The writers on Supergirl continue their tradition of borrowing phrases from Superman’s long history. “Truth, Justice and the American Way” was another part of his famous tv introduction back in the black and white era. The “American Way” now is possibly a bit more ominous phrase in some lights, as they demonstrate this week.
The episode starts off at Kara’s apartment. She and Alex are having a quiet night in. Kara is worried about her increasingly tense work situation with Cat Grant (dating and dumping the boss’ son while you’re trying to keep secrets will do that). She also spews some venom in Hank’s direction over the death of Astra, which Hank is taking the blame for to shield Alex. Alex is growing increasingly dissatisfied with this deal, but before she can act on it, Non shows up. There’s no attack this time, just a Kryptonian funeral to attend.
Back at the DEO, Kara tells the others that Non will observe the two week grieving period, so they shouldn’t have to worry about him for that time. Kara also casts more barbs at Hank. When Kara is requested at Max Lord’s cell, Alex and Hank debate letting Kara keep thinking the wrong thing about Astra’s death. Kara and Max spar about his imprisonment, and Max keeps ranting on about how he’s protecting the Earth, although how is never specified, nor is the reasoning behind his nearly pathological hatred of Supergirl.
Kara continues to have a rough time when she gets to work. Winn tries to warn her, but Kara doesn’t get it until she’s confronted with her latest complication- Cat hired another assistant, Siobhan Smythe. That’s a name known to at least some comic fans, but I’ll save the potential spoiler. Kara and Siobhan don’t get on at all well, and sort of settle in to a passive-aggressive, sniping at each other relationship. Cat is clearly still mad at Kara, for all she won’t admit it.
Cat has a meeting which Kara is excluded from. She’s of the opinion Maxwell Lord is missing. The scene has a few purposes. It makes James Olsen question what’s happening with Max, lets Cat sic Lucy on Max’s disappearance, and shows more of Siobhan as the current golden child/suck up. Later, Olsen and Kara have a discussion about his reservations regarding Max’s imprisonment.
The DEO isn’t just sitting around waiting for things to happen. They’re still tracking down Fort Rozz escapees on their own. As it turns out, someone else is after them, too. Alex and her team find their quarry just in time for a mysterious armored figure to fight them and get away with their escapee. Nothing is simple, is it? Kara later rants at Hank for sending a team out without her. Yeah, she’s handling her aunt’s death just fine. There’s also a scene between Alex and Hank where they hint at another DC character, Lobo, but thankfully he’s not on the show. I know he has his fans, but I can’t stand the character.
The bad guy calls himself the Master Jailer, another obscure DC character. Despite what his name suggests, he’s not so much interested in having prisoners. He has a very elaborate sci-fi looking guillotine that he uses to execute the aliens as he captures them. Hank and Alex follow some leads to a pair of local cops, one of who seems as bigoted against aliens as Max Lord, the other of whom comes off as a good guy. The cops tell the DEO agents that there have been several “weird” killings in the city recently, leading Hank to comment that there’s a serial killer on the loose.
In my least favorite scene of the episode, Lucy brings some of her findings to James. They talk about Max disappearing, and Lucy’s discoveries. Through some of her military contacts, she’s managed to learn about the DEO. James manages to spill the name of the organization before she tells him, and she works out he’s closer with Supergirl than she thought. Lucy leaves, clearly unhappy.
The DEO figures out who the next victim will be. I’m not sure how they found him, since they’re supposed to be capturing the escapees, and if they knew how to find this one all along, why hadn’t they grabbed him? That to one side, Supergirl and Jailer show up at the same time and fight. Whether the man is just stronger than human or the armor gives him some Iron Man kind of physical abilities isn’t clear. Not only does he go toe to toe with Supergirl, the Jailer has chains that are strong enough to hold her, but not able to stand up to heat vision. He uses that distraction to escape with his new prisoner.
The debrief at the DEO is interrupted when James Olsen shows up. After a heart to heart with Cat, James has come to lecture Kara about holding Max with no trial. Given current political issues (they even mention Guantanamo), one could argue that holding people outside the legal system IS the “American way” at present. One bizarre thing that came up during this scene is that it sounds like Siobhan knows about the DEO, but neither James nor Kara really comment on that. Is it just me, or should an ambitious personal assistant not know about a secret government agency?
The trail of the killer leads back to the two cops, but nothing there goes the way you’d expect, either. The Master Jailer gets away and manages to capture Supergirl in the process. She wakes up in a small cage with red sun radiation sapping her powers. The most recent capture is actually a decent guy with a sad backstory. He’s from Starhaven, home of the 30th century Legionnaire Dawnstar.
After a lot of chaos, tension, and searching, the DEO eventually manages to find Kara. The big problem here is that Alex also fights the Master Jailer. Somehow or other, he can go toe to toe with both Kryptonian Supergirl and human DEO agent Alex. That doesn’t really make sense to me. The fight rages on and the heroes win, to no great surprise. Kara does make a few surprising decisions about some prisoners that I’m not quite sure how she got the DEO to go along with.
Looking for some solace, she goes to see the hologram of her mother. That doesn’t go as expected either. Apparently some of Non’s plans go back to before Krypton ended. Holo-Allura recognizes the name “Myriad” but doesn’t react to it at all as expected. There are a few other wrap up scenes with the prisoners, with Siobhan, and another one of Kara ranting at Hank.
What I liked: Cat hiring Siobhan is somewhat petty and vindictive, but it’s in character and makes some degree of sense. Olsen’s idealism was nice to see, and seemed like something from Superman’s best friend. I don’t agree with the decision to lie about Allura’s death, but Hank sticking by his conviction is admirable.
What I didn’t: I get that Kara is upset, but she’s acting like a spoiled brat. Siobhan is annoyingly bitchy. Winn barely even got a scene this week. How the hell does Siobhan know about the DEO? And how does the same man in the same armor fight both a normal human and one of the strongest beings on the planet? Cop backgrounds aren’t easy to fake, I’d like something of how the Jailer managed it, and how he got his weapons to Earth considering how he got here wasn’t exactly his own ship.
I don’t think this was one of their better episodes. I’m giving this a 2.5 out of 5 and I hope they get better than this.