It’s lucky for Supergirl that her latest adventure starts out with back-to-back exercises in good publicity–Cat Grant sings her praises on an episode of The Talk, while the Girl Of Steel drops by an elementary school to make a fan look good in front of some bullies–because the rest of this week’s episode is a public relations nightmare. While rescuing a trapped firefighter, Supergirl is exposed to a chunk of always-unpredictable Red Kryptonite, an irradiated rock that brings out the worst in both her and her alter ego, Kara Danvers. At CatCo, Kara starts showing up in surprisingly slinky outfits, sabotaging her bitter rival Siobhan Smythe, and flirting shamelessly with newly-single James Olsen. And in her other job at the Department of Extranormal Operations, a bored Supergirl lets a marauding alien escape during a routine DEO operation–all on security video, no less. It may take none other than Cat Grant to talk Supergirl off the bad-girl ledge, but the Red K-irradiated heroine may not be listening to pesky human advice anymore. Speaking of that red rock, where did it come from, anyway? Is it truly from Krypton, or did someone on Earth–someone who has gone on record as hating aliens–create it? And if Supergirl truly has gone rogue, will Hank Henshaw have to reveal his true nature to the world in order to stop her?
Once again, the writers of Supergirl dig deep into DC Comics continuity for the latest episode. Red Kryptonite, and its unpredictable effects on Kryptonians, has been a staple of the Superman Family mythology for decades, joining the Kryptonite spectrum along with fatal Green K, fatal-to-Bizarro Blue K, and fatal-to-plant-life White K (hey, they can’t all make for thrilling reading). The hulking alien fugitive that Supergirl allows to escape is a Khund, from the Legion Of Super-Heroes strip in Adventure Comics (on the page, they’re usually armor-clad invaders,but the one who appears here looks more like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the last reel of The Terminator). There’s even a fun nod to, of all things, the Richard Pryor-starring Superman III, as an increasingly evil Kara causes mayhem at a bar. Unfortunately, Supergirl doesn’t follow up by straightening out the Leaning Tower of Pisa, like her cousin did on the big screen.