“Supergirl” Episode 506 Recap: Shadows Hold Their Breath

Previously on Supergirl, Lena Luthor lived a hundred lives. She went to boarding school with Andrea Rojas, she dated Jack Spheer, she developed nanotech, she started L Corp, she saved the world a few times, she kidnapped a Martian and she learned to incept people’s minds. Also Leviathan is running around, being a confusing mess of bad ideas, from what I can tell.

We open at the DEO, where Supergirl has brought William in to try to reach RipRoar, who hasn’t been saying much, seemingly lost inside the tech that’s too embedded in his biology for them to remove. Before they can get through to him, however, the DEO is invaded, and the shadow figure that killed the Spider Woman is zipping around trying to get to RipRoar, which Alex isn’t too pleased about.

Alex angrily points her gun


The Shadow gets away without her target, and when she steps into the light, it’s revealed to be none other than Andrea Rojas herself, which genuinely surprised me in a way I didn’t think this show was capable of anymore.

Andrea takes off her Shadow mask

Even though after only a wee bit of Googling, I see that anyone who is more well-versed in the comics than I am surely saw this coming.

Her DEO mission unsuccessful, Andrea decides to go to the smartest person in National City, who is just hanging out in her apartment looking stunning in a ponytail, hilariously asking Andrea, “What’s the DEO?” even though Andrea is also in top five smartest people in National City and totally knows she knows.

Lena shoots Andrea a look

One sign of a great actor is being able to make you believe that their character is bad at lying.

Andrea tells Lena that she knows who was behind the tidal wave and has been instructed to kill the agent, who is in DEO custody, but Lena is appalled Andrea would dare ask her to help kill someone. Andrea explains that she was INSTRUCTED to kill the agent, but he’s too important to her, so she’s trying to save him, but Supergirl is in her way. Andrea begs her, as a friend, and Lena snaps, “We’re not friends.”

Lena sips her drink menacingly

Lena and Andrea met Jack and Russell later, so there’s no reason they couldn’t have been boarding school girlfriends, and I’m mad it didn’t happen. At least, not explicitly. It would have added layers!!! WHY DON’T THEY WANT ME TO HAVE THE BISEXUAL LENA LUTHOR I DESERVE?!

But Andrea says they used to be.

We flash back to a young Andrea taking new kid Lena Luthor under her wing, teaching her how to underage drink and bonding over their love of the movie Titanic. Little Andrea shares her dream of traveling the world, and Little Lina shares her dream of… bending shadow to her will. Which is just so very Lena in so many ways. Mostly because it’s dramatic as fuck. But also because Lena has lived her whole life in the shadows that other people cast. Of course she wants to control them. So Lena tells Andrea about the story her mother used to tell her about an ancient magic medallion, and Andrea agrees to go on a quest with her to find it. Andrea says, “If you jump, I jump,” which is one of the lines used in what is often touted as one of the most romantic stories of all time, so, fine. Best friends. Sure.

A few years later, Lena and Andrea meet up because Andrea’s father is falling apart and Lena is losing her brother to his obsession with Superman.

Lena needs to find an element before Lex does, and also spoiler alert she DID already find it, and it also happens to be linked to the medallion, so off they trot to go find it. Together.

Lena leers at Andrea

You jump, I jump, then you can paint me like one of your French girls.

Andrea leers back at Lena

“Wearing nothing but the medallion.”

It’s in Costa Rica, where I also once traveled with a friend I later realized I was more into than I allowed myself to admit, so at least Lena and I have that going for us. They use Lena’s mother’s storybook as a guide, dressed like Bering & Wells in that one episode of Warehouse 13 (you know the one) until Andrea falls down a hole and Lena lunges to save her.

Lena reaches down a hole

Supergirl writers reaching for a heterosexual explanation for this storyline.

Down in the cavern she tumbled into, a messenger appears and offers Andrea an exchange; the power of the medallion for a favor. At first Andrea hesitates, insisting her friend Lena deserves this more, has been searching for it longer. But the messenger tells her that this is the only thing that will save her father. So Andrea takes the medallion, and is told to keep it on her person always, but never speak of it. And someday they will call upon her.

Lena uses a rope to climb down into the cavern after Andrea to save her, wrapping her in her arms when she sees that she’s safe. Lena sees the carving in the wall that matches the one from her story, and is so delighted that her mother’s story is coming true.

