"Supergirl" is back, baby! In its first episode of 2016, the superhero drama continues with its much-needed message of hope, as Kara faces off against the militance of General Lane, Non, and her once-beloved aunt.
Here were the nine best moments (of boundless optimism) from tonight's episode...
Non kidnaps J'onn.
The midseason finale may have ended with Kara and Non facing off, but it was J'onn J'onzz who Non flew off with as a hostage at the end of the skirmish. As far as collateral for getting your wife out of D.E.O. custody, the D.E.O. director is a pretty good choice.
I would have liked to see more time spent on J'onn v. Non, especially because there is still so much we don't know about the Martian Manhunter in the context of this TV show. We did get to see Non bring in his alien mindreader who was promptly killed when he failed to read J'onn's mind. However, rather than revealing his alien identity, J'onn played it cool as Non's hostage. He knew Alex would save him...
General Lane continues to be THE WORST.CBS
Unfortunately, J'onn would have to wait longer than expected to be saved by Alex. Though "Hank" makes Alex the interim director in his hostage absence, General Lane manages to get the president to sign off on an executive order to put him in charge of the D.E.O. during this difficult time. The reasoning? The D.E.O. needs a leader who doesn't have an emotional attachment to the hostage.
First of all, does General Lane even know that J'onn J'onzz promised Alex's dying father that he would protect her? I don't think so. So, from General Lane's perspective, Alex and Hank are just colleagues. Secondly, this is such a typical dude move. Emotions and logic are not mutually exclusive, people.
General Lane proceeds to do stupid things with his power. First, he tortures Astra with some kind of Kryptonite serum to give up the location Non is holding Hank. Then, he acts on the obviously bad information — even though Kara insists Astra would never give up the location of her husband. Turns out she is right, and a bunch of D.E.O. agents (including Alex) would have died if not for Kara.
It's nice when TV shows don't reinforce the myth that torture usually works when, statistically, it hardly ever does. (#SorryNotSorry, Jack Bauer.)
Winn and James break into Lord Technologies.
They aren't very good at it.
With Kara distracted by this Hank business, James and Winn take it upon themselves to break into Lord Technologies to try to figure out exactly what Maxwell is up to. It doesn't go so well. (Frankly, after the midseason finale's demonstration of just how pathetic James, Winn, and Kara are are corporate spy-dom, does this really surprise us?) James gets captured and Max (apparently, we're calling him Max now?) slaps him around a bit before releasing him back into society.
Kara, Winn, and James are in total OT3 mode.CBS
Truth time? It's hard to decide who to ship on this show. There are lots of pretty people, many compelling dynamics, and a relative lack of canon interest in romantic developments for a show full of the aforementioned pretty people. Still, it's pretty sweet to see James and Winn team up to talk Kara down from storming Lord Technologies following James' capture.
"I have all these powers, but I have never felt power-less," Kara tells her besties. They hold her hand and tell her that she needs to be better than her aunt. And that, you know, she's a superhero so she can probably figure it out. (Did I mention that they all sit on their DIY lair's couch, holding hands? ?)
Kara frees Astra in exchange for J'onn.CBS
Military-type leaders are so 1999. After her pep talk, Kara makes a decision: she is going to do this on her own terms — whether General Lane likes it or not. (He doesn't.) With Alex's help, Kara walks Astra out of the D.E.O.'s custody — but not before letting her know that she hasn't given up faith in her favorite aunt.
"Your mother never stopped believing in me. You are so much like her, Kara," Astra tells her favorite niece. (Yeah, it turns out that Kara's mom actually tried to stop the destruction of Krypton, too. She just did it while also avoiding killing people.) Astra doesn't believe that she is worth Kara's faith, but she convinces Non and company not to attack Alex, Kara, and J'onn following the hostage exchange. Yeah, she totally loves Kara. Deal with it Non or get off this redemption arc.
Idealism will save us all.
My colleague Crystal Bell wrote a great article about how "Supergirl" is the show that we need in a time of hopelessness and cynicism that is so often reflected in our somber media, and tonight's episode really hammered home that theme. "This is not a truce," Astra tells Kara after she calls off her flying monkeys. "Then let's call it a start," Kara parries back at her aunt, refusing to give up on the hope that there is another way, a better way.
Later in the episode, Alex and J'onn kick General Lane — and all he represents — out of their D.E.O. "We prefer more thoughtful approach here at the D.E.O.," J'onn tells Lane, slamming his militant, torture-happy approach. "Their idealism will doom this planet," Lane predicts. But J'onn is having none of his fear-mongering: "Nope, that's what will save it." Can someone please turn this exchange into some kind of mashup? Feel free to add this gem in from Kara: "If we have any hope for the future we can’t let fear control us. We have to be better."
Cat tries to prove that Kara is Supergirl.
Um, haven't we already been over this? I get kind of annoyed when shows backtrack on exciting developments, especially character-driven ones that seem to be moving the narrative in a new direction. As you'll note in my recap of the midseason finale, I was pretty excited about Cat finding out Kara's superhero identity. Unfortunately, that was seemingly just a twist for midseason finale purposes. Cat spent the whole ep trying to convince Kara to admit she is Supergirl — to the point of almost firing her. But Kara wouldn't budge.
Personally, I don't understand why Kara can't trust Cat. Sure, she's the owner of the largest media company in the city, but she's also someone Kara trusts. She's someone who already figured it out. And she's someone that already has sympathies towards both Supergirl and Kara. When she figured it all out in the midseason finale, she thanked Kara for all that she had done. This seems like someone worthy of Kara's secret.
Kara ACTUALLY convinces Cat she's not Supergirl.
Oh, brother. Following J'onn's rescue, he comes clean to Kara about his alien identity. (OK, she kind of overhears Alex mentioning his abilities, but you know they were going to tell Kara the truth eventually, right?) Kara immediately puts J'onn's shapeshifting abilities to good use, getting him to fly into Cat's office while Kara is dutifully manning her desk. This manages to convince Cat that Kara is, in fact, not Supergirl. Which I still think is kind of a bummer.
Maxwell Lord may be prepping Supergirl's doppelganger.
That mad scientist Maxwell Lord is up to no good! James might not have managed to break into his super secret lab, but the episode's ending gave us a peak. It seems that Max has found himself a brain trauma patient who bears a striking resemblance to our girl Kara.
The young woman has no apparent friends or family (#sad) and Max is pumping her full of drugs. Could this be part of his master plan to convince National City that Supergirl is evil? Probably. I do love a good supervillain experiment. Poor doppelganger, tho.