'Supergirl' Fights To Define Her Own Story In 'Fight or Flight'

Kara is more than her relationship to Superman.

In what seems to be a continuing theme for this show, everyone wants to talk about how Kara (Melissa Benoist) isn't Superman on this week's "Supergirl." But Kara is having none of that. She is more than her relationship to her already-established cousin. (But that doesn't mean they can't message each other, OK?)

Of course, with an Iron Man-like super-villain out for House of El blood, and a party to plan for boss Cat (Calista Flockhart) and her exclusive expose on Supergirl, Kara has bigger things to worry about than her public image in "Fight of Flight."

Here are the seven biggest moments from tonight's episode...

  1. "The Daily Planet can suck it."
    CBS

    Petition to make sure Cat is NEVER killed off this show because her one liners are a thing of beauty. Also her two-liners and her three-liners, etc.

    Tonight's episode picks up right where last week's left off: with Cat interviewing Supergirl. And, despite her subject being an alien who could literally melt her without lifting a finger, Cat does not go easy, asking Kara what her purpose is, why now, and getting her to reveal that Superman is her cousin. Ruh roh.

  2. Supergirl as a millennial superhero.
    CBS

    The outcome of Cat's interview ends up being a scathing, condescending article characterizing Supergirl as a spoiled millennial superhero. Wow. "Supergirl" went there.

    TBH, I did not see the millennial angle coming. Maybe I should have. It is exceeding relevant — especially within the context of workplace politics and journalism. There are about a million think pieces about how entitled, purposeless, and reliant the millennial generation is. (It makes me want to scream... in a humble, purposeful, independent way, of course.)

    If "Supergirl" was going to rip from the headlines in such an overt way, I would have liked to see a bit more nuance/time given to its exploration — especially because this is a theme I would love to seen getting more attention. (Pro tip: To see a show do the theme of generational tensions done well, check out "Younger.")

    It's not clear how much of Cat's Supergirl characterization "Supergirl" believes about its heroine. Like, yeah, the show obviously thinks Kara is a selfless hero, but it doesn't seem to have a firm handle on her more millennial-stereotypical characterizations.

    I am obviously biased, but the things I like best about my generation include our skepticism of the current status quo, the recognition that it doesn't work for most people, and the way we embrace the technologies that make empathizing with people whose experiences are different than our own easier than ever before. You know, if you're going to go there, "Supergirl."

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  4. Everyone, even the villain-of-the-week, wants to talk about Superman.
    Richard Cartwright/CBS

    Hey, guys, did you know that Supergirl isn't Superman? Because everyone wanted to talk about it this episode — even more so than previous episodes, which was already kind of a lot.

    This week's villain-of-the-week, Reactron, wants to kill Supergirl to punish Superman because he blames him for the death of his wife, who died while Superman was saving Metropolis from a nuclear meltdown. (Hey, Reactron: don't hate the super-player, hate the super-game.)

    It's annoying that everyone has opinions on what Kara should do with her own story. (If she doesn't have ownership over that, then what does she have ownership over?) But, sadly, it's also representative of what a lot of women have to deal with IRL, so I'm more than cool with "Supergirl" depicting it this way.

    However, the way "Supergirl" treats Superman v. Supergirl in this episode is very much indicative of a larger problem this show has: it spends a lot of time telling us who Supergirl is; I would be fine if it spent a little more time showing us who she is. Not because of the reductive argument that telling is always better than showing, but because, in this case, the show could stand to put a little more faith in its viewers.

  5. Holy soundtrack!
    CBS

    OK, before we go any further, can we discuss the REAL star of this episode: the soundtrack. Watching this episode was like watching an episode of "Gossip Girl," all jaunty jams, cool covers, and soul-wrenching ballads. Be still, my beating heart.

    I am listening to Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness as I write this recap. And, as someone who has an older sister, I can confirm that "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" was a frequent favorite of ours growing up (and, you know, now). Well played, "Supergirl."

  6. Maxwell Lord is all over this plot.
    CBS

    After a brief introduction last episode, Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli) gets a lot to do in this episode. After getting kidnapped by Reactron, then saved by Supergirl/Superman, we learn he has some kind of UST banter thing going on with Cat. More generally, he seems to be a schemer and not a fan of Supergirl. Only time will tell how much of a problem he will be for our girl Kara. For now, he is a mysterious and magnetic genius billionaire. We all know one, amirite?

  7. James calls in Superman to help because he hearts Kara SO MUCH.

    A week after Kara was espousing the virtues of letting others help you, she was adamant about not calling in Superman for help with Reactron. Which, I kind of get. Reactron's powers weren't even that cool. But, when Kara gets in over her head (by James' assessment, at least), he calls in his BFF because he can't stand the idea of losing Kara. Because he hearts her. A lot.

    Guys, these two are so cute together. Kara laughed at James' lame tea joke for, like, 30 seconds longer than anyone else would have — including Alex. When Kara confronts James about calling Superman for help, he explained that it wasn't about her, it was about him: "I press that button when I get scared, and I was scared that I was going to lose you." ?

    Then, his ex-girlfriend Lucy Lane shows up and it is obviously #complicated and Kara is obviously ?, and the dramatic tension is SO GOOD. Besides, you know that #Karolsen is going to work out when they are already having convos like so: "You could have been killed." "Nah, I knew you'd save the day."

  8. Clark and Kara are online buddies.

    It's kind of annoying that "Supergirl" can't depict an IRL relationship between Kara and Clark, but I have to admit they are doing a pretty good job of working around it. The online messaging convo the cousins had at the end of the ep may have been my favorite part of "Fight or Flight."

    (It's a close call between this scene and the one in which Kara tells Alex she will melt her face and Alex tells Kara she hopes she gets fat).

    These two depend on one another, even if they're not in one another's lives the way they (or we) wish they were. (Because, seriously, they could just take turns flying back and forth for coffee dates.)

    This is an awkward problem in the "Supergirl" universe, but I am glad the show is addressing it the best way it can. In the meantime, I am expecting the Internet to provide me with some stellar Supergirl/Superman crossover fanfic. Thanks, fandom!