Aug 2, 2021
This week’s Supergirl is a turkey of an episode
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Previously on Supergirl: Supergirl wanted to be a hero, so she saved a plane! Wow, seeing this clip from the pilot only reminds me of how much more optimistic I was about this show in my younger days. Kara’s foster mom knew she wasn’t Kara’s mom, sweetheart, but she was safe here. Alex told Henshaw that saving the world means they have to stop all possible threats, not just evil aliens.
Well, as you may have heard, the episode of Supergirl that was originally supposed to air this week was rescheduled due to the attacks in Paris. Reportedly, that episode featured Supergirl having to deal with a series of bombings around National City, so yeah, yanking it probably was for the best. Though I recommend not reading online comments about CBS’s decision, because there are a surprisingly large number of people who genuinely believe a TV network shuffling around episodes means the terrorists have won.
Instead, we’re getting the episode that was originally supposed to air next week, which means it’s full of references to Thanksgiving. But other than that and a slight jump ahead in one storyline, you’d never know this episode was airing a week early. And I think that really says it all about how little this show has progressed from the pilot.
Also in this episode, they’ve brought back special guest star Helen Slater, who played Supergirl in the 1984 movie, to reprise her role as Supergirl’s foster mom from the pilot. Which could have been a nice passing of the torch between Supergirls, but instead, they’ve used Slater’s appearance to create a weird, banal conflict between her and Kara’s sister Alex that has almost nothing to do with Supergirl.
This episode begins at DEO headquarters, where a giant alien prisoner breaks free of his shackles and starts beating up on DEO agents. Their bullets don’t harm him, but they do hit the pod that brought Kara to Earth. What’s with this advanced piece of alien tech just sitting out in the open all the time? It’s like the DEO is using it as lobby art.
Supergirl shows up to do battle with the big alien, and this fight ends in a totally lame way, where she defeats the alien by lifting him up and then, I think, falling on him, or something. And the punchline comes when Henshaw arrives on the scene, and Kara says “he” was tough, but Henshaw informs her the alien is a “she”. Kara does her usual adorkable-gangsta thing with, “Oh! Respect!” But let’s be serious, this clearly is a male stunt person. He even has facial hair.
Kara flies home, where Alex is freaking out because her mom is coming to visit for Thanksgiving. But Kara is looking forward to her chocolate pecan pie, which is the best dessert in the galaxy, which she should know because she’s “been to 12 planets”. Alas, we didn’t get to see any of those amazing interplanetary adventures, but I’m sure Kara beating up on the junkyard clone of Iron Man was every bit as interesting.
Her mom knocks on the door, and we get a bewildering moment where Kara actually answers the door of her apartment in her Supergirl costume. Also, it would appear Kara address her foster mom by her first name, which is Eliza (and not Sylvia like in the comics). Eliza tells Kara she looks great in her costume, and then turns to Alex to say she looks “tired”. I’m sure you can see where this is going.
Cut to a blonde woman in a studio doing a radio broadcast. Her name is Leslie Willis, and she’s about to become (spoiler alert!) Livewire, a villain first introduced in the ‘90s Superman animated series continuity, and then later brought into the main DC continuity. And according to the sign behind Leslie, the name of her radio show is “Alive and Wired with Leslie Willis”. The villain soon to be called “Livewire” hosts a show called “Alive and Wired”. Sigh.
As in the comics, she’s supposed to be a shock jock, and she goes off on a not-very-shocking rant about Supergirl, making fun of the “hideous, rejected-from-the-Olympics figure skating outfit” she wears. Over at Kara’s apartment, we see that she and Alex and Eliza just happen to be listening to Leslie Willis’s broadcast and looking pained.
And then we see Winn at his desk, and he’s also listening to the broadcast on his computer, while Leslie makes fun of Supergirl for wearing a “skirt and tights”, which seems like “overkill” because “no one is trying to get in there!” Then we see James Olsen listening to the same broadcast and fuming as Leslie wonders if there’s anyone out there who’s “hombre enough” to get through the “Chastity Belt of Steel”. And this cutting edge parody of shock jocks feels like it was written by someone who’s never listened to Howard Stern in their lives.
