What if Supergirl was One of Us?
After using a supercharged ray of heat vision last week against Red Tornado, Kara has lost her powers. Based on some similar experiences from Superman, it’s estimated that she should get her powers back in a couple of days. Unfortunately, those two days quickly come and go with no improvement in Kara’s condition, leaving her to wonder if her powers will ever come back at all.
Her concerns worsen when she tries going to work with a cold. When Cat notices, she tries sending her home but Kara doesn’t get very far out of the building when a massive earthquake hits National City. Not knowing what else to do, she makes her way back to CatCo.
Cat wants the CatCo TV equipment to be fixed as soon as possible, though that proves to be easier said than done for her AV guy. Luckily, some quick thinking from Winn gets it all fixed and Cat gives him a temporary promotion (at least that’s what I think happens). Of course, everybody’s joy doesn’t last long when they see Maxwell Lord leading a relief effort on the news and slamming Supergirl for not being around when the city needs her most. Cat is none too happy about this and immediately puts Winn to work putting a live feed in her office so she can make her own broadcast.
Kara and James go to Lord’s relief effort to try to get him to tone down his fear mongering but Lord insists that he’s simply telling the truth. He also says that Supergirl should consider herself lucky the he didn’t tell the press that Supergirl has obviously lost her powers, much to Kara’s surprise. Lord says that he figures Supergirl’s powers were depleted by her fight with Red Tornado. He also notes that it typically takes Superman a couple of days at most for his powers to return to him whenever this happens, leading Lord to believe that Supergirl’s powers might be gone for good.
Just then, a woman comes asking for help for her dad. Lord has some medical training and does everything he can to help but says the guy needs to get to a hospital fast but all the ambulances are busy. He figures out that the guy has a lacerated artery but without an X-ray machine they have no way of knowing which one needs to be operated on. Kara tries frantically to get her X-ray vision working again but it’s no use and she watches helplessly as the guy dies right in front of her.
Kara is understandably devastated and feeling helpless that National City is in peril and there’s virtually nothing she can do about it. James tells her though that even Superman can’t say everyone but that real heroes will always try regardless. Kara then notices a thug try to rob a convenience store and immediately goes to suit up as Supergirl to intervene despite still lacking her powers (much to the horror of James). Kara walks into the store and rather than use brute force like she would normally do she is instead able to talk the mugger down and he hands his gun over to her while James is there to photograph the whole thing. Simultaneously, Cat makes an impassioned on-air speech urging National City to have faith in Supergirl and to be more heroic in this time of crisis.
Back at CatCo, Kara and James are going through his photos from the earthquake, including a picture of Kara talking down the mugger, prompting James to admit what got him into photography. His dad had given a new camera as a gift just before he was killed in the Gulf War and in his words he “never put that camera down.” The two share a hug but they are interrupted by Winn, who is of course less than thrilled by this display of intimacy. Despite this, he tells Kara that after doing some research he thinks she’ll get her powers back once she experiences some extreme adrenaline (so standing up to the armed robber wasn’t enough to do that?).
A short time later a gas line explodes in the CatCo building, so Kara, James and Winn do everything they can to get the building evacuated. During the evacuation efforts, James ends up falling down an open elevator shaft and unsurprisingly Kara’s powers kick back in just in time to save the day. Now that her powers have been restored, she wastes no time flying out again and starts by saving a bus load of kids and putting out a building fire with her freeze breath. Lord is among the National City citizens witnessing Supergirl’s return and the disappointed look on his face is absolutely hilarious.
In the aftermath, Kara tries apologizing to Winn for her behavior with James but Winn still states that he was disappointed in her (trust me I’ll voice my opinion on this later).
While all this has been going on, Alex is given a chance to confront Henshaw about what happened to her father. The DEO are forced to deal with an alien prisoner that has gotten loose because of the earthquake. The prisoner’s name is Jemm and he has the ability to control people psychically through a gemstone in his forehead.
Henshaw and a couple of red shirts to try to hunt Jemm down in some corridors, while Alex is left in charge of monitoring the situation. Unsurprisingly things go wrong and Henshaw is the only one to make it back from the corridors alive, which of course only further raises Alex’s suspicions.
