This week’s Supergirl was all about Lena. That is, when it wasn’t about…*sniff*…Alex and Maggie. This episode’s title was really, really appropriate, as it reflected not only what enemies can do to each other, but also what two people who love each other can inflict on each other when that love just isn’t enough. Welcome to Season 3, Episode 5, “Damage.”
**THIS IS A RECAP – SPOILERS ARE PART OF THE TERRITORY.**
S3, EP. 5 – THE RECAP
- After they save a hijacked correctional facility bus, Supergirl asks Alex if she’s okay. Something big is happening tomorrow…something that has Alex freaking out.
- The next morning, as Sam drops Ruby off at school, Ruby’s concerned about Sam’s weird freaking out in the bathroom in the previous evening, but Sam assures her that she was just having a bad dream and that she’s fine. As Ruby leaves the car and walks toward the school, a boy named Luke approaches her to talk about studying together when suddenly he collapses and starts seizing. Ruby calls for help.
- At CatCo, James and Lena disagree on the merits of “advertorials,” as Kara enters, pointing out the fact that Morgan Edge is on the news. He’s at Luthor Children’s Hospital surrounded by sick children. What made them sick? Lead poisoning, apparently. Lead poisoning…caused by the lead bomb that Lena used to get rid of the Daxumites that was supposed to be harmless to humans. The truth, according to Edge.
- Over at Alex’s place, she and Maggie are dancing around a topic that they finally get around to. Alex insists that they need to break up. She wants children and Maggie doesn’t, so if that isn’t going to change, they can’t stay together. Maggie needs her to say it, and Alex does: we can’t be together. (WAAAAAAAAH!)
- Lena and Kara go to the hospital, and Lena damn near bum-rushes Edge for coming for her on the news. Edge, who is annoyingly calm, simply says that he’s telling the truth, and that she’s the one who did something that’s killing children. He brings up the “cobra effect,” when India tried to fight its snake problem by offering a reward for dead snakes, which only prompted people to raise snakes for the money, making the snake problem worse. Edge is saying that Lena has done the same by solving the Daxumite problem with a solution that just created a worse problem. Lena has had the wind knocked out of her. She feels really guilty.
- Lena returns to CatCo determined to find out everything she can about the sick children. Despite the fact that Kara believes in her, Lena refuses to think too much on the bright side. They just don’t know if the bomb is the cause of these children’s illnesses or not. James suggests that Lena step down from CatCo, so that they can retain the public’s trust as they report on the goings-on of the investigation. Lena agrees, and does one better: she steps away from L Corp, too. And then, in a beautiful moment of commentary on the Flint, MI water crisis, she says that the most important thing is to put caring for the sick people first, not herself or bureaucracy.
- An angry father arrives at CatCo and confronts Lena with information about his dying son. She tries to comfort him, but he’s not having it. He’s pissed. When he leaves, Lena becomes doubly determined to have CatCo’s best reporter on the case and to hold a press conference where she’ll address people directly. She doesn’t want to hide.
- At her press conference, people are chanting, “Lock her up!” like an image straight out of a Trump supporter handbook. Lena is honest with the crowd, expressing her sorrow over the sick children, and confessing that she just doesn’t know if her bomb is the cause of this sudden sickness or not. Suddenly, a woman with a gun takes aim at Lena. Lena ducks, but James gets shot! Sam rushes to his aid.
- At the DEO, Winn patches James up. He’s fine. As James and Kara talk about Lena, James tries to keep things realistic. Not that he believes Lena is anything like her brother, but that the bomb was designed by Lex. They have to prepare for the possibility that it may be at fault. Winn and Kara go to test the device to see what percentage of lead bonds to humans. It’s supposed to be a fraction of a percent, but now it’s up to 10%. Uh-oh.
- Lena is at Sam’s house, where Sam insists she can stay until all this blows over. Lena worries that Sam is putting herself and Ruby in danger by doing this, but Sam is grateful that Lena gave her a chance to start over with this new job, so she wants to return the favor. That’s what friends are for, after all.
- Alex helps Maggie pack to leave her place, when Maggie suddenly busts out a bottle of alcohol. They share it, start dancing, laughing…and then they have sex.
- Kara shows up at Sam’s to check on Lena, and Ruby and Sam are both out. Lena is drinking, and has completely given up on any hope to clear her name. She wallows in being a Luthor in the most cynical way, and tells Kara that “in the real world,” she will always be despised because she is a Luthor, and that Kara should stop believing in her, because “I’m not worth it.”
- Later, when Lena is asleep on the couch, Sam gets home, and she and Kara do more work on trying to figure out what’s going on. Sam tracked down the addresses of all the sick children. After seeing no connection in the children based on where they live, Kara and Sam “follow the money,” looking at the families’ bank records. It turns out that all these families were recently at an Octoberfest event at a nearby park.
- Alex and Maggie afterglow … but then reality sinks in. Maggie thinks it’s ridiculous that Alex is throwing away their relationship for a “vague notion of being a mom,” but Alex insists that of all the things she’s been uncertain about all her life, including her sexuality, that being a mom is the one thing that’s always been crystal clear. Maggie wishes she could change how she feels about it, but she can’t.
