‘Supergirl’ 1.07 Recap: “She’s Just a Dead Battery Now”

I sort of understand the need for ‘Supergirl’ to come up with a new villain to fight every week, but this latest episode is a prime example of how a story could have been so much better had the show-runners just done away with the bad guy and focused on the characters.

Almost everything about this week’s alien threat feels like filler, used only to get us to a revelation about a character we’ve speculated about since the series started.

This week’s entry picks up almost immediately where last week left off. Supergirl has suddenly found herself without any powers. After getting a body scan at the DEO, she learns that, essentially, her batteries need to be recharged by Earth’s yellow sun (which is actually WHITE… you’d think the writers would know that!). How long that will take is anyone’s guess. So not only is Kara walking around with no superpowers, she also catches a cold – which results in Cat immediately sending her home from the office.

There’s a new villain to deal with this week, and as I already mentioned, he’s pretty much a snooze. His name is Jemm. (I guess he killed all the Holograms.) He shoots lasers out the top of his head and has the ability to control minds. After an earthquake hits National City, Jemm gets free from his DEO prison cell. Hank, Alex and the other agents need to stop him. The problem is, of course, that Alex still mistrusts Hank because of what she’s learned about her father’s death.

Kara and Jimmy are out walking on the city streets when the earthquake happens, and it’s Jimmy who has to save Kara from almost getting run over by an SUV. The accident breaks Kara’s arm, which is not only a chance for our hero to deal with her vulnerability, but an excuse for Jimmy to take his shirt off – both to make a sling for Kara’s arm and to show off his muscles for the viewers at home. Kara runs into Maxwell Lord helping people out. They run to a woman and her dying father. Kara tries to get her powers back to help, but she has no luck. She has to watch the man die in front of her.

Meanwhile, back at the DEO, the agents are getting picked off one by one and Hank has disappeared from their tracking computers. Alex joins up with another DEO agent to go searching for him, but soon the other agent finds himself under the influence of Jemm’s mind control and Alex has to get away from him. Not long afterwards, she runs into Hank, who tries to assure her that he’s trustworthy. Alex doesn’t believe him and tells Hank she knows he was on a mission with her father when he died. She makes Hank handcuff himself to a steel post and then goes searching for Jemm on her own.

Still without a hint of her powers, Kara has a long conversation with Jimmy about how helpless she feels. Jimmy tells her that it’s not her superpowers that make Kara a hero. This is probably one of the best scenes we’ve had involving Jimmy Olsen. We learn that the first photograph Jimmy ever took was of his dad, who later died during the Gulf War.

Kara sees a convenience store being held up and decides to confront the robber as Supergirl, even though she doesn’t have super abilities. She’s able to talk the bad guy into turning over his gun, and Jimmy snaps a photo of the moment.

Alex finally tracks down Jemm and fights him, which doesn’t go well. Out of nowhere, a figure shows up and kicks the snot out of the alien baddie, defeating him and getting him back under containment. Naturally, the mystery man is Hank Henshaw. He tells Alex that he’ll reveal the truth about himself, but only if she promises not to tell anyone, including Kara. It seems that he’s not Hank Henshaw at all, but the alien that Henshaw and Jeremiah Danvers were sent to investigate. The real Hank tried to kill him, but Jeremiah sacrificed his life to save him. He’s a refugee on Earth, and the last survivor of a civilization on Mars. He’s also a shape-shifter, which is how he is able to look like Hank Henshaw. His name is J’onn J’onzz. That’s right, DC fans; it’s the freakin’ Martian Manhunter! If you’re not really excited about this, you should be. Not only is Martian Manhunter one of the coolest superheroes in the comics, he’s one of the original members of the Justice League.

Kara and Jimmy return to CatCo when a gas line explodes and starts a fire several floors above theirs. [Ed.: Shouldn’t Cat Grant’s office be on the top floor of her own building? -JZ] The elevators aren’t working, so Jimmy, Kara and Winn open the elevator shaft and Jimmy climbs up to help people down. However, he loses his balance and has to hang on one of the elevator cables, which – naturally – starts to snap. (I thought those things were able to hold thousands of pounds?) Jimmy goes tumbling down to his certain demise (is that a smile I see on Winn’s face?) but this is when Kara gets her powers back. She not only flies down to save him, but has time to change into her Supergirl costume in the process. (Where she had it hiding under her clothes is anyone’s guess.)

This week’s episode ends with Supergirl flying over National City when she gets assaulted by two Kryptonians. After knocking her to the ground, Astra shows up, looks at her niece, and asks, “Did you really think this was over?”

Next week’s episode is the “Winter Finale” of the series (even though it’s not winter yet and the show will almost certainly be back before winter is over… but, hey, talk to CBS, not me). It looks like Kara will have another showdown with her evil aunt. As for this week’s episode, I liked Kara having to deal with her lack of powers and really liked that we found out what the deal with Hank is (should we start calling him J’onn?), but I really could have done without the villain and a lot of the stuff involving Cat – who I didn’t mention above, but who spent most of this week’s episode being her old, bitchy self, which I thought we’d gotten past.

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