Hello! Is it me you’re looking for? I’m sorry this was delayed, I was at A-Camp! While I was there some people asked me some shows I wrote about, and I was like, “Right now I write about Supergirl, soon I’ll be doing Wynonna Earp again.” When asked if I’d recommend those shows, I would say, “Definitely watch Wynonna Earp, Season One is on Netflix and Season Three starts in July so if the stars align the way they have in the past Season Two should be on Netflix some time in June.” And then I’d be like, “As for Supergirl, ask me again when this season is over.” And it made me really sad!! I used to be a one-woman marketing machine for this show and now it’s starting to lose my trust. Honestly, my feelings toward Supergirl the show right now are not unlike Lena’s relationship with Supergirl the person.
Similarly to Lena, I’m willing to put my hesitancy aside to work with Supergirl (aka recap it) for the people I love (aka Alex Danvers) so welcome to this double-trouble recap of last week and this week’s episodes. Which were mostly very good! Except for the parts where Supergirl wasn’t the hero of her own story and where they won’t just END this crusty bread storyline. Codpiece had some really funny moments when he was doing what he does best: background bit work. But when they give him skills they need to defeat the baddy that Supergirl doesn’t have, it feels gross and I hate it. Everything Codpiece can do that Supergirl can’t do, Alex could have been doing instead! But we’ll get there. Let’s start at the beginning.
Episode 318 starts with Lena waking up with James in her hotel room, where she’s apparently been living for the past two years.
And listen, I actually really liked James’s arc in these two episodes. I’m glad they’re finally starting to give him his own storylines and slowly but surely making him part of the team again. I love James! I just wish they weren’t using him as a wedge to drive Lena and Kara/Supergirl apart. I think he could very easily just be part of Team Supergirl and still have his Guardian storylines without dating Lena, or being put in the position where he has to choose between the two women when it comes to lies and truths.
ANYWAY they get interrupted by some Reign Rage when the Worldkiller busts in the window and demands to know where Ruby is. Lena, who apparently not only knows how to MAKE kryptonite, but also liquify and weaponize it, pepper-sprays Reign with the stuff, staving her off for now.
Back at the DEO, Kara and Alex are sending off the Legionnaires. Brainy flirts with Winn, Imra side-eyes Codpiece, Alex looks amazing. Codpiece tries to have a private goodbye with Kara but as soon as she hears Lena’s in trouble she doesn’t even spare her breath for a “bye forever” she just zips off.
When Supergirl and Agent Alex arrive on scene, Alex begs to see Ruby. Lena is hesitant; Ruby is super safe right now in Lex’s mansion. But Alex must convince her somehow, because she rolls up on her motorcycle like the power lesbian she is.
Meanwhile, Supergirl and J’onn go to visit Sam’s mom, Patricia, to keep her safe in case that’s Reign’s next stop. Patricia knows exactly why they’re there, and takes them to Sam’s childhood bedroom. She tears off some wallpaper to reveal a doodle 10-year-old Sam scribbled onto the wall… and by doodle I mean the very intricate Reign symbol. Her mom waxes poetic about how she was a bad mom who pushed her daughter away when she should have pulled her closer and even though her daughter has become the very thing she feared she’d be, she wants to try to right her wrongs and be there for her now.
In Lex’s mansion, Alex is reunited with Ruby, who is very happy to see her. And frankly, it’s probably good she came when she did. Zero parents, one older caretaker, and a huge-ass mansion is a recipe for a broody vigilante that no one deserves nor needs.
When Reign gets to Patricia’s house, it seems empty, but her enemies are lying in wait. Reign puts on Sam’s voice goes looking for Ruby but instead finds Supergirl in a closet. (heh)
Kara and J’onn try to fight Reign but now they know what we all saw: Reign now as Pestilence and Purity’s powers, too. So the fight is mismatched and Patricia gets attacked so in the end they opt for getting her out of there instead of trying to finish a fight where the deck is stacked against them.
In the DEO med bay, Patricia again laments how she treated Sam, gives Supergirl some things to tell them both, then dies. And all I could think was: Sam is going to be so fucked up about this when she comes back to us.
