This week’s Supergirl was a major lynchpin. Like “Livewire” (the episode that was supposed to air a week prior to this one) we’re buckling down in terms of characterization, and it’s time to get to work.
And work we certainly did. It’s a loaded episode, with several threads being pulled at once. We have the Red Tornado plotline. We have Lucy Lane (Jenna Dewan Tatum) learning to stand up to her father (Glenn Morshower, guest starring as General Sam Lane). We have the continuing shadiness of one Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli). To top it off, the show throws us more mysteries surrounding Hank Henshaw (David Harewood) and the disappearance of Alex’s father.
Each story this week was connected by the common thread of anger.. And not the red kryptonite made me do it kind. This was honest, human rage. We open with Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) stopping a man from speeding into a group of children, and earning nothing but vitriol in response. The show intelligently makes a point of showing that Kara is the only one who receives flak for the scuffle, despite the fact that she was entirely in the right.
Throughout the episode, Kara is faces insults and belittlement from General Lane, who comes across as both xenophobic and rude, at best. This isn’t a slight against him: his increasing nastiness is an excellent way to continuing amping the tone of the episode.
This week, we also saw a brilliant parallel between Kara and James (Mehcad Brooks.) While General Lane hates aliens with a passion, his behavior around James and Hank leads us to believe it’s extremely likely that he has a dislike of other races as well. Instead of shying away from this thread, or focusing exclusively on Kara’s issues, the show took on both with flying colors.
Our quote of the week came from both Kara and James, who spent some time hitting a car and a punching bar, respectively. “Girls are taught to smile and keep it on the inside,” sad Kara, referring to her own anger. “Well, it’s not like black men are encouraged to be angry,” James pointed out. It was a poignant moment not just for the characters, but for the show.
On a separate note, the Red Tornado saga turned out to be a bit of an oddball this week. The robot itself (played by Iddo Goldberg) looked pretty cool in post-production, but what stood out was the direction they chose to take the story. Fans of the comics would’ve known immediately that Dr. Morrow (Iddo Goldberg, again) was a villain, but the end of his arc this episode seemed kind of out of no where. And the fact that Red Tornado met a similar fate was not only odd considering that Tornado is a major hero in the comics, but also because it was a very dark angle for the show to take.
That may be something to chalk up to the episode, though. We’ve never seen sunny, happy Kara truly let loose the way she did on Red Tornado, and that may be by and large because she’s not usually an angry person. As the show told us, challenging anger can take a more positive note, such as when Cat Grant (Calista Flockheart) stood up to her mother, or when Hank stood up to General Lane.
On the other hand, true rage and loss can often be all-consuming and destructive. It was a clever way for Supergirl to highlight several facets of a complicated topic without punishing Kara for letting herself get angry.
Worth noting was how well the show has been handling the relationship between Lucy and Kara. While Lucy was a bit standoffish to Supergirl (but not to Kara) this week, the narrative never put her down for doing so. Instead, it highlighted that Lucy herself also managed insecurities as well as a constant pressure to be a certain way and follow a certain destiny. Sound familiar? Like Kara, Lucy realized that she needed to address her issues head on if she wants to move forward. Also, she looked amazing in her uniform. So that happened.
Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) continued to work with and around Max Lord. He thinks she’s FBI, and she probably thinks he’s shady. It’s growing apparent that he harbors feelings for her, but given what she knows about him, and given his comics persona, it’s unlikely the two will ever manage a long term relationship. However, Alex played a very convincing part, and it’s entirely satisfying to watch her work circles around him.
Next week, Supergirl will face a day in the life as an ordinary human. Turns out she used up her power fighting Red Tornado, and needs to recharge. Tune in next week to see what happens!
Supergirl airs on CBS, Mondays at 8/7c.