By Sara Netzley
November 11, 2018 at 11:04 PM EST
Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW
S4 E5

Paradise Lost tells the story of the fall of humanity, thanks to a silver-tongued Satan tempting Adam and Eve to eat from the forbidden tree of the knowledge.

Tonight’s Supergirl episode, Parasite Lost, tells the story of the possible fall of James Olsen thanks to a silver-tongued “humans-first” zealot tempting him with some hypnotically rational-sounding discourse.

Fittingly, we open in a lush, green rooftop garden that, just 24 hours previously, was an aerial junkyard. Kara transformed it so she could host brunch for “her people,” which includes Alex, J’onn, Lena, James, Brainy, and now Nia.

Brainy, in particular, is a delightful brunch guest. He gets momentarily drunk on 12 mojitos, then gives a stalkery rundown of Nia’s daily routine, pointing out that she told him to find her, not call her. Aww, those two!

James stews about the new fans he attracted after his heroics last week and Lena warns him that, “The internet’s a cesspool, you shouldn’t read it.” Truer words, truer words.

Kara caps off the event with a toast to “health and happiness and basking in the sunshine,” and my bucket list now starts and ends with receiving an invite to just one Kara Danvers party.

Jensen, meanwhile, writhes in a dank cell, struggling to adjust as Parasite’s host, which will allow him to temporarily absorb an alien’s powers, withering the alien to a lifeless husk in the process. In short, he’s on track to become Agent Liberty’s most valuable asset.

He takes his new powers for a spin at the National City Promenade, where he menaces a crowd watching an entertaining shapeshifter perform. When Supergirl arrives with the DEO at her flank, Jensen touches her and absorbs an iota of her powers, which weakens her and allows him to escape, draining the shapeshifter in the process.

At the DEO, Alex and her coldly efficient new boss Col. Haley (April Parker Jones) brainstorm ways to stop Jensen. Plutonium worked last time, so Haley sets out to find a supply while Alex explains to Kara why Supergirl has to stay benched. After all, imagine the chaos if Jensen killed her and absorbed her powers.

This frustrates Kara, who’s back up to full strength thanks to sunlamps, but at least she can turn to her other superpower: the printed word!

She’s scored an interview with the reclusive Amadei Derros, an alien with the power to heal other aliens who hasn’t spoken to the media in 20 years. When Kara and Nia arrive to interview him and his acolytes, Amadei explains that he broke his silence in order to help fight the rising anti-alien prejudice. His healing abilities don’t work on humans, but this might help further his goal of healing the human heart.

At first, Kara’s pleased by the reception her story has online — until she reads some of the hateful, violent comments. Kara. Girl. Never ever ever read the comments. Unfortunately, Kara’s story elevated Amadei’s profile, and during the night, someone breaks in and steals his healing amulet, leaving him close to death.

J’onn reads Amadei’s mind and sees a woman there, so he transforms into her, allowing Brainy to run facial recognition. She’s Elizabeth Hawkings, and Kara knocks on her door and asks to interview her about an obviously made-up story while J’onn creeps around inside.

Elizabeth’s mother catches J’onn (because let’s be honest, he and Kara didn’t hatch the greatest plan here), and they explain that Elizabeth is Amadei’s daughter, the product of a one-night stand he refused to acknowledge. Elizabeth reached out over and over, but he never responded. “I’m no one to him,” she says, although J’onn reiterates that Amadei was, in fact, thinking about her.

Blaming herself for putting Amadei on the public’s radar, Kara looks up his press clippings from two decades earlier, which she ABSOLUTELY SHOULD HAVE DONE BEFORE EVEN CONDUCTING THE INTERVIEW. Look, I love the increased focus on Kara’s journalism, but oh my God, show. At least make her minimally competent at this reporting thing.

Anyway, he appears in multiple photos with Mama Hawkings. A return trip to the Hawkings house confirms that Amadei broke her heart, so she retaliated by keeping Elizabeth from him, even intercepting all of his letters to her.

“All roaches do is bring misery,” Mama H. spits before confessing that she stole the amulet and gave it to the Children of Liberty, who took to the dark web to request help for Jensen when his new Parasite powers started killing him.

Not only does this introduce our heroes to the existence of the Children of Liberty, but it gives them a heads up about Jensen’s next target: Amadei’s vigil. Just follow the trail of alien corpse husks! (That’s way less fun than following the yellow-brick road, BTW.)

