Picking up right where we left off last week, Supergirl finds herself confronted by General Astra and her Phantom Zone goons. Aunt Astra threatens her niece with the Kryptonite shiv Hank Henshaw stabbed her with several weeks earlier, revealing that it no longer affects her or her cohorts thanks to the protective uniforms they’ve developed. Given the choice of turning to dark side or dying, Kara pulls a Luke Skywalker and jumps off the roof, escaping to DEO headquarters. Hank Henshaw is sad to learn that Supergirl wasn’t able to get his favourite weapon back (“I really liked that knife”), and Alex insists that Kara takes some time to recover from the Kryptonite. Kara is surprised to hear Alex say that she and Hank will track Astra down together–after all, it wasn’t so long ago that Alex thought Hank had murdered their father. “Trust me,” Alex responds.
Meanwhile, all hell is breaking loose at CatCo, as someone has hacked the media giant’s servers to uncover every scrap of personal information Cat Grant has online. The Daily Planet is posting all of Cat’s emails, revealing plenty of embarrassing personal details (like the fact that she asked Idris Elba for a date and was turned down–“His loss,” says Cat), but nothing that could actually be considered incriminating. Still, Cat is worried that CatCo’s board of directors could use this to unseat her from the company she built, so she enlists Kara to go through all of her emails and find anything that might be used against her. Kara drafts James and Winn to help her, even though things are weird between them since Winn saw them in a friendly embrace last week. Still though, Winn takes rueful satisfaction out of the fact that Kara told him that Astra had returned, and not James. We take our victories where we can find them, I guess.
At the DEO, Kara and Alex engage in a Kryptonite-depowered sparring session, and Alex finds that Kara is hesitating at crucial moments. Alex fears that, deep down, Kara still loves her aunt, and won’t be able to do what’s necessary when the time comes. If needed, will she be able to strike a killing blow if it means saving National City, and maybe the planet itself? “Superman doesn’t kill,” Kara counters, in a bit of dialogue that’s surely meant to be a (well-earned) shot across the bow at Man Of Steel’s controversial conclusion. Alex, however, thinks that Supergirl should be ready to.
Alex wasn’t far off the mark about Kara’s feelings towards her aunt, as it turns out. In a flashback, we see that Astra and her niece were close back on Krypton, communicating through a set of “spy beacons”. Astra came to Kara one last time before her incarceration in the Phantom Zone, revealing to her niece that their world was doomed because its inhabitants exhausted its resources, and that her and her comrades-in-arms were actually fighting to save Krypton from Kryptonians…no matter what the cost. Unfortunately, Kara’s mother, Alura, used the spy beacon to trace her sister’s movements, resulting in Astra’s capture. That’s one thing you can count on from this show–family reunions are almost always awkward like that.
Winn is unable to find anything out of place in CatCo’s servers, and although James has found all kinds of unfortunate and strange things about Cat from her emails (she invested in Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical, she considered a stint on Undercover Boss, she’s written tons of, er, Catty things about Lois Lane), there’s nothing there that could really damage her. Still, CatCo’s board of directors is not pleased. After a meeting that ends with the board threatening to wrest control away from Cat, Kara’s super-hearing picks up on the fact that slimy board chairman Dirk Armstrong may have been behind the attack, for the very purpose of taking over the company. If there is any actual corporate wrongdoing behind the hack, hard evidence will be needed to prove it, as well as a lawyer; luckily, James happens to be dating one, and so Lucy Lane is drafted into service on Team Supergirl. On the not-so-legal end of things, James sneaks into Armstrong’s office and plants a gadget on his computer that will allow Winn to hack into it and find the evidence they need.
