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Entertainment Weekly


Supergirl recap: Sean Astin and the girl with the spider tattoo

Dean Buscher/The CW

Posted on


S5 E3
Show Details
TV Show
The CW
S5 E3

A tight hour of Supergirl efficiently advances the themes of the season this week and gives us bonus Sean Astin to boot! We open with is-he-good-or-is-he-bad William meeting Dr. Niles Jarrod at a bar. (Lest we forget, last week William was studying photos of Jarrod meeting with Awful Andrea.) He warns Jarrod against blowing him off again, but Jarrod ignores him to hook up with a tattooed woman in the bathroom. Alas, when she rips open his shirt, her tattoo comes to life, and a spider crawls into his chest and kills him.

At CatCo the next day, Kara argues that they should cover the death of a hot young researcher studying gene manipulation as a way to extend life, but Awful Andrea blows it off in favor of something more in keeping with her vision for the publication, like celebrity divorces. William agrees with Andrea, but Kara’s super-senses pick up on his elevated heartbeat.

When Kara corners William to ask why he lied about there being no story with Jarrod’s death, he ducks her question. But James is still kicking around National City trying to decide if he wants to run for Senate, so he and Kara agree to work together to unravel the mystery.

Before that, though, Kara has her first post-Supergirl reveal lunch with Lena, and she’s hella nervous. To make it special, she flies to Milan, Paris, and Dublin for cappuccinos, eclairs, and scones. And while my forgiveness can easily be purchased with European delicacies, Lena’s a harder case. She manipulates Kara’s kindness by suggesting that the only thing to stop her Lex nightmares would be to read his journals. Unfortunately, she says, they’re locked down at Fort Summit, a victim of government red tape. Kara offers to liberate them, unaware that Lena’s only interested in getting her hands on Lex’s Q wave research.

Elsewhere this week, Nia works with J’onn to recover his lost Malefic memories via her dream powers. Their first session reveals a childhood memory that shows a young Malefic getting bullied for being unable to connect to the Martian hivemind, which causes him to lash out psychically at his tormentors. Myr’nn (welcome back, Carl Lumbly!) reluctantly seals Malefic into a chamber while he prays to H’ronmeer to help his youngest son.

J’onn is stricken to learn that young Malefic finds his salvation with the White Martians, leaving Myr’nn so grief-stricken that he wiped Malefic’s memory from the collective Martian consciousness, which is tantamount to murder in Martian culture. But it’s not the whole truth. That night, Nia’s tormented by the secret she kept from J’onn, and Brainy stops with the incessant poetry long enough to suggest that it’s better to be truthful with the people you care about, even when it’s painful.

So instead of asking Brainy to cool it with the sonnets, Nia returns to J’onn’s place to tell him what she omitted the first time: it was J’onn and not Myr’nn who did the memory wipe because of his father’s overwhelming grief. J’onn weeps in shame over his past actions.

At the DEO, Kara reports that she and James discovered a spider tattoo inside Jarrod’s heart, and that along with security footage from the club gives Alex the information she needs to break the case. The tattoos are actually an alien organism that uses humans as its host and can morph from flat ink to a 3D creature. The mystery host is Caroline O’Connor, a military sniper who went AWOL two years ago. So who hired her to kill Jarrod?

The DEO finds her address in National City, but Supergirl and Guardian aren’t able to subdue O’Connor, who immobilizes Supergirl with webs and infects Guardian with a tattoo that Alex has to remove from his face using a magnetic gun that attracts the heavy metals in the tattoo ink.

Despite her unease with Lena’s request and Alex’s advice not to break into a government facility to steal anything, Kara can’t deny her best friend something that will bring her comfort, so Kara swipes Lex’s journals from Fort Summit, along with one of his transmitter portal watches. After all, Lena said it was all being held up over a bureaucratic technicality, so it is really wrong?

Mid-break-in, Supergirl gets word that O’Connor found her next target, a National City Hospital doctor, and arrives in time to get webbed again. But Alex has the magnetic tattoo gun and is able to remove the organism from O’Connor’s body. Before the newly freed O’Connor can spill the beans on who hired her, she’s murdered by a fast-moving black cloud that vanishes without a trace.

Now, to this week’s thoroughly enjoyable guest star. Malefic shape-shifts into Kelly’s old military buddy Pete (Sean Astin AAAHHHH!!!) and tracks her down at Obsidian to asks for help with his post-Afghanistan PTSD. Of course, he actually wants the treatment to reset his brain and unleash the mind-control powers he lost in the Phantom Zone.

Although Alex has been urging Kelly to be more guarded with her trust since a shapeshifter’s running loose, she’s swayed by Male-Pete’s distress and agrees to sneak him in after-hours to begin the treatment right away. Male-Pete’s concerned when Kelly tells him that his memories will be visible to her after a short lag period, but he’s willing to gamble that he’ll get his inception powers back in time to overpower her before she realizes something’s gone wrong. And that’s exactly what happens.

Nia, who’s been psychically linked to J’onn and therefore, presumably, Malefic, becomes aware that something’s wrong, and J’onn arrives at Kelly’s lab in time to keep his brother from mind-controlling Kelly to commit suicide. The J’onnz brothers yell at each other in Martian until the guards arrive and Male-Pete plays the victim and escapes.

Thanks to their Obsidian tech link, Kelly’s able to see a glowing halo around whomever Malefic shifts into, which is handy. Of course, Malefic can still incept the guards into turning their guns on humans, allowing him to slip away. Afterward, J’onn only tells the group that Malefic’s angry about his imprisonment and omits the details about his own involvement in the mindwipe.

And now we begin the traditional Supergirl end-of-the-episode check-in with our major players. Nia returns to her apartment and tells Brainy that his grand gestures are too much. Brainy’s hurt that she can’t handle him being 100 percent himself and leaves.

William meets a man on a park bench who gives him an envelope full of money and tells him to keep “it” going. Oh, you sharp-cheekboned mystery, when will we learn your true intentions?

Kelly admits to Alex that she was too open with people, and the Olson siblings leave town for a destination unknown to keep Kelly safe, but not before Kara gives Lex’s transmitter portal watch to James.

Kara also hands Lex’s journals over to Lena, relieved that there are no more boundaries between them, and Lena sets to work decrypting the polyalphabetic encryption with Hope-Eve’s help. In no time, the information about how to use Q waves for mind control starts marching across the screen.

Snaps of the cape

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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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