- Sam and Kara investigate the pool at the park. Kara takes a sample of the pool water based on particles she sees in the water with her X-ray vision. She sends the sample to Winn, and he discovers that there’s a synthetic compound in the water that mimics lead and could cause something that looks very much like lead poisoning. On further investigation, Kara and Sam find barrels of chlorine from Acre Lee Chemical, which is where the compound must be stored. Kara calls Lena to tell her that the sick children aren’t her fault. When Kara brings up Acre Lee, however, Lena seems to recognize the name.
- Lena goes to confront Edge. Turns out that Acre Lee is a company that Edge used to own. Lena knows that Edge made those kids sick on purpose just to take her down, and she has every intention of shooting Edge in the face for what he’s done. Before she can pull the trigger, however, she is knocked out from behind.
- Lena regains consciousness on a cargo plane…which is also carrying more barrels from Acre Lee. Edge, along with an accomplice, is flying the plane by remote control. Lena manages to call for help over the plane’s radio before Edge shuts it down. The DEO picks it up and Kara hears it, recognizing Lena’s voice before it cuts out. Supergirl rushes off to save her.
- Edge is attempting to dump the barrels of the synthetic, lead-like compound into National City’s reservoir, which Lena is desperately doing what she can to prevent. Supergirl arrives, and closes the cargo bay door so that the barrels can’t be dropped. Edge sees this and just decides to crash the plane into the reservoir. Supergirl holds the plane up in the air from the inside, forcing the engines to blow. The force splits the plane in half with the barrels in one half, and Lena in the other. She’s having trouble holding on to both.
- Whereas Lena is prepared to sacrifice herself, telling Supergirl to let her go, Supergirl isn’t having it. She orders Lena to climb up to her, and climb Lena does! Supergirl is able to grab her hand and save her as her half of the plane falls into the water. She holds onto the barrel-half of the plane, too, flying both to safety. Meanwhile, Edge kills his accomplice and frames him for the entire thing.
- Supergirl confronts Edge in his office, and Edge makes it clear how he framed that accomplice. He then lectures Supergirl about this “dog eat dog” world we’re living in, and that she shouldn’t be naive enough to leave him alive.
- Lena goes into CatCo and finds James there. She asks him how he’s doing, and he’s recovering nicely. She insists he start calling her Lena, and he says that his friends call him James…or Jimmy! Then Lena says, “Feel better, Jimmy Olsen!”
- In one of the most heartbreakingly good-natured break-ups ever, as Maggie is leaving Alex’s apartment for good, they thank each other for the good things they’ve nurtured in each other’s lives. As Maggie leaves, she says, “You’re going to be a great mom.” Alex is devastated.
- Sam and Kara comfort Lena after everything that’s happened. Lena apologizes for having been difficult, and Kara tells her that there’s no need for an apology. That, “when you’re family, you can say what you need to.” Alex calls Kara, and Kara rushes off.
- Alex is at the alien dive bar drowning her sorrows when Kara arrives. Kara tells Alex to pack a bag, and calls J’onn to let him know that she and Alex won’t be at the DEO for a few days. Then she tells Alex that they’re going to go back to her place so that she can pack a bag. They’re “going home.”
- As Sam puts Ruby to bed, Ruby notices a hole in her shirt. When Sam goes back to the living room and examines the hole, she thinks to look at the blazer she was wearing. There was a similar hole in it, too…along with a used bullet. We see what happened at the press conference again. The shooter’s bullet hit Sam, but ricocheted off her. Whaaaat?
S3, EP. 5 – THE REVIEW
“Damage” got off to a weird start, and if I have one complaint about this episode, it’s that it just started with a random crime that didn’t have anything to do with anything….just so Supergirl could talk to Alex about her love life? The first few scenes of the episode were these clipped, abrupt scenes that didn’t properly build.
That said, once the episode got going with Edge making Lena look bad on the news, it was great. I love that this episode ended up spending a lot of time with these women and their feelings about what’s happening in their lives.
I love Lena, and so I’m always fascinated by how she reconciles her family’s past with her own identity. This examination of Lena and where she stands as a Luthor was bolstered by Katie McGrath’s stunning performance which, to me, was the best she’s given on the show thus far! I’m so glad that, despite everything, and despite Lena attempting to handle Edge “like a Luthor,” Lena remained heroic in this episode. She’s an amazing leader, and when she commits wrongs, she promptly takes responsibility. She is a woman of integrity.
While I’m sad that Alex and Maggie are no longer together (and honestly—this is probably because I myself want children—I can’t understand why Maggie couldn’t come around on the whole kids thing), I thought that their breakup was handled as beautifully as it could have been handled. There can be more women in Alex’s life, and a happy ending for lesbians on TV doesn’t necessarily have to be “happily ever after” with a partner. It can simply be that they’re happy.
I’ve gotta say, though, that I’m kind of over waiting for Sam’s deal to be revealed. This is enough of a slow-burn for the Reign mystery, Show! Let’s get to the Worldkillers!
What did you think? Were you into “Damage?” Let’s chat about it in the comments below!
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8PM ET/PT on The CW.
(image: Jeff Weddell/The CW)
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