Supergirl has a really bad few days in “Falling,” and so do a lot of her supporting cast. One of the challenges of the show is that Superman exists, and has been around for a while, but at the same time they are having some classic Superman elements appear for the first time on Supergirl. That makes sense, you don’t want a lot of, “Oh, this happened before with Superman,” but it also makes those of us who know the comics a bit confused from time to time. When she fought Reactron, he’d been around a while and has clashed with Superman before. The Bizarro idea was new to this show, for example.
Things start out going really well. Cat Grant goes on The Talk (the hosts guest star) and talks about Supergirl, singing her praises. Supergirl herself patrols the city and does something really cool for a girl being bullied. It’s a nice little series of things that is apparently mostly there for contrast.
Back at CatCo (weird how none of the subsidiary companies seem to have names), things get weird quickly. Cat demands to know where her “computer droid” is, so Kara goes looking. This is how she finds out about Winn and Siobhan’s office…. romance? Affair? Whatever you want to call it. This is followed up by Kara talking to James about his breakup with Lucy. In the grand tradition of CW and WB shows, James decides he’s not sharing most of what happened with Kara. It’s somewhat understandable, but isn’t going to make anything any easier.
Out at the DEO, Alex and Kara gossip a bit about James’ break up. Alex urges Kara to not let this opportunity slide by. They get a visit from Senator Crane, now a strong supporter of the DEO, and apparently very fond of one of their agents. While there, they get word of a trapped fireman on a roof. Supergirl to the rescue! Unfortunately, what should be a simple scenario is complicated when another piece of the Super-mythos shows up: Red Kryptonite. Green K kills, Red K has randomly unpredictable effects on Kryptonians. This time out, they seem to be borrowing heavily from Superman III.
The next morning, Kara wakes up acting oddly, including a wardrobe make-over that literally turns head at work the next day. She also coldly beats Siobhan to the draw doing some tasks for Cat and gloats about her victory, very unlike her. Kara gets increasingly snarky as the episode goes, with just about everyone she deals with.
The DEO is on the trail of yet another alien escapee, a Khund that is helping rob armored cars. Khunds are sort of the DC Universe version of Klingons, a warrior race that really enjoys fighting. This one has some obvious cybernetic enhancement. Kara’s handling of the fight and the aftermath is a real clear indication that all is not well with Kara.
Back at CatCo, Kara’s new attitude meets with some mixed reactions. Cat seems to revel in confusing people, and her reactions are rarely what I’d expect. Kara continues to be mean and cold and this has some repercussions for some of her co-workers. I suspect this will help set up something a lot of have been expecting since we first learned one of their names. After a really embarrassing, bordering on abusive, scene at a club, Cat phones James and asks for a meeting with Supergirl.
That meeting goes horribly wrong. Kara crosses the line from bitchy to criminal in this scene, and it has a lot of bad after effects. Her reputation in the city nosedives, and there are a lot of scenes of public sentiment turning against her. This episode, if the writers are at all decent, is going to have a lot of long-term echoes.
James and Winn go out to the DEO and everyone compares notes. They all agree that Kara is acting nuts. Max Lord comes in (apparently the DEO is as hard to break into as STAR Labs on Flash) and we learn what happened with the Red K. Max wasn’t actually after Supergirl this time. Just like in Superman III, there was an attempt to synthesize Kryptonite, and, also like the movie, it didn’t work right and made the Kryptonian in question start acting like a jerk. Max tries to come up with a cure.
Supergirl has several ugly scenes with more of her friends. Then, changing into a black body suit like Allura’s group, Supergirl goes on a rampage through National City. It’s an ugly scene that forces one of the DEO agents to make a decision that really changes the status quo of large parts of the show. Kara makes a tearful recovery, and tries to patch things up with Cat Grant later. She also tries to follow up on things with James, but he cuts her off and leaves. I don’t know what’s planned for next episode, but it’s going to be a while before Supergirl is looked on the same way.
What I liked: The scene near the end that’s going to change the DEO was a long time coming. Someone finally stopped being selfish with their secret. Cat is a mature, stable influence on the show for all her unpredictability. She’s one of my favorite characters on the show. Max actually tried to the right thing, although he really needs to make up his mind which side he’s on.
What I didn’t: So much of this plot was borrowed from Superman III. It felt like the writers took a lazy shortcut. There’s a scene of “bad” Kara in a bar that’s almost exactly like one from the movie with her cousin. How did Max Lord know where to find the DEO? Did they bring him there in an open car and give him a tour?
This is a show that’s going to change a lot on the series. I give them points for being brave enough to do that. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5. It would be higher if it hadn’t “borrowed” so much from the movie.