Supergirl‘s midseason premiere raises big questions about control: What will we do to get it and to keep it? Does a big payoff justify questionable means? And how far will our heroes go to avoid the wrong kind?
We open with Red Daughter in her enviable Eastern European athleisure wear, engaging in a practice skirmish with missiles, tanks, and drones. Her military handlers watch through binoculars, remarking that their “friend’ is working on how to control her so she’s ready to go up against more than just tanks.
Kara’s training, too—in spin class with Lena. They agree that it’s been too long since they hung out. (The viewers think so, too!) Lena laments that she’s been working alone without a sounding board, and Kara agrees it can be tough, although her cousin has positive things to say about it.
She encourages Lena to work things out with James, and then her ears pick up a distress call. She fakes a cramp and leaves class, which seems like a pretty solid way to get out of spinning, TBH.
Before we get into the freelance superheroics, let’s check in on the side plots, starting with Lena, who takes Kara’s advice and visits James at CatCo. He tells her that he now understands Lena’s ends-justify-the-means approach to life, having been willing to blow up the Shelley Island monument to protect someone else.
They reconcile, and as they cook dinner together that night, Lena admits that while trying to rewrite DNA to cure diseases, she had a penicillin moment and discovered that she can use her findings to enhance human powers. She asks James to be the angel on her shoulder, helping her determine the right course. He agrees, but by the end of the episode, he’s sitting up in bed looking troubled as Lena sleeps peacefully next to him.
Brainy’s also busy this week, first visiting J’onn at his new private investigator office, where he plans to help humans and aliens who can’t turn to the police. Brainy tries to hire J’onn to work as Kara’s Girl Friday since she’s no longer with the DEO, but J’onn says he’ll do that regardless, no money needed. As he leaves, Brainy tries to leave behind a fat bankroll, but J’onn sends it with him. How does Brainy have so much walking-around money?
Next, Brainy rings up Nia and announces, “I am calling to find out about food, and your interest in it.” That…would work on me. After some expected Brainy awkwardness, they pick a place and time. Once there, though, Brainy informs her this isn’t actually a date, as he assumed someone so beautiful wouldn’t be interested in him. Instead, he invites her to join Supergirl as a friend — “a super friend.” Ha!
Nia begs off, saying her heroics at Collinwood were a one-time thing. Brainy explains that after his own brush with the authorities, he had to choose to use his intellect for good, and he’s never regretted it. Then he leaves her with a superhero costume look book and an assurance: “You are a hero. I know it.” She eventually pages through the book at home, but she quickly tosses it aside when she gets a call from her sister to discuss their mother’s birthday.
Aaaand that’s it for these stories this week. Tune in next week as those planted seeds continue to grow.
Okay, now to Supergirl, who races to the source of the mayday call, where she finds the bodies of Navy SEALS scattered on the deck of a large ship. She’s able to save a SEAL, then IDs one body as Col. McAllister before a shimmering figure pulls his body overboard. When she discovers a bomb on board, she tosses it overboard, preserving the scene for Col. Haley and the DEO.
Haley blames Supergirl’s freelance efforts for letting the murderous shimmer alien escape and orders her to leave. Well, that’s gratitude for you. Haley orders Alex to ID and neutralize this mysterious alien while Haley interrogates the rest of the DEO to uncover Supergirl’s identity.
Naturally, this worries Alex, who pulls together the half dozen agents who know Supergirl’s real identity, asking if they could find it within their moral code to protect Kara. They agree to use their Resistance to Interrogation Training and/or silence, as necessary.
Not Brainy, though; he has brain compartmentalizing tech to make him forget Supergirl’s identity for his interrogation. Afterward, Alex has to remind him that it’s Kara, and he scoffs, “Your sister with the glasses? They don’t even look anything … oh!” as the tech switches off and his memories come back.
When Alex and Kara compare notes on the investigation, they learn that there are no records of the ship or Col. McAllister, and the surviving SEAL disappeared after a transfer. Something’s afoot!
Kara heads to J’onn’s office, which he’s decorated with a framed picture of himself and the Danvers sisters as children. Awww! True to his word, he agrees to help her, and they dive into the DEO files he kept, eventually finding a reference to invisible aliens in top-secret Project Morae, which a Gen. Tan handed off to McAllister in 2012. That’s not all, though; the third name on the paperwork is Haley herself. (Next page: Alex makes a wrenching choice)