Supergirl’s season five has been the weakest so far with a lot of flaws and some really irksome characters. One of them, Andrea Rojas, has been a workplace adversary for Kara Danvers since she bought CatCo and upended the standards of excellence that place used to have. Now, we see a lot more of her background and her earlier friendship with Lena in “Confidence Women.” That’s usually a phrase meaning some kind of con artist, and that doesn’t quite apply here, but it’s close on a few points. This is one of their better episodes, and most of the major characters are either in secondary roles or not around. What that says about the show at this point is open to debate.
The episode opens at the DEO, where the “secret” organization brings in yet another guest, reporter William Dey. He’s there to learn more about the condition of Rip Roar, formerly Dey’s best friend, because, as usual on this show, sentiment overrules tactics and security concerns. After most of the heroes talk a lot, Acrata makes her debut, teleporting around after killing the lights. They battle to something of a draw before she teleports away. Desperate, Andrea goes to Lena with a startling request. Things are definitely still cool between the former friends. It’s not quite as bad as it first sounded, but Lena still refuses to help. An exchange between the two triggers the flashbacks that make up the majority of the show.
We see the two meet up for the first time fifteen years ago at a boarding school, both left alone on Visiting Day. Talk about parents leads to going out for the night and some underage drinking. They talk about their plans for the future. For Andrea, it’s making her family company better; for Lena, it’s her lifelong dream and important quest (that we’ve somehow never heard about) to acquire a special magic medallion her mother used to talk about. Five years ago, there’s a short scene that shows the start of Lex Luthor’s obsession with Superman, and Lena being appalled by it.
At around the same time, from what we can gather, Andrea goes home for a visit and gets some bad news from her father about the company. It’s interesting to me because it mentions KORD Industries, which at least strongly implies that Ted Kord is on both Earth-38 and Earth-1 in the Arrow-verse. The only other character on both Earths is Batman, and both of those characters are non-powered, hand to hand fighters with a lot of tech. I’m not sure if that means anything, but I’m really curious about it. It’s also interesting that, while both characters and their companies have been discussed, neither character has appeared on any of the shows.
Lena and Andrea meet up to swap their bad news. By some wild coincidence, the earlier mentioned medallion might be what Lena needs to stop Lex’s dastardly plan. Following some vague clues, the two team up to go play Indiana Jones, although Lena’s outfit is a more modest Lara Croft, sharing quotes from their favorite movie. The pair, flanked by some native guides who never do anything or say a word, follow the clues and then Andrea falls down a hole. Naturally, it’s not just a hole, it’s the entrance to the mystical place where the medallion is. Somehow, while Lena is getting rope to rescue her friend, Andrea has an unexpected meeting with someone down there. As a result, she betrays Lena and lies about it.
As soon as Andrea has agreed to her little devil’s deal, everything in her life gets better, including a disaster for KORD that puts her family’s Obsidian Tech back on top. Moving on to four years ago, Lex gets arrested for his rampage through Metropolis, and Lena gets a scene with her boyfriend Jack Spheer (Rahul Kohi, AKA Ravi from the late, lamented iZombie). Being rich, they decide to go to London for drinks. Lena runs across Andrea, and accidentally discovers her friend’s betrayal, I guess the beginning of the theme of her not being able to trust people. It’s not a pretty scene.
Some two months later, still reeling from the discovery, Lena leaves Metropolis and Jack behind to go to National City and start over. As her life hits a low point, Andrea’s looks up when she meets Russell Rogers in a much different manner than you’d have thought. Moving the time to three years earlier, we see Lena trying to stick by her “no friends” guns, despite Kara’s best and earnest efforts. Andrea and Russell’s anniversary hits a few snags, one being an “unidentified vegan restaurant” and the other being her debt being called in. For her first mission, she doesn’t exactly get an easy one, although apparently this version of Acrata has more powers than her comic book counterpart. Back in National City, Lena’s resolve finally crumbles as she starts getting more friendly with Kara over appetizers.
Disaster strikes in London when Russell’s concern for Andrea leads to snooping and an accidental discovery that changes both their lives forever. Things are looking dark, but they can always get worse, as twelve weeks ago, Lex tells Lena Kara’s big secret. With a few more minor time jumps, this leads to Lena selling CatCo, as we’ve seen before, and an uneasy partnership between the two former friends. All of this finally brings us back to the present, with Andrea needing Lena’s help to rescue Rip Roar/Russell from the DEO.
A desperate Andrea pleads and shows what the medallion can do. Citing her recent (and bizarre and contradictory) “People shouldn’t hurt each other” philosophy, Lena agrees and the two come up with a plan. At the DEO, Alex goes to the vault for some Cadmus tech she apparently just remembered while Supergirl tries to connect with Russell under the Rip Roar persona. Russell finally emerges long enough to give at least a name for the heroes to look into. Lena and Andrea launch their plan, which is reasonably clever if you ignore some improbable tech, and manage to get Supergirl away from the DEO long enough to Acrata to start wreaking havoc and Alex to realize something’s very, very wrong.
The fight itself is weird, as DEO agents are turned against each other, Acrata demonstrates a truly unlikely level of superhuman strength, and an unexpected ally shows up. In the end, the bad guys get away and the heroes try and figure out what just happened. Lena makes a surprising demand in return for her help, although I’m not quite sure why Andrea honors it. Lena enforces her demand with some real villain tactics, and Andrea gives in, warning Lena it’s a curse. The heroes regroup and share the one piece of intel they managed to get from all this, and try and figure out who they are fighting. Andrea and Russell/Rip Roar’s great escape goes awry as Andrea is reminded of what she owes to who, and gets told something new about her power. The show ends with Lena taking another trip down Memory Lane and then giving some troubling orders to her new assistant.
What I liked: They told a good story, which is job one. The arc of Lena and Andrea’s friendship worked. The plan to hit the DEO was a decent one, and at least the heroes gained a clue.
What I didn’t: The bit with Andrea down the hole didn’t make a lot of sense. The people she’s dealing with are terrifyingly well-informed, but they’re not supposed to be magic or superhuman. Lena’s gadget at the DEO raid didn’t make a lot of sense. With all the scenes and tales of Lena’s earlier life, we’re just now hearing about this medallion?
It was better than much of the season, and even had some good moments. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.