Dec 23, 2019
Supergirl: You might like her when she’s angry
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Previously on Supergirl: Maxwell Lord and National City don’t need Supergirl and the problems she brings with her, man. Cat Grant mentioned how much she despised her mother. Supergirl’s foster mom Helen Slater revealed that her foster dad Dean Cain died while working for Hank Henshaw and the DEO, and the Danvers sisters were determined to find out why.
Supergirl is flying along peacefully in the clouds. Suddenly, her super-hearing picks up… a road rage incident, and for some reason this is something that requires the attention of a superhero. We find two drivers getting into a ludicrous shouting match on the road where they’re actually slamming their cars into each other. And wouldn’t you know it? A whole crowd of grade school kids is crossing the street at that exact moment. Real subtle, show. Why not throw in a baby stroller or two, an old couple holding hands, and a group of nuns right behind them while you’re at it?
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Supergirl arrives just in time to stop both cars. But one driver is pissed off that Supergirl totaled his car, and takes a swing at her. So Supergirl grabs his hand and most likely breaks all his fingers in front of those kids. Naturally, the top story on the news that evening is “Supergirl scares young children at a local school!”
Over at the DEO, Henshaw sees this report and scolds Supergirl for not controlling her anger. He says that there are people out there who are scared of her cousin, not because of his “god-like” powers, but because of what he would do with them if he “lost his temper”. I’m sensing that there may be a whole “anger” motif to this episode. Let’s find out if I’m right!
Then Maxwell Lord is on the news again, using this incident as another opportunity to speak out against Supergirl. He says that people are worried about “police brutality”, but they really should put a “body camera” on Supergirl. Topical! Though, something tells me Max is the kind of guy who would say “All Lives Matter” as if it’s actually a meaningful or profound statement.
Over at what is apparently the only restaurant in National City, James finds out Lucy’s father is coming into town, which he’s obviously not too happy about. He then tells Kara about Lucy’s dad, who (just like Sam Lane in the comics) is an Army general, and he thinks of Superman as a “threat to national security”, so he looks down on James for being friends with him.
Then he says he’s invited Lucy to “game night” at Kara’s place. Without even asking Kara! Totally rude, but of course Kara the doormat has to pretend to be thrilled to have her over.
Meanwhile, Cat Grant is getting a visit from her mother, Katherine Grant, and as you’d expect, she’s even more haughty and overbearing than Cat. Katherine sees the blown-up Supergirl cover in her office, and it turns out she never read Cat’s story about Supergirl. Katherine finds a female hero interesting, but apparently feels safer with Superman. “Call me old-fashioned, but I still prefer male doctors!” And Katherine Grant is played by Joan Juliet Buck, a sometime actress and author whose claim to fame is being editor-in-chief of the French edition of Vogue back in the ‘90s. So really, who better to play Cat’s mother?
Kara arrives at work and runs into Alex, but she’s really here to see Winn. Alex wants Winn to hack into the “DEO mainframe” so they can find out what happened to her father. So I guess Winn is now this show’s obligatory all-purpose hacker guy, who’s capable of breaking into the highly classified computer systems of secret government agencies, and yet is still working as a low-level IT office drone.
Over at the DEO base camp, Alex and Supergirl and Henshaw meet General Lane, played by Glenn Morshower, a character actor best known as Secret Service Agent Pierce on 24. Without ever speaking directly to Supergirl, the General refers to her as “the lady in red” (huh?) and says he wants her transferred to his command.
He says the Army has been developing an “anti-insurgent combat device” code-named “RT”, and they need her help to test it. And then Lucy Lane shows up in her military uniform, saying they have an “executive order” forcing Supergirl to comply. And in the previous episode, we learned Lucy was a military lawyer, and that apparently means she’s also her father’s “legal attachée”.
And what’s funny here is how Kara and Lucy have been acting like total besties in civilian life, but now that she’s Supergirl, all the resentment finally bubbles up to the surface, and suddenly Supergirl is champing at the bit to help General Lane. She asks what she has to do, and the General wants her to “Fight my robot.” Then the robot’s designer Dr. Morrow speaks up, saying it’s not a robot, but rather an “anthropomorphic pseudo-entity with combat abilities”.
He calls it the “Red Tornado”, and a giant crate opens up to reveal a rather unimpressive-looking android, totally red in color with glowing yellow eyes.
The Red Tornado of course comes from the comics, where he’s an android created by a mad scientist named T.O. Morrow to fight the Justice League, but who later becomes a superhero in his own right. And as far as I can tell, this is the very first live-action adaptation of the character, though based on the costume design, maybe he should have stayed in the comics. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen better fan cosplay of the character than the cut-rate Age of Ultron Vision they’re giving us here.
Over in the secret abandoned CatCo office, Kara talks to James and Winn about how Lucy Lane’s dad wants her to fight a robot. James tells her she can always opt out, but Kara says, “I have to show her… him! That I can be a team player.” Winn thinks this means game night is canceled, but Kara insists game night is the “last shred of normalcy” in all of their lives and it can never be called off.
We get another encounter between Cat and her mother. Katherine has to cancel on their plans for tonight, because she just got word that “Toni Morrison is in town”, and is having people over for dinner, but Cat’s not invited. Katherine then twists the knife with, “What could you possibly have to talk about with two Nobel laureates, and Margaret Atwood?”
Cat is wounded, so she (really obviously) takes her anger out on Kara, making her stay late. Kara says she was hoping to make it to “office game night”, and Cat mocks her for doing this just to spend more time with James. “Everyone’s noticed how you throw yourself at him!” I sincerely doubt Cat would have noticed anything like that (she’s still hasn’t figured out Kara doesn’t pronounce her name “Kyra”), but whatever moves things along, I guess.
Kara makes it to game night anyway, and they’re playing some unnamed game where one person gives out clues, and the other person has to guess what they’re describing. And of course, Lucy and James are being a totally annoying couple by getting everything right, and on top of that, all of Lucy’s clues reference romantic trips they’ve taken/plan to take, which drives Kara up the wall.
Now it’s Kara and Winn’s turn, and they suck at it. And to rub salt in the wound, one of the answers is “Superman”, and Winn dumbly blurts out, “Oh, this one’s easy, your cousin!” …even though Lucy doesn’t know Kara’s secret. Lucy is oblivious, however, and talks about how she met Supergirl today, and she “wasn’t that impressed”, which further bruises Kara’s ego.
So now Kara’s all angry, and as she goes to take on the Red Tornado, she tells Alex she’s “craving a good fight right now”. The fight begins as Red Tornado’s hands spin around, causing a vortex that takes Supergirl by surprise.
Soon enough, they get to the punching. She defeats the robot and the DEO people tell her the test is over and she won, but Supergirl continues angrily pounding on the robot and using her super-breath to freeze its arm and cause it to fall off. Finally, Red Tornado flies away, and Dr. Morrow comes out to say she must have triggered the robot’s “emergency self-preservation function”. And now it’s gone into “stealth mode” and there’s no way they can find it.
General Lane yells at Supergirl for unleashing “an uncontrollable killing machine” on National City. Yeah, because that was completely her fault. She should have anticipated that punching a robot really hard would cause it to suddenly become self-aware.
And then join me here at the Agony Booth next week, when Supergirl loses her powers just in time for a major earthquake to hit National City. Yes, for once, she’ll be dealing with a problem she can’t punch in the face. Exciting!