But then she realizes the medallion itself is gone; Andrea says maybe someone else already found it, and Lena is so, so sad.

Lena looks so FUCKING SAD gah

Stop Breaking Lena’s Heart 2k19! And 2020 while we’re at it.

Flash forward a few years, Andrea still has her medallion, her father didn’t die by suicide, Obsidian’s stock prices are up. Things are going well. Until Lena goes to a gala with Jack and sees Andrea with the medallion hanging from her perfect neck.

Andrea looks caught

They wouldn’t be in this position if more dresses had pockets.

And once again, Lena is betrayed. For the first time by someone she wasn’t related to. Someone she trusted with her deepest hopes, someone who stole her light.

Lena looks so hurt it hurts

I hope I never do anything to anyone that would make them look at me like this.

Lena decides to leave this life behind her and move to National City and redeem the Luthor name, leaving Jack behind because she can’t trust anyone anymore.

Andrea is sitting in a bar moping when a handsome man comes to flirt with her. It turns out to be Russell, someone she was supposed to have a meeting with but blew off because she was so sad about her ex gal pal. Since they’re not going to be business partners now, he asks her on a date.

Fast forward a bit more to three years ago, not too long after Lena moves to National City. Kara goes to see her in her office, having stopped a leak of L Corp’s private emails from getting to the CatCo presses. Lena appreciates it, but when Kara invites her to her and her sister’s weekly game night, Lena balks.

Kara looks confused

“Is it the wig? It’s the wig isn’t it.”

She says she just wants a business relationship, and will give the emails back if Kara thinks this is a promise of friendship. But Kara didn’t do this expecting anything in return, so she leaves Lena with the USB and with the open invitation to game night.

Andrea, having celebrated her six-month anniversary with Russell and feeling peak happiness, is visited by the consequences of her past, so it goes. The Leviathan woman comes and speaks as the messenger now, telling Andrea she needs to kill someone for them. Andrea is shocked; this isn’t exactly what she thought she was signing up for. But they can take Andrea’s father’s life as easily as they gave it, so she follows the woman’s instructions and taps the medallion three times, thus becoming The Shadow.

Andrea is the Shadow for the first time

“When it comes, the Landscape listens –
Shadows – hold their breath –
When it goes, ’tis like the Distance
On the look of Death.”

Her first kill is a governor, so she slips via shadow into his office and…SNAPS HIS NECK! I guess when Andrea does a thing she doesn’t do it halfway. Not that I think there’s a good way to like… ease into murder, but that seems like an aggressive start to me.

Later, at a restaurant, Kara catches Lena watching the Andrea news, and lets her know that the friendship offer still stands.

Kara catches Lena watching Andrea on the news; Kara lets her know that her friendship offer still stands; Alex cancels and Kara offers to leave but lena invites her to join her; maybe because she’s lonely, maybe because she decides she wants to start using friendship as a weapon the way she feels Andrea did, or maybe it’s because she can’t resist Kara’s charm and excellent points about letting people in. Maybe she thought she was ready to trust again and this sweet sort-of-reporter seemed like a safe bet. But either way, Lena gives in to Kara’s advances of kindness.

Lena and Kara on their first date...fine, friend hangout whatever

Honestly Lena’s hair in this episode was attack after attack. Rao bless the hair/makeup department.

Back at her apartment, Russell says he’s worried about Andrea. She brushes him off, but then he finds her medallion, and it’s bloody for some reason? So either this was implying she killed an entirely different person, or she did a really bad job snapping that guy’s neck. Anyway, by the time Andrea finishes washing away her sins in the shower, Russell is taken away because he got too close. Andrea begs for his life, so instead of killing him, they turn him into a human weapon and use the biotech he was developing to give him the extra arms, and RipRoar is born.

Eight weeks ago, Lena saw news about Andrea and decided that she could be useful, which is when she called her up and offered her CatCo and the building space for Obsidian North. Cut to today, when Andrea feels horrible about everything she did, even though she did it to save her father.

Andrea takes a swig

Me when I realized Kelly and Nia weren’t going to be in this episode at all.

Lena is horrified, and Andrea is sorry, but as Lena knows first-hand, apologies don’t always make things better. Andrea explains the medallion’s powers, her Shadow self, and that it cost her the love of her life and her best friend, and while I know in my logic brain that she means Russell and Lena, in that order, in my gay heart I decided to believe both things applied to Lena.

