Gooood afternoon, friends and shippers. In this week’s episode of Supergirl, Maggie was MIA and Alex spent 99% of the time off-screen knife throwing, but despite that it was a solid episode with some really great storylines because the focus was on Kara and her feelings, skills, and ethos.
We start the episode with some classic Supergirl flying shots. She zips into the DEO, ready for anything, but there is literally nothing going wrong in National City today; Alex says it’s almost like there’s something in the water. (Wait…was that a gay joke?) Kara adorably asks if that in itself is something she can fix, but J’onn tells her to take the day and enjoy it.
So Kara tries making a souffle and fails…a lot. Guess she’s not good at EVERYTHING, our favorite Kryptonian. Lena comes over unannounced — you know, like friends do, totally normal — and invites her last-minute to a press conference because her ex invited her and he’s her kryptonite. Kara says she always has Lena’s back (to which Lena responds, “You’re my favorite”) and off they go, with Kara artfully dodging a question about what HER kryptonite is.
Just kidding, it’s not eloquent at all. She just goes “uhhhh” and barely doesn’t say “literally kryptonite.”
They go to the press conference where Ravi from iZombie and Jiya from Timeless are presenting about nanobots that can heal wounds and Lena is all excited; her ex, actually named Jack on this show, figured out the solution to the project they had been working on before she came to National City to head up L Corp.
After the conference, Lena introduces Kara to Jack as one of the best reporters in National City, eliciting the most adorkable laugh and head dip from Kara.
Then, despite the mixedness of the messages, Kara sees Lena’s “I’d like to be alone with my ex” face and excuses herself.
Before she gets all the way outside, a man stops her and says he has some inside info and to meet him alone in the dark in his car, which she does as only a girl of steel would/could.
He’s telling her about how he thinks Jack’s company faked the human trials and that the project shouldn’t be released to the public yet when a swarm of nanobots appears and makes the car go boom. Kara is obviously fine, but horrified she couldn’t save the man sitting a foot away from her.
Jack goes to Lena’s office to ask her to dinner, and reminisces about their time together. She eventually agrees to go to dinner with him, and frankly I can’t hate the way he makes her smile.
Oh, by the way, the B-plot this episode was about WinnGuardian, and it was pretty adorable (minus one scene where Lyra went a little banana pancakes). Basically Winn wanted Lyra to be part of their little team, and James thought her a little too quick to violence; eventually they all kissed and made up and became a crime-fighting trio.
Kara tries to take the story to Snapper but he has his own lead and doesn’t need his fired reporter on the beat. So Supergirl follows Snapper and listens in as he talks to a guy who was supposedly part of the human trial. Said guy admits he only went in and signed a piece of paper— no trialing ensued. Right after he admits this, that familiar swarm of nanobots zooms in and Supergirl saves Snapper but the witness turns to dust. Supergirl freezes the nanobots just long enough to get Snapper to safety, and slumps home, sad she lost another citizen.
When she gets there, Mon-El is waiting with a message from Lena (apparently her cell phone doesn’t fit in her Super suit). Lena wanted Kara to talk her out of going out with Jack, but since Kara wasn’t there to give her a better offer, she went off to dinner. So Kara, determined to get to the bottom of this nanobot problem, drags Mon-El as a cover and goes to the restaurant.
Lena appreciates the gesture, but tells Kara she doesn’t need the rescue anymore. Kara says that’s what friends are for, and Lena seems to appreciate the gesture.
Jack and Lena have a nice moment where he tells her how missing her is what helped him figure out the nanobot issue they had been having and Lena’s eyes light up with nerdy delight and it’s wonderful. Lena asks Kara to leave and so she does, but not before Mon-El swipes Jack’s security badge.
They take advantage of Jack’s being distracted by the very distracting Lena Luthor and sneak into his office, where they find an empty Human Trials folder and a video of Jack injecting himself with the nanobots.
He IS the nanobot swarm.
Jack excuses himself abruptly, and swarms back to the office but the alien duo gets out just in time.
Kara takes this new information right to Lena.
It’s very obvious in her precious little face that Kara hates having to be the bearer of this bad news, but also knows it will dampen the blow to hear it from her, so she tells Lena everything she learned about Jack and his nanobots. Lena is upset, but, to her credit, believes Kara and doesn’t shoot the messenger. Instead she promises she won’t confront Jack, but does so without meeting Kara’s eyes. Kara leaves her to be alone with this difficult news.
Kara goes to give Snapper the information she unearthed and says she’s handing it over to CatCo instead of putting it up on KaraDanvers.com because getting the truth to the most people is more important to her than getting the scoop. Snapper is still pretty rude to her but she’s been hit with harder punches. So she just thanks him for all he’s taught her and leaves.
