“Supergirl” Episode 518 Recap: Bridge Over Troubled Water

Previously on Supergirl, Kara and Lena broke up because Lena was so caught up in her Non Nocere project that was meant to cure humans of her ability to hurt each other that she agreed to work with her brother, who was starting to slowly but surely take over this show that was meant to be about women, Alex was feeling a little lost without being part of the DEO, and Kelly decided that her best bet at getting more screen time was to team up with William to help solve the mystery of Leviathan.

We open in prison, (which is only kind of a metaphor since we don’t see a woman for two full scenes of this show called Supergirl), where Steve and the other Non Nocere test subjects are doing yoga and saying their daily Lena Luthor salutations, as should we all. On the way back from yoga, three prisoners get stuck in an elevator, and a claustrophobic guy starts to panic, and he ends up getting violent and starts to hulk out a bit.

Meanwhile, Brainy is becoming suspicious of Lex, because he knows Lex is behind releasing the SunEater. Lex said it’s all part of the game to get in with Leviathan, but Brainy isn’t willing to risk his friends’ life for Lex’s plan. Lex says you have to crack a few eggs to get an omelet and to trust the process, and Briany feels like he has no choice but to relent.

Over at the Tower, the ladies are locked away and trying to sort out what’s going on.

kara, nia, alex and m'gann around the table

“Quick, there are no men in the room, let’s figure out how to solve all of this season’s problems.”

Kara says Lena was so kind to her, but then showed up right before the SunEater was released, which felt like suspicious timing. And she knows Lena and Lex are friendly again, and no one can deny Lex is up to no good. Alex defends Lena, wants to give her the benefit of the doubt, but Kara is still too hurt and still trying to build up her defenses in case she does have to face off with Lena. For once, the stakes of having hope feel too high. What if she reaches out for hope and it’s not there? What if she reaches out for Lena and she’s not there?


The girls make a plan and split up: Alex is going to go talk to a connection Kelly has, Nia is going to try to dream the location of the Leviathan HQ.

Nia and alex

I don’t remember if Nia and Alex have ever shared a frame like this before, but it made me squeal with joy.

And Kara is going to ready herself to fight a bald man who thinks he’s a god and a beautiful woman who is one, and also Leviathan.

Speak of the devils, Lena and Lex head to the prison to figure out with the prisoner who panicked. Lex is sure it’s an isolated incident and doesn’t think they have to worry about it, but Lena wants to be sure.

lena glares at lex

Lena’s looks of disdain toward Lex are #relatablecontent.

At Obsidian North, Andrea is giving one of her dreamy speeches, this time about a virtual event called the Worldwide Unity Festival, which frankly sounds like the kind of place a cult goes to drink fruit punch together, but okay. Kelly and William aren’t sure that now, with a bunch of people lost in the VR, is a great time to send more people into the VR, but when Kelly approaches Andrea about it, warning her that this is reckless and unsafe, Andrea brushes her off, says she’s overreacting, and tells her to bring her proof or leave her alone.

kelly deadpan stares at andrea

“Seems a little rude considering you also have been getting less screen time since Lex and Leviathan came around but FINE.”

Across town, Alex leads Kara to the Congressional Library to meet the real Pete Andrews, Kelly’s friend who was impersonated a while back. Pete is a big fan of Kara’s writing and is happy to help them try to research a symbol they think is linked to Leviathan to find their newest headquarters.

melissa is smiling so big

I like to think this is just Melissa being genuinely geeked to be working with Sean Astin and Chyler being amused by it.

In said headquarters, Gemma storms into where her ex-boss Rama Khan (which I kept hearing as Rubicon for some reason) is handcuffed and playing cards. He insults her human form, as if his is something to gawk at, but she brushes him off, saying she’s evolved to blend better than him is all. She opens a case and shows him (though not us) something Lex stole for her from the Fortress of Solitude. She wants to give him a chance to redeem himself, so she sends him to find the last component of this mystery weapon.

