Aug 17, 2021
Supergirl: An All-Star Tribute to Superman III (S1 E16 RECAP)
Previously on Supergirl: Alex confessed to killing Supergirl’s Aunt Astra. Supergirl saved the life of U.S. Senator Miranda Crane in some unspecified way. Cat Grant hired a new assistant named Siobhan, who made out with Winn in the elevator. Lucy broke up with James because it’s totally obvious he’s in love with Kara. And finally, Hank couldn’t reveal his identity as J’onn J’onnz because an alien being the head of an alien-hunting agency might be seen as a slight conflict of interest.
In lieu of a cold open this week, we get an extended promo for CBS’s The Talk. Actually, it’s a fake episode of The Talk, which is somehow even more vapid than an actual episode of The Talk, where today’s guest is Cat Grant. And Julie Chen and Sharon Osbourne and Aisha Tyler and Sara Gilbert and… the last one (I want to say Sherri Shepherd, but I know that’s not right) are all playing themselves and interviewing Cat about what it’s like being the most powerful woman in National City. Cat corrects them, saying she is in fact “the most powerful person” in National City.
Then they ask about Supergirl, and what she’s like, and Cat sets the stage for the episode to come when she says Supergirl is “the kindest person I have ever known.” And in case that’s not enough proof for you, we see Supergirl as she flies around the city, and her super-ears just happen to pick up a little girl being bullied for dressing like Supergirl at school.
Supergirl swoops in, uses her x-ray vision to read the girl’s name from her notebook in her backpack, and pretends they’re good friends. She tells the bullies that she’s friends with “all the nice girls” before flying off. Yep, laying it on pretty thick there. Actually, I think “Laying It on Thick” could be the title of this week’s episode.
At work, Cat wants to see Winn for some reason, but he’s not at his desk. So Kara goes off to find him, and figures out he’s in a locked storeroom. She uses her x-ray vision to see through the door, and we don’t see what she sees, but from her horrified reaction, it’s obvious Winn and Siobhan are getting busy. Siobhan comes out adjusting her clothes and says, “Guess that’s my exit,” and Winn is adjusting his clothes, and there are no further specifics about what they were up to, but Kara is more than happy not to talk about it.
Kara goes to see James, because she just heard word that Lucy Lane quit. James admits that Lucy broke up with him, but refuses to explain why, just to drag this show’s “will they or won’t they” plotline out a few weeks longer. He says of Lucy, “Maybe I didn’t love her as much as I should have.” But was she always on his mind? She was always on his mind.
At the DEO, Alex tells Supergirl she should make her move on James, but Supergirl thinks rebound relationships never work out. As a counter-example, Alex offers up “Kim and Kanye”, and Supergirl replies with the funny, “I’m embarrassed you even know that.”
And now Senator Miranda Crane is here at the DEO, under some flimsy pretense of announcing her plans to secure more funding for the agency, but it turns out she’s really here to show Henshaw how much she appreciates the work he’s been doing. I mean, she really, really appreciates his work, and she even touches his hand, causing Supergirl to mouth a silent “Wow!”
And then DEO Agent Who’s Not Hank or Alex speaks up, saying they’ve got word that there’s a fire downtown, and a fireman is trapped on a roof, and since when was this kind of thing the business of the DEO, anyway?
Supergirl rushes to the scene, and pulls debris off the firefighter. She then walks away, not even bothering to put out the fire, but stumbles a bit. Her face gets all red and veiny for a minute, and she flies off as the camera zooms in on some glowing red rocks that I think we all know has to be Red Kryptonite.
The next morning, Kara wakes up and gets ready for work, but is suddenly dissatisfied with her demure outfits, and she shows up to work in a form-fitting black dress and struts to her desk as heads turn to watch her go by. Heck, even the women are checking her out.
Cat is impressed that Kara is now “dressed like an adult”, then she demands that her dueling assistants give her a list of possible replacements for Lucy Lane. Siobhan fumbles around, but Kara already has the list ready. As a “reward” (huh?) for putting together the list, Cat gives Kara tickets to a DJ’s show at “Club Apocalypse” on Friday, which will of course be important later.
At the DEO, Henshaw is briefing his officers about random goons who rob armored cars with the help of a hulking, super-strong Fort Rozz alien escapee called a “K’Hund”. In the comics, the Khunds are long-time adversaries of the Legion of Super Heroes, so there’s your second Legion reference in as many episodes. And during this briefing, Supergirl has got her feet up on a table, and is being all sassy, and back-talking Henshaw, and even dropping vague hints about his true identity in front of everyone.