In Lex’s mansion, Alex gets a call and Ruby panics about it so she tries to calm her down with a promise of Young Frankenstein. Which is funny because Alex is such a dork of course she likes Young Frankenstein but, speaking as a 12-year-old who once had to watch Young Frankenstein, Young Frankenstein is not a movie for 12-year-olds. So I assume there’s a reference I’m missing, or an inside joke/hat tip. Though even if I didn’t get it, it’s one of my dad’s favorite movies (he makes a knockers joke every time we encounter a door with one) so I’m sure he got a kick out of it.
And then Agent Doctor Alexandra Danvers, certified genius and girl of the 21st century, leave her phone behind and unlocked for Ruby to sneak off and make a phone call on that reveals her location to Reign. Great.
After talking to Papa J’onn, Kara realizes that she has to try to find herself again, and use her heart as her best asset instead of relying on her ex-boyfriend, who is presumably halfway to next Tuesday by now. She decides to try to talk to Reign using her own code and see if that helps.
Unfortunately, however, Codpiece is not in his own time yet. Despite Brainy telling him that Supergirl is strong and can do things without him, after a final push from Imra, he decides to go back and help them defeat Reign.
With a little nudge with James, Lena decides to bring some super-charged Reign-specific kryptonite to the DEO to offer to Supergirl as an olive branch of sorts. Or I guess more like a poison ivy branch. Supergirl flips out about it, explaining how painful it is for her to be exposed to it, etc, but Lena is calm and even-keeled throughout. She says that way more things than kryptonite can kill her and she doesn’t see Lena flipping out every time Alex comes near her with her gun strapped to her leg. “Trust is hard for me, too,” she says. And I would argue it’s harder. Yes, it’s hard for Supergirl to trust that anyone with kryptonite doesn’t wish her ill. But it’s hard for Lena to trust literally everyone. Supergirl goes through life knowing she can protect herself, knowing she has people to protect her. Lena doesn’t. She’s had to have walls up since she was four years old. And here she stands, risking a lot, to offer to help Supergirl save the city. Supergirl shouldn’t take that for granted.
Also, not for nothing, but if I was writing Kara, I would have her taking a different position. Supergirl has been, on more than one occasion, possessed or controlled by an enemy (via red kryptonite, for example). I personally think that Kara should be grateful that if anyone on this planet is able to re-create kryptonite, it’s someone she (theoretically) trusts. Lena is giving her a way to defeat Reign, and also a way to help control Supergirl if she ever gets out of hand, someone she knows wouldn’t take it too far. It feels like it should be a win-win, with maybe a LITTLE wariness about it getting into the wrong hands, but not a full flip-out about its existence. In my humble opinion.
When Reign follows Ruby’s beacon and Alex rushes to hide Ruby. Alex tells Ruby to closer her eyes (which she only listens to for a minute because she’s a little shit) and stands at the door, waiting for Reign, hoping to hold her back as long as she can.
Reign slowly walks through the hallway of traps like it’s a super fun car wash. It’s one part funny, two parts badass.
Team Supergirl swoops in just in time to help Alex fight her off, but the kryptonite isn’t as effective as they would have hoped and they still have a rough go of fighting her. At one point, Reign’s mask falls off and when Ruby runs out from under the table to try to help, she’s met eye-to-eye with her own mother.
Supergirl decides to try the reasoning tactic and tells her that killing Ruby doesn’t fit with her code of justice, and I’d prefer to think that talking about Ruby being innocent just inspired Sam to take the Reign reins long enough to hold her back instead of what I not-so-lovingly call a “Martha moment” (I’ve only seen one live action Batman movie and it was the one with Wonder Woman in it I don’t know why this is my second Batman reference).
Whatever the reason for it, the hesitancy is enough to give Codpiece time to crush the kryptonite into a bullet and shoot Reign with it, so they can get her into custody.
Alex hold Ruby as she cries.
In Lena’s Lady Lair, Supergirl apologizes to Lena for freaking out when Lena was just trying to help. She insists she does trust Lena. But actions speak louder than words.
Later, Alex apologizes to Ruby for lying to her, and promises her that even though they share a face, the woman attacking them in the mansion wasn’t her mom, not really.
And she promises never to lie to Ruby ever again. And apparently invites some gal pals over to hang with them.
Kara runs into Lena in the elevator, and Lena is so happy to see her; it’s been weeks since they saw each other.