Henshaw decides to go after Jemm again by himself but Alex doesn’t trust Henshaw and decides to follow after him (she convinces another agent to go with her but he’s just another red shirt that barely warrants mentioning). Alex is eventually able to find Henshaw and he chastises her for disobeying his orders. Alex tells Henshaw point blank that she disobeyed his orders because she no longer trusts him because she knows he’s hiding something about her father’s death. Despite his assurances that he is not the enemy, Alex handcuffs him to a pipe and goes to finish the job against Jemm alone.
All things considered, Alex actually puts up a pretty good fight against Jemm but the fact is she’s just outmatched. Jemm is ready to kill Alex until an invisible force shows up and breaks Jemm’s neck. The invisible force is revealed to be Henshaw. Alex naturally wants to know what the heck is going on and Henshaw agrees to tell her the truth but forbids her from telling anybody, even Kara. He admits to not being Hank Henshaw, saying the real Henshaw died in same botched mission that killed Jeremiah. It turns out the botched mission was to terminate what they believed to be a hostile alien but Jeremiah realized the alien was simply a refugee like Kara and sacrificed his life to save the alien. Alex being uncharacteristically slow, suddenly realizes that fake Henshaw is that alien, which fake Henshaw confirms (while presumably resisting the urge to say “Duh”) and says that he used his shape-shifting abilities to assume Henshaw’s identity in order to reform the DEO for the better. He then reveals his true alien form, which comic fans will recognize as J’onn J’onzz aka Martian Manhunter.
Supergirl pays a visit to Cat to personally thank her for the speech she made earlier. Cat begins chewing Supergirl out for seemingly abandoning National City and saying that the city needs heroes to inspire them, prompting Supergirl to say it’s a good thing they had Cat to rise to the occasion. Supergirl says she knows for a fact that Cat inspired people because she inspired her. They both share a smile as Supergirl flies away. Supergirl’s flight is suddenly interrupted however when she’s suddenly attacked by several Kryptonians led by Astra (been awhile since we’ve seen her hasn’t it?)
After ‘Red Faced’ left such a rotten taste in my mouth last week, I wasn’t looking forward this episode but tonight’s outing greatly surprised me. Even though ‘Human for a Day’ still has a couple of problems, this might still be my favorite episode so far. All the major characters get at least a brief chance to shine this week with the exception of Winn.
Kara’s devastation at being unable to save an dying really is very well done and is only topped by her scene with the mugger. Comic book fans often criticize characters like Superman and Supergirl for their boy scout like attitudes but that scene just goes to show that it isn’t their powers that inspire people but their compassion, especially in this increasingly cynical world we’re living in. The fact that Melissa Benoist absolutely nails this scene doesn’t hurt either.
Alex and “Henshaw’s” fight against Jemm was mostly unremarkable but the reveal of Martian Manhunter made it all worth it. I know many fans have been speculating on this one for weeks but I didn’t think the show would actually use such a well known character this early on though I am glad to be proven wrong.
I can’t believe I’m saying this after the first three episodes but Cat might actually be my favorite character. Sure in this episode she was once again on the verge of firing an employee but this time it was clearly played for laughs. It’s become increasingly evident as the show goes on that Supergirl’s presence has inspired her to be better and she’s been growing more and more as a character since episode 4.
I can’t say the same thing for Winn though. He didn’t infuriate as much as General Lane did last week but he came dangerously close. His chastising of Kara for hugging James came off at incredibly petty at best and creepily possessive at worst. He tries saying that it isn’t practical for Kara to pursue a relationship with James because of her powers (and also because he has a girlfriend) but it comes off like he would rather Kara be alone and miserable than be with anybody besides him. Of course someone should probably tell him that even if Kara didn’t have powers, she’s clearly not into him anyway and he needs to move on. Watching him groan about being friend-zoned week after week has become increasingly annoying as he has gradually served less and less of a purpose as a character. If this isn’t the writers trying to give him a villain arc, then I’m going to strongly urge the writers to course correct fast because Winn is getting on my last nerve.
Come back next week for the mid-season finale ‘Hostile Takeover.’