Supergirl Paris

Supergirl Recap: Planes, Trains and Ulterior Motives

Don’t worry, Supergirl fans, you’re not losing your collective minds.

Though Monday’s installment of the CBS drama seems to take a giant step backwards, storytelling-wise, it’s merely the result of last week’s decision to swap “How Does She Do It?” with “Livewire” in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris.

So let’s all pretend, for the next few paragraphs, that we don’t already know James and Lucy are going to rekindle their relationship, or that Hank is up to some funny business at the DEO, or that Cat will eventually take a liking…ish to Kara in future episodes. For now, let’s focus on the most recent hour, in which Kara finds herself pulling the most stressful kind of double duty.

The task at hand for Kara: babysitting Cat’s super-shy son, Carter, when Cat must attend an awards banquet out of town. The task at hand for Supergirl: saving National City from a series of mysterious bombings, all while she’s seemingly being spied on via drones. The jobs are simple enough on their own, but together… well, that’s where things get tricky.

With a little help from the DEO, Kara learns that the suspected bomber is Ethan Knox, a disgruntled former employee of Maxwell Lord’s, whose daughter fell ill shortly after he was fired. (Considering the bombs have been made from material developed by Lord Technologies, the profile makes sense.) It seems Ethan’s next target is the launch of Maxwell’s high-tech train, which will have thousands of people on board when Ethan detonates the bomb strapped to his chest — even worse, a second explosive device has been planted at National City’s airport to create a diversion. Great.

Supergirl ParisNot even Supergirl can be in two places at once, so Kara decides to handle the train crisis while the DEO attempts to disarm the airport bomb. (Long story short: Hank is able to stop the explosion in time… because his yet-to-be-explained laser vision and super-strength allow him to rip open the bomb and deactivate it. Handy!) Meanwhile, Cat’s son sees on the news that Supergirl is attempting to thwart a bomber downtown, and since Carter is basically in love with Supergirl, he takes it upon himself to leave the CatCo offices and head to the train launch himself, if only to get a glimpse of his crush up close.

The last act of the episode is a bit of a whirlwind: Carter makes his way onto Maxwell’s train, as does Ethan, but Kara tracks down the bomber before he can end anyone else’s life. She tries to convince Ethan that killing thousands of people isn’t the way to do right by his sick daughter, but it falls on deaf ears. The best Ethan can do is compromise — he’s still going to blow himself up, because he can’t bear the thought of his daughter seeing him on TV as a killer, but if Kara can separate the train cars with her heat vision, the bomb won’t hurt anyone else by the time it goes off.

Kara and Ethan both hold up their ends of the bargain, but something isn’t sitting right with Ms. Danvers. The next day — once Carter has been safely returned to his mom and thousands of civilians have gotten home unscathed — Supergirl pays a visit to Maxwell and tries to understand how Ethan’s suicide mission does anything to help his ailing daughter.

And whaddaya know? Despite denying his involvement in any of the bombings, Maxwell ultimately reveals that he was behind all of them — and why? He was testing Supergirl. The bombings, those strange drones — it was all in an attempt to see how agile and strong Supergirl really is. And the tests did reveal one thing: The fact that Supergirl chose to save the train rather than the airport — where a lot more people were at risk — indicates that someone important to Supergirl (i.e. Carter) was on board the train, and that could very well be a clue to Supergirl’s real identity. And judging by Maxwell’s ominous, “The fun is just beginning” sign-off, he won’t be letting go of this hunch anytime soon.

Elsewhere in the hour, James and Lucy continue to circle their inevitable reconciliation. James thinks he was dumped because Lucy is obsessed with her career, Lucy insists it was because of James’ Superman obsession, yadda yadda yadda. On and on it goes, until Lucy decides to fly back home when it seems they’ve reached a dead end. It isn’t until later, when James learns of the airport bomb threat, that they realize how much they still care for each other. He races downtown to make sure Lucy is safe, and when she exits the airport unharmed, their decision to get back together is a no-brainer. (See, Kara? That friend zone you’ve kept Winn in for months isn’t so fun after all.)

OK, your turn. What did you think of Monday’s Supergirl? Tell us in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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32 Comments
  1. “that could very well be a clue to Supergirl’s real identity” yes, of course. Because her physical resemblance to Kara (not to mention her voice) is not enough of one…

    • BBussey says:

      Michael Sacal — don’t you ever give it a rest? At least come up with something original. What you’ve stated applies to EVERY masked superhero.

      • No, it doesn’t for the simple fact that they are MASKED. The issue of Superman’s identity and glasses is not ignored as often as people think it is. Not even Donner ignored it in his movie, as stated before. If Lois Lane can figure out who Clark is just by drawing a suit, glasses, and fedora over a picture of Superman, then nothing stops anyone else from doing the same with Supergirl and Kara. The ONLY reason Lois had to do that in the first place, was the realization at the end of the first movie that Superman and Clark aren’t ever in the same place at the same time. Though she quickly dismissed it, by the start of the second movie she was back on it again.

        • steve says:

          Accept he didn’t. The scene you are talking about was in the Richard Donner Cut. So, technically not cannon and it never happened. I actually think that they are going to go The Flash route and have those close to her find out who she is. It’s why you are seeing Cat figuring it out in episode 5. Once they have an idea they will begin to protect her.

          Finally…Yes, it is a ridiculous comic book trope that nobody figures it out almost immediately. But, it’s part of the Superman/Supergirl cannon and it’s not going to change. Why care? The show is fun. My 5 and a half year old daughter and I sit down every monday to watch it and she loves it. Melissa Benoist does a really good job of altering her physical appearance like Chris did as well. So it is possible that those who aren’t close to Kara in her normal mode wouldn’t connect the dots all that quickly. And I’m not sure how much Maxwell Lord has been around normal Kara.

