All right, so Supergirl has so far faced down hostile alien escapees from the Phantom Zone, ordinary folks turned into super villains after being caught in scientific mishaps, and an old-fashioned mad bomber of the 100% human variety. The time is right for a classic malfunctioning killer android, and General Sam Lane has got the Maiden of Might (so called by Max Lord in this very episode) covered. But first, Supergirl has to deal with a couple of human bozos caught in the grip of an especially intense bout of road rage. Our heroine is enjoying a peaceful flyover of National City when two drivers are too busy hollering at each other to realize that they’re about to plow through a group of young soccer players. Supergirl arrives in the nick of time to save the day but her own anger overcomes her when one of the drivers takes a swing at her, and she ends up breaking his hand. And, of course, the incident is recorded on any number of cellphones, going viral immediately. DEO head honcho Hank Henshaw cautions Supergirl to curb her anger in the future, telling her that enough people out there already fear her cousin because of what he might do with his powers if he ever lost control.
One of those people is the aforementioned General Lane, father of Lucy (and Lois, of course). James Olsen is not thrilled to hear that the General is coming to National City–after all, he is Superman’s Pal, and, because of that, the fact that he’s dating Lane’s youngest daughter has never gone over well. Parental drama is the order of the day, as Cat Grant’s mother, a sharp- tongued literary editor, is in town criticizing her daughter’s every move. And, just to round out all the familial angst, Alex arrives at CatCo to ask for help in finding out what happened to her own father–not from her adopted sister Kara, but from computer whiz Winn. Alex needs the DEO’s computer files hacked for information on her father’s supposed death following the recent revelation that Jeremiah Danvers worked for the DEO. Winn reluctantly agrees, as Henshaw messages both Danvers sisters about an operation requiring Supergirl’s involvement. General Lane, it seems, is not only in town to visit his daughter, but to field test an “anti- insurgent combat drone” in the nearby desert. And who better to help test it out than the Girl Of Steel?
But before Supergirl gets to fight a robot, Kara will need to survive Game Night with Winn, James, and now Lucy, not to mention absorbing heaps of scorn from Cat. The presence of her mother is stressing her out, and Cat is taking it out on her long-suffering assistant, throwing in a nasty dig about Kara’s obvious infatuation with James. Said infatuation turns Game Night into slow torture, as Kara gets to watch James and Lucy be adorable together (while a similarly lovestruck Winn gets to watch Kara be brokenhearted about it). Needless to say, by the time Supergirl’s scheduled skirmish with the Red Tornado gets underway, she’s got plenty of aggression to take out on the droid. Supergirl dishes out some catastrophic systems damage to the tornado-throwing ‘bot, causing the malfunctioning android to flee for parts unknown.
General Lane wants the Red Tornado found and destroyed before any innocent civilians are hurt, and when Dr. Morrow protests, he is fired. As a child of the 1980s and a fan of practical special effects, I have to say that I was delighted by the Red Tornado’s look in this episode. Played by Iddo Goldberg (doing double duty as Dr. Morrow as well), this nostalgic DC Comics favourite has an appearance that stops just shy of being silly, and is actually fairly menacing.
But back to people getting fired, Kara herself is nearly dismissed after she loses her cool during a particularly scathing dressing-down from Cat. However, instead of updating her resume, she finds herself downing drinks with the surprisingly sympathetic media mogul. Cat counsels Kara not to lose her cool at work, explaining how rampant emotion on the job is perceived differently for women than it is for men. Cat insists that Kara’a anger at her was really representative of something else, and that she needs to find out what it is and deal with it.
The relationship between Kara and Cat, which could just as easily have been a grating cliche, has instead grown into a more interesting student/teacher dynamic, as well as a look at the life of a modern career woman from both ends of the continuum of success. Alex visits Max Lord, hoping to secure the tech billionaire’s help in tracking down the android, but Lord is still not interested in helping out the government. And, in yet another of this show’s awkward family dinners, James joins Lucy and General Lane for a tense discussion about national security and the alien beings who may or may not threaten it while wearing a bright red letter “S”. It’s almost a relief when the Red Tornado shows up to try and kill everybody! Supergirl arrives in the nick of time to save the General from getting his head punched off, but Lucy is injured in the attack. The robot whips up–what else?–a tornado to cover its escape, secure in the knowledge that Supergirl will prioritize saving lives instead of fighting (this isn’t Man Of Steel, after all!).
Supergirl uses her speed and flight to disperse the tornado, but more importantly, she realizes that the android used her own compassion for humanity against her. Furthermore, DEO analysis of the android’s arm, severed in his first battle with Supergirl, reveals that the robot is covered in lead shielding…most likely to block prying X-ray vision. Henshaw surmises that the Red Tornado was not created to fight insurgents after all, but to kill Kryptonians. On a related note, Max Lord has a change of heart and summons Alex for a little dinner and quid pro quo– after she reveals that, like Lord, she lost her own father in service to the government, Lord tells her that his research has revealed that an angry Dr. Morrow is likely still out there pulling the Red Tornado’s puppet strings.
James and Kara team up for a workout session to power through their anger issues– James on a heavy bag, Kara on a car. James reflects that he never remembered Kara’s cousin having to work his anger out, and Kara counters that it’s because he’s a man, and that girls are taught to smile and keep their emotions all bottled up inside. Letting it all out proves therapeutic for both of them, as Kara realizes that behind all the other anger–over General Lane, over Cat’s treatment of her, over her and Alex not knowing what became of their father–is the long-simmering resentment over the knowledge that a normal love (like the one James and Lucy share) and a normal life will be forever beyond her grasp.
Alex calls Kara to let her know that, with Lord’s help, she’s found a way to trace the relay signal from the android to the revenge-crazed Dr. Morrow, once they draw the Red Tornado out of hiding. Using Kryptonian tech, Henshaw is able to project a thermally-accurate hologram of the General, creating an irresistible target for the vengeful robot. Supergirl engages the Tornado, while Alex tracks the mad doctor to his lair. A brawl ensues which leaves Morrow dead, and the loss of his telepathic relay signal means that Supergirl has to deal with a nowuncontrolled and fully sentient robot on the rampage. Kara unleashes her full heat vision, and her full anger, on the droid, releasing all of her pent-up frustration while reducing the Red Tornado to scrap metal.
General Lane heads back to Metropolis, but Lucy won’t be going with him. Having had her life saved by a Kryptonian hero has changed her loyalties, and she resigns her commission so she can stay in National City with James. Meanwhile, Winn has successfully hacked into the DEO mainframe, where he has learned that Jeremiah Danvers and another agent tracked an enemy alien to South America, where they both disappeared…only, after a month, Danvers’ partner returned unscathed to the United States with supposedly no memory of the incident. That partner was, of course, Hank Henshaw–the last person to see Alex’s father alive, and almost certainly the one doing his level best to keep the whole incident a secret. And finally, back at CatCo, Cat’s mother starts dumping on Kara the way Cat usually does, and finds herself on the end of a scathing Cat tirade in Kara’s defense. The senior Grant makes her exit, but Kara’s triumph is short-lived when, after Cat accidentally breaks a glass, the so-called Girl Of Steel finds herself bleeding from a cut on her finger.
A result of her battle with the Red Tornado, or some other mysterious malady? Tune in to Global next Monday at 8 pm et/pt to find out!