First off, a disclaimer on the Supergirl schedule: In light of the Paris terror tragedy, what was slated to be the fifth episode of this season of Supergirl has been moved up to become the fourth. The originally scheduled episode dealt primarily with a string of bombings in National City, and out of respect for current events, CBS decided to make the switch.
“How Does She Do It?” heavily explores the theme of motivation amongst nearly the entire cast. Kara is motivated by her innate desire to give back to the world that has given her a chance at a new life after losing her planet. Cat Grant is motivated by a contentious relationship with her mother. Alex Danvers is motivated by a desire to do the right thing for her parents by being a protector to Kara. The newest villain in Supergirl’s rouges gallery is motivated by a sense of revenge and retribution for her new condition. Everyone has their reasons for what they do, and the show wastes no time in its 43 minutes of airtime trying to justify the actions of its characters.
The episode opens on Kara containing a rogue alien who escaped captivity at the D.E.O. base, all while talking to her sister Alex, who is currently waiting at Kara’s apartment for her arrival. Their mother, Eliza Danvers, is visiting National City for Thanksgiving and Alex is fretting over what sort of judgment her mother will pass on her for allowing Kara to “come out” as Supergirl. Once the D.E.O. situation is handled and the three Danvers women are all in one place, we see Eliza (Helen Slater) beaming with joy at seeing her two daughters, but the facade is short-lived. An eventual Thanksgiving dinner sees the cracks of Alex and Eliza’s relationship blown wide open.
Taking place concurrently to Kara’s reunion with her foster mother is the introduction of Leslie Willis, a young Shock Jock who helms the “Alive and Wired” morning radio show broadcast by CatCo. In her Thanksgiving-inspired “annual list of things I am not grateful for,” Leslie lists a single entrant: Supergirl. She chastises Supergirl for her fashion choices, her presumed love life — or presumed lack thereof — and even her alien anatomy. It’s unclear what sets her off against Supergirl so much, but her hatred is only compounded later the next evening when the two meet for the first time. Cat Grant summons Leslie to her office for a reprimand over her treatment of Supergirl and demotes Leslie away from her cushy morning show to the evening traffic chopper. (Side note: if you’re looking for a Supergirl-themed drinking game throughout the season, try taking a drink every time Cat Grant fiddles with/takes her glasses off or puts them back on. Cat’s demotion adds even more fuel to Leslie’s disdain for Supergirl, so when the Kryptonian shows up to stop her out-of-control traffic chopper from slamming into a building, she’s not exactly pleased. When Supergirl reaches out to grab Leslie, a bolt of lightning strikes the caped heroine and Supergirl becomes a sentient lightning conductor. And so, a villain is born.
Leslie awakens from her coma a new woman, and adopts the name Livewire. Cat Grant shows an unusual amount of sympathy throughout the episode, but true to form it’s mostly for herself. She feels bad for the hand she had in creating Livewire, both because of Leslie’s placement in the CatCopter, and for encouraging such revolting behavior from Leslie all because it pulled in great ratings. Grant opines that her personal modus operandi has been to push herself, largely due to a perpetually-unimpressed mother, and she should have pushed Leslie to be better, not worse.
With Eliza being in town, we’re treated to a number of flashbacks to Kara and Alex’s childhood. We’re even shown that Alex is not, in fact, the first Danvers to work for Director Hank Henshaw. Jeremiah Danvers, (Dean Cain!) Alex’s father and Kryptonian biology expert on Earth, has a past with the D.E.O. This revelation sheds new light on Eliza’s apprehension with Kara going public as Supergirl and Alex’s involvement with the D.E.O. The episode ends with the Danvers sisters at the D.E.O. with a new shared mission: find out what happened to Jeremiah. Could that flash of red we saw in Henshaw’s eyes in episode 2 might mean he has been an alien humanoid impersonator for years? We shall see!
“Take Me To Church” by Ellie Goulding (Hozier cover)
(On her mother) “She was never satisfied with me, and so I was never satisfied with myself.” – Cat Grant
“This big havoc-wreaking lady-beast thing broke free. Happens to the best of us.” Kara/Supergirl
Blink and you’ll miss it:
Leslie’s hair actually can be seen turning silver in the scene where Supergirl inadvertently creates her newest foe by becoming a conductor for lightning, but the hair color-change happens in a split-second before the cut to the Supergirl title card.
What did you think of this week’s Supergirl? Let us know!
Image: Darren Michaels/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.