Happy New Year! As you’ll recall, Supergirl’s first year on the air ended on a major cliffhanger, with practically the entire cast converging on Lord Technologies for a giant-sized smackdown. The latest episode picks up exactly where we left off, with Supergirl and Non throwing punches while the DEO and Max Lord wage war against the Phantom Zone invaders. Kara and her uncle-by-marriage take their fight to the skies, where they’re both nearly creamed by a passing airplane (on a side note, whatever air traffic controllers in National City are being paid, it’s not nearly enough). When they crash back to earth, Non gets the upper hand until Hank Henshaw intervenes. Non grabs the DEO chief and beats a hasty retreat. When the dust clears, a not-very-grateful Max Lord really just wants everyone off his property before they see anything questionable in the facility’s upper levels (sketchier still, in a statement to the press, Lord passes the entire incident off as industrial espionage). Kara, Alex, and the rest of the DEO agents head back to base to learn what the protocol is for Henshaw’s absence. Alex is surprised to learn that Hank has named her to be his successor if he’s taken off the board. Meanwhile, Supergirl questions the still-captive Astra, who refuses to give up the location of the rogue Kryptonians’ base. Non reaches out to the DEO, offering to trade Henshaw for his wife. And, back at CatCo, there’s still the little problem of Cat Grant having figured out that her personal assistant is also National City’s resident superhero. 2016 is off to a pretty rocky start for the Maid Of Might.
When it rains, it pours, of course. Resident xenophobe General Sam Lane descends on the DEO, on direct orders from the President, tasked with finding Henshaw and sanctioning the Kryptonians. James Olsen, meanwhile, tries to snoop around Lord Technologies to see why the billionaire genius is so cagey about his labs, but finds himself quickly ushered off the premises. James is convinced that Lord is planning a reprisal against his alien attackers (including Supergirl as well, most likely). And Cat Grant ambushes Kara with a pop quiz about her childhood, which Kara aces. Cat still isn’t impressed. “Only a person who is determined to lie can answer all the questions,” Cat says. “How do you think I caught Lance Armstrong?” Back at the DEO, General Lane has decided to interrogate Astra to try and find the Kryptonian base. He professes to be a movie fan, having seen The Day The Earth Stood Still at an impressionable age (sadly, he’s taken the wrong message about alien interference away from the classic film). He’s also clearly a fan of Star Wars, as he favours the Darth Vader method of interrogation. Supergirl and Alex bust in to find Lane and his goon squad breaking out the Kryptonite-filled syringes, but Kara is also weakened by the K-powered prison cell and is helpless to stop Lane. Astra gives up a location under torture, but the Danvers sisters suspect a trap…and Kara’s sympathy for her captive aunt grows.
Cat continues to toy with her mousy assistant; she’s begun to imagine all the lives that might be saved while “Kira” is busy ordering her lattes and fetching her mail. It’s a responsibility she’s not thrilled with, so she orders Kara to prove that she isn’t Supergirl within 24 hours, or else she’ll be dismissed so that she can focus on her superhero duties. That night, James breaks into Lord Technologies with a remote assist from computer whiz Winn, finding his way to a “bio-diagnostically” locked door marked “52” (a number that has great significance to DC comics readers–among other things, it’s the exact number of parallel universes contained within the DC multiverse). But before the duo can find a way to break the lock, James is knocked unconscious by Max Lord.
The DEO and General Lane’s troops plan to move on the location Astra has given, and Supergirl accompanies them. A shipping container at a deserted dockyard seems to contain the DEO chief, but it’s only a hologram; Supergirl spots a bomb in the nick of time, but is only able to save Alex and a single soldier from Lane’s division when it goes off. In other interrogation news, Max roughs up a captive James as he tries to learn who helped him break in, but James won’t give him a name. Lord lets him off with a stern warning, doing only permanent damage to James’ camera. And, at CatCo, an emotional Kara delivers her resignation. Her mood doesn’t improve when she sees what Lord has done to James’ face–in her anger, she starts to sound a bit like her aunt as she plans to confront Lord. Winn talks her down, telling her that she’ll only prove Lord (and, by extension, General Lane) right if she starts acting as though she’s above human justice. Kara is at her wit’s end, having lost everything (even the memory of her mother is tainted now, as Astra has her questioning Alura’s motives and methods). But, James is convinced she’ll still save the day, assuring her that “Heroes find a way.”
Supergirl visits Astra, acknowledging that they aren’t so different in their struggle, but telling her that they can’t give in to fear. Supergirl believes that there is still good in her aunt, even in the face of Astra’s denial. Astra finally tells her the full story of her condemnation to the Phantom Zone, admitting that her twin sister Alura never lost faith in her either. She believed that Astra truly wanted what was best for Krypton, but that when she became a murderer, she had sealed her own fate. Alura had promised to continue fighting on Astra’s behalf, but with compassion rather than violence. Astra insists that Non will only give Henshaw up in exchange for Astra, but Kara still wins the moral victory for using the compassionate approach–like mother, like daughter. Supergirl and Alex take Astra to make the exchange, but a tense standoff with General Lane ensues; luckily, Supergirl has won over Lane’s men after the disastrous first extraction attempt. The prisoner exchange takes place, but Supergirl and the DEO agents find themselves surrounded by a phalanx of Kryptonian creeps, under order by Non to murder them all. Alex whispers to Hank that he has to transform into his true Martian form and help Supergirl fight back, but before it comes to that, Astra convinces Non to honour the original agreement and let the humans live. Supergirl’s compassion, ever her greatest super-power, is catching, and the final battle will have to wait for another day. I’ve said it before, but this compassion is not only the source of Supergirl’s strength, but the show’s as well–not every problem can be solved by punching, its tells us. Sometimes listening and understanding is the only way.
Back at the DEO, Hank gives General Lane his marching orders. “Their idealism will doom this planet,” Lane says. “Nope,” counters Henshaw, “that’s what will save it.” With Lane gone, Supergirl reveals that her super-hearing picked up on Alex’s comment to Hank, and she demands to know what it meant. Hank reveals himself to her as J’onn J’onzz, last survivor of Mars, and friend to her and Alex’s father. Supergirl gets over her amazement pretty quickly, making good use of the shape-changing alien in her midst to convince Cat once and for all that her and Kara Danvers are two different people. With the Kryptonian threat now on the back burner, and Kara’s job saved, she, James, and Winn are now free to focus on whatever Max Lord has up his sleeve. They’re in the dark, but we viewers are given a glimpse into his plans–they involve a bedridden young woman with creepy black eyes, as well as the severed arm of the android Red Tornado, both found in that mysterious Room 52. To be continued, as they say in the funny pages.
Supergirl airs in Canada on Global Mondays at 8 pm et/pt.
Tune in next week for more (Super)girl power!