“Supergirl” Episode 406 Recap: The Thanksgiving Debate

Previously on Supergirl, Lena pocketed some Harun-El to do some science on, Nia kept sleeping at her desk and also having Feelings that tend to be Correct, and a British gent named Manchester appeared on the scene. Oh and a man named Ben started a national hate group called the Children of Liberty who hate aliens so, so much.

We open with a cute couple bantering about Thanksgiving pies when a dog starts barking at them. They start to move the other way but they soon realize they’re surrounded by Children of Liberty. Supergirl flies in to help but by the time she gets there, Manchester had already taken a few out.

As they’re standing there talking, realizing that this was a hate crime, a bunch of fliers fall to the sky. It’s a manifesto. It’s a call to action. It’s nothing good.

Back in her lab, Lena is telling Eve about a TV spot she got for James while they science about.

Lena looks over her shoulder sexily sciencing

People over here worried about aliens while the most attractive human on the planet is also the smartest…

They’re using the Harun-El to test tumors on hearts but it’s not shrinking the tumors like it’s supposed to and Lena is getting very frustrated. Eve tries to reassure her that it’s okay; they can’t cure cancer overnight. But Lena is so, so sad.

Lena looks sad she can't cure cancer.

Tell me again how her last name makes her evil. I dare you.

At the DEO, Alex and Haley fight about what to do with the leaflet Supergirl brought them. Alex thinks this is the start of an uprising and they have to stop it, but Haley is more focused on the fact that Supergirl was somewhere she wasn’t officially ordered to go. She wants everyone to stop investigating this manifesto, and from the sound of it, mostly because it wasn’t her idea.

Director Danvers and Supergirl are displeased to say the least.

Kara and Alex get scolded

I have a feeling Young Alex and Young Kara have stood in this exact sisters-getting-scolded position.

Haley is firm with them, saying she will not bend on her rules-first code of conduct. Also she brought sweet potato pie. Switching from scolding them to offering them pie has all the markings of a sociopath if you ask me. It reminds me of when I was in high school and my mother and I would be screaming at each other and then as soon as the fight came to a lull she’d ask, “What do you want for dinner?” as if nothing had happened.

Supergirl asks if she’s grounded but Alex scoffs and says no way. Alex calls Haley an Umbridge, which feels so right because it’s very rules-for-rules sake around here these days. But she also says she’ll go all “Weasley twin” on her if she has to. (Hopefully George.)

The girls run into Brainy and Alex tries to subtly signal to him that he should keep working on the investigation but in secret, but subtlety isn’t Brainy’s strong suit so, hilarity ensued.

Alex winks

To be fair, I’m also not subtle when Alex winks.

Oh and also, Best Earth Mom Ever Eliza Danvers has texted; she’s coming for Thanksgiving and Alex is on cranberry sauce duty.

Lena heads over to CatCo to see James and bring him a handsome new suit that happens to go perfectly with the pants he’s wearing. He puts it on and she surveys her work proudly. The moment is kind of a nice reversal from all the times on TV we see a man buy a dress for a woman.

Lena is proud of the suit jacket she bought James

I bet she’d pick out the cutest blazers for Kara.

Lena tells James that he can wear his new jacket on the TV spot she booked for him, where he can publicly disavow the Children of Liberty like he was going to, remember? But he feels ambushed and he doesn’t like it. Besides, he has his own plans. To meet up with some of the Children and hopefully interview the Agent of Liberty himself. Lena starts to panic — he’s going to hang out with a domestic terror group ON HIS OWN without backup despite knowing some VERY STRONG PEOPLE?? James is SURE he can get through to them just by being his charming self but Lena is sure he’s going to get his ass kicked.

He tries to pull the “it’s for work” card but her work card is bigger and she tells him that she’s assigning him the TV spot.

Lena glares down James

Anything you can do, I can do better.

And this, dear friends, is why you don’t date people who you directly report to/directly reports to you. Another fact that has nothing to do with anything, Kara does not directly report to Lena.

Eh hem.

Anyway, James goes to Kara to complain about the situation and while Kara agrees that maybe Lena should have checked his availability before booking him, she agrees with Lena w/r/t not endangering himself. James snaps that Lena isn’t always right but Kara disagrees.

Kara shrugs

“Anything you can do, she can do better.”

James says he really wants to do his own thing so Kara offers to take over the TV spot and take Nia along to help her. James is a little concerned they can’t pull it off that quickly, especially since Nia is currently asleep at her desk.

