SUPERGIRL S1 E5 "HOW DOES SHE DO IT?" REVIEW!
By Jarrett Kruse
While GOTHAM continues down a dark and depressing road, Supergirl is my light at the end of the tunnel on Monday nights. It is sharp and refreshing and a breath of fresh air after I have spent an hour in the city of the future Dark Knight. It appears that show runner Greg Berlanti, who also produces The Flash, has got the key formula to making a superhero drama a hit. Although Supergirl is still finding its footing in the ratings, every Junkie I have spoken to on our bustling Facebook page agrees that it is a much needed dose of fun on CBS. Not only that but the Junkies with young daughters that just do not get Daddy's hobby of collecting little plastic people, are suddenly getting requests for Supergirl toys for the holidays. It is a dose of girl power that was much needed in the superhero-centric landscape that we have become accustomed to in the 21st Century. Between this and Jessica Jones which I will binge watch on NETFLIX after giant helpings of turkey, gravy, potatoes and stuffing tomorrow, Supergirl is an absolute delight. Bear in mind that when the extended trailer for the show was released earlier this year, I thought the whole idea was laughable especially considering Zack Snyder's very dark Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice is looming on the 2016 horizon. I say check your preconceived notions at the door, sit back and enjoy because Supergirl is very difficult not to like.
The title of the episode, "How does she do it?" refers not only to Kara Danvers/Kara Zor-El/Supergirl but also Cat Grant, female media titan. Chewing the scenery in her best role since she broke out as Ally McBeal, Calista Flockhart is the boss from hell but since the pilot episode, the relationship between her and Kara that is gestating is actually very maternal and sometimes even sweet. So it is not only Supergirl but Cat that begs the question, "how does she do it?" It is an interesting metaphor for todays working single mothers that juggle career, family and everything else that comes at them. Is a Supergirl one that can fly and stop bullets or one that can make soccer practice and acquire giant media companies in the same afternoon? So this episode is most definitely a statement on the 21st century woman and super-woman.
Kara seems to be loving life as she flies around National City but is perturbed that a drone seems to be following her. While it does not look much more advanced than the ones that they sell at say, Brookstone, Supergirl is able to take it down with relative ease and bring it to the DEO for examination. Immediately Kara accuses Henshaw of sending the drone after her going on a brief diatribe cutely saying to Hank, "I thought we were clicking!" Sure enough, it was not one of the DEO's drones and Hank makes sure that Kara knows that if he sends a drone to watch her, she will not know. However the tech on the drone she took down is next gen state of the art and is definite cause for concern. But who besides the DEO would want to monitor Supergirl so out in the open?
Back at Catco, Ms. Grant has won a prestigious media award called the Siegel Prize (Clearly a nod to Superman creator Jerry Siegel) and she beat out the familiar name of Lois Lane. Using her super hearing, Kara hears her talking to her mother who is turning down a chance to watch Cat's son, Carter for a night. Kara offers to watch him with no strings attached and Cat is impressed at her moxie. However, she warns Kara that Carter is not a normal boy and that he needs special attention. At this point in the narrative my Spidey-Sense went off that somehow, Carter was going to be at the center of whatever crisis Supergirl encounters in this episode. The kid is kind of dorky and closed off but his eyes light up when Kara takes him back to the office and Supergirl appears on one of the million TV screens in the office. Carter is in love with Supergirl. (So am I)
James is having lunch with the still in town Lucy Lane who we learn is a lawyer in the JAG corps. But Olsen wants to know exactly what she wants and she admits that she came to the city for him and not a case she was working on. Kara sees the scuttlebutt while picking up lunch and Jimmy explains to the Kryptonian that from his vantage point, Lucy is too obsessed with her career and let Jimmy go and that that is the reason he picked up and left Metropolis. As they are talking, a thud goes off that rattles the cafe. Its no earthquake, its a bomb and Supergirl is all over it when she flies to the structure and stabilizes the structure with her heat vision. Watching her intently is another one of those drones that presumably records the whole incident and flies back to its maker. Two incidents in one day, they've gotta be connected if I have read my comic books right over the years.
