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'Supergirl' recap: 'Fight or Flight'

Posted on

Cliff Lipson/CBS


TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks, David Harewood
Action, Adventure, Scifi

“Who are you?” 

Those are the first words we hear in tonight’s episode, and Cat Grant directs them at Supergirl, who is floating above her. However, the question actually drives tonight’s episode, which is all about Kara figuring out what kind of hero she wants to be. Is she someone who fights her own battles or gives up when the going gets tough? 

“Fight or Flight” picks up right where last week’s installment left off, with Supergirl giving Cat Grant that exclusive interview. Kara’s response to the question is her origin story, which bores Cat since she’s heard it before. Cat has more presisng questions: Why did she wait so long to come out? What does she do during the day? Does she have plans to start a family? That last question annoys Supergirl, and she wonders out loud why no on ever asks her cousin that, thus revealing she and Superman are related. Clearly, Kara needs to add a publicist to Team Supergirl to teach her how to handle the press.

The next morning, Alex tracks Kara down at her usual breakfast spot. It becomes fairly obvious that Kara still hasn’t told her about the interview. Eventually, James shows up, and Alex quickly realizes Kara is crushing on him because she gets super dorky. But, there’s no time to discuss Kara’s infatuation once James leaves because Cat breaks the news that Superman and Supergirl are related. You can guess Alex’s reaction. 

Kara heads to the office where Cat is getting ready to write her big exposé on Supergirl. It’s been awhile since she’s written an article, but she’s not worried. “I’m a writer. It’s like riding a bike or severe childhood trauma. You never really lose it,” Cat says, declaring that her new cover story will blow Vanity Fair‘s Caitlyn Jenner cover out of the water.

This definitely shouldn’t come as a surprise, but Hank isn’t happy about the interview. He’s worried Kara is now on a slippery slope that could lead to a Keeping Up With the Kryptonians TV show (Fact: I would watch that show. Wouldn’t you?). Kara flies off midway through his lecture because the DEO’s computer alerts them to multiple car collision. 

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Kara effortlessly saves a trapped bus driver. Reactron, one of Superman’s villains, shows up and attacks Kara because she’s related to Superman. Which is exactly why Alex and Hank didn’t want the world to find out about their relationship in the first place. Reactron is basically Iron Man, if Iron Man were made from scrap metal found in a junk yard. We find this out later, but he blames Superman for the death of his family, and now he’s out for a revenge because he’s a cliché. (Revenge plots are so boring!) Kara manages to hold her own against him and actually damages his suit, causing Reactron to flee like a rare Pokémon you encounter in the Safari Zone.

Kara returns to the DEO where she’s briefed on Reactron’s powers. She expects Hank and his team to help her fight him, but Reactron is actually human and thus falls out of the DEO’s purview. 

When Kara returns to CatCo, Winn takes her and James to an abandoned office several floors below where he’s set up their own little, high-tech secret lair. It looks like Felicity’s office in the first season of Arrow. And, yes, Kara now has two lairs (three if you count her living room). Is that too many lairs? Definitely, maybe. Anyway, Winn starts working on a way to track Reactron, but James objects because he’s worried Kara might not be able to handle him on her own since Clark could barely do it. Yes, he accidentally reveals Superman’s secret identity to Winn, who starts freaking out. Kara refuses to call Clark for help because she doesn’t want to just be “Superman’s cousin.” Calling Clark for help so early in her career would send the wrong message to other supervillains.

Every week, Supergirl  seems intent on addressing its critics and naysayers. This scene here is it’s explanation for why Superman isn’t a stronger presence on the show. Supergirl, like Kara, is intent on proving that it can stand on its own and doesn’t need Superman to make people interested in it. 

NEXT: Party time


Reactron breaks into Lord Technologies looking for someone with a background in nuclear fission because his armor needs to be fixed. Maxwell Lord arrogantly steps forward and agrees to help him on the condition he doesn’t harm any of his scientists. So, Reactron kidnaps him. 

24 hours pass without a Reactron lead. So, Alex shows up at CatCo and agrees to help Team Supergirl find Reactron, which violates Hank’s orders. Meanwhile, Kara goes back to planning this party Cat is throwing to celebrate her magazine article, which she finished after a terrible bout of writer’s block. She asks Kara to read it over, and, naturally, Kara has problems with it. Cat describes Supergirl as millennial hero and says she represents everything that’s wrong with millennials. Cat’s convinced Supergirl will call her cousin the moment things get rough, but Kara defiantly says she won’t. Their conversation is cut short by James who says they’ve found Reactron.

Supergirl flies off to fight Reactron, whose armor and energy system have been fixed thanks to Maxwell Lord. Unfortunately, this time he’s too powerful for Kara. Luckily, Superman swoops in and saves Kara right as she loses consciousness. Hours later, she wakes up on her couch and is pissed that James called Superman for help. She thinks it means James doesn’t believe in her, so she tells him to get out. This latest failure tests Kara’s confidence because she’s worried she won’t be the hero she’s meant to be if Superman keeps saving her. Kara will have to worry about this later because she’s late for the party she spent half the episode planning. 

Cat notices Kara’s tardiness and starts to scold her, but Winn covers for her. So, Kara thanks him with a dance, which is eventually interrupted by James, because Winn can’t catch a break. It turns out James is dealing with the same issues as Kara. He’s so used to calling Superman for help when things go sideways, and now he’s trying to find out who he is without him. Cat also enjoys a dance with Maxwell, who wouldn’t let a kidnapping stop him from enjoying free booze. We learn that these two share a history, probably romantic, and it definitely didn’t end well.

Meanwhile, Hank is getting ready to leave the DEO headquarters for the night when his eyes glow red (More on this later!), and he detects Alex is still there working on the Reactron situation. Against his better judgment, he agrees to help her. 

Reactron crashes the party looking for Supergirl. With Alex’s help, Supergirl is able to defeat Reactron by coating her hand in lead and removing the core of his suit. It’s actually an amazing fight scene that even finds time for James to get in a courageous moment when he distracts Reactron long enough for Supergirl to save Winn from falling debris. 

With the day saved, Kara decides to spend time with her sister, but Alex tells her to go find James, a.k.a. the guy who makes her light up. Unfortunately, when Kara goes to his office, she finds him there with his ex-girlfriend Lucy Lane. When she leaves, she overhears James agree to have dinner with Lucy to “talk” about their break-up. However, this momentary heartbreak is softened by an encouraging Slack message from her cousin, who congratulates her for beating Reactron when he couldn’t. (ASIDE: I don’t understand Kara and Clark’s relationship. How often have they seen each other? Do they spend holidays together or is their sole means of communication via Slack?) 

The episode ends with Kara and Alex bonding time, which might be my favorite part of the episode. I love that the show puts time into fleshing out their sister relationship because their scenes together are quite endearing and improve with each week. 

Wall of Weird: 

  • What is up with Hank Henshaw? Some of you said you thought the red eyes meant he was Martian Manhunter, and I’m starting to agree with you. I think he knew Alex was still working because he sensed her telepathically. 
  • What did you guys think of Maxwell Lord? He seems a bit Ray Palmer-esque, but with a hint of darkness. 
  • James showed Kara the watch Superman gave him. This show is going full comic book already, and it’s great! 
  • Cat Grant’s headline was great: “Millennial Falcon” 
  • “She’s a super-interviewing villain.” 
  • Alex and Kara watch Homeland. This is a nod to Melissa Benoist’s guest-starring stint on the show in its first season.