Kara and Samantha work together to prove that Lena didn't poison National City's children
Credit: Jeff Weddell/The CW
S3 E5
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Before this week’s episode, we all knew that Morgan Edge wasn’t a good dude. But dang, Mo, poisoning kids to get back at a business rival? That’s lower than low.

Kids all over National City have fallen ill with lead poisoning, and Edge wastes no time in appearing live on television to blame Lena Luthor and the anti-Daxamite lead bomb she created.

In private, Edge accuses Lena of wanting to be a hero so badly that she didn’t care who she hurt. Lena immediately makes plans to step down from CatCo and L-Corp to avoid the appearance of bias, cover-up, or financial gain. Kara thinks this makes Lena look guilty, but James agrees that it’s the right call.

This sentiment is reinforced when a distraught father storms the newsroom, making me wonder what kind of shoddy security CatCo has. I mean, the eight-person newsroom I worked in several years ago had systems in place to keep randos from wandering in, and it was a tiny paper with only one computer that connected to the internet. (Did I mention it was several years ago?) Anyway, if that security outflanks CatCo’s, that’s a problem.

At James’ suggestion, Lena holds a press conference to get in front of the story. While she’s speaking, Kara hears the sound of a gun cocking, but she isn’t able to locate the shooter until it’s too late. A woman with a sick child open fires on the platform, and James takes a bullet in the shoulder while pushing Lena out of the way.

To see if the bomb really could be the culprit, Winn recreates a test that previously showed that 99.96 percent of the lead molecules from the bomb bonded to Daxamite genes, leaving only .04 percent as the margin of error. But when he and Kara redo the test, only 89.79 percent bonded, creating a 10 percent chance that the bomb is the cause.

Meanwhile, Samantha invites Lena to stay with her, despite Lena’s concern that she’s endangering her and Ruby. When Kara swings by later to report the test results, Lena is drunk and full of self-loathing. She says she’s been a pariah all her life because of her wealth and her brother, when all she ever wanted was to be good. The lead bomb was the one good thing she accomplished, and now she’s the monster who poisons children.

When Kara tries to argue that there’s still a chance it wasn’t her fault, Lena says she loves Kara’s propensity for finding the good in people, but “stop believing me, okay? I am not worth it.” Oh, Lena. (She also tells Kara that she’s terrible at hiding things from her, which is incredibly funny.)

Once Lena passes out, Kara and Samantha continue their research while getting to know each other. For example, they’re both adopted, and they’re both plagued with bad dreams. What a wild coincidence, and not at all something that will have major implications in the future!

As they search for commonalities among the victims, Samantha somehow accesses the families’ bank records. (Which, what? How? That sure isn’t legal.) They discover that several of the families were at the same Oktoberfest, and when they arrive at the venue, the public pool becomes a likely culprit.

Kara collects a water sample that she sends to Winn for analysis, and he declares it a synthetic compound that, when combined with water, acts like lead, poisonings and all. The supply closet’s full of buckets and buckets of the stuff, all courtesy of Acre Lee Chemical. When Kara calls Lena with the good news that it was the pool and not the bomb, Lena claims never to have heard of that particular company.

It’s a lie, of course, and Lena confronts Edge in his office about his ownership of Acre Lee, which did the actual poisoning. Edge mocks her idea of a “he said, she said” fight in the media, but that’s not what Lena has in mind. She pulls a gun and says she agrees with the woman who shot at her that morning: The person who made those children sick deserves to die, without the benefit of a trial or jury. Edge tells her she isn’t thinking clearly, but she corrects him: She’s thinking like a Luthor.

Then one of Edge’s henchmen conks her the head, and she comes to in the back of a pilot-less cargo plane full of Acre Lee chemical barrels. Edge and one of his henchman are controlling the plane from the ground, directing it to a reservoir to contaminate all the water. They jam Lena’s attempted distress signal, but the DEO intercepts enough for Supergirl to zoom to the rescue.

When the plane’s cargo doors open to dump its payload, Lena is able to keep the barrels from tumbling out, but she won’t be able to fight gravity for long. Thankfully, Supergirl arrives in the nick of time to close the hatch. (Next page: Sanvers breaks our hearts)

Foiled, the men on the ground decide to crash the plane into the reservoir instead. Lena straps in as Supergirl pushes upward on the plane to put strain on the engines so they’ll blow. Unfortunately, this causes the plane to split in half, with Lena in one side and the chemicals in the other.