Lena does exactly what she promised Kara she wouldn’t do and goes to confront Jack about the human trials and murdering people by turning into a swarm of nanobots. The genuine look of shock and confusion on his sweet, sweet face tells her all she needs to know: Jack isn’t lying. He has no idea, because he’s not the one in control of his own swarm. His right-hand woman, Beth, is.
Beth confesses that Jack wanted to end the project when it became clear that the nanobots took away free will, but Beth didn’t think that was anything to be stopped by. Pesky ethics never got in her way. They then have a great exchange where Beth says, “It’s true what they say, behind every strong man is a woman” and Lena responds that she wouldn’t know because, “I’ve never stood behind a man.” Just lovely, truly.
Another truly fascinating thing is that Lena realizes with a calm coolness that Beth is only revealing herself to be the big bad that she is because she plans on killing Lena. Lena is not fazed by this in the slightest. But when Beth laughs this off and says actually she wants to turn Lena into a nanobot swarm of her own and take control of L Corp, Lena’s face falls to fear and worry. She’s not afraid of dying, but she doesn’t want to see the company she worked so hard to build separate from the Luthor name devolve into nefarious plots once again.
But before Beth can shatter Lena into a billion beautiful bits, Supergirl comes in and saves her, not for the first time, surely not for the last.
Supergirl offers Lena an out, but Lena has a better idea: Let’s work together. So Lena runs to the computer while Supergirl fights, but Supergirl is soon overtaken by the swarm and I’m not going to lie to you I had some mildly traumatic My Girl flashbacks. (Thankfully Kara can see just fine without her glasses.)
Anyway, it’s up to Lena now, so she stomps on Beth’s earpiece she was using to control the nanobots and hacks into the mainframe. There’s a beat where Beth points out that shutting down the nanobots would kill Jack, but not saving Supergirl is not a question for Lena. She apologizes to Jack, who encourages her to do it, and do it she does.
Cut to Lena, sitting in her office, mourning the loss of an old flame and a project that was important to her – she literally was trying to cure cancer. Kara comes by to visit, embarrassed by the single pot of flowers she brought, knowing nothing truly heals the wound of loss. But Lena appreciates that she came by at all.
Lena admits that right now she’s numb, and angry, but she feels like maybe once that dies down, she might be scared. Scared of how loss will affect her, scared of becoming more like her Luthor roots each day. But Kara promises that Lena won’t lose her, and just like she wouldn’t let her fall off the edge of the building, she wouldn’t let her fall of the edge of sanity either. (She didn’t say that directly because Kara still doesn’t know if Lena knows she’s Supergirl, though I suspect she does, but it was the same general gist.)
Kara says, “I will always be your friend and I will always protect you,” putting her arm around Lena and holding her tight.
And at first I found myself asking: are they making Kara and Lena say “friend” more than any reasonable person would need to say “friend” to their friend just to remind us that they’re not in love despite all the signs saying otherwise? And maybe so. But also another reason struck me: Kara keeps saying versions of, “That’s what friends are for.” “I’m your friend, of course I’ll…” etc. And as much as I think part of that is for our benefit, I think a lot of it is for theirs. Kara has never really had a true friend. She has Alex, but that’s her sister, so that’s different. She has Winn and James but some romantic things have left a tiny scar on their friendships, even the unrequited ones.
Sure, as their friendships grow and strengthen, it will become barely noticeable, but it will never be gone. (This is not to say you can’t be friends with someone who is also a gender you are attracted to, or to say you cannot be friends with specific people you were attracted to or who were attracted to you. I’m just saying, in Kara’s case with these two people, the situations were sticky, and I’m not sure we’re clean of the residue yet.) She has J’onn, but that’s more of a father figure relationship.
But Lena is different. Lena is a woman trying to do good, trying to make a name for herself to spite and/or in spite of her family’s legacy. She’s someone who has struggled with who she is and her place in this world, and who has suffered loss after loss in the process. She is Kara.
So maybe Kara tells Lena what friends are for to remind us that they’re just friends. But maybe she says it to remind Lena that they ARE friends. Really and truly. And maybe that’s exactly what they both need.
ANYWAY in the less mushy side of National City — wait, no, I lied, it’s totally mushy, just a different kind of mushy — Kara brings Snapper a danish and in return he shows her that he included her in the byline for the story about Jack and his nanobots. He says, “You did good, Danvers,” and even though he was a butt for the entire episode, my heart swelled up with pride for our favorite star reporter.
Meanwhile across town, someone shows up in Lena’s office with a business proposition that surely will not end well for anyone.
Next week’s episode is called, “Alex” and I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so…scared.