But there’s still the problem of Astra to be dealt with, a situation that rears its head when the General publicly calls Supergirl out in the skies above National City. An all-out battle ensues, with Kara taking special care to protect the ordinary citizens caught in the crossfire…not to mention, she is still unable to bring herself to dish out a killing blow when she is given an opening. But Supergirl wins the day nonetheless, dragging an unconscious Astra to the underground DEO prison that will dampen her powers. Once there, Supergirl confronts her aunt, who insists that her twin sister Alura was the real villain, and that she herself was a freedom fighter. In another flashback, we learn that Alura begged her sister to throw herself on the mercy of the Kryptonian High Council, but Astra refused (even though her husband Non murdered a guard on one of their missions). Supergirl is convinced that her aunt has gone insane during her time in the Zone, but Astra insists that Earth is now in exactly the same kind of peril that Krypton was during its last days and that, with her niece’s help, she can save it. Angry and confused, Kara visits with the holographic simulation of her mother to find out if Astra is telling the truth, but is met with a litany of “I am not programmed to give that information.” Convenient!
A visibly furious Kara returns to CatCo, but won’t open up to her teammates about the outcome of her meeting with Astra. Winn is still working on cracking Armstrong’s computer, and James still hasn’t turned up much from Cat’s emails…that is, beyond evidence of monthly payments to one Adam Foster of Opal City (shout out to the home town of another DC Comics hero, Starman!). The gang confronts Cat to find out if this is some boyfriend on the side, and Cat is, at first, evasive (“If I wanted to sleep with a beach bum, I’d still be dating John Stamos”–Cat is really on fire this week), but eventually she reveals the truth that Adam is her oldest son from a previous marriage. When push came to shove during the divorce, Cat gave up custody of him, knowing that he would have been better off not growing up with a career-obsessed mother. Kara is sympathetic to the tough choices a mother is forced to make, gaining a bit more sympathy for how Alura handled her own situation on Krypton. Cat makes plans to step down to save Adam from the potential embarrassment of the story going public, telling Kara that she will always have a job for her no matter where she lands. But, in the nick of time, Team Supergirl arrives with a damning bit of evidence–Armstrong conspired to have Cat hacked using CatCo computers, on CatCo company time, while discussing CatCo internal business. Cue security, and exit Dirk Armstrong. Bonus points to Cat for still managing to crack wise during a crisis (to Lucy, upon their first meeting, realizing whose sister she is: “Congratulations, you got the looks”). And James apologizes to Winn for hugging Kara, encouraging Winn to tell her how he feels about her. It’s a big risk, Winn insists, but James assures him that she’s worth it.
At the DEO, Alex is going over the tapes of Supergirl’s battle with Astra, and something isn’t adding up. Astra, a skilled tactician and military vet, gave Supergirl multiple openings during their fight, and seems to have lost on purpose. Hank Henshaw/J’onn J’onzz reveals that, although ESP ability is part of his secret Martian skill set, he’s unable to read the minds of Kryptonians, and so he’s unable to divine why Astra gave up so easily. By the time they’ve realized that it was a distraction, the Phantom Zone criminals’ true mission is underway, as they launch an all-out attack on Lord Technologies. Max Lord and his staff have all kinds of crazy anti-Kryptonian weaponry, as it turns out, but it’s not enough–after all, the Zone was host to all kinds of evil alien creeps, each with their own super-powers.
Kara shares a victory toast with her boss, but it’s short-lived; Cat has put the pieces together and realized that Kara and Supergirl are one and the same, and demands that Kara take off her glasses if she has nothing to hide. Defeated, Kara submits, and Cat stands triumphant once again. This scene provided a terrific payoff to the through-line of Cat’s rivalry with Lois Lane–the Daily Planet’s star reporter was never able to see the Kryptonian in her midst, but Cat figured it out in record time. Before anything can come of it, Alex calls Kara to tell her about the attack on Lord, and Supergirl has to rush off to join the fray. All-out war has broken out, with Supergirl, Alex, Hank/J’onn, Lord, and all of the Zone escapees meeting in battle. Supergirl confronts Astra’s husband, Non, and…gee, we’ve run out of time. How’s that for a fall finale cliffhanger?
Supergirl returns in Canada on Global Monday January 4 at 8 pm et/pt.
Tune in after the holidays to see how the Battle Of Lord Technologies shakes out!