Big sister Carol offers some sage advice to Kara early in the episode about her crazy crush on Olsen. She tells her little sister that she has to stop listening to James talk about Lucy the way she has with previous crushes. "Kara, you've spent more time in the friend zone than the Phantom Zone," Carol says shutting her sister up fast. While back at the office, when James tries to talk to Kara about Lucy, she shrewdly cuts him off and says that she does not want to hear about it anymore in the workplace. Olsen seems stunned and it is definitely not Kara's style but under her breath she mutters, "take that friend zone!" However I am just not getting the vibe that they would work together on the show especially with Winn getting Shaq'd every week and being over the moon for Kara. How can you not root for Winn when James has seen more ass than a rental car? It is definitely an interesting love triangle though because none of the people in it know how the others feel!
Carol is able to find a link between the drone and the building that was bombed and it is some type of fiber optics used by a subsidiary of visionary scientist billionaire Maxwell Lord. We all know from the comics that Lord is not a good dude so I am keeping close attention to how they are weaving his character into the narrative. Carol and Henshaw go to Lord's headquarters posing as FBI to let him know that the coincidence of the two incidents mean that they have to keep an eye on him in his own building. This is all on the same day that Lord's pet project, the Super Rail, is supposed to take its maiden voyage. There is some kind of vibe going on between Carol and Lord as she babysits him and the two pick each other's brains in a flirty way about the Super Rail and other issues like the city's new caped hero. Their is a definite spark between these two alphas but they are interrupted when Lord is informed that a bomb is found in Lord's building. Balls are everywhere as Kara is trying to manage being Supergirl, a DEO agent and Cat Grant's assistant/babysitter.
Carol calls Kara to get there ASAP leaving Carter in the care of Winn who is happy to take off work and play Settlers of Catan in Cat's office. Lord and Carol are attending to the bomb and the cocky scientist insist he knows which wire to cut, does so, only to have the timer speed up. Naturally Supergirl shows up and Henshaw radios in that she has to get the device up, up and away towards the ocean and out of the city. Kara throws the bomb but she takes a knock that would even rattle her cousin. As she is coming to at the DEO after being fished out of the ocean, she dizzily sees Henshaw's eyes light up all red. What the hell is he? Its really bothering me and we're only five episodes in! I keep thinking that maybe he is escapee from Fort Rozz, maybe a shapeshifter or something. We know that Hank goes back years with the agency because he was with them even before Kara arrived on Earth. Still, it really has me guessing.
At this point in the episode, even I am exhausted. So I am thinking, "how does she do it?' but its gotta be a snap for Supergirl. However she is still very green at this and is barely doing it for even a quarter of a baseball season. Kara bumps into Lucy while picking up lunch for Carter and she immediately confides in her asking all sorts of questions about Jimmy. Lucy's claim is that Jimmy chose Superman over her and that she could not deal with that anymore. However, how do you tell your significant other to stop saving the world with the Man of Steel? She even goes as far as to ask Kara if Jimmy is seeing anyone, specifically Supergirl. In her now trademarked guffaw and aw shucks dorky way, she says "of course not." However Lucy thinks that Jimmy would be smitten over Superman in a skirt. Not actually Superman in a skirt, she just means Supergirl. I don't mean that Superman wears ladies clothing. And if he does, God bless, do your thing Kal. Anyway, Kara being Kara apologizes to Jimmy about raising her voice earlier in the episode and tells him that she ran into Lucy and her reasoning for the breakup. She gives the best advice she can but kinda sorta slips in that she may just a little bit have feelings for him. That if she had something like they had, she wouldn't just throw it away. However, Jimmy and Lucy have it out one last time and the relationship appears to be dead. Stupid Jimmy. You don't let a Lucy Lane that looks like that just walk away no matter how long distance the relationship has to be. Plus you have not one but two friends who fly and can get you back to Metropolis in ten minutes.