Haley located uranium, which yields a bigger explosion, so she and Alex pull together plans for an improvised ionic containment dome, plus a blast gun, all of which Brainy can knock together quickly. Alex and Haley really do make an efficient team. Haley runs the op from the van with Brainy, while Alex’s team heads inside the dome to try to take Jensen out. (Next page: Alex Danvers, hero and friend)

Meanwhile, James and Lena arrive at the National City Media Summit, were James is the keynote speaker. There, they’re greeted by Ben Lockwood, looking sharp in a suit and ready to drip pretty poison into James’ ear.

James makes it clear that he has no truck with Ben’s xenophobic rantings on fringe website Project Veri—er, The People’s Veritas. But Ben just smiles wider and spins harder, baiting the hook with the temptation of Guardian being the savior of scared people who could burrow further into darkness if their fears are ignored. James won’t accept that blame-shifting and moves on to chat with a columnist who tells him that taking an anti-alien stance might actually be a centrist position these days.

Then news about Jensen’s attack spreads through the summit, and Ben makes a public suggestion that Guardian might be able to help. James looks thoughtful.

Inside the dome, Amadei’s gem allows Jensen to absorb the blast of uranium Alex hits him with, which means they’ll need to up the blast power to a level that will kill all the humans inside. Alex orders Brainy to open a hole in the dome so Supergirl can start evacuating people one at a time, while outside the dome, Guardian arrives to protect bystanders from falling debris.

Of course, Jensen spots Supergirl, but it makes him hold still long enough for Alex to be the big damn hero we all know she is. Ignoring Haley’s orders to kill him, Alex calls him Raymond and tries to reach the agent she was once proud to call her colleague. “I still see that good man,” she pleads with him. “He’s still in there.”

Ten seconds before total dome collapses, Alex manages to convince Jensen to remove the gem. Just before his brain turns to mush, Jensen warns that “he’s” still out there. (Sidenote: Oooh, Raymond Jensen. Guess we should’ve seen this one coming.)

Elizabeth is there when Amadei’s amulet is returned, and they take their first steps toward forgiveness and relationship-building. Happy ending there, at least!

At the DEO, Haley congratulates Alex and confides that she likes her better than J’onn J’onzz, who employed aliens and pretended to be someone he’s not. Alex doesn’t even hesitate to tell Haley that J’onn trained her, recruited her, and is like family to her. Rao blesses Alex for standing up for her people and her principles. Haley takes this calmly, then reminds Alex of her rank and orders her to salute her superior office before she leaves. Iiiiinteresting dynamic unfolding there.

Speaking of J’onn, he’s been continuing the work of the alien support group following Fiona’s death, and a bartender at the alien bar tells him that someone stopped in to ask for help finding the person who vandalized her store. “Apparently you’re the guy to go to when the aliens can’t go to the police,” he says. J’onn puts on his jaunty fedora and considers a career change.

Kara’s also been thinking about job responsibilities and lets Nia in on her pitch for an “Aliens of National City” series to showcase their stories large and small, good and bad. Charming fictionalization, show!

James is headed in the other direction, however, telling Lena that Ben convinced him not to slam doors in the faces of the human zealot movement. He thinks that if he can get to the bottom of what motivates them, he might be able to get them to listen. So he places a call that interrupts Ben as he starts to get his rage on in his super-villain bunker. When he realizes who’s on the other line, Ben pulls himself back from the brink of a tantrum to present the suave facade that James is used to seeing. The transformation is stunning, and Sam Witwer is killing it as one of the scariest CW superhero villains in a long, long time. He’s glib and golden and furiously angry, and it’s hypnotic to watch.

Snaps of the cape

  • You should all hire Kara to plan and stage your parties. Not only can she perform miracles overnight, but her Dar-Essa flower bloomed.
  • So the Graveses are really dead, then? With two such recognizable characters played by recognizable actors, it’s a surprise that they got a relatively low-key sendoff.
  • Gotta admit: My Alex crush increased a thousand-fold tonight. She was smart, loyal, and tough, preventing a bloodbath with the power of her empathy. Alex today! Alex tomorrow! Alex forever!

Related content:

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.

  • TV Show
  • 4
  • 74
  • Greg Berlanti
  • Sarah Adler
  • Andrew Kreisberg
  • The CW
stream service