Some of you have probably already heard about this but for those of you that haven’t, I’ll fill you in. In light of the attacks on Paris, CBS has decided to delay Supergirl’s intended fourth episode ‘How Does She Do It?’ which apparently revolved around a terrorist bombing and have instead opted to skip ahead and air ‘Livewire’ this week and postpone ‘How Does She Do It?’ until next week. So, if you watched this episode and felt like you missed something, there’s a very good chance this is why.
Shortly after moving in with Alex, Eliza and Jeremiah, Kara decides to fly around for a bit and convinces Alex to go with her. They both have fun during their “flight” but are caught by Eliza and Jeremiah when they try sneaking back in. Jeremiah tells Kara that she was lucky no one saw her while Eliza expresses her disappointment to Alex for letting the incident happen in the first place. The girls are both sent up to her room when Eliza and Jeremiah are paid an unwelcome visit by Hank Henshaw. Henshaw wants to bring Kara in to the DEO to be studied. Rather than let Kara be taken in though, Jeremiah offers his services and his Superman research to the DEO in exchange for Kara’s freedom and Henshaw accepts.
We open at the DEO, where one of their alien prisoners is trying to make an escape. The DEO agents all prove to be even more useless than usual but luckily Kara is able to subdue her. Once that’s all wrapped up, Kara makes her way back to her apartment to help Alex prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with their mother, Eliza, which Alex isn’t particularly excited about. According to Alex, Eliza apparently has a track record of being overly critical of her, especially when it comes to Kara, which she figures won’t be helped by Kara’s recent decision to become Supergirl. When Eliza arrives, she appears to be supportive of Kara’s decision though Alex is clearly skeptical.
Meanwhile, shock jock Leslie Willis (Britt Morgan) is broadcasting at CatCo about what’s she most ungrateful for this year which turns out to be Supergirl. What follows is a tirade in which Leslie criticizes everything about Supergirl from her “adorkable” personality to her choice in outfits and even hints that Supergirl might be a lesbian. Most of the main characters are of course not amused by this, including Cat (much to my pleasant surprise).
The next day, Cat reprimands Leslie for her behavior and tells her she crossed a line by insulting Supergirl’s body and sexuality, though Leslie not unreasonably reminds her that Cat’s article about Supergirl was just as critical. Nevertheless, Cat reasons that National City is interested more in hope and optimism rather than Leslie’s negativity and demotes her to traffic reports.
Later, Kara runs into James and invites him to spend Thanksgiving with her family and Winn. Unfortunately, James already has plans to spend the holiday with Lucy in Ojai (wow even with the episode skip that relationship moved fast). While that’s going on, Leslie’s traffic helicopter gets struck by lightning and Supergirl flies in to try to save her. Kara successfully saves the helicopter’s pilot but when she goes to help Leslie they both get struck by lightning.
Kara and Leslie both survive the lightning strike but Leslie winds up in a coma with her hair died blue (the horror!). Kara and Cat go to visit her in the hospital and Kara mentions that Supergirl must be feeling guilty. However, Cat continues to surprise me this week by pointing out that Supergirl still saved the pilot and prevented the helicopter from crashing and that if anything she should be the one feeling guilty since she’s the one that sent Leslie on the helicopter in the first place. They leave the hospital shortly after and once they’re out of the room, the lights start flickering and Leslie wakes up. She makes her way out of the hospital and notices electricity shooting out of her hands. Just then, a thug tries forcing himself on her and she ends up electrocuting him.
Back at Kara’s apartment, Alex’s fears about her mother’s attitudes over Kara being Supergirl turn out to be well justified. She accuses Alex of “allowing” Kara to put herself in danger (how was Alex supposed to stop her exactly?), which understandably leaves Alex pretty pissed off, so she decides to leave and take care of some stuff at work.
When Thanksgiving dinner finally comes around, Kara does everything she can to ease the tension between Alex and Eliza. Unfortunately, Alex, at Kara’s suggestion, decides to come clean to Eliza about working for the DEO. Eliza is furious to about this and the two end up having a big fight that ends with Alex once again storming out. At this point, even the normally diplomatic Kara tells Eliza that she needs to stop blaming Alex for her becoming Supergirl since that was ultimately her choice to make. Before they can continue that fun little conversation however, Kara gets called in on a work emergency.
Apparently Cat called in Kara due to a last minute conference call but that quickly proves to be a moot point since her phone and computer equipment all appear to be on the fritz. Just then, the now blue-haired Leslie appears on all of Cat’s TV monitors and declares that Leslie is dead and she is now Livewire. When Livewire begins attacking, Cat offers to keep her busy while Kara goes to find security. Supergirl flies in just in time to save Cat from certain death, though since this is only the second act, her fight against Livewire goes poorly to the point that Kara’s heat vision actually makes Livewire stronger. For some reason though, despite clearly having the upper hand, Livewire decides to just leave rather than finish off Supergirl and Cat.
