Supergirl Reviews: Season 1 (Manhunter)

The last episode had some pretty lasting consequences, which have to be dealt with in this episode. National City is still skeptical of Supergirl, and even Cat Grant is beginning to be concerned. Kara is having a hard time dealing with it too, which is why she calls in sick for work.

Winn gets a text from Siobhan, who wants to meet with him. When he gets there, she’s drinking pretty heavily, and ranting about how Kara Danvers ruined her life. She calls Kara a “four-eyed bitch in a kilt”. Come on, Siobhan, was it really necessary to call her the B word and attack her appearance? Still, Siobhan’s situation does suck. No other paper or magazine will hire her, so it seems like her dream of being a journalist is dead. Winn tries to calm Siobhan down, assuring her that this is just a setback and that she can still accomplish everything she wants to.

The most important thing going on in this episode, though, is J’onn J’onzz’s interrogation. Lucy Lane has apparently gone back to her job with the military, and she and Colonel Jim Harper have been sent to question J’onn and other agents about his infiltration of the DEO. Side note, I really hate the word “colonel”. Why is it spelled like that?? Anyway, they start by questioning J’onn about why he has been impersonating Hank Henshaw, and what exactly happened to the real Hank Henshaw.

So, we know the gist of this story already, but we get to know more details about it through the power of flashbacks. There’s gonna be quite a few of those in this episode. Anyway, we see the real Hank Henshaw taking a reluctant Jeremiah Danvers with him to hunt an alien that’s been found in Peru. Jeremiah seems to think that they could learn something from the alien, but Hank is pretty set on killing it.

Jeremiah: Sir, if this creature really is as old as you say, imagine what it’s seen, what it might know.

Hank: The only thing I wanna know is the color of its blood.

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While separated from Hank, Jeremiah is attacked by a snake, which is when J’onn shows up. J’onn kills the snake, even though he knows that Jeremiah is there to hunt him. Jeremiah is grateful to J’onn for saving him, however. The two start talking, J’onn tells Jeremiah that he is the last survivor from Mars, and Jeremiah tells J’onn about his daughters, Kara and Alex. Jeremiah says that he’s sure that when people realize J’onn is a refugee, not a threat, everything can be smoothed over. He’s proven wrong very quickly. Hank shows up and immediately tries to kill J’onn, and Jeremiah fights Hank to protect him. Hank gets tossed off the side of a cliff, but not before he manages to stab Jeremiah. As Jeremiah dies, he asks J’onn to look after his daughters for him. Which is kind of odd cause I don’t think we’ve been given any indication that Jeremiah knows J’onn can shapeshift. How did he imagine J’onn could protect his daughters? Well, luckily J’onn can shapeshift, and began impersonating Hank Henshaw.

Jim Harper has made it very clear that he distrusts J’onn, so he doesn’t believe the story and places J’onn in custody. Throughout the interrogation, Jim Harper was overly hostile and biased so we knew that he was never going to be fair to J’onn anyway, but I got the sense that Lucy might have been willing to listen. She has a job to do and she’s taking it seriously, but she also seemed uncomfortable with the way Harper was acting and she seemed genuinely interested in finding out what was going on.

Alex isn’t please when she sees how J’onn’s interrogation turned out, and she immediately defends him.

Alex: He saved my life more times than I can count. He’s the best, most honorable man that I know.

Not gonna lie, seeing Alex defend J’onn gets me a little choked up. I really do love their relationship, there’s so much respect and trust between them.

Then it’s Alex’s turn to be interrogated, and we get another flashback, this one about how she met J’onn and came to be recruited to the DEO. Apparently Alex used to be quite the party girl. We see her downing shots at a club and then attempting to drive home, which thankfully she’s arrested for before she can actually do it because seriously. She was in absolutely no condition to be driving. While she’s in jail, she’s visited by J’onn, who tells her he knows about her sister, knows that Alex is acting out because she feels overshadowed, and knew her father. This gets Alex’s attention, and she agrees to listen to J’onn’s proposal. Next thing you know, she’s beginning her training as a DEO agent.

Although Alex insists that she didn’t know anything about J’onn’s identity beforehand, Lucy figures out that she’s lying and has her arrested as well. Alex and J’onn are both going to be taken to Project Cadmus.

What is Project Cadmus? It’s a secret genetic engineering facility where they dissect and experiment on aliens for military purposes. It’s apparently the reason why Superman won’t work with the government. The only slim hope they have of saving Alex and J’onn from Project Cadmus is with Lucy’s help, so Kara and James invite Lucy to Kara’s apartment, where Kara reveals that she’s Supergirl.

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There is no heterosexual explanation for Lucy’s reaction.

Kara: I’m sorry you had to find out this way. But you’re the only person that can stop Hank and Alex from being sent to Project Cadmus.

Lucy: Why would I help you? You and Hank… Why do you all lie?

Kara: When you’re an alien, and you’ve lost your world and you’re dropped into a new one, you don’t have a choice.

It’s flashback time! Again.

This one is about Kara, as a child and still very new to earth. We see her overwhelmed with her newfound powers, particularly her hearing and vision. She seems to be experiencing sensory overload. Plus, she’s of course extremely socially awkward, to Alex’s embarrassment. While at the beach with some classmates, Kara hears a car crash in the distance and runs to the rescue, saving a woman and a baby trapped in a burning car. Alex, who chased after Kara, is injured when the car explodes, but not too seriously. From that day on, Kara does her best to hide her powers. As Jeremiah told her, the world already has Superman, Kara just needs to be Kara.

