointed to see her destroy Red Tornado so unequivocally.
Who knows? Maybe the android survived somehow? It did mysteriously regrow the hand that Kara had freeze-breathed off earlier in the episode, after all. Maybe Tornado can return and be a mentor figure to the SuperFriends Young Justice style?
At the end of the episode, Winn meets up with Alex and Kara to share some intel he’s dug up on the death of Daddy Danvers. Basically, Henshaw was the last person to see Danvers alive on a mission in South America and deleted any evidence that would explain how he died. And if it weren’t clear enough that Henshaw is bad news, his eyes get all red and glowy back at DEO HQ — he should be a little more discreet about that, btw.
If that weren’t all, Kara has somehow lost her powers. When Cat drops a glass in her office, Kara cuts herself and starts bleeding.
Was the glass made out of green meteor rock? Is there a red sun no one know about? Guess we’ll have to find out next week.