Cut to an armored heist in progress. The DEO and Supergirl show up, and Supergirl goes to apprehend the K’Hund. He’s in a rage about how Supergirl’s mother sentenced him to Fort Rozz, but Supergirl literally says, “Blah blah blah, ruined your life, I’ve heard the story. You wanna fight about it?”
She easily defeats the K’Hund, but then decides to let him go, because “you’re not even worth looking at”. She then lies to the DEO crew and says he got away.
Back at the DEO, Henshaw is getting annoyed with Supergirl’s attitude, but she counters that he should be fighting these aliens himself. And then she angrily accuses him of being a coward for not using his Martian powers. She heads out and punches a wall and her face gets all red and veiny again.
The next day at work, Kara is now dressed like a Robert Palmer girl, and she’s even taken to using Cat’s personal elevator. Cat is impressed with her new “brazen” attitude, at least for now.
Then Siobhan shows off something she thinks will be a great scoop: security cam footage of Supergirl letting the K’Hund go, but Cat refuses to run the story. Then Kara gets on Siobhan’s computer, and sees she’s about to send an email to Perry White with the footage attached. So she prints out the email and gives it to Cat, who’s furious at someone trying to hand a scoop to her biggest competitor. She fires Siobhan, even telling her she had a long talk with Perry White, so there’s no chance of her getting a job at the Daily Planet, either.
As Siobhan walks out, Winn tries to talk to her, but she of course ignores him. And then Evil Kara rubs it in with, “Well, I guess that’s your exit!” Somehow, Winn and James haven’t picked up on there being something really psychologically wrong with Kara, and they eagerly accept her invitation to go with her to the show at Club Apocalypse.
The guys are already at the club when Kara walks in looking super sexy. She’s laser focused on James, and asks him to dance, and even uses her super-strong grip to pull him out onto the dance floor. They dance to that Demi Lovato “Complicated” song as she says she knows what she wants, and whispers, “What I want… is what the poor man’s Lois Lane was too idiotic to keep!” Heh, “the poor man’s Lois Lane”. I’ll have to use that one if they ever bring Lucy back.
James gets offended and tries to walk away, but she nearly dislocates his shoulder pulling him back, and calls Lucy a “clingy, insecure daddy’s girl”. He then gets a call from Cat, wanting to see Supergirl immediately, and Kara obviously overhears and goes flying over there.
Supergirl shows up on Cat’s balcony, and Cat wants to know what’s up with her. Supergirl yells that she’s tired of being a good person and “enabling all of you in your victimhood!” Her face turns all veiny and red again as she says she’s quitting. And then she turns on Cat, mocking the way she called herself “the most powerful person in National City” on TV. Hilariously, she picks Cat up and tosses her off the balcony, and Cat goes screaming down the side of the building. At the last second, Supergirl catches her and sets her down on the pavement, saying that “true power” is deciding who lives or dies.
At the DEO, everyone has finally figured out that something’s wrong with Supergirl. They decide to scan that burning building from earlier in the episode for no apparent reason, and they detect a Kryptonite signature. But they determine it’s really synthetic Kryptonite, and whoever made it didn’t get it quite right. (Hmm.. why does that sound familiar?) And that’s when Maxwell Lord comes sauntering in, flanked by guards, to admit that he’s the one who created the Red Kryptonite.
They immediately shove him in a cell, but he says he only did it because he wanted protection from Non and his army. And supposedly, the fire was a trap for Non, which makes no sense whatsoever. Regardless, he recognizes the danger of an evil Supergirl, and promises to create an antidote, so they let him out so he can get to work.
At CatCo, Cat has decided to warn the public and “publicly denounce” Supergirl, and she even gives a speech from her desk, like she’s addressing the country from the Oval Office. She tells everyone that Supergirl is “unstable and extremely dangerous”, and while this is going on, we… oh, Jesus. Really? We get a shot of the bullied girl from the intro as she throws her Supergirl costume in the trash. This is not heavy-handed at all.
Then Alex heads over to Kara’s apartment—alone for some reason, even though everyone is well aware she’s evil and violent now—and she finds that Supergirl has traded in her blue and red costume for a black catsuit just like the one her Aunt Astra wore. Kara accuses Alex of pushing “dowdy” clothes on her, then she uses her heat vision to set her entire wardrobe on fire.
