Mar 31, 2020
Supergirl: You Might Like Her When She's Angry (S1 E6 RECAP)
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 are 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 couple of baby strollers, an old couple holding hands, and a group of nuns right behind them while you’re at it?
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 could do with them if he “lost his temper.” I’m sensing that there will 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” like 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, who of course is 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 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 real 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 Age of Ultron Vision knock-off they’re giving us here.
Over in the secret abandoned CatCo office, Kara tells 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. 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.
Back at the DEO, they have the Red Tornado’s arm, but there’s still no sign of the robot. General Lane says they have to find and destroy the android, but Morrow is protective of his creation. So Lane calls him a “failure” and fires him on the spot.
Over at CatCo, Cat berates Kara yet again, and Kara finally explodes, yelling that she works hard for Cat and Cat is always mean to her. “Why are you so mean?!”
Kara immediately apologizes, but Cat decides to take Kara down to the only restaurant in National City, where they sit at the bar getting drunk on martinis. Well, Cat’s getting drunk, while Kara’s just listening. Cat warns her that “you can’t get angry at work! Especially when you’re a girl!” She talks about how when she worked at the Daily Planet, Perry White once threw a chair through a window (call him “Chief” again, and it’s your ass, I guess), but if Cat had ever done something like that, “it would have been professional and cultural suicide!”
She tells Kara she has to find a way to release her anger by taking up “boxing” or “screaming at your housekeeper,” Cat knows that Kara really wasn’t angry at her, even though Kara says, “I kind of was.” No, Kara has to figure out the real reason she’s angry and “find that anger behind the anger”.
Meanwhile, Alex brings the Red Tornado arm over to Maxwell Lord. And it sounds like she knows Max engineered all those terrorist bombings of a couple of episodes ago, and yet, she still wants his help to find the robot. He just laughs this off and says he’s busy.
James has dinner with Lucy and her father, who’s still in his military uniform. Lucy gets up to “powder my nose” (have we time-traveled back to 1962?). While she’s gone, General Lane lays into Jimmy, calling him a “glorified paparazzo,” and adds, “You ally yourself with people you think are special! But that doesn’t make you special!” And from earlier episodes, we know James has a bit of a complex about only being known as Superman’s pal.
As they’re leaving the restaurant, they encounter the Red Tornado hovering in the air in front of them. James hits his signal watch, but Supergirl gets the call. Has he rerouted the watch to go to Kara instead of Clark, or is it all about whoever hears it first?
Red Tornado unceremoniously hits Lucy with a blast of wind, sending her flying. He’s about to take down General Lane when Supergirl shows up for another round of punching. The robot eventually generates a massive tornado that heads for an intersection filled with cars and people. We get a rather cheesy moment of a couple trying to get away, but they can’t get their baby out of a car seat. Naturally, Supergirl lets Red Tornado get away so she can stop the tornado (via the usual method of flying around in it really fast).
At the DEO, they realize the Red Tornado is getting smarter, because the robot knew Supergirl would save those people instead of going after him. “He used your humanity against you!” Yeah, wow, the robot figured out how to create a diversion. Brilliant!
General Lane complains again that this all Supergirl’s fault, until Henshaw puts a stop to it. He knows that the robot was actually “designed to kill Kryptonians!” The General says they had to come up with something due to all the “Fort Rozz aliens” they have locked up here, who he refers to as “monsters”. He says, “Do you know the difference between them and her? She’s blonde.” But Henshaw points out that Supergirl saved him and his daughter tonight, and Lane just walks away.
Maxwell Lord then calls Alex back to his office, where he’s got a whole romantic candlelit dinner set up. They talk, and the subject of his dead parents comes up again, which inspires Alex to confess that her father also died while working for the government. Finally, Max says he’s figured out that the Red Tornado is really just a “drone,” which means Dr. Morrow is still controlling it. Alex immediately leaves, and so much for Max getting laid tonight, I guess.
Next, we cut to some sort of abandoned garage, where Kara has taken Cat’s advice about using “boxing” to work out her aggression. She’s set up a heavy bag for James, and for herself, she’s got an entire car suspended in the air that she intends to use like a punching bag.
James says Clark never had to do anything like this to deal with his anger issues, but Kara says it’s because he’s a man. “Girls are taught to smile and keep it on the inside!” And sometimes, I feel like the writers are actually scouring feminist Tumblr pages to write this show’s dialogue.
