‘Supergirl’ 1.04 Recap: “You’ve Spent More Time in the Friend Zone Than the Phantom Zone”

‘Supergirl’ is really starting to soar. After a couple of uneven but still solid episodes to start out this first season, I’ve found the last two to be very good. That’s probably only natural, since the actors are starting to build chemistry with one another while the writers are figuring out who their characters really are. This week, Kara/Supergirl has to juggle babysitting Cat’s son while bombs go off in National City.

If viewers found themselves slightly confused by this week’s episode – particularly when it comes to the relationship between Jimmy Olsen and Lucy Lane – that’s because this week’s episode was actually supposed to come before last week’s. That’s why we have this week’s ep labeled as Episode 4 instead of 5. Seeing last week’s episode takes some of the drama out of the Kara/Jimmy/Lucy love triangle this week, since we already know that Jimmy will spend Thanksgiving with Lucy.

This week’s story begins with Supergirl flying around the city when she notices a drone following her. She destroys it with her heat vision and then takes it back to the DEO to ask Hank why he’s spying on her. Problem is, it’s not a DEO drone. It’s not alien technology, either, but it is very advanced.

Cat Grant has won a prestigious media award (beating out Lois Lane for the first time), but can’t go because she doesn’t have anyone to watch her son, Carter. Kara volunteers to babysit and Cat takes her up on the offer. Not long afterward, a bomb goes off in a city skyscraper and Supergirl needs to fly in and save the day. She holds up the collapsing building while people run to safety, then welds the structure’s support beams back together using her heat vision. The DEO soon learns that the technology used in the bomb was the same as the drones that have been following Supergirl around… and that technology comes from Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli).

Kara picks up Carter at school. He’s a pretty shy young boy (who appears to be roughly 12-years-old, so I’m wondering why the kid needs a babysitter at all… which probably means I’d make a really bad parent, right?). Once Kara takes him to the office and they start talking about Supergirl, Carter finally opens up to her. It seems that he has a huge crush on the Girl of Steel. (Who doesn’t, kid?)

Meanwhile, Hank and Alex go undercover as FBI agents to talk with Maxwell Lord about the bombs, and Hanks leaves Alex behind to keep her eye on him. While she’s at the company, a new bomb is found in the lab there. Alex has to call Kara to come take care of it. Supergirl grabs the bomb and flies off with it, and I immediately wondered why she was flying out of the city horizontally instead of going straight up. Fortunately, Hank is thinking the same thing and tells Supergirl to head toward the clouds. She manages to get the bomb far enough away from the city not to hurt anyone, but the blast knocks her unconscious and she awakens in the DEO lab where, just for a second, she sees Hank with his red eyes.

The DEO eventually discovers that the bomb maker is a man named Ethan Knox, a disgruntled former employee for Maxwell Lord. Not long after he was fired, his wife divorced him and his daughter became gravely ill, so now Knox has a vendetta against his old boss. Everyone suspects that Knox will make his next move at the launch of Maxwell’s new super-train, but while Supergirl is surveying the big event from the air, the DEO learns that another bomb has been found at the airport. First, Supergirl flies toward the airport to take care of the explosive there, but then turns around when she hears that Carter has snuck onto the train hoping to get a glimpse of Supergirl. She tells Hank to take care of the airport situation and flies back toward the train, which has already gotten underway and is speeding along the tracks.

Hank and Alex find the bomb at the airport and Hank orders Alex out of the terminal. When she’s gone, his red eyes flicker on and he’s able to open up the inside of the bomb and disarm it. When he exits with it, he tells Alex that it was a dud just planted to distract them from the train. Later, Alex will find that the bomb had a triggering device, which makes her wonder if it was actually real.

Supergirl makes it inside the train and asks Carter if he’ll help move all the passengers to the cars in the rear. She then tracks down Knox in the front car and tries to talk him out of using the explosive, which is this time strapped to his chest. Knox refuses and activates the bomb, telling Supergirl that she has 30 seconds. She uses that time to disconnect the car they’re in from the other cars with the people in them and manages to bring those cars to a stop, while the Knox’s car flies down the tracks and explodes.

Supergirl has saved the day again, but that’s not the real climax of this episode. She soon figures out that Maxwell was behind all the bombs and drones. He blackmailed Knox into helping him in exchange for providing medical care to his sick daughter. When Supergirl confronts Maxwell about it in person, he confesses to doing it so he could test Supergirl. He finds it interesting that she chose to save 100 people on the train instead of 1,000 people at the airport and wonders who was on the train that she wanted to save. Maxwell is definitely being set up as the Lex Luthor of National City, and I suspect that he’ll play a bigger and bigger role in episodes down the road.

I didn’t really talk about the Jimmy/Lucy relationship in this week’s recap, though there was a lot going on this week, ending in the two finally getting back together (after Jimmy comes to make sure she’s okay at the airport). Since we already knew these two would become a couple, it seemed pointless to recap it. However, Kara still has a crush on Jimmy regardless, which we also already knew from the Thanksgiving episode.

As of this writing, CBS still hasn’t ordered any additional episodes for ‘Supergirl’, but the network should make that decision very soon. The show stabilized a bit in the ratings last week, so this week’s numbers may determine if it finishes its first season with a strong order of 22 episodes (total, including the ones that have already been shot and aired) or a less confident order of 16 or so. We’ll also get a good sign of how the network feels about this series if we see a time slot change after the holidays. I’m feeling much more confident about the series’ survival after the last couple of episodes, but that’s all for naught if people stop watching.


  1. Were ratings down in viewership or total percentage? I seem to be bumping into more people who have asked if I’m watching it, sometime sheepishly. Anyhow, total viewership is always down on the weeknights preceding Thanksgiving. The series is growing on me. Hopefully it will get a second season!

    • Shannon Nutt

      It got a 1.5 rating and a 5 share this week. Last week’s episode was a 1.8, and the week before was a 1.7. So it dropped 0.3 this week. It drew about 7.19 million viewers Monday night, compared with 7.9 million last week.

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