Supergirl: Jemm, and a hologram
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Previously on Supergirl: Alex came to believe that Hank Henshaw was responsible for the death of her father. General Astra, twin sister of Supergirl’s mom, was determined to go forward with her plans for world domination despite her niece’s interference. Supergirl used up all of her powers to destroy the Red Tornado, and was stunned when she cut her finger on a piece of glass.
We find Supergirl being run through a battery of medical tests at the DEO, while we hear her mom Alura in voiceover explaining that she’s been depowered and is now capable of experiencing pain and sickness like an ordinary human. But she reassures Kara that as soon as she absorbs enough energy from Earth’s yellow sun, her powers will return. Which means, of course, that this is the “hero loses his/her powers and learns he/she is still a hero without powers” episode that every superhero show is obligated to have.
And as you probably figured out by now, Kara is getting this advice from the DEO’s artificially intelligent hologram of Alura. Yeah, remember that? I thought Holographic Alura would become a constant presence on the show, but this is the first we’ve seen of her since she was introduced in episode two. I’m guessing that since they (mild spoiler for the end of this episode) have Laura Benanti on hand to play Astra, they figured why not get her to also play Alura? It’s not like they have to pay her extra for the dual role.
Alex is walking Supergirl out of DEO, reminding her that Superman loses his powers from time to time, but Supergirl is worried because it’s been two days. Alex tells her to go outside and “see what it’s like to be human for a day!” Henshaw pops up, adding she might “learn a thing or two about what it’s like for the rest of us,” though it’s pretty obvious to all by now that he’s not particularly human, either.
The two women are on edge around Henshaw, and after he walks away, Alex reminds us that she thinks he’s responsible for her dad’s death. Kara doesn’t think this is possible, but Alex points out that Henshaw has been lying to her for years about her dad being a DEO agent.
Over at CatCo, Kara shows up to work with a cold. She tells Winn there was a “10 year old on the bus with a runny nose”. That is one fast-acting virus. Winn finds out she blew out her powers fighting the Red Tornado, and he plans to dig into DEO research on Superman to find answers.
She then sneezes just as Cat comes up in her elevator, and Cat demands to know who just “sprayed my office with a million microscopic killers?” Then Kara sneezes again, and Cat is stunned that it’s her, because she never gets sick, and “that’s the best part about you!” Kara’s gets a funny line with, “That’s the best part…?” Cat berates her for coming to work sick and Kara sees herself out.
At the DEO, they’re dealing with an alien prisoner with red skin and a big jewel in his forehead which he’s using to impotently shoot laser blasts at the walls of his cell. He tells Henshaw that he’s “Jemm, Master of the Faceless Hunters,” as well as conqueror of 12 worlds, but Henshaw is not impressed. And yes, Jemm is a minor character from the comics, but the amazing twist this week is that he’s an obscure hero, not an obscure villain… who they’ve turned into a villain for the purposes of this episode.
Henshaw informs Jemm that his psychic powers are useless because his cell is coated in “neural shielding”. Jemm promises to “grind your loved ones to dust”, but Henshaw mutters, “There are none left to grind.”
Cut to Kara out on the sidewalk as James runs up to share the news that he and Lucy are planning to move in together, and Kara again does a terrible job of acting happy for them. She sneezes and he immediately knows she lost her powers. He says, “Solar flare?” in a bit of dialogue that only makes sense when you know that in the current run of Superman comics, Superman just discovered he has a “solar flare” power that allows him to discharge all the energy in his cells at once, but leaves him powerless afterwards, and that would appear to be the same power Supergirl used against Red Tornado last week.
Kara remarks that today she’s “less Girl of Steel and more Girl of Stucco!” Which doesn’t make sense, because stucco is actually pretty durable, but I won’t say any more because I don’t want to be that guy. James tells her to just relax and enjoy her time off, and she decides to follow his advice, adding, “The world can survive without Supergirl for one day!”
Well, that jinxed it, because as soon as she says that, a massive earthquake hits. They both fall to the ground, a nearby overpass crumbles, and a big crack opens in the sidewalk. A car hits a fire hydrant and nearly plows into Kara, but James pushes her out of the way, unfortunately breaking her arm in the process.
Over at the DEO, well, wouldn’t you know it? They’re just about to move Jemm into a new cell at the precise moment the earthquake hits, and when they’re finally able to reestablish the camera feed in his cell, Jemm is nowhere to be found. Henshaw orders Alex to seal off the base.
Meanwhile, Kara is whimpering about her broken arm, so James rips off his shirt (don’t get too excited, because he’s got a tank top on underneath; this is the family hour, after all) to use as a makeshift sling. Together they take in all the damage around them, and see multiple skyscrapers on fire.
James and Kara return to CatCo, where things seem pretty chill, considering National City was just hit by an earthquake strong enough to cause a freeway to collapse. Cat comes out of her office and feigns concern about everyone, and then says she needs to get her “station” back on the air to reassure the people of National City.
Over at the DEO, Alex and Henshaw are using the Alura hologram to learn about Jemm. Alura says he’s one of the “most ruthless criminals” to be sentenced to the Phantom Zone. Well, of course he is; every villain on this show is the most threatening villain ever. Also, Jemm has the ability to “read and control” minds. She says that her daughter Kara is the only one who can defeat him, and Henshaw orders the hologram shut off.
Alex shows off glowing headbands called “neural disrupters” that can protect them from Jemm’s powers. So Henshaw and two random redshirt DEO guys strap them on and go out searching for Jemm.
Meanwhile, Winn gets Cat’s TV station back online, because again, being an IT guy makes him capable of pretty much every technical feat imaginable. Cat thanks Winn, but the joke is that she has no idea who he is, even though she walks past his desk every morning.
And now that all the TVs are up and running, they see Maxwell Lord using this disaster as another excuse to bash Supergirl. “Just when this city needed her the most, she’s nowhere to be found!” So Cat refers to Winn as “Whit” and tells him to set up a live feed in her office so that she can address the city and “counter” Max’s message. Because when there’s this much death and destruction going on, what’s really important is not besmirching a superhero’s good name.
Meanwhile, Henshaw and the two agents are going all Call of Duty through the corridors of the DEO. Henshaw mysteriously disappears at some point, and then the other two guys get attacked by Jemm, and soon Alex loses the visual feed from them and sees their heart monitors flatline.
Back in the smoking ruins of National City, Maxwell Lord is out on the street helping with relief efforts, but mostly using it as a photo and branding opportunity by handing out water bottles and other paraphernalia with the Maxwell Lord name on them. So I guess they’re setting him up as a Donald Trump-like craven opportunist who slaps his name on everything.
Jimmy uses his photographer credentials to get close to Max, with Kara right behind him. And then Kara starts complaining to Max about all the mean things he said on TV about Supergirl, because people need a “more positive message” right now. Yes, I’m sure the people trapped under rubble at this very moment are terribly concerned about all the negativity in the media.
And then join me back here at the Agony Booth next week, for the episode that CBS is calling the “winter finale” of Supergirl. Let’s hope it’s a good one!