          • But it’s not part of the Superman canon, it hasn’t been for 40 years, since the Donner movie, and almost 30 years since the Byrne reboot. It’s an outdated trope from the comics of the 50’s and 60’s that has no relevance today.

          • And even then the comics have at different times struggled to provide a reasonable explanation for the glasses, including making them hypnotize people into thinking Clark and Superman look different. Some ideas work, some ideas are absurd. The point is that the notion is not ignored. It wasn’t back then, and it shouldn’t be today, in the era of facial recognition.

        • Joe m. Riley says:

          In the book Double Star Robert. Heinlein asked, as the character telling the story, “Would it be enough to have someone see you and say to themself’that fellow surely LOOKS like Dack, but he couldn’t possibly BE him, of course!’ We can change the most distinctive thing about you, the way you walk, as if you expect to loose gravity at any second, by adding some pebbles to the toes of your shoes, thereby forcing you to walk on your heels instead!’ Also, would you be able to pick out of a stack of pictures photos of Woodward and Burnstein(separately )? These men are arguably the most famous journalists of their age, but I seriously doubt one person in a million would be able to spot them at a glance!

          • We’re talking about people who see Kara every day, and who’ve met Supergirl in person more than once, as well as have access to photographs of both. We’re also talking about this taking place in the age of increased video surveillance and facial recognition.

  2. Lysh says:

    I know about comic book logic, but Supergirl got on Carter’s level and it’s just so unbelievable he didn’t see that she is Kara. I wonder if Maxwell and Alex are going to be a thing…he’s so shady, but I’m kinda feeling it.
    Besides the Lucy/James stuff and the stuff that made it obvious this episde was out of order, I really enjoyed the episode!

    • jj says:

      even worse is they even refer to facial recognition software on tonight’s episode. how about using it on supergirl’s face lol

      • ? says:

        The superman mythos is from a vastly different era, so at this point you basically just have to believe it’s yet another power kryptonians have. Used to be the argument was “well no one would ever think superman wouldn’t live as superman all the time so they’re not looking for him when they look at people like clark kent,” but yeah, computers.

        • People have been looking through Clark’s disguise for the last 30 years, which has forced him to come up with clever ways to make the ruse work. The argument that it should be accepted on face value is outdated.

  3. Csr says:

    So TiVo didn’t get the update on last week’s change in episodes, so this week’s didn’t get recorded as it saw it as a duplicate. Missed it all. Crap.

  4. Phun says:

    Great episode. Kept me on the edge of my seat at times. Had a hunch that all these bombs were a test for supergirl. Poor Winn. I like it where SG was getting tough with Maxwell and said she was keeping an eye on him. CBS made the right decision by delaying the episode.

  5. The network announced the episode swap, that’s why I saved last week’s episode on the DVR – So I could watch them in the proper order. :-)

  6. ? says:

    Arrow took about 18 episodes to find its footing. Flash took about 5 to really click (or at least to iron out the Iris character). Supergirl took only three, apparently. Not bad at all, although those first three were real stinkers. I’m officially a fan.

    • Roy says:

      It took SHIELD well over half a season to get it together too.

      But did they ever really iron out Iris though? She just stands around doing nothing sadly.

    • Ray says:

      This show was so bad I had to bail after episode 2. Couldn’t stomach the thought of even another 42 minutes of dreck.

  7. Mr. Tran K says:

    Cat Grant’s son Carter was so fun to watch. James continues to have issues with his “ex” Lucy Lane. An emotional confrontation between Supergirl and “baddie” Ethan Knox and Maxwell Lord is really up to something. Overall it was an intense and gripping episode even though it got swapped between last week’s showing which was the Thanksgiving showing that features Helen Slater as Kara and Alex’s mom and this one due to the attack in Paris.

  8. Pat says:

    This was a very good episode and I knew that it was suppose to air last week. I honestly thought that Cat’s son would figure out who Supergirl is. In my mind maybe he did, because of how he hugged Kara as he was leaving and just the way he was looking at her as he was on the elevator and he had the biggest smile on his face.

  9. I just figured out who Hank is. He’s Red Tornado. Has to be

  10. Ann says:

    Did anyone get the feeling that James actually went to the airport because that’s where he thought Supergirl would be and that’s the real reason why he went there..to help Supergirl, just like how he was always there to help Superman? His first question after getting there was “Where’s Supergirl?” He just happened to run into Lucy and made an excuse that he was there to “save” Lucy…when he was actually there to help Supergirl… This was what Lucy was talking about…that James was always running around to wherever Superman was trying to help him.

  11. The Carpooler says:

    Haters and trolls are gonna hate. Feeding them doesn’t help.

    Those of us who like the show can celebrate a job well done. Not perfect, no show is. I was a skeptic when I first read about it, now that it’s here I am really liking it. Melissa does a solid job as Kara.

  12. Rafael says:

    The ending of last night’s episode wasn’t that great enough, but we still are not forfeiting yet. The Livewire episode, from last week, was way better than this one.

  13. Joe m. Riley says:

    Dean Cain had the same kind of tests given him by Lex Luthor in Lois &Clark, and surprise! Surprise! He is now playing Kara’s step-father now, rather than her cousin, the way he did 20 years ago! Maybe he suggested the plot duplication to embarrass the writers?Just Kidding!I’m sure it was just a coincidence!