Supergirl provokes a Reactron
Previously on Supergirl: Supergirl had the hots for James “Jimmy” Olsen, who wasn’t too thrilled to find out that Winn knew Kara’s secret identity, too. Wealthy industrialist Maxwell Lord warned of big problems in store for National City with Supergirl around, while Cat Grant threatened to fire James if he didn’t arrange a “sit-down” with Supergirl, though it ended up being more of a “hover-around”.
This episode picks up right where the previous one left off, with Cat Grant’s limo on top of a hill and Supergirl floating above. Cat (who of course doesn’t recognize Supergirl as the personal assistant she spends every waking moment of the workday with), pulls out her smartphone to record the interview. She asks Supergirl where she comes from, but quickly gets bored due to her origin being identical to Superman’s. Cat sighs and says, “I feel like I’ve heard this story before.”
Supergirl, in a callback to her voiceover intro in the pilot, says, “This is my story!” Cat wonders if she has all the same powers as Superman, including “the freezy breath thing”, but Supergirl admits she’s “still working on that last one”. Cat thinks maybe she’s not quite up to Superman’s level yet, so Supergirl shoots a blast of heat vision in her direction to prove otherwise.
After a few more questions, Cat asks, completely out of nowhere, if Supergirl is planning to “start a family”, which gets Supergirl’s feminist hackles up. She whips around and says, “Nobody ever asks my cousin these questions!” And it would appear the fact that they’re cousins is a huge revelation, because Cat looks enthralled and Supergirl quickly declares the interview over and flies away.
The next morning, Kara is having breakfast at a restaurant, and she’s soon joined by both Alex and James, and this scene exists primarily so Alex can observe that Kara is totally into James, and is laughing way too hard at his jokes. Kara introduces them, and it turns out James already knows Alex fights aliens for the DEO, though it’s never explained how.
Then they notice the TV is reporting that “Superman and Supergirl are cousins!” as if it’s a huge bombshell, and Alex is horrified. So, what, it never occurred to anybody before now that they might be related? I mean, they wear almost identical costumes.
At CatCo, Cat is gloating about how she scooped the Daily Planet with her Supergirl interview, but Kara wonders if she had to leak the part about Superman and Supergirl being cousins. “Do you think she might’ve… kind of wanted that on the down-low?” Oh, Kara, you’re so adorable when you’re trying to speak in ‘90s slow jams.
Cat just cuts her off, saying she needs a cup of coffee every hour today, because she plans to write a “kick-ass expose on Supergirl” (based on, what, all of four questions?) which will “make that Caitlyn Jenner Vanity Fair look like a Penny Saver pullout!” She even wants Kara to organize a big launch party at a museum to accompany the publication of this “kick-ass” cover story.
In a junkyard somewhere, a shirtless guy with a scarred face and scarred body watches a dirty TV screen and sees the report about Supergirl and Superman being cousins. He then straps on a suit of rusty armor and transforms into the low budget Iron Man. He grumbles, “Cousins…” as he shoots his TV with a blast of fiery energy. With the implication being that now that the world knows they’re cousins, people who have a grudge against Superman are now coming after Supergirl, but again, it wasn’t a huge stretch to assume they were related before this “story” broke.
At the DEO, Henshaw is chewing out Supergirl for giving an interview. He asks what she’s got planned next. “A book deal? A reality show? Keeping Up with the Kryptonians?” And that’s Kardashian/Jenner mention #2, for those keeping track of this show’s high-larious pop culture references.
Then a DEO agent tells Henshaw there’s been a big multi-car pileup on the highway. However, there’s “no sign of alien activity” in the area, so it’s not something they need to worry about. Weird. So the DEO just scans every traffic accident for possible alien involvement? Henshaw turns around to yell at Supergirl some more, but she’s already gone, and on her way to the scene of the pileup to help rescue the injured.
As soon as she arrives, she’s directed to a driver trapped in a bus. There’s a nice moment where she pulls the woman out and brings her to a waiting stretcher. Just as the woman thanks her, Supergirl gets hit with energy beams from the poor man’s Whiplash. He comes hovering down to the scene, so I guess he can fly. And I’ll just assume he caused the accident in the first place, though he never cops to it.
The guy says he’s here to make Superman “suffer”, and show him what it’s like to “lose everything”. If that’s the case, he really should be going after Lois Lane or Lana Lang instead of the cousin that Superman barely talks to. He hits her with another energy beam, which appears to be nuclear-powered in nature, and the two get into a super-powered battle. Supergirl eventually rips off a car door and hurls it at him, causing his suit of armor to malfunction. He flies away, and Supergirl just… watches him go.
At the DEO, Henshaw already knows the guy is named “Reactron”, or at least, that’s what the Daily Planet called him years ago when he fought Superman. And Reactron is of course our obscure DC villain of the week. Strangely, this episode casts him as an old Superman villain, even though in the comics, he actually started out as a Supergirl villain.
Henshaw explains that Reactron is obsessed with killing Superman, but they don’t know why. However, because Reactron is human, and not alien, “this case falls outside the DEO’s jurisdiction”, and it’s not their problem. Supergirl says they have to do something, so Henshaw suggests calling her cousin. “Superman fights for truth, justice, and the American way! Last time I checked, National City was in America!” Well, thanks, show, for forcing in yet another super-lame Superman reference.
Back at CatCo, Kara walks into Cat’s office and finds her totally tweaking on all the coffee she’s been drinking. She talks about how she’s really close to throwing a phone at Kara, and then she puts on a pair of glasses, even though she’s already wearing glasses.
Later, Winn invites Kara and James up to the office of a recently deceased employee. Winn has secretly converted his vacant office into a high-tech command center for the Supergirl gang. As he types at a computer, he says he’s put together an “algorithm” that can “sweep the city for any variable changes in radiation” in order to track down Reactron. Sure. A citywide radiation-scanning system is clearly something an IT guy can slap together in his free time.
James suggests that instead of taking on Reactron alone, Kara should call in Superman on this one, because Reactron is especially dangerous. “He nearly killed Clark once!” And then Winn hears the name Clark, and immediately figures out that Clark Kent is Superman, and is giddy at learning this secret. And then James just shrugs, like telling some random guy Superman’s secret identity ain’t no thing. Dammit, James, you were supposed to keep that on the down-low (nobody has to know)!
Kara refuses to ask for Superman’s help, and she’s determined to do this by herself, because “of all the things the ‘S’ stands for, ‘safety’ is not one of them!” Which is an awful line, but at least this show is admitting that the “S” stands for a buttload of things. She wants to be defined by her own “victories and losses”, and not Superman’s. Except, the only reason Reactron is coming after her in the first place is because of Superman, so it would make perfect sense to get him involved, no?
Cut to the headquarters of Lord Technologies, where Peter Facinelli is back as Maxwell Lord. He’s working on a high speed maglev train creatively called the “Super Rail”, when suddenly, Reactron comes crashing down through the skylight. He’s looking for someone with “a background in nuclear fission” and Maxwell volunteers himself to protect his employees.
Over at CatCo, Kara learns Maxwell Lord has been abducted, and tells Winn she feels responsible, and she needs to be the one to find him. And then Alex comes randomly sauntering into the office to say that she can help.
…Then come back to the Agony Booth next week, for my recap of episode four of Supergirl.