Kara and James go to talk to her, and Nia is worried she’ll be fired on the spot, but James and Kara are very supportive. She tries to tell them she has narcolepsy but can’t remember the name of it.

Nia looks worried

“Sorry I was reading James/Lena fanfic to try to understand and I fell asleep.”

They tell her to do whatever she needs to; they’re very accommodating.

Across town, J’onn goes to see Manchester to invite him to Thanksgiving if he’ll be around, because even though he’s British, it might be nice for him to be around people instead of just mourning Fiona.

J’onn leaves and Manchester resumes what he was doing: torturing the Child of Liberty cop in his bathroom for information.

Back at the DEO, Alex tries to see what Brainy has figured out so far about the manifesto but he doesn’t have much. Haley approaches and asks for a report on what they’re working on right now (my least favorite thing a superior can do) and Brainy manages to spin a lie about Haley’s pie distracting him to the point of looking up recipes. I’m not sure she bought it but she drops it for now.

Alex looks worried

This is the face of someone who knows she got got but isn’t about to be the first to admit it.

Alex tells him to try to keep a low profile, if that’s a thing he’s even biologically capable of.

In Lena’s Lab, Eve is still helping her with experiments but they’re still not working.

Lena glares at science

Tumors on the human heart is a good metaphor for this season’s arc so far.

Eve offers to move onto the next protocol, but Lena tells her to go home to be with her family for Thanksgiving.

She tells Eve to incinerate the test before she goes, as always, but this time, the heart doesn’t burn. The heart appears to be indestructible.

Lena stares into the fire

“I touch the fire and it freezes me, I look into it and it’s black.”

At the TV station, Nia is helping Kara prep for her time on Counterpoint, a debate talk show, but the poor dear is falling asleep sitting up with coffee in her hand.

Nia falls asleep sitting up

If this isn’t a Monday Mood I don’t know what is.

Kara thinks that Nia really needs help with this so she invites her to Thanksgiving dinner so she can talk to her mom and find a doctor. It was a little bold, this invite, considering it’s like the day before and also it was asked with a presumption that Nia didn’t already have plans/family. But I feel like this happens on TV a lot so probably I should just get over it.

Kara is a little nervous before going on the show, but Nia turns out to be really good at pep talks, so she helps Kara feel ready as she can be.

Nia puts her hands on Kara's shoulder

I almost accidentally shipped this for ONE SECOND before I remembered I ship them both with other people I’M SORRY FORGIVE ME

Unfortunately that confidence flickers a little when she realizes that the person she’ll be debating on this episode of Counterpoint is none other than Ben Lockwood.

James goes to talk to Tom, a Child of Liberty, and they walk around the neighborhood with Tom’s dog, and Tom is rudely texting the whole time. He says he doesn’t know who the Agent of Liberty is, and his dog keeps barking. Tom calls aliens “roaches” and James stands up to him about it and Tom is very confused. All in all, it’s a pretty bad first date.

Kara and Ben debate and it gave me agita but Kara really held her own.

Kara had a solid closing statement but Ben sure couldn’t let Kara or the female host have the last word, so he starts talking about how Thanksgiving is about genocide (which isn’t wrong) and that the logical conclusion is that aliens will cause a human genocide (which isn’t right).

Cut to Thanksgiving at the Loft, where it’s a collection of all our faves, including Lena and Nia.

The women of Supergirl share a frame at Thanksgiving

Oh look it’s why I still watch this show in one frame.

And I noticed that Alex doesn’t desperately drink in the background of scenes anymore, so I think this whole Director position is doing wonders for her.

While Nia helps Best Earth Mom Eliza set the table, Eliza offers to set Nia up with a sleep specialist she knows in the city. Nia awkwardly lies and says she already has a doctor in the city, and Eliza tries to get the name of the doctor from her but Nia lies some more so Eliza doesn’t push it.

Eliza Danvers smiles like the RAY OF SUNSHINE she is

“You’re cute but I have two mischievous daughters and can spot a lie a mile away.”

When James shows up to the party, Lena is less than pleased to see him after the stunt he pulled.

Lena glares at James again


They join the rest of the group and there’s a Thanksgiving debate about aliens and humans that somehow doesn’t devolve into screaming and crying. I guess that’s what happens at found family gatherings vs. blood family. Lena is of the mind that it wouldn’t be a bad thing if humans could level the playing field powers-wise, and assures everyone that evil people wouldn’t get powers. Alex points out that whoever was doling out powers would be playing god.