Alex grabs an extinguisher, as Kara says Alex has just been “jealous” of her all this time, and has only been trying to “control” her. Kara then looks out the window at the city, saying “They worship me! And those who don’t… will.” She has the red glowing veiny thing going on again, and before flying away, she says that deep down, Alex hates her, “and that’s why you killed my aunt!”
At the DEO, shit is getting real, and Senator Crane is saying they have to take down Supergirl by any means necessary. Hank grudgingly agrees, but luckily, Maxwell Lord has the Red Kryptonite-antidote gun ready to go just in time.
And then we find Supergirl down at the Only Restaurant in National City, sitting at the bar in her black catsuit. And then she empties a bowl of peanuts onto the bar and… Oh my god. Is this episode literally recreating a scene from Superman III? It is indeed recreating a scene from Superman III, as Evil Supergirl flicks peanuts across the bar at super-speed, shattering bottles of liquor. Everyone runs for cover, and this is just so hilariously meta, considering most of this show’s target audience wasn’t even born when Christopher Reeve did the same thing, and those who were want to forget they ever saw it.
And you’ve probably noticed this isn’t the only homage to that movie: Maxwell Lord makes his own “synthetic” Kryptonite, and doesn’t get it quite right, just like Richard Pryor when he decides to substitute an unknown element in Kryptonite with “tar”. I’m surprised they didn’t throw in a “computer program that steals pennies from bank accounts” subplot so they could simultaneously reference both Superman III and Office Space.
Cut to a video billboard replaying Cat’s speech. Supergirl comes crashing through, and the police are instantly there firing on her, and she’s blowing up police cars with her heat vision. And now the DEO is firing at her, and Alex is on the scene. Supergirl is about to incinerate Alex, so Henshaw morphs into J’onn J’onnz and does battle with her.
They go brawling up the side of the CatCo building, and punch each other through skyscrapers. Finally, J’onn distracts her, I guess, long enough for Alex to hit her with the antidote gun. Supergirl collapses, and then the Red Aether, I mean, the Red Kryptonite seeps out of her body like a gas.
And then the DEO converges on J’onn. Alex tells him to get out of here, but instead he gives a wink and morphs back into Henshaw, and allows himself to be taken into custody. Though I can’t fathom why. It’s not like anyone was paying attention when he morphed into J’onn, and he could have easily flown away and transformed back into Hank and no one would have been the wiser.
Kara wakes up back at the DEO, and is of course totally despondent about everything she did and said when she was evil. She says she couldn’t stop all the bad thoughts from coming to the surface, and she tearfully apologizes to Alex, and thus begins the Evil Supergirl apology tour.
But Alex admits, “There’s some truth to what you said,” though she never says exactly what. Does this mean Alex really was forcing dowdy outfits onto her? Find out next week!
Cut to Henshaw locked up inside one of the DEO jail cells. He admits to Senator Crane that the real Hank Henshaw is dead, but stays silent when she asks if he killed him. Alex goes to Hank and wants to know why he allowed himself to be captured, and supposedly Hank did this to keep Alex and Kara “safe”. Sure, why not.
Kara goes to CatCo and sees Siobhan’s desk being wheeled out. Then she goes to apologize to James, and she swears she didn’t mean all those things she said about Lucy. However, he too knows there’s “some truth” to what she said, but she insists she was only “jealous” of Lucy. And she’s finally about to confess her true feelings, but he tells her to stop, because he needs time “to think”, and so, this whole subplot gets dragged out by at least one more week.
And then Supergirl shows up on Cat Grant’s balcony. She talks about how much she loves this city and how much she wants to earn back its trust. She apologizes to Cat for throwing her off a building, but Cat says she’s “base jumped Mount Kilimanjaro”, and that was nothing. She tells Supergirl she can win the city back, but it’s not going to be easy, and that’s where the episode ends.
This was a surprisingly dark episode, what with Supergirl nearly killing several of the people she loves the most. But still, it was mostly predictable. We’ve seen so many variations on the “superhero slowly turns evil” trope, from the aforementioned Superman III to Spider-Man 3, that we already know how this is going to play out, and we’re just waiting for the inevitable cure to be found so we can go back to the status quo.
Okay, so there were a few lasting repercussions, but not nearly enough to justify doing this same old plot all over again. Next week, we find out if Supergirl wins back the trust of National City (I’m gonna guess she will), but what I’m most looking forward to in two weeks is her crossover with the Flash!