Supergirl: Livewire


Kryptonian invulnerability is great and all, but has its limits. One of the things we see this episode is that it provides no protection at all against the dreaded family Thanksgiving stress. Even superheroes are vulnerable to holiday gatherings. 

The opening sort of proves that point. There’s an alien rampaging through the DEO base, mowing down agents with ridiculous ease. As Supergirl shows up to help, she gets a panicked call on her com. Alex is freaking out because their mother is about to show up and Kara isn’t home like she promised to be. Kind of funny to hear from a secret agent. I also sort of wonder where Henshaw, the suspected Martian, was during all this. We know he’s keeping SOME kind of secret— he is willing to let his agents get hurt to keep it?

As seen in the pilot episode, Eliza Danvers, the mom, is played by Helen Slater, who was Supergirl herself in the movie that came out long ago. No offense at all to Ms. Slater, but it really wasn’t a good film. From nearly the first moment she shows up, we see Mom doesn’t treat her kids the same. She’s very hard on Alex to the point of being pathological about it, and nice to Kara almost to the same level.

Radio shock-jock Leslie Willis works for CatCo Radio, and seems like she has something bad to say about everything. I mean really, she an annual Thanksgiving “Things I’m NOT grateful for” list? Classy. Anyway, she rants about Supergirl, and the various members of the cast listen with displeasure. Even Cat looks annoyed, which leads to them having an ugly meeting later. Leslie seems convinced she can do whatever she wants, and Cat yanks her leash back by demoting her to traffic reporter.

Kara, possibly trying to dilute the tension, but more likely just being nice, keeps adding people to dinner. Winn eagerly accepts. James has plans with Lucy, which doesn’t seem to make either James or Kara happy. Hey James, here’s a tip- if you’d rather spend a holiday with someone other than the woman you’re seeing, you might want to do something about that relationship. Just a thought.

Leslie Willis makes the pilot of the traffic chopper go up in a raging storm, possibly trying to show Cat that Leslie won’t back down. This turns in to a supervillain origin that I’m not entirely sure I buy, but I’ll go with because the show in general is pretty good. Leslie is hospitalized, comatose, and gets a visit from both Cat and Kara. The equipment in the room flickers ominously.

Alex and Eliza have a spat about Kara. Eliza comes down hard on Alex for not protecting Kara more, and for “letting” her risk herself as Supergirl. Aside from going Lex Luthor (interesting, Lex and Alex there), I’m not sure how a human with no powers is supposed to stop a Kryptonian who is determined to do something.

Sadly taking a cue from Arrow, there are several flashback scenes this episode. The girls as teens sneak out for the night to enjoy Kara’s flight powers. Despite the fact that this was all Kara’s idea, Alex gets blamed. But it does give us another chance to see Jeremiah Danvers, played by Dean Cain, a former Superman himself.

Leslie has come out of her coma and is staggering around in the streets, trying to get a handle on her powers. Between her own experimentation and an assault by a random street thug, she figures out her abilities. The putz she zapped on the street might be having a better time than the people at the Danvers’ Thanksgiving dinner…

Eliza encourages Kara to heat vision the turkey, which is a running joke. I remember a similar scene in the comics at least once with Lois and Clark. The dinner goes downhill pretty fast, with Alex sitting at the end of the table, downing a fair amount of wine. Kara suggests they go around and say what they are thankful for, which I’m not sure I’ve ever seen go well on a show or in a movie. It’s probably up there with “…or forever hold your peace.”

Kara, to no surprise, gives a short, sweet little speech. Alex passes. Winn is all set to share, and gets interrupted by a call from James, which Kara leaves the table to take. They really can’t be doing a more blatant job of setting up for a really big, ugly, James vs Winn showdown later. And considering in the comics at least, Winn’s father is a supervillain, I don’t see it going well when it gets here.

Alex finally snaps and tells her mother about being a DEO agent. Mom’s amazing double standard continues, and she’s mad at Alex. Words fly, tensions rise, and Alex storms out, followed shortly by Winn. Kara stands up for Alex and then also has to go. Nice job, Mom, alone on Thanksgiving.

The flashbacks show the Danvers girls getting in trouble for their night out, but things get much worse. The DEO comes calling, led by none other than Hank Henshaw. What we eventually learn is that Jeremiah died, not in a plane crash as the girl were told, but doing work for the DEO. Jeremiah agreed to work for them to keep them from taking Kara.

Cat’s office is going on the blink. Kara suggests Cat call Winn, who is the actual IT guy. Cat says she doesn’t know who that is, and that line didn’t work for me. Cat likes to effect a veneer of not caring about people, but not knowing your own employees makes you look incompetent, the opposite of the image Cat projects. At any rate, this is, of course, a lead in for Leslie, now going by Livewire to attack. Her inevitable fight with Supergirl is a draw, but it’s only round one.

Families play a big part in this episode. In addition to the Danvers drama, we find out more about Cat’s life and Winn’s background, too. It’s interesting how so many of these folks work together and apparently know nothing at all about each other. Then again, Kara is being very willfully blind as to what’s going on with Winn, so maybe it’s that kind of thing.

There’s sort of teamwork to catch Livewire. Cat is willing to play bait. Henshaw kicks in a fancy gadget. Supergirl, of course, does the heavy lifting. The fight doesn’t go as planned,  but hey, it’s her show, so naturally Supergirl wins.

There are several upbeat scenes to wrap up. The Danvers family has made peace with each other. Cat is trying to raise the tone of her media empire by not running some of the trashy celeb pictures that they are offered. And the DEO now has its first non-alien prisoner, which both shows that they are starting to do more general good and that they’re no longer operating on a racist basis (kidding).

What I liked: Cat is starting to act a lot more human, less stereotypical corporate drone. Livewire is a character I’ve enjoyed for a while now (trivia- Livewire, like Harley Quinn, first appeared in the cartoons before eventually making it to the comics and now, live action). It was nice to see the DEO expand their mission to dealing with supervillains in general, which is more what they do in the comics.

What I didn’t: The James/Winn scenes are getting painful. Kara needs to use those super-senses of hers and start paying attention. I didn’t really like the Eliza/Alex scenes.

I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5. It was great to see Livewire, but some of the drama felt forced.

One thought on “Supergirl: Livewire

  1. Great review! I’m enjoying this series, mostly because of the light tone that blends with an undercurrent of darkness. In that sense, it reminds me of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Melissa Benoist is playing it beautifully, inside AND out.


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