After three weeks away, Supergirl is back — and with a Lena Luthor-centric episode to boot, which is always enjoyable. Directed by visual effects supervisor Armen V. Kevorkian, “Ace Reporter” focuses on Kara’s journalism side as she pursues a story involving Lena Luthor’s ex-boyfriend Jack Spheer (iZombie‘s Rahul Kohli), a scientist who may or may not be killing people. Shall we dive in?
When the episode opens, we find out that Kara is very bored and is no longer enjoying her funemployment. Thankfully, her bestie Lena shows up and lures her away from grief baking with an invitation to a press conference hosted by her ex-boyfriend, who is set to unveil some breakthrough technology. Kara, who is clearly not concerned by Lena’s inconsistent accent, agrees to accompany her.
When they arrive at the conference, Kara runs into Snapper and exchanges some barbs with him. Both of them are still bitter about the whole Cadmus blog post thing. Eventually, Jack takes the stage and presents his new product: bee-like nanobots that have the ability to heal wounds and cure diseases. Lena is thoroughly impressed because this is the project she and Jack were working on before she left Metropolis for National City. After the press conference, Lena reconnects with Jack, who clearly still has feelings for her, too, while a nervous bespectacled gentleman approaches Kara and asks her to meet him later because he has information on Jack Spheer to share with her.
That night, Kara meets with her source, who reveals that he used to work for Jack and knows that the company faked its human trial results because it knows the technology isn’t safe yet. The meeting is cut short when a swarm of nanobots attack the car, causing it to explode. The source dies in the blast. For the record: The promo definitely lied, because Lena doesn’t see Kara survive the fire and doesn’t find out she’s Supergirl.
In the wake of her source’s murder, Kara digs even deeper into investigating Jack’s new technology and decides to follow Snapper, who is also meeting with a source who has some dirt on the technology. The source, who was supposed to be a subject in the human trials, claims that there weren’t any trials. Thank god she decided to follow him, because the nanotechnology swarm attacks Snapper and his source, too. Supergirl is able to save Snapper, but the source dies in the process in a very cool VFX moment, which shouldn’t be surprising given who directed the episode.
Worried about her friend’s safety, Kara crashes Lena’s dinner with Jack to question him some more. He reveals that he perfected the technology one day when he was thinking about how much he missed Lena. It’s a pretty touching moment, mostly because Rahul Kohli is a very charming individual. Clearly moved by his words, Lena tells Kara and Mon-El to get out of there so she can Jack can really talk.
Lena and Jack return Lena’s office — because the show obviously didn’t want to waste money building Lena’s apartment set — where they finally discuss their lingering feelings for each other and their regret over how they ended things. Kohli and McGrath have some great chemistry together, which bolsters the poignancy of their shared scenes. Naturally, they start making out, but the moment is ruined because Jack runs off once he realizes that someone (Kara and Mon-El) has broken into his office and accessed his computer. They downloaded a video file that shows him injecting himself with the nanotechnology and bonding with it, which seems to confirm that he’s the one controlling the swarm and killing people.
After warning Lena to stay away from Jack, Kara gives Snapper all of her reporting because she realizes getting the truth out there to as many people as possible is more important than scooping CatCo. She also apologizes for her careless actions, which is all it takes to get her back into Snapper’s good graces. The two of them start going through everything they’ve learned, and in the process, Kara discovers that there’s someone else who could be behind the cover-up: CFO Beth Breen, who has a lot of money riding on this project.
…And Lena realizes the same thing when she ignores Kara’s advice and confronts Jack about his lies. Beth reveals herself as the mastermind behind the cover-up, uses a device to take over Jack’s mind — apparently, loss of free will was one of the nano-technology’s pesky little side effects — and orders him to inject Lena with the same nano-tech so she can control her, too. Supergirl arrives on the scene, but she’s overpowered by the nanobots, which can’t be punched. So it’s up to Lena to save the day. Unfortunately, that comes with a price: The only way to save Supergirl from being consumed by the nano-bots is to override the mainframe controlling them, which would kill Jack in the process. Even though it means losing the love of her life, Lena comes through for her best friend.
The episode ends with two great scenes. First, there’s Kara comforting Lena, who reveals that she’s scared she’s becoming like her mother because she feels cold except for when she thinks about Beth rotting and dying in jail. It’s another instance of the show returning to that nature-versus-nurture theme it’s so fond of when it comes to the Luthors. (There’s also reason to worry that Jack’s death may turn Lena against Supergirl, since she sacrificed him to save her.) Kara reassures Lena she’ll always be there for her, then returns to CatCo and learns that Snapper gave her a byline on the Jack Spheer cover story. He’s decided to rehire her because he believes the world needs more reporters who are willing to put their lives on the line for the truth.
This season has been pretty uneven when it has come to juggling Kara’s superhero story line and her work story line, so I’m glad that her separation from CatCo didn’t last too long. I hope we get to spend more time with Kara as a reporter, because this episode showed that the writers have a bit of a handle on it. One of the things that has concerned me this season is how Kara has used herself as a source on several stories, and as I watched this episode, I was worried she would write another story based on that stolen video, which is a no-no. Thankfully, that’s not what happened, which indicates that the writers are approaching their depiction of journalism with some thought. Now, I want an entire episode devoted to Kara just investigating the hell out of a story as Kara, not as Supergirl, because I think that could be fun to watch.
Wall of Weird:
— Oh yeah, there was a boring and distracting Guardian subplot in tonight’s episode that’s not even worth getting into. All you need to know is that Winn’s girlfriend Lyra is now Guardian’s new sidekick, which is silly and just ugh. Can we please keep James and send Guardian to Mandyville?
— The episode ends with Queen Rhea approaching Lena Luthor with a business proposition, which should be interesting.
— Let’s be real: The villain in tonight’s episode was almost too similar to The Flash‘s Brie Larvan.
— Mon-El used the world “mannection” while talking to Jack, which was very funny.
— This episode was very light on Alex, J’onn, and Mon-El, who only showed up for like three short scenes in the middle of the episode.
— Let’s be real one more time: Supergirl‘s finale is a month away, and it’s still not clear what the season is building toward. A confrontation with Cadmus? Supergirl versus Rhea? Some combination of the two? This show is in desperate need of some focus.