Andrea asks for Lena’s help, and even though she’s still upset, she wants everyone to stop killing and being killed so she agrees to join forces. When you jump, I jump, remember?

Back at the DEO, Alex and Kara are still trying to get information out of RipRoar.

Alex and Kara look sternly upon their prisoner

My favorite power posing duo.

But all he says is, “Leviathan.”

Lena uses her Supergirl pager to call her to her side, faking like she was injured to distract her.

Meanwhile, Andrea plants a Do No Harm beam in the DEO, and apparently everyone in the room was off to do harm, because they all just stop moving entirely. J’onn senses the Martianesque psychic shift and warns Alex, who puts in a psychic inhibitor. She goes out to find her agents all frozen in place, and realizes she can’t get through to Supergirl.

alex tries to use her comm

“I’m going to eat all the potstickers. Wow that didn’t work either? Something must actually be wrong.”

Agents free the spider tattoos, put Alex in a holding cell, and head for RipRoar. But then Alex shouts for Supergirl as loud as she can, a frequency Kara is in tune with, a fact that Lena didn’t take into consideration. So Supergirl flies off to save the day.

But the Shadow escapes with RipRoar. Lena manipulates Andrea into giving her the medallion, then she sends RipRoar and The Shadow away.

Lena with her inception green eyes

“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”

Team Supergirl is at a loss as to what the heck just happened and what to do next, but they know the name “Leviathan” now so at least that’s a place to start. Russell finally starts to snap out of the RipRoar haze and is actually talking to Andrea, but before he can say too much, he’s sniped down. The messenger tells her that even though she doesn’t have the medallion anymore, the powers came from her own shadows deep within her, so she’s still their Shadow agent.

Meanwhile, Lena is using her VR tech to watch her mother playing happily in the field with her younger self. The first person to love her, the first to leave her.

Lena looks sad but sharp as hell

Me when I’m sad: This thrice-worn t-shirt from the floor will suffice.
Lena when she’s sad: Three-piece suit or bust.

Hope tells her that the medallion doesn’t have powers anymore, but the markings spell out Leviathan, so Lena has Hope access all of Eve’s memories on the subject.

And sweet Rao I hope someone gives Lena a fucking hug soon. The poor girl is lost and needs a friend.

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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 573 articles for us.


  1. – “One sign of a great actor is being able to make you believe that their character is bad at lying.” Ruby Rose, they’re talking about you as Kate Kane.
    – You know, I think that if you look far enough back in any TV lesbian’s life, it all started in and all girls boarding school. One with knee socks.
    – Andrea gets powers, but has to kill the US’ leading climate change denier. I consider that a win-win.
    – “And sweet Rao I hope someone gives Lena a fucking hug soon.” How can you not be counting that hug that Supergirl gives to Lena when she finds her laying on the floor after being “attacked”? That was a super hug. It’s one of Kara’s powers.

  2. Oh, here goes plot before character development again. But at least, we saw more of Lena’s complicated web of friendships and family life. There are endless depths (if not plot twists) to her – it’s fascinating.

    Andrea – Who knew (I didn’t either, also another great pretender). The end does not excuse the means. There’s always a choice, and the one she made had already cost her dearly, and then some.

    Speaking of her inner shadow – she wasn’t particularly likeable as CatCo owner. I couldn’t say though whether the Obsidian lenses are terrible or not. Invasive for sure (and bad for waves), but I got the feeling that Andrea genuinely believes they will be good for people (and profitable). Or is that Kelly talking?! :D

    Leviathan – Seems a messy bunch, indeed.

    Kara’s wig – Hell no! Reminded me of the wig that Gillian Anderson had to wear in the revived X Files series. Just plain weird!

    • Leviathan seems to know more than just surveillance would accomplish. I wonder if they have knowledge about/from the future or the ability to map various potential courses of events. In this case, maybe they predicted Andrea’s lenses will reach Lena who will further develop the tech. For sure they haven’t tried to stop her, which is a convenient oversight.

      I think Lena’s backstory was nicely done, explaining her harsh reaction at Kara lying to her. I wish the show would have explained why she didn’t just get Andrea’s medallion without bothering to free RipRoar, because that was such an obvious Driven By The Plot bit.

      • I actually forgot that the lenses are future tech. So yes, where did they come from, and was Lena meant to have them?

        Any connection to the Monitor / Lex? Or as you mentioned, it may have to do with Leviathan.

