We gave it a B
Tonight’s Supergirl saw the welcomed return of Kara’s nemesis, Livewire, whom we last saw in last year’s fantastic Supergirl-The Flash crossover. When we pick up with her in “We Can Be Heroes,” she’s busy wallowing jail, spewing crazy to her innocent therapist, who is just trying to help her out. However, midway through this session, a prison guard and another inmate stage a prison break, and Livewire escapes.
It doesn’t take long for Maggie and Alex to arrive on the scene of the crime. As they examine Livewire’s cell, they place bets on how long it’ll take Kara to stop being polite (i.e. using her press badge) and force her way into the cell. It’s an incredibly delightful exchange that is just one example of how delightful this relationship is. Naturally, Alex wins, which means they’re spending the night at her apartment and without vegan ice cream. As Kara, Maggie, and Alex survey the scene, they deduce that Livewire definitely had outside help because she couldn’t have planned something like this alone.
Winn gleefully presents Livewire to the rest of the DEO, but alas, Kara doesn’t share his glee. “I hate having a nemesis,” she complains to James, who called her into his office to finally come clean about his new nighttime hobby. The one thing that is helping Kara deal with the Livewire stress is knowing that she’ll have Mon-El, whom she’s been training to fight crime, to help her. James is taken aback. “I think he’s a fun guy, but he’s just not a hero,” says James. (This was the first and only time I agreed with James in tonight’s episode). But they don’t discuss the matter much further because they receive an alert that Livewire is attacking the NCPD.
Supergirl and Mon-El, rocking a rather lame superhero outfit, arrive on the scene and discover two things: First, this isn’t Livewire, but the inmate who broke her out and now has her powers; and second, the prison guard also has powers now. Supergirl tells Mon-El to protect the other policemen while she handles the Livewire clones. (Guardian is also there, because he won’t go away). Mon-El disobeys Kara and tries to protect her, which leads to both Guardian and another police officer getting injured and the Livewire knockoffs escaping. Supergirl takes this opportunity to unmask Guardian and discovers it’s James.
Obviously, Supergirl doesn’t take this news well. When they return to the DEO, she scolds James and Winn like an angry parent who says, “I’m not mad. I’m disappointed.” James asks to speak to Kara alone, and that conversation doesn’t go well either. Kara is too concerned about James’ safety to hear him when he says, “I am more me as Guardian than I have ever felt as James Olsen.” James takes issue with the fact that Kara is willing to let Mon-El, who is selfish, go out there, but won’t accept him as Guardian. That doesn’t faze Kara too much in the moment, and she threatens to stop him if he continues to do this.
I know this may make me a hypocrite — because I spent most of Arrow season 3 complaining about how Oliver had no right to tell Laurel she couldn’t fight crime — but I find myself siding with Kara on this. Whereas Laurel donning a mask felt like a natural development for the character, James deciding to become Guardian feels like it came out of nowhere, and I still don’t really believe it was necessary for the show to go down this route with his character. That being said, this is probably the most interesting material Kara and James have been given in quite some time.
Although James doesn’t have powers, he wants to be a hero because he genuinely wants to help people. The same can’t said of Mon-El, who has powers but is driven by something else. So Kara confronts Mon-El about disobeying her in the field and asks if he only wanted to become a hero because he likes her. Mon-El dodges the question. Frustrated, Kara storms off to track down Livewire, who is currently being held and tortured by a creepy scientist.
NEXT: Forgiveness is hard