Supergirl and the Martian Manhunter jump in to stop the guard but he has his band of aliens use their powers to help them get away.
The warden holds a press conference saying that the guard had been kidnapped by rogue prisoners, and Kara, who apparently hasn’t been paying any attention, assumes the warden simply doesn’t know the truth. Kelly feels bad, like she did the opposite of what she promised Joey, but Kara promises her they’ll fix this.
After Kara leaves to talk to the warden, Alex sees her girlfriend go out onto the Feelings Balcony and promptly follows.
Kelly is worried she made things worse for Orlando, but Alex reassures her that she did the right thing. They exposed something bigger and now they can try to fix it. She knows Kelly won’t give up.
Kelly tells Alex something she had been apparently holding onto since Kara got home; when they all had their fear visions on the way to the Phantom Zone, Kelly’s anxiety that she wasn’t a useful part of the team manifested as everyone on the team turning into Phantoms and telling her that she had nothing to add to the team, that she was weak, and that she started to think she was right.
Alex reassures her that the real her doesn’t believe that at all and asks how the vision ended. Kelly says she realized that she might not have any powers or super strength but she could do the one thing that comes naturally: she could protect her friends. So she used some shrapnel like a shield and stood between the Phantom and her friends.
Alex smiles like this turn of events doesn’t surprise her at all. She calls her girlfriend smart and strong and powerful, because she is, in her own way. She says taking risks and pushing at the limits of our boundaries and fears is how we figure out who we are. Alex also says that Joey is lucky to have such a fierce protector in his corner, and knows the kiddo will be better off for it. Then she hugs her girlfriend tight and it’s a beautiful thing.
At the prison, Kara explains the real situation about the missing aliens and guard, and the corruption, and the bomb, and surprising literally only Kara, the warden wants to sweep it under the rug. Despite everything he said earlier about believing in the Second Chances program, he keeps showing his cards by calling them “dangerous alien criminals” and tells her he’ll handle the situation and that she should stay out of it.
The next time Nia goes into her dreamscape, she hears Nyxly out again about her offer. Freedom for a day with her mother. The white owl perches nearby and uses some fantasy riddles to warn her against believing the imp; and Nia says that her mother loved owls so when Nyxly tries to shoo it away, Nia is dubious of her intentions.
Over at CatCo, Kara is doing more research about the prison and asks William for his CIA contact’s help. Just regular journalism folks, nothing to see here.
Andrea stalks up and demands to know why there’s not so much a Which Superfriend Are You quiz on her desk yet and in a rare moment of Over It, Kara snaps. “Who cares about the ratings?” she asks with a defeated sigh.
Kara says that there are real issues and real stories and a puff piece about local celebrities isn’t what they should be focusing on. But Andrea points out that all the important stories about real issues won’t matter much if no one is reading them, and the way to get people to read them is to attract them with shiny Superfriends interviews.
Kara, lucky she didn’t get fired on the spot, says she understands and gets back to work.
Across town, Kelly heads to the foster home to check on Joey, and when she gets there she sees Joey’s powers surging and watches as the foster mom turns from Stef Foster to Miss Hannigan and zap Joey with his power dampener. Kelly is FURIOUS.
Kelly gives Miss Hannigan the what-for and says she’s going to report her and protect these children her damn self. Miss Hannigan knows full well that the system will rule in her favor because it’s not worth the fuss but her brush-off isn’t going to stop Kelly from trying. She storms off to start making waves, and the little justice-loving girl, Esme, watches her go with hope in her eyes.
Also doing things her own way is Kara, who is ignoring Andrea’s orders, is following a lead about a suspicious donor to the Second Chance program, Cyprus Holdings. It’s a shell corporation that is actually owned by Bruno Mannheim, the least creative man in the world. Which I say because he named his gang Intergang. He puts gang right in the name! Bad marketing, if you ask me.
In the dark of the night, Kelly borrows Alex’s motorcycle and creeps up to the side yard of the foster home and uses some fancy spy equipment to steal the security camera footage of Miss Hannigan zapping Joey. And I knew it was Kelly, there was no doubt in my mind it was Kelly, and yet, when the visor flipped up and revealed it was Kelly, I still got chills and smiled so wide. I love this journey for her already and it’s only just begun.
Alex tracks the missing prisoners and sends Supergirl to the scene. The guard has told the prisoners that this is their last job and that they will be released when this is over, but WE know that the Warden has instructed the guards to kill them after the job is done because Kara is on their heels and they don’t want any loose ends.
Supergirl and her Space Dad show up and fighting ensues and there’s this one brief moment when the guard has a gun pointed at Kara and she pauses to deliver a line and doesn’t even flinch about it and just casually takes him down and it’s very beautiful to watch.