At the Congressional Library, the sisters send Pete off to check out something in a restricted room and Kara sees a bunch of people sitting around in Obsidian and says she’s starting to understand the pull of the VR she’s spent so much of the season rebuking. She can’t stop thinking about Lena calling her a hypocrite. She’s worried Lena is working with Lex and Leviathan, and the thought of it makes her so angry she wants to…Alex gets it. She wants to hide. Run away to a place where her problems don’t exist. She tried it. Very recently. It didn’t end well.

alex looks like she's biting her tongue

Alex wants Kara and Lena to make up so badly but knows she can’t push the issue.

William calls Kara away so Alex stays behind to keep working with Pete. When Pete comes back, he says that as soon as he mentioned Leviathan, everyone seemed unwilling to help him all of a sudden. Alex doesn’t care about that though. This is a matter of life or death, they can’t be afraid of breaking the rules.

In the prison, Lex is fiddling with Lena’s tech, and gets the prisoner to wake up, but he’s still in a rage and his eyes are still blown out like he’s touched the goo. Lena thinks this prisoner’s survival instinct overpowered his Non Nocere directive.

lena is yelling at lex with her lips pursed

Just an insight into how chaotic my brain is: for absolutely no reason whatsoever, when I saw this screenshot, my brain decided it looked like she was about to bust into that one Eponine line in the original London Cast Recording of Les Mis when she’s like, “Jyyyyyust the old man and the girl, they live ordinary lives.”

Steve looks at her pleadingly, hoping he can fix it so they can go back to being yoga buddies. He had missed having friends.

But back in the cafeteria, the man who was punched but otherwise fine is back to HIS ragey ways, and a fight breaks out.

The reason William called Kara back to CatCo was absolutely something he could have told her over the phone, but anyway he realized that Margot’s manifesto was faked and that it was actually someone using an image inducer.

Also, at the tower, J’onn and M’gann have a romantic moment, and Nia and I snooze a little because now does not seem like the time for this.

nia snoozes

Me whenever Lex is mansplaining Leviathan.

Lena is having a hard time recreating Non Nocere in the prisoner’s system, it’s almost as if it’s being considered a virus now. When Steve tells her about the fight, she is horrified. Her and Lex talk it out and realize there was a fight response to fear, then a domino effect when he was considered a predator. Evolution.

lena makes the italian scolding hand motion

As someone who is half Irish, half Italian, I couldn’t resist this screenshot of Katie McGrath making this hand gesture. Also as a lesbian.

On an evolutionary note, Nia is getting better and better at dreaming, because this time she strolls into a room in her dream, shoos away a laughing Brainy, and sees Rama Khan on some playing cards, plus the symbol for the Oregon Geographical Monitoring Station.

Back at CatCo, Kara is eating William’s baked goods like Jolene made them while William pulls up communication between Margot and an employee simply listed as 873. Nia pings her about her dream and makes up a truly terrible excuse about her sister’s cat getting out so she can leave William. For someone who has been lying about her identity since she was 13, she sure is bad at it.

Anyway, Team Super goes to stop Rama Khan in Portland, and when the DEO catches wind of it, Brainy sends backup.

At the same time, in the prison, Lena is trying to get around the prison fight to her lab so she can reconfigure the q-waves. It becomes clear that she needs some fight training STAT, as Lex fends off people for her while she makes her way through.

Lena looks panicked

I’ve been watching Merlin for the first time, I know K’tay can stage fight. Get Lena some skills, stat!

In Portland, Supergirl and Dreamer fight off Rama Khan and get his staff, somehow not suspicious about how easy it was to stop him this time around. Brainy and the DEO swoop in and take him as their prisoner even though the girls did all the work, much to Nia’s annoyance.

nia and kara team up

I love me a SuperDreamer team-up.

Kara manages to convince him to let them go with him back to the DEO, though when they get there, he won’t let them in the interrogation room, despite Nia saying she’s getting bad vibes from the staff they confiscated.

kara and nia in their STANCES

Nothing but respect for my superheroes.

