Supergirl just wants to rise above. Literally, the opening shot of Monday’s episode “Red Faced” sees Kara flying far above National City, reveling in the peace above the clouds. It’s short lived, of course, and her effort to stop two road rage-fueled drivers from killing each other–and a soccer team in a crosswalk–finds her responding to anger with anger. Righteous anger, in my opinion, but anger nonetheless, and in a world where every kid has a cellphone in their pocket, her subduing a civilian is more than what most of National City’s citizens find palatable. It’s another instance of Supergirl being in the news for less than super deeds, so cue Maxwell Lord taking to the airwaves to add his own critical two cents top the issue.
Back at CatCo headquarters, Cat Grant’s mother is in town, and the subtle digs we’ve been hearing Cat bandy about toward her heretofore unseen mother prove to be more than deserved. Cat’s mother is as slyly vitriolic to her daughter as Lord is overtly becoming to Supergirl.
Previously, we heard Lucy Lane mention that she was using her legal expertise for the Army, and her full capacity is revealed when she is joined by her father, Major Lane, at a joint exercise between the D.E.O. and the Army. The Army wants to test its latest toy, which turns out to be a robot. Sorry, not robot, but Anthropomorphic Psuedo-Entity according to Dr. Morrow, its creator. (I’m not sure that the A.P.E. anagram was an intended coincidence.) During a battle between the Red Tornado and Supergirl, one meant to test both of their limits and abilities, Supergirl flat out rages against the machine and ends up knocking its arm off. This apparently sends the bot into an “emergency preservation mode” and it flies away from the scene and enters stealth mode. So, Kara has inadvertently released a metal monster on the city, but rather than realize he shares a brunt of the blame, Major Lane blames the AWOL status of the Red Tornado squarely on Supergirl. Not cool, boss.
While the tracking of the Red Tornado creates an uneasy and temporary alliance between the Army and the D.E.O., Major Lane lets his seriously bad judgement extend to his own people: he fires Morrow, the Tornado’s creator. Once a very stressed Kara is back at CatCo, she blows her top at an equally stressed but unduly harsh Grant. “Why are you so mean!?” Kara yells at Cat. Cat stares back at Kara, but not with any kind of outwardly visible shock. When we next see the two, Cat is empathizing with Kara (who she still annoyingly calls “Kira”) and explaining to her that she can have all the anger she wants, directed at whoever she wants, but she can never let that anger show in the workplace. Highlighting the double standard painted between men and women, Cat explains that during her time at the Daily Planet she once saw Perry White throw a chair out of a window in anger, but if she were to so much as throw a napkin it would’ve been “social and professional suicide.” Cat, in a supremely self-aware moment, states that the anger she feels towards her mother caused her to lash out at Kara, and then Kara lashed out at Cat because of an underlying issue that she had not addressed. Sure, Kara was very pissed at Cat in that moment, but she does have an unaddressed anger issue and it’s beginning to interfere with her ability to protect the city.
After the two women finish their drinks and dinner, Red Tornado makes itself known again, targeting the Lanes. As Major Lane, Lucy and James are exiting the restaurant that they were dining in, the Tornado locks on to Lucy and knocks her some thirty-odd feet back into a table and chairs. When Supergirl arrives to stop the bot, it creates a small cyclone that begins ripping through the streets of National City independently of the Red Tornado. While it escapes, Kara does some fancy fly-work and counters the speed of the cyclones winds until it dissipates. Kara’s sister Alex has been seeking Maxwell Lord’s help in secret, and he begins to point her not in the direction of the Tornado, but whomever is controlling the Tornado. It was Morrow who created the beast and has a grudge for his firing, after all.
Alex tracks down and confronts Morrow at the same time Kara has her final battle with the big red blowhard. In a duel fight scene, the sisters are fighting essentially the same enemy at once in two different places, as Red Tornado is being controlled entirely by neural transmitters attached to Morrow’s head. When Alex inadvertently shoots Morrow during their fight, the Tornado finally powers down. But in a move that seems straight out of Chappie, Red Tornado reanimates without a human controller. OR WITH ONE?! [Speculation: Methinks this is setting up some sort of cyborg intelligence where the Tornado (or what’s left of it) will host Morrows non-corporeal consciousness.] To try and stop the reanimated Tornado once and for all, Supergirl decides to tap into her anger and fully harness it to her advantage. She goes through, basically, three different power levels while eye-beaming the Red Tornado, and her face begins to quite literally glow red. She expends a lot of energy aimed squarely at one target, and it seems to work because the Tornado goes boom! After the threat is eliminated, things return to normal. Right?
In the final moments of the show, Kara is in Cat’s office and while cleaning up the shards of a broken glass finds that she has achieved a level of humanity she didn’t think possible: a bleeding cut from a simple piece of glass. All of that expended anger-energy seems to have weakened Kara greatly, somewhat lifting a recent Kryptonian weakness straight from the pages of the current run of Superman. What does this mean for the future? More precisely, what does this mean for next week!? Tune back in and we’ll explore together.
What did you think of tonight’s episode? The show has covered a lot of ground in 6 episodes and it just got picked up for more episodes, so there’s so much more to come!
- “What do they call you? The Proletariat Princess.” – Katherine Grant
“Queen of All Media, Mother.” – Cat Grant
- “Find that anger behind the anger and figure out what is really making you mad.” – Cat Grant
- “Go Your Own Way” – Lissie (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Blink and you’ll miss it:
- More red eyes from Henshaw. If I may amend my previous suggested drinking game, add Henshaw’s red eyes to Cat Grant’s glasses-fiddling for a real fun time.
- Major Lane mentions that an executive order has been signed by the President herself. Supergirl has an in-canon female President. Way cool.
Image: CBS/Warner Bros.