Synopsis: Kara struggles to be an effective hero and faces off with someone from her past. Cat wants an interview and James’ job is on the line.

Rating: ★★★★★

Excuse me while I consistently rate Supergirl with five stars. It’s honestly everything I’ve ever wanted. And it’s camp and cheesiness only make me love it more. This week finds Kara dealing with fallout from her mistakes. After she fails to put out a fire with her super-breath, she opts instead to pull a threatened cargo ship out of the fire’s path – which she does, only to accidentally crack open the hull and cause a minor oil spill. Going from “superhero to eco-terrorist in a single bound” as she aptly puts it.

Back at DEO headquarters, Alex puts Kara in a room with kryptonite diffusers to neutralize her powers and they spar. Alex kicks her butt. She lectures Kara about relying on her strength alone rather than good technique and practice, especially given her propensity for coming up against other beings with powers. Kara is frustrated and doesn’t want to hear it. She storms out.

And hangs out with the cute photographer instead. [NBC]
And hangs out with the cute photographer instead. [NBC]
At work, she’s again disheartened by Cat’s claims that Supergirl is inept and mediocre, and her insistence on running what is essentially a PR campaign to convince National City that she’s a hero. Kara asks her what she would say to Supergirl if she could, and Cat says she’d tell her to start small. Just like her own career in journalism – you can’t walk in the front door and become owner of the building, you have to earn your dues and work your way up. In a way, it’s the very same thing Alex told her. She decides her eyes have been bigger than her stomach, and she asks Winn and James to help her. She takes on a minor convenience store holdup, and rescues a python named Fluffy from a tree.

Elsewhere, the DEO is facing off with Kara’s aunt Alura and her powered minions, out to wreak havoc – on what I’m not exactly sure. It seems Alura wants to take over Earth? To create a new planet since losing the old one – because it totally works that way. The DEO draws them out, but things go wrong when one of them kidnaps Alex. Kara finds her, and together they kick the crap out of Alura and her buddies. The final rescue though, comes from Henshaw himself, who manages to stick Alura with a glowing green blade that I assumed was made of kryptonite, but is also specifically coded to her DNA somehow. When the dust all settles, Henshaw walks away and for a moment, his eyes glow superhuman red.

Finally, Kara agrees to take an interview with Cat as Supergirl in order to save James’ job, and because she wants to tell her side of the story. This was a running theme of the episode. The idea that, unlike Superman, Kara is not alone. Because everyone needs help and support. She has James and Winn, Cat and Alex and the whole DEO behind her. Cat Grant is actually one of the only main characters who doesn’t know Supergirl’s identity.

But she probably wouldn't care even if she did. [NBC]
But she probably wouldn’t care even if she did. [NBC]
I see it as an incredibly refreshing change of pace. Kara is sunshiney and friendly and willing to be open and accept help – and there are so many people willing to help her, straight-up. For once, the storyline revolves around her rise to heroism and the misadventures with her cool friends, not the desaturated, dark underside of fractured identities, isolating secrets and overarching storylines about corrupt pseudo-New York City’s. I love that archetype as much as anyone, but it’s time for something new. Let’s reject the idea that something is better just because it has heavier overtones and a limited color palette, or that family-friendly programming can’t be genuinely good.

Special shout-out to Cat’s use of the term “bro-hang” (and actually to Calista Flockhart’s entire performance), and to the hilarious dynamic between James and Winn – very different people with a lot of the same values and goals. The scene in the alley where they’re both trying to keep the other from seeing Supergirl made the entire episode.

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