“How does she do it?” That’s the title this week’s Supergirl episode, and that’s the ever-present question being asked about the women of the show. It’s a qualifier that’s often used to undercut a woman’s accomplishments, but it doesn’t play that way in the episode, thankfully. Only when it’s coming out of Maxwell Lord’s mouth and directed at Supergirl does it sound gross, because his true colors are finally revealed in this episode. More on that later. In the meantime, it’s important to remember that the events in this episode take place chronologically before the events of last week’s episode, “Livewire.” We discussed that switch-up in last week’s recap.
We open on Kara flying above National City when she notices a somewhat familiar laser sight on her arm while she’s flying. It looks a lot like the laser sight that accompanied a D.E.O. kryptonite dart in the first episode, but after she finds the source — an unmarked drone — and takes it back to D.E.O. headquarters, Henshaw reveals it’s not one of theirs. The drone was remarkably nimble, nearly evading Supergirl altogether before she managed to eye-beam it to an explosive demise. A drone with no markings and loaded with super-advanced Earth tech? Who could manufacture such a thing? Who in National City has a megacorporation dedicated to tech R & D? Oh. Maxwell Lord. It’s not revealed to be his until much later, but the “Previously On…” bumper that preceded the episode reminded us all about Lord, so, I mean, duh.
At CatCo, Kara volunteers herself to watch Cat Grant’s son Carter so that Grant can go to Metropolis to accept an award (an award that Cat won over Lois Lane, no less.) It was a noble gesture on Kara’s part, of course, but one that was potentially a little short-sighted. She is splitting her CatCo assistant time as Supergirl, after all, so watching someone else’s child, when trouble pops up in National City almost daily is just asking for trouble. Big sister Alex even warns Kara that she may be spreading herself a bit too thin with her commitment to CatCo, to the “S“, and to the D.E.O. While Kara is out on a lunch errand, a tremor rocks National City, and she uses her X-Ray vision to zoom through multiple blocks to see that a bomb has detonated. Reflexively, Kara springs into action and saves a portion of the bombed building from falling into the street full of onlookers. Another drone, just like the first, was at the scene of the bomb monitoring Supergirl’s every move without interfering.
At the crescendo of the episode, two more bombs have been placed in two opposite sides of National City. One is aboard Maxwell Lord’s brand new high-speed rail train, the one he’s been hyping since the second episode. The other is at National City airport, where Lucy Lane is headed. Oh, that’s right, Lucy Lane is back, and the danger she’s in at the airport is what spurs James Olsen back to her side (and explains the holiday they took together last week.) Because, again, the chronology has been swapped between last week’s and this week’s episodes.
After a curious Carter Grant makes his way aboard Maxwell’s bullet train, Supergirl changes her plans and decides to save the train rather than the airport, sending the D.E.O. in her stead. When she tries to talk down the bomber, Kara notices that something is off about the whole situation. He doesn’t seem to be doing this out of malice, but out of necessity. She reckons he’s struck some kind of deal, and after she’s disconnected the train from the car he eventually detonates, she digs deeper. His daughter’s medical costs are being covered by none other than Maxwell Lord, and the bombs were all a ruse. This wasn’t the work of some disgruntled employee. Each bomb had a failsafe, which Lord could no doubt utilize should Supergirl not have made it to any of them in time. But why? Why would Lord create chaos in the city if he doesn’t harbor any ill-will towards the city or the people in it? To test Supergirl, of course. Everything Kara faced in the episode was a carefully constructed series of super-abilities. The first drone was to test Supergirl’s reflexes and agility. The first bomb was to test her strength capacity and how she uses her abilities. The final two bombs represented a choice; the train held 100 citizens, while the airport held more than 1,000. Supergirl choosing the train was a tell, one that gave away her priorities. Someone on that train was a passenger that she wanted to protect for personal reasons, and now he just has to figure out who and why.
While Maxwell Lord positions himself to be the wannabe-Lex Luthor to Kara’s Clark, the previews for next week introduce the Red Tornado as a D.E.O. creation. Are you pumped to see the windy android in action next week? Did you see Maxwell’s ne’er-do-well ways coming from a mile away? Sound off in the comments below!
“Time After Time” by Jessica Mauboy (Cyndi Lauper cover)
“Mom says ‘if you can face your fears, and come out of your shell, nerds can win in the end.'” – Carter Grant
“There’s always hope.” – Supergirl
“‘How do you juggle it all?‘ You learn. That’s how.” – Cat Grant
Blink and you’ll miss it:
- Henshaw’s red eyes appear prominently when he goes solo to diffuse the airport bomb, but we see glimpses of them as he turns a corner after the disarmament, and earlier after Supergirl is recuperating from flying a bomb outside of National City limits. Kara brushes off the sight/forgets what she saw, because she makes no mention of it. She will no doubt bring it up later after she remembers the oddity.
- Cat Grant lets her admiration for Supergirl show in a big way when she’s talking with Carter about his time in National City while she was away.
Image: CBS/Warner Bros.