With some big reveals and terrific character moments, this may have been the getting over the hump episode Supergirl needed to turn this frequently frustrating underachiever into Monday appointment TV.
Borrowing a page from the modern Superman comics, Supergirl burnt out her powers. Forced to lead a regular life for an indeterminate amount of time, Kara was helpless as an earthquake struck National City.
Cat was inconsistently written again this week. She was back to her mini Devil Wears Prada persona early on sending Kara home after learning she had a cold and generally being more caricature than character. In the second half, she was much more likable and written as an actual person not a movie cliche as she worked to get a rallying message out to the city.
Earlier, he ‘caught’ Kara and James in an innocent enough embrace and reacted like he spotted them kissing. With some major clarity on the DEO front, the love triangle with Kara, Winn, James and Lucy is officially the worst aspect of the show.
Maxwell Lord took advantage of the crisis to shine the spotlight on his ambassador efforts as he distributed water and set up a relief headquarters. Lord is effectively insufferable thanks to his cheap shots at Supergirl and endless wealth of knowledge. Lord figured Supergirl lost her power and also revealed he spent a year in med school just because apparently.
Lord’s medical background wasn’t much help as he couldn’t save a dying man. Kara was devastated about being powerless and not being of any use to anyone. For the sake of the episode, her being so distraught worked, but I couldn’t help but consider how many accidents, deaths, etc. Kara was apparently fine ignoring before becoming Supergirl. But, small matter as it led to the best moment so far in the series.
Kara donning her Supergirl outfit to stop a looter from robbing a convenience store intercut with Cat’s rallying message was a great moment. The show writers have tripped over themselves trying to manufacture these inspirational scenes, but this was an instance that felt very true to Supergirl.
The DEO subplot seemed like it was going to be another distraction from the good stuff this week even with the appearance of DC Comics’ hero/villain Jemm Son of Saturn, a DEO prisoner.
In the earthquake, the mind controller escaped and Hank Henshaw was on high alert, which just made Alex even more suspicious. Henshaw made Alex stay out of the prison area while he lead a team to track down Jemm. Further stoking Alex’s suspicions, Henshaw was the only one to survive Jemm’s initial attack.
With blue glowing neural dampeners to block Jemm’s powers, the scenes looked like they were filmed at a Laser Tag site instead of this secret government facility.
Alex found Hank and decided now was the time to confront him about her father’s death. Way to keep the secret, Alex. She handcuffs Hank and goes after Jemm. I thought Alex was going to have this elaborate double cross where she was setting Jemm up by bringing Hank to him, but Alex just figured she could handle him on her own. There was no other way around it. Alex came across like a true moron this episode.
Thankfully, just as Jemm is closing in for the kill, Hank arrives in time to save her. And with no way to explain away this incident, Hank shares his closest guarded secret — Hank Henshaw is dead.
Jeremiah Danvers and Hank tracked down an alien survivor of a dead world, but while Hank tried to kill it, Jeremiah sacrificed himself to protect the alien he realized was peaceful. The alien promised Danvers he would protect his children and assumed the identity of Hank Henshaw, but his real name? J’onn J’onzz the Martian Manhunter!!!
Some folks online speculated Hank was Martian Manhunter just due to the red glowing eyes, but that seemed too easy especially since Henshaw was a Superman villain. The design and costume looked pretty good too, a marked improvement over Red Tornado. Of course, this reveal really makes me want to see an Arrow/Flash/Supergirl crossover now.
Well that just instantly made the DEO scenes way more interesting. How long before Supergirl learns the truth of Henshaw’s real identity?
Supergirl has a nice moment with Cat thanking her for encouraging everyone, including herself, before flying off right into an ambush led by her aunt Astra. Looks like it’s time for a rematch.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Finally explaining the purpose of the DEO and some great Kara/Cat moments made for a terrific episode. Now if the writers can only figure out a way to make the romantic subplots interesting…