Supergirl can’t hold both pieces, and Lena’s screams at her to drop the portion she’s in. But Supergirl urges Lena to climb toward her, which she does, grabbing Supergirl’s hand just as her grip slips.

I dunno; is Kara really not able to support both parts of the plane? I usually don’t get too worked up about the super-physics on the show with the alien in tall red boots, but this seems like a convenient limiting of Kara’s powers for plot purposes. Then again, I’ve never tried to fly with two halves of a plane in each hand, so what do I know?

On the ground, Edge knows his plan has failed and orders his henchman to shoot the computer console, thereby depositing gunshot residue on the man’s hands so when Edge shoots him, the suicide story will stick.

After this light bout of murder, Edge is back in his office to receive a late-night visit from Supergirl. See, he sold Acre Lee Chemical two years ago, meaning all the blame falls on the “crazed lone wolf” who had a bone to pick with the Luthors and then killed himself when the plans failed. Dang, that’s some impressive advance planning on Edge’s part.

Edge then taunts Supergirl for not killing him right there. “If I had an enemy, I’d crush her without mercy.” But, he concludes, “You capes, you don’t have what it takes, do you?” Uggghhh, he’s so smug, and I’m so uncomfortable with how much I wanted Supergirl to murder him right there. She leaves him alive, though, because murder isn’t the Super way.

In the end, L-Corp manufactures a lead antidote and Samantha and Kara drink to being a stellar investigative team. Lena tries to apologize to them both, but Kara and Samantha tell her that they’re like sisters, and sisterhood comes with unconditional love. Lena’s overwhelmed, never having had that in her life before.

Then Kara gets a call from Alex, who’s had an awful few days. She and Maggie have been discussing the kid issue for days, and although neither of them wants to say it, Alex finally admits: “We can’t be together.”

It’s not that easy, of course. Maggie’s move-out packing is interrupted by drinking, dancing, and kissing, but even in the afterglow, they reaffirm their fatal flaw: Even when Alex’s sexuality was blurry, she was always crystal clear on wanting to be a mom.

Before Maggie walks out the door for the last time, Alex thanks her for helping her accept herself and be happy. In turn, Maggie thanks Alex for making her stronger by facing her past. They cry and hug, and as Maggie leaves, she tells Alex, “You’re gonna be a great mom.”

So back to that Kara call. In the season premiere, Kara predicted that if Alex lost Maggie, she’d be broken and drinking alone at a bar every night. And that’s exactly what Alex is doing. Kara takes control of the situation, calling J’onn to tell him to take care of the DEO for a few days because the Danvers sisters are hitting the road and heading home.

Finally, Samantha is tucking Ruby into bed when her daughter notices a strange round hole in Sam’s shirt. When Samantha examines the jacket she was wearing at Lena’s press conference that morning, a spent bullet tumbles out. She flashes to a memory of being struck by one of the shooter’s bullets, but when she examines her abdomen, there’s not a scratch on it.

Snaps of the cape

  • Edge’s plan with the plane was a little unclear. Crashing into the reservoir was Plan B, so why was Lena on board in the first place? Was she supposed to fall into the reservoir with the barrels? And wouldn’t people notice that the barrels were from a company once affiliated with Edge and not L-Corp? I dunno; Lena’s emotional journey in this episode was compelling and sad, but Edge’s plot was a little head-scratching and mustache-twirling.
  • Does it seems like every city in the Arrowverse features a TV channel that runs nothing but live news reports of local events? So many conversations are interrupted by an enemy appearing on television to accuse one of our heroes of malfeasance!
  • Okay, I’m done biting my tongue on this: Lena is fantastic in so many ways, but she has no business running a media company. She has zero news experience and apparently doesn’t see any value in consulting the reporters and editors around her to get their crucial input on journalistic ethics and best practices. Advertorials are tricky things, and if your news managers are from the business side of the industry, it can lead to money-driven decisions that compromise public trust and journalistic independence. It’s frustrating that the show’s so flip about something as important as the integrity of news.
  • Well, we saw it coming for several episodes, and now the deed is done: Sanvers is no more. I mourn the loss of an LGBTQ relationship that was important for so many viewers, but at the same time, I won’t miss the heavy-handed telegraphing of what was going to happen. (Head here for executive producer Andrew Kreisberg’s take on the end of their relationship.) And in the end, of course, my heart hurts for Alex. How about you, friends? Are you satisfied with the way this relationship ended?

Episode Recaps


Kara (Melissa Benoist) steps out from her super-cousin’s shadow to become Supergirl and defend National City in the third Arrowverse show.

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