Afterwards, Henshaw and the DEO pose as the FBI and help Kara figure out what happened. The first question on Kara’s mind is how Livewire got her powers and Henshaw concludes that since the earlier lightning strike passed through Kara into Livewire that it must have given her electrical powers (I’m pretty sure I heard this same science being used in a not so great David Tennant episode of Doctor Who and that reasoning sounded just as dumb there as it does now). When Henshaw hears about Livewire’s abilities to siphon off energy, he thinks he can modify a device that might be able to help out Kara.
After Henshaw and the DEO leave, Cat lets Kara go back home to her family but Kara offers to stay since she’s not overly eager to go back to her family after the fight between Alex and Eliza. When Kara mentions this she also reveals to Cat that Alex and Eliza are actually her foster family and tells her that her biological family died in a fire when she was 13. Yet again, Cat surprises me by showing some empathy towards Kara for her situation and Cat in turn opens up about her own childhood. Cat admits that nothing ever seemed to be good enough for her mother, which pushed her to become the woman she is today and why she has a tendency to be overly demanding of her employees. She also admits that she is at least partially responsible for Leslie turning into Livewire since she usually rewarded her irresponsible behavior and enabled her immense ego, which is probably what contributed more than anything else to her becoming a monster. After this bit of self-reflection, Cat decides she wants to contact Supergirl again and has Kara go see if the “FBI” can help her out.
Back at Kara’s apartment, Alex and Eliza finally try to work out their issues. Eliza apologizes for always being tough on Alex and Alex apologizes for keeping her job with the DEO a secret. Eliza also decides that now’s the time to tell Alex and Kara something but before she can get the chance, Alex gets called into work.
Supergirl and Cat meet up once again and Cat offers her help in catching Livewire. She figures that she can lure her out of hiding and Supergirl can take care of the rest and Supergirl agrees. With the DEO device meant to neutralize Livewire ready and the plan set in motion, Cat makes a special radio broadcast and asks Livewire to meet her “where it all began” (which from the look of things is Cat’s radio station). Sure enough, Livewire takes the bait and Supergirl’s third act fight scene commences. The DEO’s device fails to work on Livewire but Cat is able to distract her long enough for Kara to open up a nearby fire hydrant and knock her out.
The next day at work, Winn thanks Kara for inviting him to spend Thanksgiving with her, since his own family life has been less than desirable. It turns out his dad (who some of you already know is actually the popular Superman villain Toyman) is in prison and that his family has never really celebrated the holidays, so he was grateful just to have someone to celebrate it with.
Kara then goes to meet with Cat, who is trying to decide on what to do for her Thanksgiving issue. Rather than go her usual tabloid route she opts for a more sentimental article under the pretense that it will sell better but it’s clearly hinted that she like so many others in National City is starting to be influenced by the hope and optimism that Supergirl brings. She also admits to Kara that she doesn’t know her very well and she should probably change that.
Back at Kara’s apartment, Eliza gets ready to leave but not before revealing Jeremiah’s past with the DEO to Kara and Alex as well as her suspicions that they had something to do with his death. You mean the head of a government agency in a comic book show is actually untrustworthy? What a twist!
When Kara and Alex return to the DEO, Henshaw congratulates Kara on helping them capture their first non-alien prisoner (you would think there would already be a government agency in place for human super-villains in this universe but I digress) and once Henshaw leaves, both Kara and Alex vow to find out what happened to Jeremiah. My guess is he’s secretly alive and in hiding but I guess we’ll find that out in due time.
I’ll start by saying this turned out to a surprisingly strong episode for Cat. For the first three episodes, she’s served as little more than a caricature and has been written like a mix between Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada and J. Jonah Jameson but without the depth of either. This week though we finally get to see Cat show some humanity and she becomes much more likable because of it. For the first time we see her not as the boss from Hell but as an actual person. We’ve known from the beginning that Cat is a strong willed though flawed woman that certainly isn’t immune to making mistakes and it’s very refreshing to find out she has enough self awareness to admit it. It’s even more gratifying to see her willing to take responsibility for her mistakes by putting herself in harm’s way to stop Livewire as it shows that Supergirl’s heroism might actually be rubbing off on her. After all, one of the main purposes of characters like Superman and Supergirl are to inspire those without superpowers.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to this episode and that mostly has to do with out villain of the week, Livewire. While it was refreshing that I knew who the villain was without having to Google them for a change, I’ve never been a fan of the character. Her origin episode is probably one of my least favorite of Superman: The Animated Series and I never really understood what made her popular enough to become a part of the DC comic universe, though it probably didn’t help that to me her voice-over actress Lori Petty has a voice only slightly less annoying than Fran Drescher. While she’s written about the same here as she was on Superman: The Animated Series, at least now she isn’t played by an actress I find completely unbearable to listen to, allowing me to like her much more as a villain, which is good because I get the feeling this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of her.
Tune in next week for ‘How Does She Do It?’