Alex looks up at Lena

“We don’t get to decide who lives, who dies, who tells our story.”

Lena doesn’t seem to have a problem with that role.

Lena looks like she's considering playing god

“Lena, Goddess of Science and Beauty” has a nice ring to it, tbh

While they continue to discuss the issue over dinner, they realize that James’s buddy Tom was using an alien-sniffing dog to mark houses and target aliens at home. Manchester says that the masks have filters over the lenses, and Brainy pulls out the one he has to confirm. Lena says it’s a low-spectrum enhancer for infrared. Which she can tell from across the room because science! So Alex uses the lens (while Kara uses her…x-ray vision? Night vision? Low-spectrum enhancer for infrared vision?) to look out over the city and sees that there are indeed As on certain buildings. Which is just so fucked up.

Alex and Kara peep out the window

“I see racist people. They’re everywhere.”

They realize that the name of the manifesto, Twilight’s Last Gleaming, is the time the strike is to happen so the team has to get a move on.

James thinks he can go talk the Children of Liberty out of going through with this organized strike because of one mediocre conversation he had with one mediocre man and Lena tries to stop him. He thinks he can do these things on his own, and he yells at Lena for “freaking out” over “every little problem.” After all, the whole thing with the DA worked itself out because of his not wanting to dwell on it.

Lena looks over it

I swear if YOU’RE breaking up with ME I’m going to set my own heart on fire.

Lena confesses to having made a deal with the DA and he’s all mad at her for lying. She says she loves him, which is really alarming for me to hear, but I’m weirdly hoping it’s not the first time she’s said it to him. Because his response is, “If that’s what you think love is, I’m not sure I want any part of it.” Oh I’m so sorry she went out of her way to solve your problems for you, SIR.

Lena is so sad

Anyone who makes Lena make this sad face is on my naughty list AND NOT THE GOOD KIND OF NAUGHTY LIST.

Supergirl is erasing infrared As but she’s afraid she’s not going to be able to get them all in time.

James tries to stop Tim on his own and it, unsurprisingly, turns to fisticuffs pretty fast. He wants to join his buddies, who are carrying tiki torches of course, and attacking houses marked with the red A. Unfortunately for one group, Manchester is waiting for them at one house, and shoots them all dead, apologizing to his dead pacifist wife as he does.

Another group of xenophobic assholes busts into a house marked with an A and start beating on a man who they assume is the alien of the house for some reason. Joke’s on them though because turns out the alien was the pet lizard, who the daughter of the house sicks on them. So the lizard, Spike, turns into a dragon and flies out into the night.

Supergirl calls it in (“There’s a dragon on Main Street”) and Alex makes a joke about her previous Harry Potter reference because she’s perfect.

Alex peeps out of her motorcycle helmet

I hope she has motorcycle insurance and/or continues to wear this helmet.

Kara saves her sister from the dragon and fights it briefly in the sky until the little girl tells Alex what’s what and Kara realizes all she has to do is tell Spike the little girl is safe. Proof dragons are smarter and more empathetic than racists. Spike turns back into a lizard and Kara returns him home.

When they get back to the DEO, Haley is pissed that they broke the rules but is happy things turned out okay. And she finally agrees that the Children of Liberty are a bigger threat than she originally thought and allows Director Danvers and Supergirl to make them their priority. The sisters are confused but pleased by this conversation they probably assumed would be them getting their asses handed to them.

Alex and Kara are scolded again

They are both very good at not spontaneously crying when being scolded.

Before Alex leaves, Haley warns her that she knew about this secret mission all along and that if she continues to disobey orders, there will be serious consequences. Alex stands her ground and says that her instincts are what make her a great Director and she’s not about to start ignoring them now just because Haley said so.

Back at the loft, Alex and Kara are talking about Nia and Alex says that she told Eliza she already has a doctor in the city, which is the opposite of what she told Kara and James. Kara starts to wonder aloud why she lied, but then it looks like something clicks. I think she might be an alien, and I think Kara might think so now too.

Kara and Alex are also stressed about the building tension with the Children of Liberty, but Alex says she’s not done fighting. It will be feel like a losing battle more often than not, but they can’t give up. They just can’t.

Alex is ready to fight

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for Alex’s unwillingness to give up the fight. And also Chyler Leigh’s hair.