Kara wonders why Brainy is being so cagey, and Nia wonders if him being in her dream wasn’t just her feelings for him being in the way; maybe he IS playing Leviathan like a hand of cards.

At the Library, Alex and Pete try to break into a room but end up being shot at, so they make a break for it. Pete thanks Alex for her protection, and says that maybe she should be a little more careful about acting like she still has DEO authority when she doesn’t. She doesn’t have a uniform to protect her anymore. He’s going off the grid and recommends she do the same, and they part ways.

chyler looks so sad

Chyler’s ability to from sliding-across-the-hood-of-cars action hero to vulnerable human is astounding.

William and Kelly pull up the mystery employee file and find it’s Eve Tessmacher, and for a second I thought the perk of having it be these two to discover it is that to them she’d seem like just a cute bubbly lady, but apparently Kelly somehow knows of Eve’s treachery. I know she was given back her pre-CRISIS memories, but I guess she was also told other stuff too? Unclear. However Kelly knows Eve was bad in a past life, they know this is no coincidence.

Kara and Nia wait patiently in the observation room while Rama Khan is interrogated, hoping to glean some information, but Brainy starts to talk to him in a language neither of them understand or recognize. The only word they pick up is “Luthor.” And while this is happening, Nia gets another bad vibe from the staff; it’s scanning for something.

kara holds nia as she falls into a vision

“I dreamed a dream in times gone by…”

Rama Khan laughs in Brainy’s face and says he got caught on purpose, and all hell breaks loose. Rama Khan’s staff pulls all the kryptonite in the place towards him, and he takes off with it, sending the DEO crashing to the ground in his wake. (Or in his quake. Get it?!)

Which is actually kind of wild. The DEO set we grew to know and love is really, truly gone now.

The prison riot is getting more and more intense, so Lex distracts the prisoners using portals while Lena finishes her science, and hits everyone with a q-wave blast. Everyone is knocked down and chills out a little. Steve says he’s back to normal but…the OLD normal. Not the Non Nocere normal.

lena looks distraught

“But prison experiments usually go so well…”

After the battle at the DEO, Kara and Nia look at the rubble of the DEO headquarters. Maybe the DEO as they knew it has been gone for a while, but this feels so much more final.

kara and nia survey the damage

“RIP DEO Building. You were my third favorite balcony to have feelings on.”

Brainy tries to talk to Nia but she doesn’t want to hear it. She was willing to work with Brainy as he adapted to not having personality inhibitors, but he pushed her away. And now Nia doesn’t know who this new Brainy even is, and whoever he is, she sure doesn’t trust him.

nia stands up to brainy

Nia has come so far from the nervous, sleepy reporter we first met and I love her so much.

Nia tries to ask him questions, what language is he speaking, how is Lex involved, but he won’t answer, of course. So she tells him to pick a side or she’ll do it for him.

Kelly and William take Eve’s name to Andrea but she’s so sick of their shit. Gemma herself recommended Eve, there’s no reason to assume Eve is a problem. And if they don’t stop bothering her with their conspiracy theories, they’re fired.

andrea threatens kelly

At this point I genuinely can’t tell if she’s playing them or prefers to be willfully ignorant to keep her company going. But she’s a boss bitch and I can’t help but hope she’s on the right side of this.

At the prison, Lex tells Lena that things have calmed down with the prisoners, but Lena’s not feeling calm. She smashes one of her machines to the ground. Non Nocere is dead. She’s realizing now what she was hoping to avoid having to admit. Pain is a necessary part of life. Humans will always evolve to protect themselves, and sometimes protecting themselves means causing someone else pain. She sees that now. She feels foolish for trying.

lena regards her brother coldly

“Alex Danvers is smarter than you, anyway. I should have worked with her.”

Lex agrees that humanity can’t be changed, but thinks they need to be controlled. By a human. Lena sees the knowing glint in her eye and knows which human he means. Lex says they should join forces and be humanity’s saviors. Lena laughs at the word.

lena smiles ironically

“Ah, there it is. The god complex.”

