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Supergirl Recap: “Fight or Flight”


Bulletproof dress, she said. Yeah, except for all the SKIN SHOWING. Dammit, Alex.

This week’s episode of Supergirl finds Kara asserting her independence and determined to carve out her own identity. It also prominently features a certain Man-of-Steel-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named … except for in this episode, when he’s named all over the damn place. Welcome to Episode Three, “Fight or Flight!”


S1, Episode 2 – The Basics

  • We start where we left off in the last episode: with Cat interviewing Kara Supergirl. At first, you’re like OMG, CAT GRANT TOTALLY KNOWS IT’S KARA! But then they keep talking and you realize, Wait, she doesn’t know? HOW COULD SHE NOT KNOW?! Seriously. This girl is in your grill EVERY DAY. Still, Kara answers some questions, and accidentally blurts out that Superman is her cousin. Oopsie!
  • Later, at a cafe with Alex, Kara is being reprimanded for the slip-up when James “The Grown Man” Olsen struts up making a joke about tea and causing Kara to lose her dorky shit. After his drive-by charming, Alex is all, You like him. And Kara’s all No I don’t! *snort* *snort* *huge grin* *giggle* The girl talk stops abruptly when the news comes up on a screen in the cafe with the breaking news that Supergirl is Superman’s cousin. Dammit, Cat!
  • Back at CatCo, Cat is determined to write a Supergirl exposé herself for a special edition of her magazine, and it’s totally just like riding a bicycle. Except no, it’s not, because she’s freaking out and making everyone miserable—especially Dave, the random redheaded employee whose hair bothers her, so she tells Kara to move him to a different desk.
Kara, I can only write a story if i have complete silence and my coffee includes milk from an angel's breast. Fetch! Go, go!

Kara, I can only write a story if i have complete silence and my coffee includes milk from an angel’s breast. Fetch! Go, go!

  • And we finally get a glimpse of this week’s villain—a vaguely Iron Man-looking dude in a creepy junkyard. Supergirl’s face comes up on the television he’s watching, and he BLASTS IT WITH BLASTS OF BLASTINESS. So … he’s not Supergirl’s biggest fan.
  • Meanwhile, at the DEO, Hank “Curmudgeon” Henshaw is pretty peeved that Kara ended up on the news as Superman’s cousin. “What’s next? A reality show? Keeping Up with the Kryptonians?” However, once word comes in about a car pile-up, Supergirl races off to save people. Ain’t nobody got time for lectures, Henshaw. There’s hero-ing to be done!
  • Supergirl arrives at the scene of the pile-up and saves a trapped bus driver. YAY! But then the villain shows up and blasts her with blasty-blasts again. BOO. Eventually, the charge on the…reactor on his chest shorts out, and he flies away.
  • Aaaand, the villain is Reactron (Chris Browning). The DEO tells Kara that Reactron was an enemy of Superman’s who showed up in Metropolis years ago after Superman stopped a nuclear reactor from exploding, but couldn’t save his wife from death. He’s tried and failed to kill Superman, and now he wants to kill someone close to Superman to make him feel the pain he feels. So, he’s in National City specifically to kill Kara, because…well, he now knows that they’re family. So that whole “telling Cat Grant” thing? Yeah, you can see why that wasn’t a great idea. Dammit, Kara!
Maybe she'll like me more if I do my best impression of the Eleventh Doctor...