James notes that “black men” aren’t exactly “encouraged to be angry in public” either. Given how this show handles the subject of sexism, I’m praying they won’t start delving into racism, but point taken. Nevertheless, Kara happily says, “Then this will work for both of us!”
They both punch away while yelling about what they’re mad about. James goes off on how he hates Lucy’s dad, and Kara says she does too, while punching in the hood of the car. As she punches away, she gets angrier and angrier, screaming that she hates how Cat treats her, and she hates how Alex doesn’t know what happened to her father, but most of all, she hates how she’s “never gonna get to have a normal life!” And with that, she punches out the engine of the car and pieces go flying across the garage.
Kara has had a breakthrough. The real source of her anger is that she’s never felt normal on Earth, and she thought using her powers would help her feel normal, but now she realizes any chance at a “normal life” ended when her parents put her on that ship. Fair enough, though I think she should at least acknowledge that if they hadn’t put her on that ship, she’d be dead along with the rest of her planet.
Kara gets called to the DEO, where Alex explains that Dr. Morrow is still controlling Red Tornado and using the robot to get his revenge on General Lane for firing him. Oh good, another villain motivated by vengeance. Their plan is to “draw out the android” and then trace the signals to find Morrow. Henshaw worries about Supergirl losing control again, but she insists she can “use” her anger now.
And it seems they plan to draw out the Red Tornado by setting up a hologram of General Lane produced using Kryptonian technology. Red Tornado shows up and punches the hologram, but his hands pass right through it, and the robot takes an exceedingly long time to figure out it’s just a hologram.
Supergirl suddenly appears and fires some kind of giant gun at Red Tornado, while Alex tracks down Morrow, who’s using a cybernetic headset to control Red Tornado. We cut back and forth between Morrow fighting Alex and Supergirl fighting Red Tornado, though I’m not sure how Morrow could possibly be doing both of these things at the same time.
Eventually, Alex shoots Morrow and kills him. The robot stops. But then it immediately comes back to life, and Alex looks at a computer screen and says, “It’s become sentient!” Don’t you hate when that happens?
So Kara hits Red Tornado with her heat vision, apparently focusing all her rage into it. She flashes back to saying goodbye to her parents on Krypton while showing off her rather disturbing “angry” face that I’ll probably be seeing in my nightmares. The robot quickly gets vaporized, and everything around her catches fire.
Back at the Only Restaurant In Town, General Lane is preparing to leave National City, and Lucy says she’s not going with him. In fact, she’s resigning her commission so she can stay with James. He tells her she’s made a “terrible mistake” and leaves.
Back at Kara’s apartment, Winn shares what he’s learned about Alex’s dad from hacking into DEO computers. The files have been heavily redacted, but he knows Jeremiah Danvers and another agent went to South America to “apprehend a hostile alien” and both disappeared and were “presumed dead” until the other agent suddenly reappeared with no memory of the incident. Which is obviously setting the stage for Alex’s dad to reappear in a future episode, because no one ever dies in comic books (or comic book shows).
Winn knows that Hank Henshaw is the one who redacted most of the file, and Alex thinks that Henshaw might have killed her father. Winn cautions her that all they really know is Henshaw was the last person to see Alex’s father alive. Wait, what about the other agent who was with him when he disappeared?
Our final scene takes place at CatCo, where a clearly hung-over Cat finally stands up to her mother for once. Then we get a cliffhanger for next week’s episode when Kara drops a glass and cuts her finger on it. She looks at her hand, completely stunned because she’s bleeding. And it looks like next week, we’ll find out she “blew out her powers” while fighting Red Tornado, just in time for a major earthquake to hit National City.
This was a mostly solid episode. The dialogue is still way too on-the-nose, but there were some funny moments here and there, and Supergirl’s revelation about never feeling normal on Earth was well done. Which almost makes up for the “action” subplot this week, which was as dull and perfunctory as ever. Another villain looking for revenge against the one person who wronged him? Can we please come up with some other sort of motivation for Supergirl’s enemies? Also, blasting the villain with heat vision until he blows up? Isn’t that exactly the same way Supergirl defeated Vartox in the pilot? Well, at least next week, Supergirl will be dealing with a natural disaster she can’t punch in the face, so I’m optimistic we’ll get a better episode next time around.