James meets Tom in a parking garage, alone again because he’s vying to become the King of Bad Decisions, and Tom offers to take him to the Agent of Liberty, and suddenly more Children appear all around him and a hood is thrown over his head. I’m sure this will all end fine.

In her lab, Lena is worried about the fight between the Children of Liberty and the aliens coming to a head. She thinks the people she loves, especially the squishier of them like Kara, will need protection. And also she happens to need a human trial for her Harun-El experiment. So maybe she can kill two birds with one science.

Lena lookin' good, ready to science

Whilst killing me with her OUTFITS IS SHE KIDDING ME

The episode ends with Manchester and his collection of Liberty masks getting a wee bit of information from his hostage before killing him dead.

Things are getting very stressful and I feel like it has to come to a climax by the time the crossover happens, because the crossover looks like a cluster of timeline fuckery so I doubt they’ll want to put all this on pause for that. Part of me know that heroes always win but part of me is worried what the lasting effects of this will all be.

PS. If you want to complain with me about how stupid the latest casting news is, let’s hang out in the comments and rage together. (Not listing it here in case someone doesn’t want to know.)

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Valerie Anne

Just a TV-loving, Twitter-addicted nerd who loves reading, watching, and writing about stories. One part Kara Danvers, two parts Waverly Earp, a dash of Cosima and an extra helping of my own brand of weirdo.

Valerie has written 548 articles for us.


  1. Can someone please briefly explain to me why the casting news is crazy? I know who it is but I don’t understand.

    Thanks in advance

    • Because Jon Cryer is like three years younger than Brenda Strong, and he’s just so…goofy. He just doesn’t fit the bill. Frankly I’m upset they cast Lex at all. Lena is all the Luthor we need. Lillian is enough of a bonus Luthor. No need for more.

      • Ahhhhhhhh fair point makes sense.

        Thank you kindly.

        Have to say I’ve really warmed to Brainy this season, he’s a welcome swap for Winn. I am a little fatigued with all the new characters and storylines at the moment though, would like a bit more consistency and focus on the core characters that we all know and love. I.e. more pizza and Danvers sister sofa time.

    • I think she’s talking about Jon Cryer being cast as Lex Luthor which is…beyond comprehension and words.

  2. Valerie Anne, did you just insinuate that your mother is a sociopath? LOL.

    I wish Supergirl was more like The Flash in that they would inject light episodes in between the heavy ones without losing sight of the big bad. Every episode this season is so heavy that it’s bumming me out.

    I liked James once upon a time but the writers making him into this person who is so starved for hero-dom that it makes him stupid has gotten beyond annoying. Alex is human too and wants to be a hero as well but she can be made rational when approached with reason. Why can’t James be more like her? Oh, wait…I know…it’s Dangler Syndrome.

    I cannot wait until they completely flesh out Nia. She’s a delight. I’m loving Brainy too.



      I agree, I miss the lightness. Flash has slowly been getting it back (thanks, Nora!) and I hope Supergirl finds its way back, too.

  3. I watch the show because of the women and I’m so glad we have Nia now. It’s one of the big reasons I love Legends also. Also I love Kara’s arms. I’m jealous.

    I also don’t know why we need a Lex but besides from that, shouldn’t you cast someone age appropriate. I’m so nervous that my eyes will permanently roll back in my head the first time Lex says Mom to Lillian. I wish they stop with the stunt casting.

    Anyways I will always be here as long as we have Alex, Kara, Lena, and other badass women on this show.

  4. They do a better job straightening Lena’s hair than her character because how am I supposed to believe she’s bot on love with Kara if she’s passing her salt when Kara didn’t even say one Word? That confession to James sounded forced. Supercorp endgame, howgh.

    • “They do a better job straightening Lena’s hair than her character” made me laugh out loud, well played

      • All pleasure is mine, Valerie! I’m in love with your SG recaps and even more with your “Nia reading lames fanfic to understand and falling asleep” meme because that’s the mood.