  3. This is a very unpopular opinion but…

    I love Lena (not so unpopular opinion) but…and maybe I’m too rational/logical/practical but at what point do we stop saying “aww she’s been hurt no wonder why…” to saying girl you’re doing the absolute MOST. I’m talking EXTRA extra and in need if some intensive mandated therapy? Look I get that she’s hurt and yes Kara and the superfriends lied to her but they didn’t betray her; the two are not equivalent in my book. They never used, manipulated or risked Lena’s life for their own gain but here she is risking their lives for her own gain over the same types of lies she’s told several times and was forgiven for (e.g. harun-el experiments, healing Lex of his “cancer” <—especially since she was so angry at Andrea for wanting to save her father's life and etc.).

    Other than that rant, it was a great episode.

    • I’ve been saying the same thing on Twitter. Her friends lied to her and she goes directly to mind control to deal with her hurt. I mean couldn’t she take some “me” time or binge watch Netflix and eat ice cream!


  4. Writers (season 4): “Here’s a filler episode laying out this season’s villain’s backstory.”
    Fans: “Thanks, I hate it.”

    Writers (season 5): “Here’s a filler episode laying out this season’s villains’ backstories.”
    Fans: “PRAISE RAO!”


    The writers had to weave this new thread carefully through the established canon, but my only question is when did Mercy come into Lena’s life? After all, she says she took her under her wing. That looks a lot like what Andrea did…

    …was Lena being an unreliable narrator?


    Looking at Lena’s canon relationships now, we can see a pattern. I hate to oversimplify things but I think her mother’s death left her with a skewed view on what a relationship is Rao knows we don’t always have a good relationship with our parents but if we do, it evolves and changes over time. Lena didn’t have that with her birth mother, and definitely didn’t have that with Lillian. So every time that she gets to close in a relationship and gets hurt, I think she instinctively treats that as the end of the relationship.

    It is worth noting, though, that she ended things with Jack and James before they got close enough to actually hurt her.

    It is also worth noting that Lena’s healthiest relationship so far has been with Sam, who never close enough to Lena to hurt her (she was probably focused on Ruby), and who Lena was able to save. Because again, in a lot of Lena’s actions, that seems to be the driving force – she needs someone to save.


    My only grievance with this episode (besides the wig) is that it probably means Lena won’t be in the crossover much. Since this, like the Midvale episode, and last week’s episode of Flash, was clearly a, “We’re busy shooting the crossover” episode.


    “You jump, I jump.”

    I swear by Rao, if that line doesn’t get a callback by the end of the season, but with Kara and Lena saying it, I will personally summon Beebo and sic him on the writers.

  5. “sweet Rao I hope someone gives Lena a fucking hug soon”

    But, but – Kara *did* give Lena a hug? When she found her (fake-possibly-injured) lying on the floor.

    I get that these recaps – which I enjoy immensely – are resolutely non-Supercorp, but that was a not insignificant scene, even just from Kara’s perspective, since she did believe Lena was genuinely in danger, and I think the brief physical closeness between them was meant to tie to the flashback scenes of when Lena and Kara first became friends. In other words, it was possible to discuss this hug without a romantic Supercorp lens.

    • I…respectfully disagree.

      I don’t think that hug was genuine. I think that was Lena pulling Kara in because Lena is a bad liar and she didn’t want Kara to see her face. I think it was Lena knowing Kara was feeling insecure in their relationship and a hug would be distracting so Kara was thinking more about their friendship than question whether Lena was really in danger. I think Lena hugged Kara as a manipulation, I don’t think Kara hugged Lena. Not the way she needs to be hugged.

      Plus I was being hyperbolic. Someone needs to sit her down and talk to her. She needs to open up about her feelings and what’s going on and someone needs to tell her it’s okay that she’s feeling hurt but that pain is part of life and she doesn’t need to erase it from the world to find happiness.

      • Good point that it was more Lena hugging than Kara, and yes, it was certainly done to manipulate Kara. From Kara’s perspective though, Kara still loves Lena (well, I think Lena still loves Kara as well – that’s why it hurts so much), so it was genuine from K’s side.

        But agreed on your larger point that Lena needs someone to talk to besides Eve-as-AI. The show won’t let her though, because it’s intent on pushing her darker and darker, therefore unfortunately fulfilling the Luthor “destiny” she has tried so long and so hard to avoid.

