Season 3 of The CW’s Supergirl has finally arrived, and we couldn’t have asked for a more intense and emotional opener than this! Supergirl is having an identity crisis as she grieves Mon-El after sending him away for his own safety at the end of last season. She renounces Kara Danvers and her human heart, embracing her Kryptonian side and her role as Supergirl full-on. Welcome to Season 3, Episode 1, “Girl of Steel.”
**THIS IS A RECAP – SPOILERS ARE PART OF THE TERRITORY.**
S3, EP. 1 – THE RECAP
- The episode opens in a field of tall grass. Kara wanders in a beautiful white dress and happens upon Mon-El, with whom she shares a kiss. She then sees a woman in blue. It’s her mother, Alura (Erica Durance). They share a hug before Supergirl snaps out of it. Supergirl is actually mid-air above National City, daydreaming while out on patrol. She shuts off her feelings and listens for danger below.
- Supergirl is drawn to the sound of a police car chase. Alex and Maggie are chasing a truck. Supergirl succeeds in stopping the truck and saving Maggie, Alex, and a nearby family from getting hit, but the mercenary (David St. Louis) in the truck gets away. Not before Supergirl flings him through the air, but still.
- [CUE DARKER, MORE INTENSE SUPERGIRL LOGO]
- Supergirl shows up to the DEO with the merc’s blood on her hand, she gives Winn a sample so that they can test it and find out his identity. Despite all her friends calling her saving people a win, Supergirl is being really hard on herself, saying “it’s not a win ’til they’re behind bars.” Meanwhile, Alex reminds her that she and Maggie are having a tasting of food for their wedding that she’s inviting Kara to, but Supergirl says that she’ll likely be busy. As she leaves, Alex laments Kara’s deep sadness and the fact that she’s become so cold and emotionally distant. J’onn reminds her that “grief has no timeline.”
- Jimmy and Lena are at a meeting of the heads of all of National City’s major corporations, hosted by Morgan Edge (Adrian Pasdar). While Edge is trying to push the CEOs to support his development of the National City waterfront, which would of course displace the homeless and price out the non-wealthy. Lena and Jimmy have each others’ backs in bringing up, you know, human decency, but Edge isn’t having it. (PS – whatever happened to Maxwell Lord?)
- At CatCo, Kara watches the news as Cat Grant is giving a press conference as the new Press Secretary for the White House. Kara and Jimmy marvel at how “nice” CatCo is going to be with both Cat and Snapper gone. During their daily assignment meeting, when James brings up the fact that Kara owes him a one-on-one with Supergirl in conjunction with the upcoming Supergirl statue unveiling at the waterfront, Kara gets defensive, grits her teeth, and promises him the piece very reluctantly. After the meeting, when he tries to talk to her about her new attitude, Edge is on the news giving a press conference of his own. He intends on buying CatCo. I guess he was tired of CatCo writing negatively about him and his company. #fakenews
- Kara goes to Lena at her L Corp office to ask her to talk to Edge and convince him not to buy CatCo. Lena agrees, but when she tries to make social plans with Kara, Kara leaves abruptly. She’s definitely not been a good brunch buddy lately.
- Team Supergirl is at the alien dive bar complaining about Kara’s new coldness and how she seems to have given up on her life as Kara Danvers. While J’onn still advises being patient with her, Alex is increasingly less patient. She goes to the jukebox to put a song in, and Maggie follows. They talk about their upcoming wedding, and Alex seems hesitant about the tasting and the big plans they need to make. Maggie gets a little miffed about that.
- Later, back at the DEO, the team gets the results of the blood test on the merc’s blood. His name is Robert DuBois (A.K.A. “Bloodsport”). He’s ex-military, and they’ve tracked him to the Fort Harrison military base. Supergirl immediately flies off to find him.
- When she arrives at the base, she finds a dead soldier and a warehouse she can’t see into, as if it’s made of lead. She enters and, at first, sees nothing. Suddenly, she’s shot with a heavy orange beam out of nowhere. A cloaked Daxumite ship appears, and Bloodsport gets out of it, running off.
