KFALLING – 6.5/10.
Much like The Flash, Supergirl is a show that is driven by the charm and likeability of its lead character. Melissa Benoist is sweet and effortlessly loveable as Kara, and while Supergirl may not be anywhere near the quality of Flash, it is that warmth that has managed to keep me watching for this long. Well, that and the inclusion of The Martian Manhunter. But all of the warmth and gooey, snuggly goodness was removed from Supergirl this week as a batch of Red Kryptonite made her go full ‘Sandra Dee at the end of Grease’. Of course it was all down to the endless douchery of Lex Luthor Maxwell Lord who, in all fairness, only developed it to try and stop Non. However it is Supergirl rather than Non that falls into Lord’s trap, with mind altering consequences.
The episode starts with the always tiresome Cat Grant guesting on an episode of The Talk where she talks about power, both her own and that of Supergirl. She describes Supergirl as a friend of the city, speaking with genuine warmth and affection that actually makes me forget how much I hate the character for about 30 seconds. But seriously, Cat is just awful, every line that leaves her mouth is a cliché wrapped up in hyperbolic vomit. While Cat chats to Sharon Osbourne and Darlene, Supergirl is off being Supergirl. She rescues a young girl in a Supergirl outfit from some bullies before heading off to save a trapped fireman on top of a burning building. This is where she comes into contact with Lord’s Red Kryptonite, although she doesn’t realise it immediately.
The effects are subtle at first; Kara carries herself with more confidence in the CatCo office and she gives Hank a whole lot of sass in a DEO meeting. But the change only becomes really evident when Supergirl allows a violent alien to escape because she deems fighting him to be beneath her. Hank and Alex try to talk to Supergirl about her new attitude but she calls Hank a coward for hiding behind the veil of humanity when he is just as powerful as her. Kara’s work rival, Siobhan, goes to Cat with CCTV footage of Supergirl allowing the alien to escape and a potential scoop on her heel turn. When Cat tells her to bury the story she tries to take it to Perry White at the Daily Planet. Kara manages to intercept, revealing the mutiny to Cat and resulting in Siobhan’s instant dismissal.
Cat rewards Kara with tickets to a nightclub where she comes on strong and creepy with the newly single James Olsen. She badmouths Lucy Lane, who has apparently quit CatCo and moved back to Metropolis. Kara gets a bit too physical with James, who clearly wants nothing to do with her while she is in ‘evil clone’ mode. Things go from bad to worse when Supergirl is summoned by Cat to discuss her actions with the escaped alien. She tells Cat that she doesn’t have to answer to her, or anyone for that matter. The two exchange insults in an argument that ends with Supergirl flinging Cat off of the side of a building. Unfortunately she catches her before she can hit the ground, warning her that the city is about to discover what real power looks like.
James and Winn pay a visit to the DEO to discuss Kara’s new groove with Alex and Hank, who have now managed to capture the escaped alien. Maxwell Lord eventually shows up to accept responsibility for the Red Kryptonite and gets thrown back into a toilet-free cell for his troubles. Lord is only released when he convinces Alex and Hank that he can engineer an antidote for the Red Kryptonite. Meanwhile Cat goes on TV to publically denounce Supergirl and the people of National City seem to accept it pretty quickly. Even the little girl from earlier throws away her Supergirl suit, which is odd as she hasn’t really done anything that wrong apart from throw Cat off a building. To be fair anyone who spent more than five minutes with Cat Grant would probably want to do that.
Alex goes to confront Kara at her apartment and finds her dressed in the same Kryptonian uniform that Astra once wore (where did she get that?). Kara drops some brutal truth bombs on Alex before setting fire to her entire wardrobe and flying off to commit some low level villainy. Truthfully, Evil Kara doesn’t do a great deal other than some petty vandalism. She smashes up a bar in a moment that brought back fond/awful memories of Evil Superman in Superman 3, but before she can cause too much chaos in National City she is cornered by the DEO. Alex attempts to use Lord’s antidote on Kara but is swatted away, Kara goes to attack her adopted sister forcing Hank to morph into his Martian Manhunter form in order to stop her.
After an entertaining and very public fight between Supergirl and The Martian Manhunter, Alex is able to use the antidote on Kara, finally subduing her. DEO officers surround The Manhunter, Alex tells him to fly away but instead he reverts back into human form and allows himself to be captured by the soldiers. Back at the DEO, Kara recuperates from her ordeal. She is clearly shaken and Melissa Benoist does a good job of showing her guilt. Alex says that they will be fine but clearly they have some issues to work through, Kara receives a similar response when she later tries to patch things up with James. But the greatest damage has been done to Hank, who now finds himself trapped in a DEO cell, but he assures Alex that it is worth if it keeps her and her sister safe.
Supergirl is a show that is often enjoyable but never truly great, however this was a particularly good episode. Any episode that features J’onn J’onzz is going to score points with me, especially as the show has done such an excellent job in presenting him both visually and as a believable character. While Melissa Benoist did a good job of showing Kara’s new, darker attitude it never felt like Supergirl had actually gone bad. Other than scaring Cat, she mostly acted like a moody teen. The episode would have definitely benefited from allowing her to go a bit further into the dark side, perhaps by allowing her to viciously beat down an alien or bank robber. Supergirl continues to be a guilty pleasure and with the Flash crossover coming up there’s plenty to be excited about.