We go forward about a decade, to see Kara applying for a job at Catco.  The interview is awkward but ultimately successful. Kara is pretty self-deprecating throughout it while giving the impression that she’s more than willing to work hard and learn, which seems to please Cat. During the interview, Kara sees a story about a fire on one of the screens behind Cat, and she seems to struggle for a moment with the idea of ignoring it and doing nothing. In the end, she does nothing.

For most of her life, Kara has been ignoring her instinct to help people, denying who she is to fit in and not attract attention.

Kara: When you are an alien, you’re willing to sacrifice anything, everything, betray your fundamental instincts just to fit in. To belong somewhere, to find your place in this world.

Lucy: If you have a problem fitting in, it’s because you lie to people about who you really are.

Kara: Lucy, are you really willing to let Hank become a science experiment? And who knows what they have planned for Alex. I know you’re feeling betrayed and alone, but if you go along with Jim Harper just to feel like you fit in, to feel like you belong somewhere, ultimately the only person you’re betraying is yourself. It wasn’t easy for me to show you who I really am, but I did it because I trust who you are, who you really are, under that uniform. And I trust you’ll do the right thing.

So of course Lucy agrees to help, because honestly how do you say no to Kara Danvers giving you a heartfelt speech about doing the right thing?? I could never. Anyway, they rescue Alex and J’onn, but when J’onn wipes Jim Harper’s memories he sees something interesting in them. Jeremiah is miraculously alive and is being kept in Project Cadmus. With this knowledge, Alex and J’onn decide that they must rescue Jeremiah, though they have no idea where he might be and they’re now fugitives. They say an emotional goodbye to Kara and head off.

Oh right, I’ve been neglecting Siobhan’s subplot in this episode, but it’s time to start paying attention to it again. So, Siobhan tried to do something pretty nasty. She sent Cat an email from Kara’s account that was full of insults. She did this in the hopes that Kara would be fired, and at first it seems like she might get away with it. Cat invites her into her office and we see that Kara’s desk has been cleared off. However, instead of offering Siobhan her job back as Siobhan expects, Cat informs her that Winn analyzed the email and deduced that Siobhan sent it. Cat threatens to have Siobhan arrested if she ever returns to Catco.

What gets me about this scene is how damn extra Cat is about it. She went to the trouble of clearing Kara’s desk, she invited Siobhan in warmly (at least by Cat’s standards), and gave every impression that she believed the email was from Kara and was ready to give Siobhan another chance. She did all of this just so that it would be that much more crushing when she reveals to Siobhan that she knows the truth. Cat’s pettiness is fucking next level, y’all, and I love her for it.

Later, Kara and Lucy find out that Lucy has been appointed the new head of the DEO.

Lucy: You’re gonna help me do this, right?

Kara: Yeah, of course. But you’re gonna be great. This is where you belong.

Man, this little exchange makes me unbelievably happy. I’ve mentioned this before, but Lucy’s introduction made me nervous because it would have been so easy to pit Lucy and Kara against each other, to make Lucy irredeemably bad and one-dimensional in order to make Kara look good. Because that so often is what happens with female characters who are rivals, especially romantic rivals. There’s one in particular we’re supposed to want to root for, and the other basically only exists to be hated, and I’m so sick of it. I’m sick of women being pitted against each other, and I’m sick of this idea that in order to make one woman look good you have to tear down other women, because a woman’s value can only be measured against that of her competition.

So it makes me so happy that they didn’t do that with Lucy. Yeah, the love triangle was annoying, love triangles are always annoying and literally no one likes them (at least, I’ve never met anyone who likes them) so I don’t understand why they’re everywhere. However, at no point is Lucy villainized. Things can get a bit strained, but Lucy and Kara are very respectful and sometimes even friendly toward each other. Except for the time her mind was altered by the red Kryptonite, Kara never has anything bad to say about Lucy and she’s as supportive as she can be of Lucy and James’ relationship. And Lucy is actually likable! She’s not the most complex of characters given her limited screen time, but she at least has some personality and depth.

And now, even after how things ended with James and Lucy’s involvement with the military and all of these factors that should drive a wedge between them, it seems that Lucy and Kara might actually become friends for real! Seriously that kind of blows my mind. To see Lucy openly show some vulnerability to Kara and ask for her help and support, to see Kara affirm that yes of course she will help Lucy while also reassuring her that this is absolutely something Lucy can do. It’s just. It’s so nice.

We end the episode with a drunken Siobhan on the balcony. She’s joined by Winn, who thinks she’s going to jump and begs her not to.

Siobhan: Seriously? I have too much self-esteem to kill myself.

Anyway, Siobhan is furious at Winn for ratting her out, she thought he would be on her side. Winn tells her that he is on her side, but Kara is his best friend and what Siobhan did was illegal. He’s more than willing to support Siobhan but not with stuff like this. Siobhan continues ranting about her ruined life and how she just wants to scream, which proves to be an interesting choice of words when she accidentally stumbles off the balcony and her sonic scream allows her to land unharmed.

So Siobhan suddenly has powers, and with that cliffhanger we end the episode!

Falling was a tough act to follow, but I think this is a pretty good episode. Like Falling it plays to the show’s strength by focusing mainly on emotions and character. We essentially got to see origin stories for Kara, Alex and J’onn, and I enjoyed seeing where all of them started and getting a sense of how far they’ve all come. Lucy gets a pretty compelling story in this episode too, and it’s good to see that she’ll actually have a role to play beyond making sure Karolsen is dragged out a bit longer.

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