They are having fun with bits of the Superman mythos on Supergirl. This week’s title, Strange Visitor From Another Planet, is one of the descriptions of Superman from the radio and tv show days. It’s nice to see the nods to the decades-long history of the various characters.
Supergirl flies around for the opening scene, with a voice-over about regrets. Something in the tone doesn’t sound quite right, and we find out why later. In the meanwhile, she saves a family from a raging forest fire. I really do prefer it when my superheroes engage in random heroics, so points to them for that.
Alex and Kara walk down the street having an almost normal conversation for once. Kara is regretting where things are with Winn after he kissed her last time. It’s a soap opera mess- Winn loves Kara, Kara’s into James, James is kinda into Kara but in a relationship with Lucy, and there’s the sorta flirting going on with Alex and Lex Jr… err, Max Lord.
Speaking of flirting, a random guy in the Only Place to Eat in National City ™ shows up, flirts with Kara, and makes a lot of random, nasty comments about Cat Grant. Kara, of course, misses that she’s being flirted with. She’s spectacularly bad at that, part of how she ended up in this mess with Winn.
Things are busy at CatCo. Winn is not really talking to Kara, which is somewhat understandable. Sad, but understandable. Senator Miranda Crane is in town, holding an anti-alien rally. She reminds me of a much more attractive Trump with her rhetoric. Cat is ranting about a client leaving the company and instructing Lucy, her new general counsel, to sue by the end of the day.
When Kara and Cat return to Cat’s office, the guy from the restaurant is there. Of course, it turns out to be Adam, the son Cat gave up for adoption years ago. Things get awkward as Adam mentions he came because of the letter Cat sent. After they set a dinner date and Adam leaves (weirdly giving Cat the letter back— who does that?), Cat turns on Kara. Apparently, Cat has been writing letters to Adam and then throwing them out. Or, a few times, throwing them at Kara. Kara took one, finished it, and sent it. How she knew Adam’s address, I have no idea. Kara stands up for herself for once, arguing about how important family is with Cat. Cat reads the letter, and acknowledges it “isn’t awful.”
At the rally, Senator Miranda Crane is in full rant mode. The crowd carries signs in support, with various anti-alien and/or anti-Superman slogans. How many aliens does this version of Earth have, that this is a problem? The introduction/voice over makes it sound like Supergirl is the second hero on this world. Are there random aliens showing up?
Alex and Hank scan the crowd for threats, in their FBI disguises. Eventually, everyone’s concern is justified as the rally is attacked by a really ugly creature that some comic book fans have been expecting for a while now- a White Martian. Supergirl shows up and chases the attacker off, saving the day but not improving the Senator’s attitude at all.
After the Senator bitches about Supergirl, the DEO, and being placed in protective custody, Alex and Hank have a talk. Hank tells her about the White Martians, who declared war on the more peaceful Green Martians like J’Onn. J’Onn lost his family in this conflict before fleeing to Earth. One of the reasons Hank has been reluctant to use his Martian powers is that the Whites would sense it and come hunting. Plus, if Hank’s secret is revealed, the very unpleasant General Lane would end up in charge of the DEO, and no one with a working brain wants that.
Cat is out of her comfort zone by miles, worrying about this dinner with Adam. She ignores Kara’s advice and ends up talking about herself, which doesn’t go down well with her estranged son. He eventually storms off.
In a tension-building series of exchanges, Kara and James are studying photos in the Abandoned Office of Solitude, while Hank and Alex deal with the Senator. Eventually, both sides realize that this is not, in fact, the Senator at all. Mayhem ensues.
Cat summons Kara to her office, and loses her temper hard core, blaming Kara for the dinner not going well, for Adam being there, and just about everything else. It’s a bit rough to watch, as Kara tried to prevent this from happening. Well, tried after creating the situation in the first place. As this is going on, Hank and Alex take turns blaming themselves for the White Martian attack. Hank finally decides he needs to stop the butchering White for good, since members of his team are dead and it’s his fault? Really? NOW this bothers him? How many have died just so J’Onn could protect his secret?
The two different crises are addressed. Kara sets up another meeting between Cat and Adam, staying around as referee to get things moving. It’s a well-acted, horribly awkward scene that works well. This is clearly foreign territory to Cat.
Meanwhile, Hank, the DEO, and Supergirl eventually join forces to find the White Martian, who is intent on hunting down J’Onn, but doesn’t know J’Onn is Hank. More uses for the ol’ secret identity concept. They have an ugly fight, with a lot of high powered combat between the three aliens- White Martian, Green Martian, Kryptonian. J’Onn faces a moral dilemma and has to make a tough choice.
They wrap things up nicely. The battle is resolved and J’Onn probably surprises himself. He actually says something touching about Alex and Kara, then gets all gruff when Kara reacts, which was amusing. The Senator starts acting more like a human and less like a caricature. Adam is going to stick around, and asks out our heroine. Somehow, I don’t see that going well with Winn, not that Kara is obligated to live her life for his preferences. Then, in the final scene, it seems that there’s an impostor running around. That’s going to complicate someone’s life next week.
What I liked: It was nice seeing Cat not completely in control, and I was impressed when Kara stood up for herself without being in the cape for once. More depth to J’Onn’s background, and a better reason for him not to use his powers was a nice touch. Winn’s reaction to the current status quo might not be the most mature and level headed, but it rings true. And I’m just fine with Max not showing up. And the restaurant finally got a name: Noonan’s! Cat’s contribution to Kara’s date was amusing.
What I didn’t: The DEO seems stunningly lacking in precautions for shape-shifters. Cat threatening Kara’s job, while in character, is getting a bit old. The Senator seemed a bit one note without her bias being explained. J’Onn is very inconsistent about people dying “for him.”
Even with the flaws, this was a better and smoother episode. I’ll give it a low 4 out of 5. I’m looking forward to seeing what the doppleganger is up to next episode.