We gave it a B+
Supergirl opens this week with a drunk jerk on a plane as it begins to plummet to Earth. In the chaos, he sees people holding each other and praying, and after a rocky landing, FBI Agent Alex Danvers hops up to assure everyone it’s going to be okay. Then he looks outside and locks eyes with a woman standing on the wing before she launches into flight.
Three years later, a woman with a spookily singsong voice approaches Samantha at Ruby’s soccer game to announce that Ruby is chosen. She gives Samantha a pamphlet and invites them to join their community.
Later that day, Lena takes Kara to Samantha’s office to discuss a big merger. The duo, who’ve apparently resolved the “you’re my boss, and I’m lying to you” tension, insist that Samantha come to girls’ night at Kara’s. Then Kara spots the brochure. Recognizing a religious symbol from Krypton, she takes it and decides to hit the meeting.
James and Winn tag along to soak up the creepy cult vibes. A young woman named Olivia greets them and describes her first meeting as “transformative.” Then the man from the plane steps to the pulpit. His name is Thomas Coville (Chad Lowe), and he refers to his flock as Children of Rao, intoning, “We are here, all of us, by her grace.” Whose grace, exactly? Why, Supergirl, of course.
We have a quick flash to Kara’s mother reciting the same words to Rao, and then Coville invites Olivia up to speak. She talks about drunkenly falling off a roof and getting rescued by Supergirl. James asks Kara if she recalls that rescue, and Kara whispers, “I remember all of them.” Then the congregation starts praying to Supergirl, and Kara’s buh-LOWN away and upset at how Coville’s twisted Rao’s teachings.
Later, girls’ night gets awkward fast. Samantha brings up Kara’s dating status and then refers to Alex and Maggie having kids someday. Kara watches Alex’s face twist as Maggie says they’ll be the cool aunts someday. Then a police siren pierces the night, and Kara “runs to get ice.”
After she rescues a man who’s about to plummet through the collapsing roof of a burning building, Olivia rushes over to congratulate him on joining the Children of Rao. Yikes. Kara realizes people are intentionally endangering themselves to be saved by her and asks Maggie to stop Coville, but Maggie reminds her that the First Amendment is still a thing.
So Kara dons her journalist attire and interviews Coville about his group endangering themselves. Coville calls it a test of faith and then asks if Supergirl is there to test his faith. Kara’s too shocked to deny it. Coville tells her that he looked into her eyes from his seat on that plane, and he knows that it’s her.
He promises to keep her secret and help her if she’s lost. Then he pulls out a Kryptonian relic containing Rao’s word, and Kara whips off her glasses to say that if she is a god, he has to do as she says: Stop the meetings, and quit putting people in danger. After she leaves, though, Coville walks into the next room, where he’s stashed a large, glowing alien object, and promises to serve Supergirl.
At L-Corp, Samantha’s too busy fighting off hostile FTC actions from Morgan Edge to help Ruby practice her song for the school recital, and by the end of the day, Samantha saved the merger, but Ruby’s asleep on the office couch. When Lena comes in, Samantha cries and says she feels like a terrible mother. Lena, who knows from terrible mothers, points out that not only does Ruby know she’s loved, but she fell asleep watching her mom work hard on a task that only she can fix. “That is how you raise a girl to be a badass,” Lena says.
At the same time, James and Kara bond over religion. Coville’s service reminded Kara of how important Rao’s teachings were to her, like church was for James. Kara admits that she doesn’t know how to combat Coville’s blind faith in her, and then James says something amazing: He met Superman (as opposed to Clark Kent) for the first time after he fell off a bridge spire while shooting photos. As he fell, he prayed for someone to save him. And suddenly Superman was there to grab his hand.
He says that Clark shows up, and Kara does, too. “You’re something that we can see, something that we can touch. How are you not a miracle?” Like I said, amazing, and perhaps the best James scene of the series.
He also points out that Kara has part of her culture back, then accidentally activates the obelisk’s recording. Kara realizes what it is and rushes to the DEO to ask Winn to track a Betahedron signature. Betahedrons powered the probes that Kryptonian scientists would launch into space full of records of their planet’s history, religion, and so forth so other worlds could learn their culture. Kara realizes that Coville must have one of the probes. (Next page: Alex faces a painful question)