Lena sees her brother clearly again for the first time in a while. He knew she would fail. He was planning on it. But then,when Lex realizes his cool, collected manipulation isn’t working this time, he flips. Starts screaming. He says he did everything for her, he helped her, he needed her to fail on her own terms so she could see he was the only one who could save humanity, that she needed him.

But Lena looks him square in the eye and says that just because he’s a monster doesn’t mean she has to be one, too.

Lena glares at Lex

:extreme Frozen the Musical voice: “I’ll do all that I can to make things right. I cannot be a monster. I will not be a monster. Not tonight!”

At the Tower, Kara is freaking out about Leviathan having Krytponite. Without Lena to build her another kryptosuit, how is she supposed to stand a chance against these gods? J’onn tells her they’ll figure something out, and then when Kara leaves, he has a romantic moment with M’gann. And again I ask…why? Frankly I’ve been burned by so much TV, I’m afraid for M’gann’s life right now. It feels like they’re setting her up to die. But I’m hoping that’s my own bias and that they just needed extra bodies for the final boss battle.

Alex heads back to her apartment to find Kelly there, drinking.

kelly drinks wine

Me thinking about how much of Alex and Kelly’s relationship development happens off-screen.

Alex tells her about her day and how she feels bad for taking risks and putting Pete in danger. She just feels so…lost without the DEO.

Alex and Kelly stand two feet apart for no reason

Ladies, I don’t think the pandemic has reached National City yet, you don’t have to practice social distancing.

Kelly tells her girlfriend about HER day, about Eve Tessmacher and Andrea’s threats. She needs to get sneakier, and maybe Alex should, too.

Kelly smiles at alex

“Didn’t you tell me that hot lesbian superhero in Gotham wears a mask?”

They talk about maybe getting Alex a vigilante alter ego and I am HERE! FOR! IT!

alex smiles nervously

“Hot? Did I say she was hot? Who said she’s hot? Is she hot? I hadn’t noticed?”

A few more things get tied up before the most important scene in the episode: Lex blows the prison up, Gemma invites him to the Leviathan ship, Brainy confronts Lex, who says things are going according to plan, William goes to try to meet Eve in a back alley because he’s apparently an idiot, and ends up getting kidnapped, etc, etc.

But then.

This last scene is one of the most beautiful scenes on this show in a good, long while. Kara gets a knock on her loft door, and when she opens it, everything goes totally still. No score underneath, no sounds, nothing. Just stillness and silence as the camera slowly pans to reveal Lena Luthor at her door.

Without saying a word, Kara steps back from the open door. A silent invitation. A gesture that shows that though she might not have the words to invite Lena in, she might have the room to let her in.

lena enters kara's loft

“I will not let anything, take away what’s standing in front of me. Every breath, every hour has come to this. One step closer.”

Lena takes a wavering breath and says, “I have made a terrible mistake.” Lena sets aside the Luthor pride that was drilled into her from years of being raised with and by sociopaths, she moves through the grudge she was clinging to like a life raft, she musters up all of her strength, and she apologizes to Kara. She says she was genuinely trying to do something good, she wanted to take away people’s pain. She was tired, so tired, from being hurt over and over and over again, so she thought this was the only way forward. Tears start to fall from her eyes as she tells Kara she was right, she was acting like a villain. Kara looks uncomfortable at the reminder.

Kara crosses her arms

“I have died every day, waiting for you.”

Lena says that she went down a dark path and couldn’t see that she was setting the forest on fire to try to save the trees from being chopped down. She knows it’s too much to ask Kara to forgive her, so she won’t even try. All she wants is for Kara to listen. She tells Kara that Lex is working with Leviathan, and manipulating her tech to do something terrible via Obsidian. She didn’t realize until it was too late that she was unwittingly helping the enemy. She wants to help stop them. She wants to help KARA. Please.

Lena begs

“I’m just a Luthor, standing in front of a Super, asking her to love her.”