Lena talks about how meeting your idols can be disappointing and how Supergirl isn’t all she’s cracked up to be. In fact, she’s not even sure Supergirl is as moral and just as she thinks she is, explaining the James break-in situation. Lena says it’s fine, because they’re just working together, she doesn’t need to fully trust her.
Cut to a shady building where a girl named Tanya snatches a book and runs away. It has to do with Coville’s Cult of Rao, and we’ll learn more about it in the next episode, which starts… NOW!
The next episode opens with Lena doing some really great science, wanting to overwrite Reign’s DNA with Sam to get their friend back permanently. When their test doesn’t work, Lena turns out a blackout shield that is x-ray vision proof and Supergirl is salty all over again that Lena is creating weapons that could hurt her even though they were made to protect her from Reign.
Lena is starting to lose patience with this and says that she kept her promise to tell her about anything she does with kryptonite, but she doesn’t owe her a list of her active projects, and anyway this isn’t about her, it’s about Sam.
Also not for nothing but, Lena says the literal words, “I don’t think about you while I’m doing it” and then the camera immediately pans to Kara. If this was Jane the Virgin, that would have been significant.
Kara is having an identity crisis from hiding this secret from Lena. James tries to reassure her and tell her that Lena was so excited to see her, but Kara knows it was just Kara she was happy to see. And so now Kara is in a Catch-22. If she continues to not tell Lena she’s Supergirl, she has to lie to her best friend every day, but she keeps Lena a little safer. If she DOES tell Lena she’s Supergirl, she won’t have to lie all the time, but also Lena will probably never trust her again and it would ruin their friendship.
They’re interrupted by the girl from the end of the last episode, Tanya. She gives James the journal she stole from the Cult of Rao and asks him to get it to Supergirl, because she thinks the leftover followers are going to use it to make a bomb. You see, she was in the cult for a while, but then it stopped feeling like an appreciation support group and more like a scary meeting of scary minds. She gives them an address and they offer to keep her safe.
Back at Alex’s apartment, Aunt Alex is doing her darndest to cheer Ruby up—she even offers her a ride on her BRAND NEW MOTORCYCLE. But Ruby is in a dark place right now and not even Alex the Adorable can help her now.
When Supergirl goes to the address Tanya gave her to scope out the bomb situation, she finds an outline of a person on the wall like something out of a Wile E. Coyote cartoon. They pick up what’s left of the girl that got exploded and head out to look for answers.
Meanwhile at CatCo, Olivia (you remember her, she was the blonde girl who was a loyal member of the cult but ended up seeing the light in the end…) shows up to distract James while they kidnap Tanya, the only one who can read their bomb recipe.
Guardian chases them down and they face off in a warehouse, and he gets his mask shot off but he’s putting up a good fight when the police show up. They immediately train their guns on him and his arms are up and Tanya is pleading with them, saying they have the wrong guy, but they refuse to listen or look away from James, so the actual bad guys get away. Spoiler alert: they are white, James and Tanya are not.
Luckily, this time at least, James doesn’t have to go through the motions these racist cops would put anyone else through because he just bamfs himself and Tanya out of there with his disappearing powder.
At CatCo, Tanya takes a minute to fangirl about the fact that James is Guardian and it’s VERY CUTE. But then the reality of what just happened sets in and you can see her heartbreak all over her face as she realizes that even Guardian, known hero of the city, has to face the same racist bullshit her father and brothers do.
In Lena’s bunker, Supergirl tries to apologize to Lena, but Lena doesn’t care. She says that work is work, and that’s what they’re doing. She doesn’t need any more friends, and she’s not sure why Supergirl won’t let it alone. She speaks again of trust and truly I worry that they’re laying the groundwork for Lena to find out Kara is Supergirl and their friendship will be ruined forever. I don’t want that. Why can’t literally everyone else be doubting the Luthor and Kara be defending her forever, like it’s been up until now? Why does this have to be the tension?
Anyway, back to the cute/fun stuff aka Tanya being a Guardian fangirl when Supergirl tells him she would have happily been his back-up if he needed it.
The mood shifts though when Supergirl asks her about the bracelet they found. Turns out her friend Liza is the one that got Acme’d to smithereens. While they’re talking, they get a text with some security footage that threatens to out James as Guardian if they don’t turn Tanya over to the cult.