  6. Ok, I know we’re not going there on Supercorp. Right, got it. They’re not, we’re not. No one is :)

    But for the love of Rao, would it have KILLED the writers to make Lena canonically bi in this episode?! She doesn’t have to get with Kara or anything.

    I mean, I’m always here for more Lena (this is honestly the Lena Luthor show for me) so this episode was excellent (also, that suit? Wow), but it really seemed like they were actively working NOT to make Lena & Andrea a couple *sigh*

    • That’s what I meant in my comment on last episode’s recap about the frustrating heteronormativity of the show. It’s like they’ve decided that they’ve quota’ed out on queer characters, so everyone ELSE must be 100% straight.

      They’ve also made Kara’s lipstick astonishingly over-done and switched her over to the soap-opera-style cocktail dress for work (which is what all of the women seem to wear, but Kara had been different) – I guess to compensate for Supergirl’s suite having pants?

      • Yeah, I’ll admit when we had the juxtaposition of Kara back in more traditional Kara garb (leaving aside the wig, because WTH) this episode, it was just lovely … because THAT’S Kara.

        • Bad wigs are a tradition in the Arrowverse. It is a fact of nature, like the blueness of Beebo’s fur.

          I was thinking about Kara’s wardrobe change this season. At a design level, it helps maintain distinct looks for Kara and Supergirl, fine.

          But at a character level? She used to wear slacks and a button up OVER the suit. Kara Danvers was the disguise. Now, the suit materializes ON TOP. One could go on for pages about the symbolism and meaning of it, much to the chagrin of your English lit professor.

          Although it’s interesting that the only other time we saw Kara regularly wearing dresses like this was when she was exposed to Red Kryptonite. ¯\_(ツ)_/


      • This. There is no heterosexual explanation for those looks.

        At this point it’s just this huge elephant in the room, with the active avoidance of even the possibility being like a signal flare in the writing. Come on writers, just make her bi, you don’t even have to put her in a same-sex relationship in the current timeline for crying out loud, and I say this as a lesbian.

  7. Are Lena’s fingers gloriously long or what? (Yes, I’m still not over the Finger Measurements article)

  8. Yes, I know, objectively speaking they might both be considered not bad-looking, and nice and ostensibly intelligent and rich tech moguls and charmingly British. But everytime I read JACK and RUSSELL, I can’t help but think of puppies.

    Also, as much as I am enjoying this season (and I really am because of all the angst and the Lena-centric content)… there are two major points that I have a harder time than usual ignoring:

    – It’s all about the Q-Waves: We know this show has a problem with long-arching build-ups and continuity. And I normally am all about a reasonable, sometimes even too forgiving “suspension of disbelief” in superhero shows…but these Q-Waves that – as Brainy mentions – should only be discovered and become relevant 200 years in the future are suddenly everyone’s go to tool and solution. Obsidian North uses of them, Kelly works with them, Lex was researching them etc. Maybe Leviathan has something to do with this development and it will somehow get explained, but I have my doubts.

    – The DEO’s lack of security and secrecy

    Personal highlights in this episode:

    – An honorable mention of Cat Grant
    – Lena and Kara’s first unoffical “date”
    – That suit!
    – Magical green eyes that might have made my heart jump a little bit every time they flared up

    And last but not least a theory:
    I think that Lena’s mum might have been part of or somehow involved with Leviathan.

    This season is the usual hit and miss mix that I love but the hits really hit and the shortcomings are more annoying than usual. Still going to faithfully watch.

    By the way… what did you guys think of the young-Lena casting?

      • But… but she doesn’t have a bad wig. Or an Irish accent. Still think Lena’s mum could be alive though. And was forced to fake her death and put Lena with the family of her powerful biological dad to keep her safe.

        • Yes, but can you imagine how much the fandom would lose it if an episode ended with Lena, alone in her lab, and the camera pans to reveal Leviathan Lady standing there, calmly.

          Lady: “Hello, Kieran.”
          Lena: “…mom?”

  9. Did I imagine that Lena’s mother was just played by Katie McGrath in a wig with her actual accent? That happened, right?

    Also, I’m doing a lot of comparing Lena with Catra lately… they’re not the same, but they’re similar…

  10. Love this hot mess fanfic of an episode. “15 years ago” would make Lena 11 and drinking whiskey? And as much as I love the Titanic bit, it was in theaters when she was 4. Confused, your honor but I’ll allow it.

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