Tonight’s episode picks up immediately where last week left off with Supergirl being interviewed by Cat. Not so surprisingly, it doesn’t go very well and Kara lets slip that she and Superman are cousins (which will not only cause problems for her in this episode but likely in many others afterwards).
The next day, Cat wastes no time reporting this revelation and basking in the glory of finally getting a scoop over The Daily Planet. Alex and Henshaw are understandably less than thrilled with the news since they believe it could compromise Kara’s identity and possibly the DEO. To make matters worse, Cat is using the interview to write a “kick-ass exposé” on Supergirl (it’s at this point I should mention that while modesty has never been one of her strong suits, she takes it to even more annoying levels and spends most of this episode practically dislocating her shoulder patting herself on the back). She also has Kara plan a big party to celebrate the scoop.
Meanwhile at the DEO, Kara responds to a report of multiple car collision on a highway. She is successfully able to rescue a bus driver but is then attacked by the villain-of-the-week Reactron. As it turns out, Reactron has a very intense hatred of Superman and once he finds out that Supergirl is his cousin, he decides to target her in an effort to get some revenge on the Man of Steel. Kara takes some pretty big hits but she is able to damage Reactron’s suit enough that he’s forced to flee.
Back at the DEO, Henshaw gives Kara a brief history of Reactron (who was actually given his name by James) saying that no one really knows who he is but that he’s had some very public run-ins with Superman over the years. He also says that since Reactron is actually human, he falls outside DEO jurisdiction and that Kara should call in Superman to handle it, much to Kara’s annoyance.
On a more positive note, Winn has found a vacant office in CatCo to serve as Supergirl’s new secret office (at least now they won’t have to go back and forth to Kara’s apartment). Once the office has been set up, Winn gets to work in tracking down Reactron but James is visibly skeptical about Kara fighting him and like Henshaw he thinks it would be best to call in Superman to handle things (and in the process accidentally outs Superman’s identity to Winn). Kara refuses saying that if she just calls her cousin to bail her out, then super villains will just see National City as an easy target and it also wouldn’t help her issue of being stuck in his shadow.
Reactron is now in desperate need to repair his suit and Maxwell Lord volunteers himself for the job to save one of his engineers (and possibly for good PR). Meanwhile, thanks to some detective work from Alex, our heroes are able to identify Reactron. It turns out that five years ago Superman successfully prevented a nuclear meltdown at a power plant, saving million of lives but sadly was unable to save two plant engineers, Ben and and Alyssa Krull. Kara realizes that Ben Krull is Reactron and has been trying to kill Superman for the last five years to avenge the death of his wife. You would think that a guy whose identity has been a complete mystery for five years wouldn’t be that easy to figure out but I digress.
Back at work, Kara gets a chance to read Cat’s article on Supergirl, which unsurprisingly turns out to be a hatchet job. The big highlights include calling Supergirl a millennial and that she “embodies the worst traits of her generation.” She even speculates that at the first sign of trouble she’ll just call Superman to bail her out (though exactly what she’s basing this assumption on I have no idea).
Thanks to some help from Winn, Kara is able to track down and confront Reactron. After freeing Maxwell, Kara tries reasoning with Reactron but he refuses to listen and once again the two fight. Things go badly for Kara and Reactron is on the verge of killing her when Superman shows up to scare him off and just in case you’re wondering no we don’t see his face.
A Job for Supergirl
Kara wakes up a few hours later in her apartment with Alex and James (apparently Superman had to leave to deal with a volcanic eruption) and questions how Superman even knew she was fighting Reactron in the first place. James reveals that Superman gave him a special watch to call him with if he was ever in trouble and he used it because he thought Kara would need help. Kara gets very angry with James about this since she feels that she can’t truly make it as a superhero if she keeps using her cousin as a crutch and accuses James of not believing in her.
Kara tries to blow off some steam at Cat’s party where she dances with Winn while Cat dances with Maxwell (who seems to be handling himself pretty well for someone who just returned from being kidnapped). James apologizes to Kara and admits that he has a tendency to be a little over reliant on the watch and part of the reason he left Metropolis was so he would stop calling on Superman every time he got in trouble. The party then suddenly gets an unexpected and dangerous crasher in Reactron who demands to know where Supergirl is. Once again, Kara doesn’t hesitate to jump into action. Luckily, Alex figures out the way to defeat Reactron by removing the nuclear core from his suit but the only way Kara can do it without setting it off is to encase the core in lead before removing it and naturally the plan goes off without a hitch.
Afterwards, Kara is seen instant messaging her cousin who congratulates her on saving the day. He even points out that she was able to do something that he never could and that was defeat Reactron (though considering how often websites get hacked these days it seems pretty dumb of him to mention all of this in an instant message board). It’s also worth mentioning that we haven’t even seen Superman’s face yet and already I’m liking this Superman better than the Zack Snyder version.
James and Lucy Lane
This part doesn’t come up until the end of the episode but it will probably become a recurring arc over at least the next few episodes so it warrants mentioning. James’ ex-girlfriend/Lois Lane’s sister, Lucy (Jenna Dewan-Tatum) has come to National City evidently hoping to rekindle things with him much to Kara’s chagrin.
First of all, ‘Fight or Flight’ makes the wise decision of addressing the elephant in the room early on in the series: Superman. Even though the series is called Supergirl, the fact is it was only going to be a matter of time before the audience began asking why Superman isn’t around to help his cousin (if they weren’t asking that question already)? Thankfully, this episode gets that question out of the way and makes it clear that while he may make the occasional cameo (or in tonight’s case, silhouetted) appearance, for the most part Kara will be the one handling National City’s problems. They may have hammered the point home a little hard but it’s still handled considerably better than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Another thing that was greatly appreciated were the special effects. While during the first two episodes, the effects weren’t SyFy level bad or anything, they were still about on par with their (presumably lower budgeted) CW counterparts. Fortunately the effects were greatly improved this week and Kara’s fight scenes with Reactron were by far the best the show has had so far.
As for Reactron, he made for a good villain of the week or at least compared to what we’ve had so far. Sure, misguided revenge motivations aren’t a new thing with super-villains but unlike Vartox and the Hellgrammite, Reactron is at least given a backstory and something resembling a personality.
Tune in next week for ‘How Does She Do It?’