- Supergirl hears James’ signal watch and comes racing over to CatCo, only to find out that James called her in as her boss at CatCo, not for a Supergirl-related emergency. Kara is furious, but James insists that she needs to remember that she has a life outside of being Supergirl. This pisses Kara off immensely, and she decides that if dividing her time up between Kara and Supergirl is the problem, then she’d rather dump Kara. She quits CatCo and storms out.
- At the DEO, Winn has discovered that Bloodsport not only has Daxumite ship and its cloaking technology, but he’s been stealing high-pressure regulators which, when combined with the cloaking makes him undetectable by anything, allowing him to stage an attack from “out of nowhere.”
- Lena visits Edge to try and convince him to invest his money in the waterfront, rather than spending it to buy CatCo, but Edge has other plans. Not only does he want to print stories that shine a favorable light on him and his company, but he also wants to be able to remind National City that Lena is a Luthor, smearing the name of his competition. Lena leaves, angry, and DuBois enters. Bloodsport works for Edge!
- Alex goes to Kara’s apartment, because Jimmy told her that Kara quit. Alex finally lets loose about how upset she’s been by how cold and detached Kara has become. Kara is equally furious. She’s come to hate her human persona, and has decided to toss the whole thing. No more Kara Danvers, only Supergirl. “Kara Danvers sucks right now,” she says. And when Alex gives her permission to be broken, she says “That’s what humans do, and I’m better than that.” Eventually, they get “down to business” long enough for Alex to tell Kara about the fact that Bloodsport could be planning an attack on the waterfront during the unveiling of the “Girl of Steel” statue, and that J’onn wants them all there. Supergirl says she’ll be there. Before she leaves, Alex tells her that Kara Danvers is her favorite person who has saved her more times than Supergirl ever has, and that Kara should think about that before she gets rid of her.
- At the statue unveiling, Supergirl and J’onn are on a nearby roof keeping an eye out on the crowd as Alex and Maggie monitor things on the ground. J’onn tries to talk to Supergirl about how she’s been feeling lately, saying that she seems to be “courting emptiness lately, and that’s not you.” Supergirl asks him about how he’s handled the loss in his life, and he reminds her that Kara has helped him through some of his most painful moments. He insists she isn’t broken.
- Meanwhile, on the ground below, a woman named Sam (Odette Annable) and her young daughter Ruby (Emma Tremblay) accidentally bump into Alex before going closer to the stage to watch the statue unveiling. Over their coms, Alex and Maggie address why Alex has been so resistant to wedding planning lately. Alex reveals that she’s really sad that her father won’t be able to be there to walk her down the aisle, so a big wedding doesn’t feel right. Maggie reminds her that they have a chosen family of wonderful people who will make their day special. Cute couple moment, which Winn overhears.
- Lena is introduced to the podium, and she introduces the Girl of Steel statue. Just as it’s unveiled, there’s an explosion, and no one can see where the blasts are coming from. Team Supergirl tries to figure it out, and Supergirl realizes that they’re coming from underwater, because the regulators allow the cloaking technology to work in low altitudes. She dives underwater.
- Underwater, Supergirl discovers Bloodsport’s submarine. As she tries to budge it, she is hit with a missile, and for a moment appears to be unconscious. As she can’t breathe underwater, this looks like the end.
- Meanwhile, in the commotion and explosions on the waterfront, a lighting rig falls on Ruby. Sam panics and runs to save her. At first she screams for help in lifting the rig off her daughter, she realizes that she’s crushing the metal she’s holding, and is effortlessly able to lift it off her. Sam seems shocked by this, but she’s grateful that her daughter is safe.
- Back underwater, an unconscious Kara is jolted conscious by the thought of Mon-El screaming “Wake up!” This seems to be just the inspiration she needs to stop another missile from leaving the sub, then hoisting it up over her head and carrying it up out of the water. Supergirl saves the day again.