Maybe she’ll like me more if I do my best impression of the Eleventh Doctor…

  • Back at CatCo, Cat is still super stressed out about her article, and she’s stressing Kara out planning a party to celebrate the issue. But Winn actually manages to cheer Kara up, having snagged an empty office in the building that no one wants because someone died in it, and appropriating it as their Super-Secret Supergirl Office. It’s actually a pretty sweet set-up, complete with state-of-the-art computer equipment. Winn is feeling pretty good about himself. That is, until Jimmy starts showing off in front of Kara. Oh, and he also blurt’s out Superman’s first name, allowing Winn to figure out his secret identity and geek out over the fact that Clark Kent is Superman. Dammit, Jimmy!
  • Thesis statement of the episode: “If I’m going to be defined, it’s going to be by my victories and my losses. No one else’s.”
  • Cut to: Maxwell Lord at Lord Technologies. OK, so I’ll be honest – I know he’s kind of a douche, but I kind of developed a crush on Maxwell Lord right from that first scene, where they’re making last minute changes to a new Maglev train they’re building, and Lord asks them to make it go 100 mph faster than it does now, and the scientist dude is like, We can’t. We don’t have enough time, and then Lord proceeds to explain exactly how it could be done and then fires the dude in the most badass way possible? Not gonna lie—kinda hot. Smart dudes who are kinda full of themselves are my Kryptonite. It’s the very worst.
  • Anyway—I got distracted there, sorry—Reactron shows up at Lord Technologies looking for someone who knows about nuclear fission and Lord saves his employee by asserting his own superior intelligence so that Reactron takes him instead. He manages to make being arrogant heroic. His mind-control powers must already be working, because damn. I wanna be his Maxwell Lady.
Winn, are YOU going to help Kara find that angel breast milk for my coffee?

Winn, are YOU going to help Kara find that angel breast milk for my coffee?

In non-Maxwell Lord-related news, Supergirl is on the case! She makes finding Reactron a priority, and Alex arrives at the CatCo office to help, despite not really being allowed to. Team Supergirl rushes to the Super-Secret Supergirl Office where Alex tells them Reactron’s identity, Ben Krull, and they talk about the fact that he blames Superman for the death of his wife.

Back at the creepy junkyard, Reactron is forcing Maxwell Lord to fix his nuclear fission suit. Dammit, Reactron!

And as I discussed in the last episode of House of El, Cat Grant explicitly harshes on millennials, having written in her Supergirl article, “Every generation gets the hero it deserves” and calling Supergirl entitled. Kara tries to express “Supergirl’s” point of view, but then Jimmy gets Kara out of the meeting to tell her where to find Maxwell Lord. He wants her to simply save Lord and leave, but she’s determined to take Reactron down for good, saying that if talking to him is ineffective, “I’ll just punch him in the face real hard until he falls down. That always seems to work.”

At the junkyard, Supergirl saves Lord and fights Reactron. Reactron comes very close to gaining the upper hand, but then look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a cousin who arrives to save Kara as she slips out of consciousness.

Kara wakes up at home with Alex, and when she remembers that Superman saved her, she’s not happy. Jimmy arrives to check on her, and she deduces that he must have alerted Clark, forcing him to reveal HIS SIGNAL WATCH. (I’m not the only one who’s been waiting for that, right?) But Kara is not impressed with fancy-schmancy signal watches. She’s pissed that Jimmy doesn’t trust her enough to let her handle the situation on her own. At least, that’s how she sees it. Jimmy, meanwhile, is sorry that he called Supes, but he’s “not sorry [she’s] still alive.” Kara sends him off. She then remembers she has Cat’s Supergirl Exposé Party to get to, but doesn’t have time to change (um, even though she can fly and is apparently “faster than a speeding bullet?” But whatever. Details.) So Alex lends her a bulletproof dress, which would be awesome if it didn’t leave her entire back exposed. Like the Sontarans on Doctor Who, she has to face her enemies at all times.

OK, I'll dance with you. But this doesn't mean I "like-you, like-you" Nice Guy Schott.

OK, I’ll dance with you. But this doesn’t mean I “like you like you,” Nice Guy Schott.

