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Supergirl Recap: “Stronger Together”


All black again? You really need to rethink your DEO wardrobe.

All black again? You really need to rethink your DEO wardrobe.

And we’re off! Sure, we had the pilot last week, but we’ve had the pilot forever. This is the real deal—the official beginning of Supergirl as a series. This week’s episode finds Kara figuring out how to do the superhero thing without making things worse and fighting a really formidable foe. Also, there’s a completely inconsequential Hellgrammite. Welcome to Episode Two, “Stronger Together!”

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Who needs superpowers when you've got tickets to the Gun Show?

Who needs superpowers when you’ve got tickets to the Gun Show?

S1, Episode 2 – The Basics

  • All Kara wants is for people to trust her, and it’s really hard for her to believe they do when they’re making her fly laps while dodging missiles around a DEO training facility, but Hank Henshaw is all business and wants to be absolutely sure of Kara’s abilities. So no, he really doesn’t have time to banter about nicknames. But, as Kara says, not to worry, they’ll “find their thing.” Alex tries to reassure Kara that he, like her, only have Kara’s best interests at heart, but Kara is chomping at the bit to be a hero. So, the second Winn contacts her with a problem to solve, she’s up, up, and away!
  • That problem is a fire at a pier. The fire is near a parked oil tanker and spreading fast. If it gets to the tanker—KABOOM! And apparently, the tugboat won’t get there in time. My question is, where the hell did the tugboat go? And why isn’t there more than one? What kind of shoddy shipping operation are they running in National City?! This isn’t a job for Supergirl, it’s a job for a decent office manager with a spreadsheet! ANYwho, Kara—who clearly never got a lesson on fire safety in elementary school. I guess they don’t have fire safety on Krypton—tries BLOWING ON THE FIRE. Girl, this isn’t a match or a birthday candle. THE PIER IS ON FIRE, AND BLOWING ON THE FLAME WILL JUST SET SOMETHING ELSE ON FIRE. After rightfully getting called out on that boo-boo, she moves the tanker away from the fire. YAY. But she grips it too hard, tearing a hole in the hull and causing an oil spill. BOO.
So many monitors, so little time...

So many monitors, so little time…

  • Kara goes in to work at CatCo, which seems like such a comedown compared to being a superhero. Then again, the worst thing she could screw up here is a lunch order, so…yay work? Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli), rich dude whose opinion people care about for some reason, is on TV talking smack about Supergirl. This displeases Kara, but Winn is too busy being a Lord fanboy to care much. Cat calls a meeting, and she’s disappointed that, not only is Supergirl screwing up all over the place (Cat toys with a new hashtag: #TerribleGirl), but that the Daily Planet has got more Supergirl coverage. Cat wants to scoop the Planet on an interview with Supergirl, and she encourages Jimmy to use his relationship with Superman (I’m just gonna use his name, because damn) to try and get it—Cat’s a smart cookie, and knows they must be connected somehow. Meanwhile, Kara knows that Cat is a smart cookie, which is why she doesn’t want to give an interview. Because who’d be fooled by glasses as a disguise, amirite? Howevver, Jimmy brings up an excellent point. It’s not about glasses or a disguise. Clark Kent gets away with glasses as a disguise, because no one sees Clark. Cat doesn’t really see Kara. No one can truly believe there’s a hero in their midst. (By the way, this entire Kara/Jimmy convo was super-flirty. Get it, Kara!)
  • Meanwhile, at a random chemical company called Plastino Chemicals, a security guard has an unfortunate encounter with an intruder (Justice Leak). It’s—wait for it—jaw-dropping. (I’m sorry. I had to. Clearly I have a problem. I need help!) The next day, the DEO is investigating, and Alex asks Kara to join in. And it’s a good thing she did, because thanks to a well-timed flashback where Alura tells Young Kara that she recently put a Hellgrammite in Fort Rozz, Kara is able to tell the DEO that the intruder’s species is Hellgrammite. Which is really weird, because in the comics, Hellgrammite is just one dude with bug powers.
Supergirl - Stronger Together 4

My mom told me what that thing is in a flashback. I’ve got this.

  • Back at the DEO headquarters, Alex trains Kara in a kryptonite-lined training area that levels the playing field between them without hurting Kara. And Alex schools her hard. Kara relies too much on her strength, but has no technique when she fights, leaving herself open to having the tables turned on her at any time. Kara’s being made impatient by all this training, but having her ass handed to her by her human sister who’s better-trained allows the idea to sink in.
  • At CatCo, Kara explains her extreme soreness as she hobbles around Cat’s office on a kickboxing class. While serving Cat tea, she notices that their next cover story is all about what a screw-up Supergirl is. She protests, saying that Supergirl is out there saving people, that even Superman made mistakes when he first started superheroing, etc, etc. To that, Cat responds, “Oh, come on. Everybody knows that we have to work twice as hard to be thought of as half as good.” Kara surreptitiously asks Cat for advice to Supergirl, and Cat compares Supergirl’s “career” as a superhero to her own career. Point being, start small and work your way up. Sound advice, Cat, but could you be a little less condescending when you give it? Nope. This is Cat Grant after all. Still, valid.
Let me tell you ANOTHER reason why this Supergirl thing has something to do with stuff that's happened to me.

Let me tell you ANOTHER reason why this Supergirl thing has something to do with stuff that’s happened to me.