Kara takes a deep breath and considers this woman who stands before her. The person who has hurt her more than she’s been hurt before, because of how deeply she cared. The person she’s hurt deeper than she’s hurt anyone before, for the same reason. The woman whose mother and brother are evil geniuses but who has stood by her side time and time again. The woman who didn’t know she was Supergirl, but saved her life anyway. Before this moment, Kara was afraid to reach out for hope that might not be there. That they were too far gone now, too many bridges burned to find their way back to each other. And honestly I worried the same. But now, watching Lena be more vulnerable than she’s ever been, doing two of the hardest things anyone can do – admitting that she was wrong and asking for help – Kara makes her choice. She reaches out. And she pulls out a chair, offering Lena a seat at her table.

Lena is so relieved

Lena’s wild relief, the breath she let out like someone lifted a 50lb weight from her chest…I felt it. I share it.

I thought this moment was beautiful and poignant and it gave me more hope for the rest of the season than I’ve had for a while. Even though sadly now there’s only one episode left. But hopefully they continue this trajectory into next season, too, and we get back on track with Lena and Kara breaking the Luthor vs Super mold and working together.

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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 258 articles for us.


  1. God, that last scene was just devastating, and so incredible. I just … I just think on what the season COULD have been had this been the focus of the season, instead of Lex, or Leviathan, or technology (or whatever the mess this season has been trying to make the big bad). The strength of this show has ALWAYS been the relationships between the women characters, and its been at its best when it has leant into such, and at its worst when it tried to go away from it, and it’s all embodied in the relationship between Kara and Lena, both all the amazing potential (as so much manifest in that last scene) and how they have so so often failed to use that potential (as this season has so shown). Supercorp or no (it’s going to be no of course unfortunately, despite all the queer-baiting) I just hope that this is the end of the Lex in this show, because honestly, he should have been gone the last time. Yes, I may have feels here :)

  2. Those final scenes… Plus the one where Lena finally sees / remembers the truth about her brother. Plus Kara and Nia in Co-Op. Plus seeing four women in one frame earlier. Lots of good things in this episodes.

    When some overblown story arc (Lex’s megalomania, Leviathon, Obsidian) gets bigger than the relationships between this SuperFam or its lead character, I find it hard to appreciate the goodies.

    But damn, Lena Kieran Luthor! Glad you came around and knocked on that door. Saying those words. Crying those tears. Sitting down at that table.

    Kara, whose hope in humanity has been diminishing with every second that Lex was on screen, offering Lena to sit down. Very well then, let’s talk.

    One more episode!!!

  3. Kelly who would’ve had her pre-crisis memories restored knows Eve is the person who shot her brother, James. It’s unclear if Kelly knows the whole story but that doesn’t really change anything.

    I think they may be setting up M’gann staying. Things seem to be going well on Mars so she might feel her work is done there. More importantly the show Sharon Leal played a main character on was canceled so she’s available.

  4. The confession at the award ceremony.

    The confrontation in the Fortress.

    The condolences at her desk.

    The apology at her door.

    As beautiful and heart wrenching as those moments were, I’m left wanting more. The signal to noise ratio of this season is such that Lena’s emotional arc doesn’t feel like it’s been fully earned.


    There was a moment when Lena hit rock bottom and Lex started screaming where I was afraid she was going to grab a shovel and start digging. I’m glad she found her way back to the light, instead.


    I hope there’s a costume montage next season of Alex refining her vigilante suit. With an appropriately cheesy needle drop behind it.


    According to what I’ve read, the season was supposed to be 22 episodes, then cut to 20, and shortened to 19 because of the pandemic. So we’re in for a rushed ending and possibly a cliffhanger. I’m going to hold onto my grain of salt until then.


    Kara: “Reporting 101. When you get kidnapped, you’re on the right track.”
    Nia Nal: “But that doesn’t make any sense.”
    Kara: “Tell that to Lois Lane.”

    Clearly, William learned that from Kara.

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