Kara blames herself for Olivia going off the deep end, for disillusioning her, for lying to her. For lying to Lena. But James reassures her that she’s doing the right thing; telling Lena she’s Supergirl will make Kara feel better, but not Lena.
And besides, they have bigger issues to worry about. Like, for example, how the cult isn’t actually planning on making a bomb. They’re planning on making a new Worldkiller. If Worldkillers could be made with the same ease as making biscuits I’m not sure why we had to sleeper-bake three of them for 20-something years, but okay, fine.
Lena thinks she might be able to reverse engineer this information to make a cure for Sam to become Sam full time again, because she’s the cleverest girl.
Lena goes to talk to James and he tells her about what it’s like to be black in America, and how when he was seven he got handcuffed by police who thought he and his cousins were causing trouble when all they were doing was playing hide and seek. The oldest of the kids was 12, and still they were cuffed, just for being there. There being exactly where they were supposed to be. James says, “Racism is the oldest form of bullying” and he loved being Guardian because finally people were judging his actions and not his appearance. But seeing Tanya get excited to know one of her heroes is also black makes him feel confident that the right choice for him is to reveal that he’s Guardian so that the blackmailers have no leverage.
(See how I wrote that whole sentence without saying “coming out” like the people in this show did 384230984 times which was rude because I know that superheroes can be a metaphor for being queer but it just feels rude to co-opt in this case.)
Anyway, I do support James’s decision, and so does Lena.
Tanya comes to James and offers to give herself up instead of risking Guardian being arrested for being a black vigilante. She’s inspired by him and she wants to stand up for what she believes in. But they say maybe it won’t come to any of that.
On the other side of town, in a storyline far, far away, Alex and J’onn take Ruby and Space Grandpa, respectively, to the arcade, to try to cheer them up, but at first it is an epic fail. Ruby is grumpy and Space Grandpa is overstimulated and overall it’s just chaos. So they prep to get the heck out of dodge and for some reason leave the 12-year-old with the elderly man with dementia who just moments ago smashed through a video game, but instead of getting into trouble in their keepers’ absence, Ruby and Space Grandpa bond in their sadness and end up playing foosball together. Much to Alex and J’onn’s delight.
Team Supergirl decides to send Tanya undercover with Codpiece, Lena and Winn as support, and Tanya reads the cult the potion ingredients as she waits for somebody, anybody to make a move to save her. Unfortunately they wait too long and Olivia ends up getting superstrength just as Codpiece sends out a signal and Supergirl swoops in.
The stone in question is fused into Olivia’s hand, but eventually Kara does what she does best and reasons with Olivia, explaining that she understands what she’s going through, not knowing the role you’re meant to play, feeling pulled in different directions to the point where mostly all you feel is adrift. Kara says if she lets go of the rock, Olivia will have her whole life to figure out who she is, so with some heat vision help, they get it out and Supergirl holds Olivia while she cries, overwhelmed by the weight of what she did and what she almost did.
Later, James admits to Kara that while he didn’t like feeling forced into it, he was kind of into the idea of his identity being revealed to the general public. He says, “People like Tanya need to see heroes who look like me.” So he’ll tell the world someday. (Until then, he should tell Tanya to watch Black Lightning.)
Back at the Lesbian Loft, Alex is dying the tips of Ruby’s hair blue, and Ruby is finally starting to open up to her, admitting she’s a little afraid that what is happening to her mom will happen to her someday. Which is very astute for a kid; I think anyone with a mother who had some sort of mental illness or any undesirable quality really wonders if that’s their fate. All Alex can promise is that both Sam and Ruby have a team behind them of people who love them and will do anything to protect them. It’s a safe promise, and a true promise, and is just reassuring enough for little Ruby.
Okay so we end it like this: Lena and Winn found more of the rock so Kara and Codpiece are going to get some so they can end this Worldkiller thing once and for all, but Reign is starting to build a resistance to the kryptonite so they don’t have much time. Also Coville is back because of course he is.
We’re coming in hot toward the end of the season, only four more episodes to go. What do you think we’re heading toward? I feel like it’s getting better in some places but worse in others and I miss loving this show full stop. Tell me I’m not foolish for hoping.
(And thanks for being patient with me while I was away!)