  • Kara takes Cat’s advice (and Alex’s advice, and Hank’s advice) to heart, and decides not only to start small and work her way up so that she can get better, but she decides to form Team Supergirl by luring both Jimmy and Winn out to meet her so that they can each know the other knows her secret, and they can both use their skills to help her do her thing. But oh, Winn…you really need to stop trying so hard. You notice how Jimmy barely says anything as you ramble on about your accomplishments in front of Kara? That’s what cool looks like.
  • Meanwhile, we see that the Hellgrammite is reporting to none other than General Astra!
  • Then, in a fun montage set to Pat Benetar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” Jimmy and Winn guide Supergirl through some lower-level situations. Bank robberies, muggings…oh, and a snake in a tree. Typical stuff. (Who names their pet snake Fluffy?! Badass little girls, that’s who!) The three of them actually work really well together. Later, Alex comes over and finds out about Team Supergirl. She doesn’t necessarily approve, but as Kara says—she has a right to have friends. Also, Alex is one to talk about keeping secrets.
I gotta say...the DEO doesn't really think its plans through, does it?

I gotta say…the DEO doesn’t really think its plans through, does it?

  • Later at the DEO, they’ve figured out that the Hellgrammite has been targeting chemical plants where there’s DDT, because it’s food to them. So they hatch a plan to lure the Hellgrammite out into the open via a meal on wheels, aka DDT on a truck.
  • Over at CatCo, Cat still doesn’t have her Supergirl exclusive, and she’s leaning on Jimmy hard. He has 24 hours to produce the interview, or he’s fired. But Jimmy has, you know, integrity, so he doesn’t want to sell out his relationship with Supes for a story…he’s got some thinking to do.
  • Back to DDT on trucks. The DEO lures Hellgrammite out into the open all right. And he proceeds to abduct Alex out of the truck and leap off with her. Great job, Henshaw. He takes Alex to an empty warehouse where she is greeted by Astra, who tells her that she’s not there to kill humanity, but to save it. Coulda fooled us! Alex addresses her as Alura—because twinsies—which tips off Alex’s relationship to Kara.
  • Jimmy’s toward the end of his deadline, and he’s not sure what he wants next as Kara approaches. In the best scene of the episode, Jimmy reveals to Kara that the entire reason he moved to National City in the first place was to be his own man—not merely the Pal of more powerful people. Funny how life works out. Kara comforts him by telling him an alternate meaning for her S-shield. Apparently, the S is a symbol for the House of El’s motto, El Mayara—or Stronger Together. On Krypton, asking and being asked for help is considered an honor. Kara wants Jimmy to let her help him. She wants to do the interview with Cat.
If you wanted to "be your own man," why did you have no problem keeping tabs on me for my cousin?

If you wanted to “be your own man,” why did you have no problem keeping tabs on me for my cousin?

  • And during that lovely moment with Jimmy, Kara gets a phone call from Hank about Alex’s abduction. Kara goes to the DEO to tell Hank off before flying out to find Alex.
  • She does…but it’s a trap! Astra arrives first to appeal to Kara. She tells Kara about how Alura locked her up (supposedly) for trying to “save” Krypton. Now, she wants to “save” Earth in the same way. At first, Kara is taken aback by the family resemblance and by her aunt’s appeal to her Kryptonian heritage. But then she realizes that her aunt doesn’t actually sound like someone who is interested in “saving” anything—at least, not in the way Kara uses the word. They fight, and it’s pretty awesome. And even though Kara gets knocked down—like the Chumbawumba song says—she gets back up again, and ends up using the fight training Alex has been giving her on Astra.
  • The DEO arrives on the scene, and when Astra attacks Hank, Hank injures her with a knife made of kryptonite. Incapacitated, Astra flies off, promising a rematch.
  • Later, at the DEO medical facilities, Alex tells Kara that she’s always believed in her, and Kara has a new mission in finding and stopping her aunt.
  • Oh, and as Hank walks by, we see that he has CYBORG SUPERMAN RED EYES! Honestly, I didn’t think they’d go there this early!
  • And the episode ends with Supergirl lifting Cat Grant’s car (with her in it!) and taking her onto a hill where they can finally speak. Supergirl is doing the interview.
This is what heat vision looks like without CGI.

This is what heat vision looks like without CGI.

The Review Bit, Wherein I Express OPINIONS:

Overall, “Stronger Together” was a solid second episode that I had a lot of fun watching. This show is doing a wonderful job so far of developing the relationships between characters, so I’m finding myself getting increasingly invested.  Calista Flockhart gave a beautifully grounded performance as Cat in this episode, and it’s fun to watch her face dart from handling Kara, to “wanting the story,” to giving semi-maternal advice to Kara/Supergirl. Mehcad Brooks was another standout this week, showing us the deep conflict in Jimmy over having superpowered friends. Kara interacting with each of these characters provided some of the strongest moments in the episode.

But there were also some great superhero/comic book moments, like the training scene between Kara and Alex, and the fight scene Kara has later on with Astra. I love that all the major fights in this episode were between women. And speaking of comic book moments, I was really surprised that they went to the Cyborg Superman place this early, but those red eyes were pretty cool to see.

The one thing I wasn’t crazy about in this episode was the Hellgrammite. He was superfluous—especially since Alex didn’t even need Supergirl to take care of him. With Kara learning how to be a hero and everything going on with Astra, that third “bad guy” feels shoehorned in. And since they decided to make the Hellgrammites a species, rather than having only one villain with a clear motivation come after Supergirl, I wasn’t made to care about him at all, and so he felt like filler.

Still, Episode 2 was a lot of fun! Tell me what you thought of “Stronger Together” in the comments!

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8PM ET/PT on CBS. And for more Supergirl fun, check out The House of El tomorrow, and subscribe to my podcast, Supergirl Radio!

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.

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