  5. “I almost accidentally shipped this for ONE SECOND…”

    When two women come along,
    You must ship it,
    When the chemistry is so strong,
    You must ship it

    Now ship it,

    Gif that ship,
    Give the writers the slip,
    It’s not canon, it’s crack,
    The fandom will take it back

    Now ship it,

  6. Heh, the actor who plays that alienphobe, Tom, was on Slasher with Katie McGrath. My TV worlds are colliding…

    Also, that almost blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment of Lena so casually glancing at Kara and then seamlessly passing her the salt without (I assume) Kara even saying anything held more chemistry in that few seconds than Lena and James ever had in the long, dragging minutes of on-screen time together. Ugh, James you are the anchor that is sinking the show and would someone come in with a giant pair of scissors already and cut you loose already?!?! I’m not dumping on the character because I ship Lena and Kara – that’s for fanfic; I’ve accepted it – I’m dumping on the character becuase he’s dead weight and serves no purpose on the show. He contributes to no one’s story, his Guardian arc is a snooze fest and aside from the work promotion, he’s really had no proper character development. Either write him better or drop him.

    • I really liked James in the beginning (before they started forcing romances on him) and I wish they would write him more like that. Because I agree, they’re falling all of us right now.

  7. Gosh, apart from everything else you’d think Lena and James would converse more about how anti-alien dingbattery might bring up some horrible memories for her given her family history? I wonder if the show really is finally backing out of this particular pairing.

    • Given their interactions in this episode it certainly seems possible we’ll see the end of the pairing. I guess time will tell.

  8. I got a chuckle out of Manchester being mildly upset that a woman saved his bacon. Live with it, dude.

    It hadn’t occurred to me beyond being typical of bad bosses–ripping you a new one then bringing donuts–but calling Haley a sociopath may not be far off the mark. Maybe I’ve been working for sociopaths?

    Lena’s back room manipulations have been apparent for a while and I was wondering when it would hit the fan. As long as she feels the need to remind James who’s boss things won’t go well.

    It must be nice to have a boss and a mentor who are so understanding when you’re asleep at your desk. OTOH, Nia remains first-season-Kara adorable. I could ship her with just about anyone.

    Is it just me or was anyone else mildly uncomfortable hearing Nia and Brainy joking about stalking?

    And no, love isn’t solving someone’s problems behind his back because you think he’s incapable of dealing with them, MA’AM.

    Alex finally standing up to Haley was welcome but Alex calling herself a “great leader” nearly made me blow milk out of my nose. They might as well have Kara call herself a “great journalist.”

    I hadn’t thought of Lena wanting to test her invulnerability thing on Kara but that plotline has potential. Years ago in the comics Lex developed a ray that gave people super powers but before he used it on himself he tested it on Clark Kent. Naturally Clark had to pretend big time.

    The crossover is being done as Elseworlds, which means a “what if?” story. It doesn’t have to fit into the timelines of the shows so there shouldn’t be an issue.

    • James proved incapable of dealing with his problems and wouldn’t even talk to Lena about it so she took things into her own hands. She should have told him, sure, but she saved his ass and he was flat-out rude about it.

      • There’s enough fault to go around even though James was absolutely a huge jerk. In a good relationship people admit when they’re wrong (James) but they also practice honesty and communication (Lena). If she had said, “The only reason you’re not in jail right now is because I bribed the DA,” originally, it would have saved a lot of drama, which would unfortunately spoil the show. I suspect we’ll see the end of James+Lena but if the writers don’t allow her to learn she won’t be able to maintain a relationship with anyone. We all screw up and if her M.O. remains fixing her significant other’s mistakes by conniving it won’t go well.

  9. The ship Lames set sail last season, before Kreisberg was fired. I wonder if the breakup was a decision made after his departure.


    Meanwhile, the SuperCorp shippers to the Lames shippers.

  10. With your references to Annie Get Your Gun, the idea of Chyler and Melissa doing a “Anything you can do, I can do Better” duet is stuck in my head.

  11. Hallo! Thank you for the great review! :)

    And.. Happy Thanksgiving to all here.. and everywhere.

    PS: This episode convinced me that Lena will not go evil. So.. I am not sure why so many people seem to think she is going to. It seems that the show has finally gotten a grip on her character and is writing her as she should be written. With flaws probably arising from trust issues, but with a personal loyalty that is admirable. And a mind that is pragmatic and hence is impatient with final points of emotions.

    Kara still trusts her and Lena is discussing things with others. I think she is interesting where she is, and it’d not make sense to make her an antagonist. Just as importantly, on a show that focuses on and promotes all kinds of positive female relationships, that shouldn’t be done in my opinion (I know that doesn’t happen always with this show..But female relationships is something they have always got right; romance not always).

    May be the other Kara will stir things up a bit.

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