Through the magic of facial recognition, the DEO has a suspect in the latest bombing and have ID'd the bomber as former Lord employee Ethan Knox. He was canned from Lord's office and has since been left by his wife and his daughter has become very ill. Meanwhile at Catco, Winn predictably loses Carter because he wants to go to the Super Rail opening after word that Supergirl may be at the event. Naturally Carter gets on the train with no problems at all and is escorted on by Lord himself. Winn not so much. James is notified that there is also a bomb at the airport in addition to them not being able to locate Knox. Supergirl arrives on the train knowing that Carter is aboard and has visual confirmation from Winn that he saw Knox on the train just before it leaves. So now there are two bombs, one at the airport and one on Knox who is wearing the world's biggest terrorist bomb vest I have ever seen making you wonder where the security was for pat downs before getting on the train.
Henshaw, Carol and Jimmy all descend on the airport with the agents there to diffuse the bomb but the famous photographer is there because he knew Lucy was flying out. When he sees her in the crowd, she says, "why would you run towards a bomb?" and he says "because of you" or some other nice platitude that means they are back together. That does carry weight if you run towards a bomb for a babe, that's big time, that's love. People have got to be wondering though--an airport has thousands and a train can have what, maybe a thousand max? Why would the Girl of Steel go towards the smaller crowd? Henshaw and Carol find the bomb but Carol finds that its frequency is jammed and Hank orders her to evacuate. It is then that Hank's eyes go bright red and he peels back the metal on the bomb like he's peeling a grape, reaches inside deactivating it, walks out to applause and says it was a dud. Fishy that Hank Henshaw. Very fishy, he's suspect in my book.
Kara is aboard the Super Train and immediately finds Carter and Lord and she tries to make it all into a game for her bosses son who pretends like she needs his help to save everyone. After all of the passengers are safe, she locates Knox in the caboose and he says that he has to do this and that it is all for his daughter, etc. He gives Supergirl the opportunity though to save everyone in 30 seconds so she uses her heat vision to detach the car from the rest of the train. Its a lot like that scene in The Incredibles. Anyway, Knox blew himself up and back at the DEO both Kara and Carol think something doesn't add up with either bomb. There was a failsafe on both devices which means that someone could have remotely stopped the bombs at any given time.
By the time Kara realizes that she is still babysitting, Cat is arriving back from the award and Carter is raving about how he met Supergirl and what an incredible babysitter Kara is and if she can babysit again. Carter seems like a different kid from the beginning and her mom is in awe at how a little life threatening danger has brought out the fun and sociable side of her son. However, Kara is in the doghouse with Cat now for you know, LOSING HER SON and begs the question, "how do you do it Ms. Grant?" And the answer she gives is remarkably sincere for her character and I got the feeling that Kara really does want to know, "how the hell am I going to do all of this?" Kara catches the reunited Jimmy and Lucy in a PDA in the hallway and breaks down crying for a minute before catching Lord's press conference apologizing to the city for the incident. Something he says triggers Kara to suit up and pay him a visit at his office.
It was Lord all along it seems. Lord was paying for the care of Knox's daughter so what was all of this about? Why blackmail a no name employee that was let go with a sick kid and a wife who left him? None of this was about what we thought and all about Supergirl. The drones, the building bomb, the bomb at Lord's HQ and the two bombs at the airport and train. It was all to gauge Supergirl's agility, strength, and most importantly, why she would go for the train (hundreds) and not the airport (thousands). There must be people in this heroes life. People she cares about when she is not in costume and Lord seems hellbent on figuring out who she is under that cape. Gotta be a real psycho to plant bombs around the city risking casualties just to get some intel on the cities only superhero. Should of known it was Lord and I didn't catch it. Damn it.
I have no idea how this turned into an epic sized review. It was a good episode but it didn't blow me away but still well above average and I watched it four times because of its fun factor. And I genuinely like the show because it covers the gamut. Its got drama, action, relationships, super villains, comic book heroes---its not an easy mix to capture lightning like this in a bottle but even the people who I thought were miscast are doing bang-up jobs. There is definitely something about Melissa Benoist as both Kara and as Supergirl that is extremely approachable. You want to just take her out on a date and then home to meet your mom. Then to a motel and...sorry, I drifted off there.