‘Supergirl’ 1.16 Recap: “Sometimes Heroes Fall”

Supergirl falls victim to the effects of red kryptonite this week, and the result not only impacts her, but has serious ramifications for this freshman series as a whole. In short, this is by far my favorite episode of ‘Supergirl’ to date.

This week’s entry opens with Cat Grant making an appearance on ‘The Talk’ morning TV show (the one with hosts Julie Chen, Sharon Osborne and Sara Gilbert, among others). Of course, the only thing the women want to ask Cat about is Supergirl. Not only is Cat gracious in her comments about the Girl of Steel, she goes out of her way to say just how great she is.

Back at CatCo, Cat wonders where Winn has disappeared to, so she sends Kara looking for him. Hearing strange noises coming from the storage closet, Kara makes the mistake of using her X-ray vision to see what’s going on inside. Sure enough, Winn’s in there making out with Siobhan. I have to confess, I really want to work at CatCo. Not only are you allowed to make out with co-workers, but a few episodes back, Winn and Jimmy were drinking whiskey at work. Talk about a fun work environment!

Anyway, Supergirl is called to the roof of a building that’s on fire because a fireman is trapped under some rubble. She rescues him but suddenly feels a little woozy. Unbeknownst to her, she just walked past a chunk of red kryptonite on the roof. (We’ll find out later in the episode how it got there.) It isn’t long before the exposure makes her act differently, starting with a “Who cares?” attitude when it’s time to go after a new alien. In fact, when Kara squares off with the bad guy (who kind of looks like a reject from the ‘Terminator’ films), she just lets him go, telling Alex and the other members of the DEO that he got away.

In addition to her casual attitude toward saving people, Supergirl also acts like a total bitch at work. She gets Siobhan fired after her rival pitches a story idea to Cat about Supergirl not being trustworthy anymore. When Cat rejects the story idea, Siobhan sends her pitch to Perry White at the Daily Planet. Kara intercepts the email from Siobhan’s computer and gives it to Cat, who promptly tells Siobhan to clean out her desk. Kara even makes moves on Jimmy at a nightclub, which the do-gooder rejects… which is probably a good thing, since if the two did go to bed with Kara in her current state, she might rip a limb off his body!

As more time passes, Kara becomes more and more evil – going from being just uncaring to downright mean. She gets in a verbal argument with Alex and tells her sister that she’d be nothing without her. The episode also has a nice little homage to ‘Superman III’ where Supergirl sits in a bar flicking peanuts and smashing bottles. (I kept waiting for a little kid to come in and say, “Supergirl, you’re just in a slump. You’ll be great again!”, but alas, the episode doesn’t give us that moment.)

Supergirl even has a confrontation with Cat, during which she tells the media mogul that she decides who lives or dies in National City. To prove her point, Supergirl hurls Cat off the building, only to swoop down and catch her. The next day, Cat goes on TV to denounce Supergirl, telling the city that she’s dangerous and that CatCo can no longer can support her.

Hank and the DEO find out about the red kryptonite that Supergirl was exposed to, and shortly thereafter learn the source when Maxwell Lord shows up to explain it all. As it turns out, he was hoping to kill Non by producing his own artificial kryptonite, but apparently didn’t get the formula quite right. The DEO locks Max up again, but he insists that since he created the red kryptonite, he might also be able to figure out a way to counteract its effects on Supergirl.

Now armed with a weapon that the DEO believes might return Supergirl to normal, Alex, Hank and a group of DEO agents square off against her on the city streets. Supergirl breaks her sister’s arm and is about to kill her when Hank decides he’s had enough and transforms into the Martian Manhunter to fight Supergirl. He’s able to distract her long enough for Alex to shoot her with the weapon, which gets the intended result and returns Kara to normal. But Hank (a.k.a. J’onn J’onzz) has exposed himself to the rest of the DEO. Alex tells him to run, but Hank gives himself up.

Back at the DEO, Hank/J’onn is thrown in a cell and Senator Crane (who has assisted the DEO throughout this episode) asks J’onn if he killed the real Hank Henshaw. When J’onn is silent on the matter, that’s all the confirmation the Senator needs.

Meanwhile, Kara wakes up at the DEO and realizes all the damage she has caused. She knows she’s going to have a lot of work to do to rebuild National City’s trust in her. Worse than that, Jimmy doesn’t trust her anymore, either. He understands that Kara was under the influence of the kryptonite, but also understands that it brought out anger in her that really existed beneath the surface. The episode ends with Supergirl and Cat having a conversation where Cat encourages her to work at getting the city’s trust back.

I loved this episode for many reasons. First off, it gives star Melissa Benoist a chance to show her acting range. I really enjoyed the fact that just because things are back to normal for Kara, the things she did will have some real repercussions and she has a lot of fences to mend – both with the public and with her friends. I think one of the reasons this episode works so well is because it doesn’t fall into the standard “Villain of the Week” blueprint that virtually every previous episode has. Supergirl herself is the “villain” this week. If and when the show-runners figure out that they don’t need an outside threat in every episode, I think this series has the potential to be something really special. I hope we see more episodes like ‘Falling’ in the future.

So, who agrees with me that this was the best episode of ‘Supergirl’ to date?

3 comments

  1. nagara

    I won’t say this is the best, but absolutely in the top three for me. This was the first episode that felt like it will have real repercussion. All of the rest of the side characters were great. Except Maxwell Lord. He’s the only part of the show I feel is always a weak point.

    Melissa Benoist absolutely nails this role. After everything, my favorite parts were the very end aftermath. From the moment she wakes up at the DEO to the talk with Cat, were just amazing.

  2. Bryan

    I loved this one. While some of the other episodes have had some lingering plotlines (the killing of Kara’s Aunt most notably), this one looks to dramatically affect the series going forward. I’m kind of spitballing here, but I almost wonder if this story will lead to the upcoming Flash/Supergirl crossover – maybe the Flash comes to investigate what is going on in National City/etc, and ultimately it leads to her redemption after he realizes what happened and vouches for her (or something). Either way – looking forward to what happens.

  3. Totally agree…the characters are far more interesting and have far more potential than the “villain of the week” model. I do think they’ll have to explore the mythos a bit deeper and better develop a mysterious backstory so that they don’t have to fall back on villain of the week mode.

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