Leslie then says Supergirl gives off a “Sapphic vibe, with that big ol’ butch S plate!” She wonders what Kara has going on “down there”, being an alien and all, and implies she might have tentacles instead of genitalia. Upon hearing this, Cat Grant shuts off her radio. And I love how when this show needs to introduce a radio DJ character, suddenly all the characters listen to the radio (when’s the last time anyone in the real world listened to FM radio? I mean, by choice?). Also, we’re later expected to believe that Leslie has a huge fanbase, as if an entire city would listen in rapt attention to a woman sitting alone in a studio and going off on idiotic rants.
At the CatCo office, Kara and Winn talk about her foster mom coming to visit, and Kara says her sister always seems to be “waiting for a bomb to go off” when her mom’s around. Winn laughs and says “it’s nice when we talk about a metaphoric bomb for a change!” Ouch, too soon, Winn. Also, that’s probably a reference to the episode we didn’t get to see. Then it comes out that Winn is spending Thanksgiving alone, so Kara invites him over to her apartment for “Friendsgiving” with Alex and Eliza.
Then Kara sees Leslie Willis in Cat’s office, and wonders what they’re talking about. Winn actually has to remind her she has super-hearing and can eavesdrop on them.
Leslie Willis works for Cat, it seems, and Cat is none too happy about her going after Supergirl and making fun of her body and talking about her in sexual ways. Unfortunately, she can’t fire Leslie, because she’s under contract, so instead, Cat is reassigning her to traffic chopper duty, where she’ll have to fly around in the “CatCopter”. She warns her it’s going to be a “bumpy ride”, while we get post-production lightning flashes to drive the point home, even though it’s sunny outside.
Kara meets up with James in a restaurant, and learns he’s going on a romantic getaway with Lucy Lane for Thanksgiving. Last we saw, he wasn’t all that interested in even talking to her, so I guess we missed the episode where they became a couple again. Then Alex comes in, and we find out why her mom is mad at her: she doesn’t like that Alex allowed Kara to become Supergirl. Even though she’s not mad at Kara at all for actually becoming Supergirl. And this nonsensical conflict takes up over half the damn episode.
Kara suggests that Alex should tell her mom she’s a DEO agent, and has been protecting Kara. But Alex says that would be crazy, particularly because the DEO doesn’t even officially exist.
A helicopter flies through a storm, and inside are Leslie Willis and a pilot about to do their traffic report. The pilot is worried about the weather, and naturally, a bolt of lightning immediately hits the tail of the chopper, sending it spinning. Kara just happens to see this, and quickly flies to the rescue. The pilot falls out of the chopper and Supergirl catches him, then goes to save Leslie. And we see the helicopter spinning around near an office building, along with a few shots of a guy in an office vacuuming with his headphones on, totally oblivious to the disaster going on behind him. Wow, are they really going with a gag this tired? Worst of all, there’s not even any payoff where the guy finally turns around and sees what’s happening.
Eventually, Supergirl grabs the helicopter and goes to pull Leslie out, but then a lightning bolt hits Supergirl and passes through her body and hits Leslie.
Leslie Willis is now comatose in a hospital bed, and the event has caused her hair to instantly turn white. Cat has come to visit her with Kara in tow, and she quips that Leslie’s “new do” is “very Katy Perry”. Kara feels awful about this, though what she actually says is, “Supergirl must feel awful!” But Cat points out she’s the reason Leslie was up in that helicopter in the first place. “If anyone should feel guilty, it’s me! Not that I do.” Okay, at least there’s one decent line in this episode.
Coming up next: CBS will be airing the episode they were originally planning to air this week. So join me here at the Agony Booth next week for Supergirl: The Lost (for one week) Episode!