Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


'Supergirl' recap: 'How Does She Do It'

Posted on

Darren Michaels/CBS


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

How does she have it all? Is it a possible to have it all? These are all questions facing Kara in tonight’s episode, which might Supergirl‘s first dud. Thankfully, the show bypasses the pronoun in the question posed by the episode’s title and forces James to also struggle to balance his work life with his personal one. 

After defeating Reactron, Supergirl is riding high and thinks nothing can bring her down. As she’s enjoying some time in the sky, she notices a drone following her. She assumes it’s from the DEO, but Hank denies it. Alex points out the technology is way too advanced and that she’s never seen anything like it. Alex assures Kara that she can trust Hank. This is one of those moments that would’ve worked if this episode had aired before last week’s. 

Kara rushes to the office where Winn is drowning in phone calls as he tries to cover for her. Everyone is calling to congratulate Cat for beating Lois Lane for an award for the first time ever. However, Cat isn’t enjoying her win as much as she should because of her mother who is failing at being a grandmother. The award ceremony is in Metropolis, but Cat can’t go unless she finds someone to watch her son, Carter. So, Kara volunteers. Cat warns her that Carter is gifted but shy and might not take to her immediately. 

Over in the do-not-care-at-all column is Lucy and James’ drama. The ex-lovers share some dessert at a restaurant near work as Lucy tries to convince James that she’s there to get him back, but James doesn’t care. Kara overhears them having an intense conversation in the restaurant by work and lends James an ear once their meal is over. James reveals that Lucy was the one who dumped him, which surprises Kara. A bomb goes off in a building across town and hits the pause button on this relationship nonsense because Kara has to fly off and save the day. Using her super strength, Kara stops the building from falling while a similar drone from earlier in the episode monitors her activity. 

It turns out the drone and bombing are connected as both share similar components that Alex is able to trace back to Maxwell Lord. Using their fancy badges that can look like any government agency they choose, Hank and Alex decide to pay Mr. Lord a visit and find out how he’s connected to the bomb. 

WANT MORE? Keep up with all the latest from last night’s television by subscribing to our newsletter. Head here for more details.

Meanwhile, Kara has to rush off because she forgot she was supposed to pick Carter up. As Cat warned, Carter is very reserved, and not even Kara’s nervous talking thing is enough to get him out of his shell. The one thing that gets him talking is Supergirl, who he has a huge crush on. When they get back to the office, he asks if James, who is currently drowning because Cat put him in charge, could ask Superman to introduce him to Supergirl, because like mother, like son. James tries talking to Kara about his girl problems, but Kara shuts him down because Alex warned her that talking about Lucy would get her Friend Zoned. 

Naturally, Maxwell turns down the DEO FBI’s protection because he doesn’t trust the government and he doesn’t want anything ruining the launch of his super train. Hank leaves Alex in charge of protecting him, and the two nerds bond over how awesome physics is. Basically there are romantic sparks because why the hell not. Unfortunately, a bomb is discovered in one of Max’s labs. At first, they try to disarm it themselves but mess everything up, so they have to call Supergirl for help. There’s very little time, so Supergirl tries to get the bomb as far from the city as quickly as possible. She throws it into the sky but doesn’t clear the explosion fast enough and gets knocked out by the bomb.

NEXT: Supergirl finds her archnemesis 


The DEO rescues Kara after she falls to the ground. While she’s recovering in a chamber, Kara briefly wakes up and sees Hank’s eyes glowing red as he examines her blood but falls back asleep. When she wakes up again, she just ignores what she saw. Using technology, the DEO was able to identify the bomber as Ethan Knox, a former Lord Technologies employee, because no one on a superhero show can get fired from a job and take it like an adult. 

On her way back to work, Kara stops for some food and runs into Lucy, who insists on talking about her love problems with Kara. Lucy reveals that she prioritized her job and ended up breaking up with James because he used to put their relationship second to the one he had with Superman. (Supergirl is at its best when focuses on family, and this episode clearly forgets that. The focus on the relationship nonsense just doesn’t work — maybe it’s because we all spent the weekend crying to 25. This episode could’ve been better if every scene about James and Lucy’s relationship was replaced with one that develops Alex and Kara’s sibling relationship.) Clearly, James, too, doesn’t yet know how to have it all, struggling to balance the job and the fulfilling side gig following Superman around with being a good boyfriend. Also, at this point, Kara has just left Carter with Winn, and the two are bonding over video games and their love of Supergirl. 

Meanwhile, Alex confronts Maxwell about his government trust issues. It turns out his parents used to be government doctors and died while doing their jobs (a virus they were working with killed them when air filters in their lab failed, and the government covered up their deaths). It always comes back to parents on Greg Berlanti’s shows. Maxwell ignores Alex’s concerns and goes ahead with the launch of his super train. 

As Supergirl monitors the train station on the night of its first voyage, she receives a call from the DEO that another bomb was discovered at the airport. After Winn discovers that Carter went to the train station in the hope of meeting Supergirl, Kara decides to handle the bomb and Ethan Knox at the train station and lets the DEO take the airport. (Also, James heads to the airport, too, because Lucy is heading back to Metropolis and he realizes how much he cares about her).

Hank and Alex find the bomb at the airport but can’t defuse it in time. Hank says he’ll handle it on his own. Once alone with the bomb, his eyes glow red, he opens the bomb, and deactivates it with no problem, thereby adding more fuel to the Martian Manhunter theory. He exits the airport and says that the bomb was just a decoy. Back on the train, Supergirl finds Ethan Knox in the front car where the bomb is located. Not entirely sure what happens, but she basically convinces him not to kill everyone on the train. Unfortunately, the bomb will go off if Ethan gets too far from it, so the only option for her is to disconnect his car from the rest of the train and Spider-Man 2 the train to create some distance between the passengers and Knox when he goes ka-boom.

Time for Kara’s lesson of the episode: When Cat returns from Metropolis, Kara says she has no idea how Cat does it all. Cat’s simple answer is that you can have it all, but you have to start small and work your way up. It’s a redundant and pointless lesson, and the episode knows it. Pro tip: Don’t have one of your characters say the question driving your episode is stupid and annoying. 

But, the episode isn’t quite over. Alex discovers a fail safe in the airport bomb, and Kara realizes that Maxwell Lord was behind the entire scheme. So, she pays him a visit. This is by far the strongest scene of the episode, and it sets up Maxwell Lord as Supergirl’s Lex Luthor. Maxwell basically used the entire plot to test Supergirl’s limits. Because she chose to save the 100 people on the train instead of the 1000 people at the airport, he knows someone she cared about was on the train and believes that will reveal her identity. “This isn’t over,” they both decide.  

Wall of Weird: 

  • The only good thing to come out of the gimmick of having Kara watch Carter is that it further developed Cat’s character. Now, we know she’s actually a great mother and low-key nerd. Carter tells Cat that Kara is almost as good at Settlers of Catan as she is. 
  • There was not enough Cat Grant in tonight’s episode. 
  • Next week, Red Tornado. Get pumped!