Supergirl releases the prisoners from their power dampeners and wants to take them back to the prison (??) to clear their name but the prisoners would much rather gtfo tyvm. They stand in the prisoners’ way as they try to escape, holding their ground but only using the powers on the defensive, trying to show that they don’t mean them any harm.
Orlando explains that the system is broken, and Kara doesn’t disagree, but she knows that if he goes on the run now, that broken system will haunt him and will keep him from being able to see his brother again.
He says that he really believed the lie they sold him about the work release program, he really thought it was his way out, but it was just another way to exploit people like him. Kara says she understands, that she’s seen the injustice in the world, that she’s dedicated her life to fighting it. She does try to empathize by saying she’s an alien on this planet too, but I do wish she had qualified it with something like “and I can’t imagine how much harder it is for you.” Something that acknowledged that despite being marginalized as a woman in America, as a pretty, straight-passing, cis white person with a Pulitzer and a loft apartment, she doesn’t face the same struggles as a poor Black man with a child to take care of just because they’re both aliens.
Kara does say she wants to use her privilege to help them. She wants to help their voices be heard. Orlando considers this but luckily deems Supergirl more trustworthy than the Warden and has the prisoners stand down.
And, feeding two birds with one scone, Kara also gives William a CatCo exclusive Supergirl interview to appease Andrea.
And Andrea is, in fact, delighted by this.
Kara is still frustrated that Andrea cares more about Supergirl than the story but William says that Andrea has a point. When Supergirl speaks, people listen. And while it would be nice if people paid as much attention to news stories without a hook, the truth is, a respected celebrity is a good way to get the message out to more people. And my suspicions were right; William bothers me a hell of a lot less when he’s not trying to court Kara. I like Kara and William as coworkers.
Later that day, Kelly joins the NCPD at the foster home to watch Miss Hannigan get dragged away. Joey is so happy that his protector kept her word and she has another surprise for him: Orlando was pardoned and released from prison, so now the brothers get to be together. Kelly watches these boys run to each other and sees for the first time what Alex has been telling her all along: you don’t have to have superpowers to make a difference in someone’s life.
Kelly feels a little tug on her sleeve and looks down to see Esme aka Little Lady Justice smiling up at her. She knows Kelly was behind all this. She calls her their Guardian Angel and my heart swells nearly to bursting.
When Kelly gets home, Alex welcomes her with a glass of wine and a kiss.
Kelly tells Alex about her day and how empowered she feels, like she finally knows how to make a real difference in the world, her own way. That she’s not a fighter, she’s a protector. And so she wants to do just that. She wants to join the Superfriends in a more official capacity, picking up her brother’s mantle. She wants to become Guardian.
Alex goes to the closet and luckily doesn’t a) go in b) pull out a tiny umbrella to make us all cry, but instead brings out a giant box that I have to imagine she got out of storage today while Kelly was at work in anticipation of this conversation. When Kelly opens it, she sees the Guardian helmet gently placed inside. Alex knew this moment would come, but also knew it had to be Kelly’s idea. Rushing her into it or asking it of her wouldn’t have been the move. But Alex had been hoping this is where her road was leading her ever since she saw her use a shield during CRISIS. Kelly, who probably was worried on some level that Alex would be against Kelly putting herself in more danger, only to have her be above-and-beyond supportive, is so, so happy.
And I love this so much. It makes me even more sad that the show is ending (even though I have many pitches for a Sentinel & Guardian: Supergirlfriends spinoff) because I feel like these two are only at the beginning of their journey, as individual heroes and as a couple. But luckily for us, Chyler and Azie are so talented and so thoughtful that even though we don’t get to see every step of their relationship or evolvement on screen, every conversation they have makes it clear that they are happening. Some shows have their queer characters and couples develop painfully slowly because they only move forward while they’re on screen, but Alex and Kelly kept the train rolling even when the cameras weren’t. And as much as I love a teen coming out story full of relationship drama, I am also loving this trend we’re seeing of adult queer women with their healthy relationships whose drama and storylines have nothing to do with interpersonal tension, but external situations or individual growth. (Also looking at you, Legends of Tomorrow!) As someone who is considered Old by the social media apps I frequent, this soothes me.
We end the episode where it began, in Nia’s dreamscape. She reiterates the terms of the deal: If she lets Nyxly out, Nyxly will bring her mom back for 24 hours. And because apparently Nia never saw that one episode of Buffy, she zaps the owl away and accepts Nyxly’s terms.
Nyxly grins wickedly and I have a feeling her tricks will be far less mundane than Mr. Mxyzptlk’s antics.
I have no idea what’s in store for next week because apparently the CW has given up on putting together promos for this show and I don’t want to read the description on TV guide or anything because they’re always too spoilery, so I’ll see you for my next Supergirl recap and we can find out together. Maybe Lena will be back, maybe Nia’s mom will be a zombie, maybe we’ll get an Alex/Kelly training montage, who knows!