  • At the party, Winn saves Kara from Cat as she’s getting reprimanded for forgetting copies of the celebrated magazine issue, and so Kara repays Winn with a dance. And for some reason, everyone at this party is expert at ballroom dancing. It’s kinda weird. But among the dancers is my favorite pretentious smarty-pants, Maxwell Lord, who’s getting his flirt on with Cat, with whom he clearly has a history. Cat knows what’s up, and she’s totally into it, but she also plays hard to get, and after some really hot banter, she makes a pretty fly exit. *mic drop*
  • At the DEO, Alex is helping Kara on the sneak. Or so she thinks until Hank happens upon her. What’s weird is that, before confronting her, his eyes were glowing red again, and he said “Alex.” in a really weird way. What the hell is going on? Anyway, he agrees to allow Alex to continue helping Kara.
  • Back at the party, Jimmy totally cock-blocks Winn by cutting in on his dance with Kara, and she and Jimmy have a pretty intense Moment as he reveals his vulnerability to her. That is, until Reactron shows up to ruin everything again. Kara gets her Supergirl garb on, and the fight begins! At first, she’s getting her ass handed to her again, but then Jimmy uses himself as bait, telling Reactron that as Superman’s best friend, Superman would be extremely hurt.
  • With the time that Jimmy has bought her, Kara hears from the DEO, and is told that removing the core from Reactron’s reactor will stop him, but it needs to be covered in lead once it’s removed. Otherwise, KABOOM. So, Kara melts a statue with her heat vision and coats her hand in the melted lead. She finds Reactron, removes the core, and wraps her hand around it, saving the day.


  • Afterwards, Kara finds Jimmy and tells him that he could’ve been killed. But he says, “No. I knew you’d save the day.” Awwww.
  • The next day at CatCo, hopped up on the night before, Kara rushes into Jimmy’s office about to ask him out. But he’s got company. Lucy Lane (Jenna Dewan Tatum), who has a romantic history with Jimmy. *sigh* This had better not lead to another love triangle. There are too many damn love shapes going on. So now, Kara’s all mopey face, because she may have missed her Asking Jimmy Out window, and Winn is all mopey face because she wants Jimmy instead of him.
  • At least Kara has her cousin to cheer her up. Clark IMs her, and they have a really sweet exchange of support and Kryptonian family love.
  • Later, Alex and Kara have a girls night in to celebrate Kara’s recent victory. This episode’s Requisite Pop Song? “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” They have a lovely sisterly moment – and apparently, they’re both big fans of Homeland.

Supergirl Ep 3 - Fight or Flight 14

The Review Bit, Wherein I Express OPINIONS:

This was the best episode of Supergirl yet! Finally, I think the show is really finding its groove, and has found a nice balance between the weekly villain and the larger story and character arcs.

The writers did a wonderful job incorporating Superman while still keeping the story firmly centered around Kara, and having Reactron’s origin story be tied to Superman gave the story more gravity than the previous two villains had. Reactron’s pursuit was connected directly to Kara’s desire for independence and the right to figure out her own hero style, and the IM chat between Kara and Clark at the end of the episode was really sweet, well done, and true to both characters. It was a really nice moment.

There were several nice moments; many of them due to Melissa Benoist’s performance. In this episode, I really noticed the difference in her voice between when she’s Kara and when she’s Supergirl. When she’s Supergirl, she’s all confidence and strength, and her voice is forceful and unwavering. When she’s Kara, she’s a big ol’ dork, and whether she’s flustered (or heartbroken) over Jimmy, or having girl time with Alex, her dorkiness is not only charming, but real. Benoist is playing this character like a person, not like a comic book character, and it’s lovely to watch.

The entire cast is growing into their roles. For the first time, Jeremy Jordan’s Winn, while still annoying in a “Nice Guy” way, didn’t feel creepy and weird. He was understandable, and there were real feelings under his creation of the secret office, his dance with Kara, and his reaction to finding out that Clark Kent is Superman. Mehcad Brooks’ Jimmy Olsen has also gotten stronger with every episode, and I was glad to see him drop the “suave” this episode and show some vulnerability. But Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant was amazing this week as she expertly balanced humor, snark, and an underlying (if begrudging) respect for Supergirl. And I loved the scene between Kara and Alex at the end. Their relationship continues to be my favorite on the show.

The one problem? I’m already sick of this love triangle business. I hope Kara gets over Jimmy, becomes BFFs with Lucy Lane, and meets and dates Braniac 5.

Now, if only people could STOP BLURTING OUT IMPORTANT SECRETS, that would be great.

Tell me what you thought of “Fight or Flight” in the comments!

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

(Images via Warner Bros. Television)

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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.