Too Much Too Fast
Kara has now been Supergirl for about a week and despite having all of her cousins powers, she still has a lot to learn. This is made especially evident when she tries to prevent an oil tanker from exploding only to cause an oil spill in the National City harbor in the process. The media unsurprisingly has a field day with this and they wonder if Kara is doing more harm to National City than good. One guy in particular Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli) points out that since Superman has shown up in Metropolis, supervillains have been coming out of the woodwork and Metropolis’s maintenance budget has quadrupled and asks the people if National City really wants to deal with the same crap.
Afterwards at the Tribune, Cat is once again on the (this time slightly drunken) warpath. Like the rest of the media, she is so far unimpressed with Supergirl’s heroics and is also very annoyed that the Daily Planet seems to be getting better coverage of her. Cat figures the best way to both improve Supergirl’s image and to finally scoop the Planet is to get an exclusive interview with her and suggests that James try to use his connections with Superman to get it done.
The next day, the DEO is responding to an alien attack at a chemical company. The attack has Henshaw and Alex concerned that the alien may be trying to build a chemical bomb, so the DEO needs to find him and fast. Kara recognizes it as the handiwork of an alien species called Hellgrammites, which she describes as a large insect that can disguise itself as anything it wants including humans. Kara is ready to go after the Hellgrammite as soon as the DEO finds him but Henshaw wants to make sure she can do it without getting herself killed. Between her very narrow victory against Vartox last week and the oil tanker incident, I actually think he makes a fairly legit point. To further drive that point home, Alex takes Kara to a sparring room specially laced with low amounts of kryptonite (enough to make it a fair fight) and because of Kara’s lack of training and fighting skills, Alex basically wipes the floor with her causing Kara to storm out (which is something she seems to do a lot with the DEO).
Sadly, things don’t seem to be going much better for Kara at work. Cat says that the big problem with Supergirl is that she’s trying to do too much too fast (which is ironically a perfect way to describe the pilot episode) and that she needs to start things out small and then work her way up to stuff like oil tanker explosions. Kara decides that’s actually not a bad idea and decides to enlist James and Winn’s help at improving her crime fighting skills. Much like last week, we get a montage of Kara saving the day which this time involves foiling an armed robbery (again), getting an ambulance stuck in traffic to the hospital and helping a pet named Fluffy stuck in a tree (which turns out to be a snake). Sure it’s no fight against a super-powered alien but it does wonder’s for Supergirl’s public image and is also probably the funniest scene of the episode. James doesn’t get much chance to celebrate this job well done since his actual job is quickly put in jeopardy. Cat gives James 24 hours to use his connections to secure a Supergirl interview or she’ll fire him (I’m pretty sure this would be ample grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit but I digress). Luckily for James, she gladly volunteers to help both to save his job and also because she actually wants to do the interview anyway.
Room of Solitude
Meanwhile the DEO discovers that the Hellgrammite hasn’t been breaking into chemical facilities to build a bomb but is simply trying to find something to eat, so Henshaw decides to use this as a way to lure the alien out of hiding. Sadly, the operation goes horribly wrong, which ends with several DEO agents injured and Alex abducted by the Hellgrammite to be interrogated by General Astra and to be used as bait for Kara.
When Kara finds out about she is understandably ticked off at being left out of the loop and insists on going out to search for Alex and the Hellgrammite, which even Henshaw doesn’t try talking her out of. It doesn’t take her long to find Alex and immediately tries flying to her rescue though not before she tells Henshaw her location so that the DEO can eventually provide some backup. Once Kara gets there, it isn’t long before she’s confronted by her Aunt Astra. Astra reveals that Alura imprisoned her in the Phantom Zone shortly before Krypton’s destruction “for being a hero” and that she is supposedly here to save Earth from the same fate. Astra tries getting Kara to join her cause which she naturally refuses and a pretty intense fight breaks out between the two, while Alex does a surprisingly good job fighting the Hellgrammite despite having an injured leg and defeats him pretty easily. Kara keeps the fight going long enough for Henshaw to show up and stab Astra with a knife made of kryptonite, which surprises Astra enough for her to immediately fly away with the knife still inside her.
Back at the DEO, after Alex gets her leg wound treated, she shows Kara a room the DEO made just for her. Much like how Superman uses a special Kryptonian computer program to communicate with Jor-El at his Fortress of Solitude, Kara can now use the same program to talk with her mother. In private, Alex thanks Henshaw for the help in building the room for Kara and he says that it’s the least he can do for Supergirl, though they both agree to not let her know he called her that. Unfortunately, the nice moment gets seriously undermined once Henshaw is alone and we see his eyes ominously glowing red.
Back at Astra’s lair, she continues to be astounded that the humans have weapons that can actually hurt the Krytonians. This forces Astra to admit that Kara and the humans will be tougher to defeat than expected and that her niece is no longer just a little girl from Krypton.
As Cat gets into her car, she is on the phone with James about her earlier ultimatum and assuming he’s calling with bad news gets ready to fire him but instead he tells her that her interview with Supergirl has already started. Right on cue, Cat suddenly notices that her car is inexplicably flying through the air and eventually lands in an empty field. When Cat gets out of her car, Supergirl flies in and says “Ms. Grant. James Olsen said you want to talk. Let’s talk.”
As much fun as ‘Stronger Together’ is to watch, it still has some of the same problems as the pilot episode. While things are thankfully not as crowded and rushed as last week, it still has it’s fair share of clunky exposition, which to be fair isn’t entirely unexpected in the second episode of such a highly ambitious series.
Sadly, Cat Grant continues to be a problem for me personally. They tone down her one-dimensional “boss from hell” persona but not by much. The writers attempt to give her some depth by having her unintentionally give Supergirl advice and also giving us a brief glimpse into her backstory where she reveals that she started out as a personal assistant for Perry White before being given a chance as a gossip columnist. That character development gets seriously undermined though when less than ten minutes later she threatens to fire James for failing to do something that frankly shouldn’t have been his job in the first place. James is an art director, not one of Cat’s reporters and just because he has a connection with Superman doesn’t mean he’ll have the same with Supergirl. Sure, we know he does but Cat has no realistic way of knowing that.
Henshaw’s development is different story. We still don’t much about him but as a character he has certainly improved. Last week, he seemed to only exist as a chauvinistic (and possibly prejudiced against aliens) foil for Kara and most of his dialogue were mostly variations of “You suck”, without giving the audience any real evidence that the DEO is any better at fighting against the aliens. This week though he shows himself to be more willing to accept Kara’s help as long as she gets some proper training first, which honestly isn’t even that unreasonable and even manages to wound Astra which forces her to take the humans just as seriously as she does Kara.
There’s not much i can do to stick up for the villain of the week though. Like with Vartox last week, he has nothing in the way of personalty and now that I’m really thinking about it, he doesn’t even get to fight Supergirl. In the end, he’s defeated by an injured Alex and while this goes a long way in making Alex look bad-ass, it also makes our villain look really lame.
Tune in next week for the next episode ‘Fight or Flight.’