- Later, Kara goes to Lena’s office, because Lena wanted to tell her that, rather than allowing Edge to buy CatCo, she bought CatCo! And she wants Kara’s advice and expertise on how to run it. However, Kara tells her that she just quit CatCo. As Lena is trying to convince her to change her mind, Edge shows up full of threats for Lena. Kara leaves the office, but then returns through the window as Supergirl with threats for Edge.
- Supergirl takes Edge somewhere high up off the ground to let him know that she knows that he was behind Bloodsport’s attack, because he’d benefit the most from a demolished waterfront. “National City is my town,” she says. “And now you have all my attention.” She leaves him there with no way of getting down. As she flies off, we go underwater again, and we see…a Kryptonian pod?
- At the DEO, Alex asks J’onn to walk her down the aisle at her wedding, since he’s always been like a father to her. He accepts and starts crying, which makes Alex all weepy, and she says “Don’t cry. If you start crying, then I’m gonna start crying, and then everyone’s gonna know that we can cry…” They’re such softies.
- Alone in her apartment, Kara realizes that she does need to “Wake up!” as she looks at old photos of her and Mon-El. She texts Jimmy to let him know that she’ll be in to work the next day, and he responds with a heart emoji. Kara then goes to the alien dive bar to meet up with the gang for drinks. Kara Danvers, it seems, is back.
- We get one last glimpse of Alura in the field, but suddenly her face turns awful, and she roars. We’re then with Sam, as if she’s waking up from a nightmare. It seems that Sam is connected to Krypton somehow.
S3, EP. 1 – THE REVIEW
To quote another show I’m loving this year, holy mother-forking shirtballs, you guys! This season of Supergirl has hit the ground running with one of the most emotionally intense episodes to date, due almost entirely to Melissa Benoist’s beautifully calibrated and flawless performance as Kara. I’ve praised her work before, but this was some next-level stuff on display here, which is great, considering that the whole story was dependent on the fact that we needed to buy into Kara’s complete 180 personality-wise.
The episode’s title, “Girl of Steel,” makes total sense in that we are seeing the most hardened Kara we’ve ever encountered. We’ve certainly had Angry Kara, Branwashed Kara, and Deeply Sad Kara, but this was something new: Numb Kara. This is really the first time we’ve watched her actively excise her human heart and embrace her Supergirl alienness so completely. It was kind of terrifying to watch, actually. It was shocking and heartbreaking to see the character who’s usually a light for others have her own light go so resolutely out. And by her own choice. This episode really allowed us to feel how important the members of Team Supergirl are to each other, because we know know what the absence of that cohesion feels like. Let’s never fight again!
In addition to the wonderful Kara character development, I love the direction in which the show seems to be going. Supergirl has always embraced the political, and I love that Edge, who is shaping up to be the season’s “big bad” (who’s way more menacing than Maxwell Lord ever was), allows the show to get into issues of inequality that go beyond gender. One of the things I used to love about Arrow way back in the day was that it wrestled with things like economic inequality head-on. It’s nice to see that on Supergirl, and I love that Lena and Jimmy are becoming champions of justice in that way.
I was excited by the news that Odette Annable was cast this season to play Reign, so that was a bit of a spoiler alert. However, I still love how she was introduced, as a seemingly normal mother with her daughter at a public event. I love that “Sam” is wrestling with things that she didn’t even know about herself, like her power, or the visions of Alura in her dreams. I can’t wait to see how this unfolds, and how Sam will come into her Worldkiller power!
Lastly, I need to give a shout-out to how adorable Alex and Maggie continue to be. I love that their marriage is on track, and I love that they have such a strong and healthy relationship where they, you know, talk about stuff.
This was some of the strongest writing and acting that the show has seen in a long time, and I’m thrilled to embark on another season with this show. What did you think? Were you into “Girl of Steel?” Let’s chat about it in the comments below!
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8PM ET/PT on The CW.
(image: The CW)
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