Supergirl comes back for more in “Stronger Together.” It’s been about a week since she revealed herself to the word (story time mirroring real time in this case), and she’s working out with the DEO. Well, if getting missiles shot at her counts as working out. It’s a nice sequence that shows they have a decent special effects budget. It also shows that she’s taking her new job seriously, putting in the time to work on her powers.
However, the Girl of Steel is suffering some of the problems that many novice heroes have. Her heart’s in the right place, but she doesn’t quite have the skill do to what she’s trying to, at least not yet. Her attempted disaster intervention makes things worse, and sets her up for a string of really bad press.
One of the ones giving Supergirl a hard time is Maxwell Lord. Lord has a long history in DC Comics, which I won’t spoil here. I’ll just say I doubt his name was chosen by accident. Winn, Kara’s friend and work-buddy, is apparently an admirer of the man, which I suspect will cause problems down the road.
Things don’t get any better for Kara at work. Cat Grant is less than thrilled by “her” hero’s performance lately, and calls her Terrible Girl. Cat leans on everyone to get more information on Supergirl, and especially demanding of James Olsen, asking him to cash in on his friendship with Superman. Olsen is less than thrilled about this, and Kara is worried about having a face to face meeting with her boss. See, this is why many heroes wear masks or helmets.
Kara’s day doesn’t get any better at first. She is called in by the DEO to help investigate a murder with some odd characteristics. Kara remembers enough about her mother’s work back on Krypton to be able to identify the attacker as a Hellgrammite, an insectoid alien that can disguise itself as human. She then has a training session with her sister Alex that seems designed to crush Kara’s confidence, and gets another round of Supergirl being badmouthed from Cat Grant. However, in a nice twist, the writers have Cat actually make some very good points about Supergirl, inadvertently giving the new heroine some pointers that she acts on.
Kara disposes of some potential complications among her friends by making sure that both James and Winn know that she is Supergirl, and that the other knows it too. Not only is this a smart decision, but it cuts down on the potential bad attempts at comedy. Alex is also looped in, and is also unhappy that others know. Whether they are all feeling protective of the young heroine or simply jealous, or a mixture, I’m not sure. With James and Winn acting as dispatchers, Supergirl does a series of small, simple, good deeds and starts rehabilitating her reputation.
The DEO lays a trap for the Hellgrammite, but they don’t invite Supergirl to come play. Since it’s her show, it goes badly, and Supergirl comes in after the fact to try and help out. She’s really determined to do the right thing, despite the fact that Henshaw from the DEO seems to be trying to push her in the other direction.
We learn a great deal more about the bad guys this episode, but also get a lot more questions. The General in this case is not General Zod, a classic Superman foe who has been in several movies already, but Astra. Astra is Kara’s aunt, and her mother’s twin. That isn’t going to make anything easier for Kara, that’s for sure. While there are at least a few Kryptonians in Astra’s alliance of aliens, there are other species as well. Kara stands up for herself and gives Astra a few unexpected things to deal with.
The end of the shows sets up for a few surprises. Alex has a project she’s been working on that may provide Kara with some help on many fronts. It’s a nice nod to another classic piece of Superman mythos. Additionally, there’s something decidedly odd about Henshaw. I have a theory about that, but it’s a spoiler, even though it’s a guess, so I’m going to put it last. And, lastly, Cat gets a response to her pressure about the interview.
What I liked: Supergirl making sure her allies all know what’s going on was a smart decision. They might not like feeling not special, but they can help each other now. Cat Grant actually made some very valid points in her assessment of Supergirl. It would be easy to dismiss Cat as greedy corporate executive type, and the writers are doing much more with her than that, which I think is good. Astra’s surprise when she learned about Green K, and how she did, were well handled.
What I didn’t: I get why it happened, but I don’t like the way the training scene between Alex and Kara went. The show seems to be relying really heavily on Green Kryptonite, and I hope they get over it soon. Also, either they have a lot of it, or they managed to find a way to synthesize it really quickly.
I thought it was a good episode. I’ll give it a 4 out of 5. I’m really enjoying this show, more than I thought I would.
Ok, my promised theory, with potential spoilers. Don’t read if you don’t want to risk it.
Henshaw’s eyes glowed red at the end of the episode. So far, all the heat vision effects have been blue (which I still don’t like but that’s another issue). So, if he’s not a hidden Krpytonian, then what is he? Well, in the DCU, Martians can shapeshift, and are often depicted with red eyes. Also, for what it’s worth, the last time a Martian was done live action on a DC show, he was played by an African American, as is the case here. Plus, thinking about it, shapeshifting would help someone fool the various tests Henshaw would need to pass to attain his government job. And Martians are also shown to be telepathic, which would be another big help. Does any of this mean Henshaw is a Martian, maybe even a version of Justice League member J’Onn J’Onzz? No, not at all. But it fits, and I so far don’t have another suggestion. Another, albeit thinner, fact to support this theory: when Max Lord was introduced in the comics, he dealt with a version of the Justice League being led by J’Onn. It’s an interesting coincidence. Have a better idea? Feel free to leave it in the comments below.