CBS’s ‘Supergirl’ returns from its short hiatus this week and picks up right where it left off, with Kara’s aunt Astra in custody, her boss Cat suspecting she’s Supergirl, and the Girl of Steel herself in the middle of a major battle with evil Kryptonian Non.
Supergirl’s fight with Non doesn’t last very long. First they skyrocket up into the atmosphere (almost hitting an airliner), then come crashing down to Earth, where Non gets the advantage and puts a stranglehold on Kara. But then Hank – or should I say J’onn J’onzz? – comes to the rescue. Supergirl is saved, but the result has Non taking Hank as a hostage. Once all the dust settles, Non contacts the DEO and demands a prisoner exchange: Hank for Astra. If they don’t comply within 48 hours, he’ll kill Henshaw.
With Hank a prisoner, Alex is given temporary command of the DEO. However, that doesn’t last very long. General Lane (Glenn Morshower) shows up and informs them that, by order of the President, he’s now in charge. Lane doesn’t think talking to Astra will do them a bit of good, so he decides to torture her instead, threatening to inject her with a syringe filled with Kryptonite. Supergirl tries to intervene, but she can’t stop Lane from pumping Astra’s neck full of the substance poisonous to her.
Things are no better for Kara at the workplace, where Cat continues to insist that Kara is really Supergirl. To make matters worse, Cat doesn’t think Supergirl should be wasting her time working a desk job. She tells Kara that unless she can prove she’s not Supergirl, she needs to clean out her desk. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Winn work together to get inside Maxwell Lord’s building (where the battle with the Kryptonians took place) after Max has locked down the facility. With Winn’s help, Jimmy is able to sneak inside, but Max catches him. He threatens to torture Jimmy but eventually lets him go.
Kara decides that she’s finally going to listen to what her aunt has to say about the past and about Astra’s relationship with Kara’s mother, Alura. As it turns out, Alura believed in Astra’s cause to save Krypton, but not her methods. She didn’t condone murder, and was forced to sentence both Astra and Non to life sentences in Fort Rozz. Alura promised her sister that she would take up her cause, but fight it using compassion and reason instead of brute force. The truth that her mom did the right thing not only brings Kara a sense of relief, but a new trust in Astra. With some assistance from Alex and the DEO, she frees Astra to make the prisoner exchange with Non. General Lane tries to stop her, but even his own men won’t take up arms against Supergirl, who saved their lives in the past.
Supergirl and Alex take Astra to the exchange point, where they trade her for Hank. Suddenly, the area is surrounded by other Kryptonians ready to attack. But before Non can give the order, Astra puts a stop to it, saying that today is not the day to fight. Non relents and orders his men to withdraw. Astra tells Kara not to confuse her compassion for a sign of weakness. Back at the DEO, Kara finally learns the truth about Hank, that he’s actually an alien from Mars.
Later at CatCo, Cat gets a visit from Supergirl, who has come to talk with her about the silly idea she has that Kara and Supergirl are the same person. While Supergirl is talking to Cat, Kara enters the room and Cat can’t believe her eyes. Viewers learn shortly thereafter that it was Hank/J’onn using his Martian Manhunter shapeshifting abilities to pose as Supergirl. The ruse worked, and Cat has seemingly given up on the idea that Kara is Supergirl.
This week’s episode ends with viewers finally seeing what Maxwell Lord is hiding in his building. The final shot takes us into a protected laboratory where, among other things (like the remaining arm of the Red Tornado robot), Lord has a bodytagged “Jane Doe” that looks exactly like Kara, except when she opens her black coal eyes. Is Maxwell creating a Supergirl clone?
This latest entry seems to have the perfect mix of action, drama and humor. It wasn’t my favorite episode of this first season, but it certainly appears that the show-runners now have a template for how the series should work. My only real complaint continues to be Cat Grant, who should be a whole lot smarter than we see her in this episode. Her constant one-note bitchiness (for lack of a better word) is also starting to be bothersome. On the other hand, it looks like Hank/J’onn is going to become a much more interesting character to watch. Let’s hope he doesn’t use his shapeshifting abilities too often on the series, as that seems like an easy trick to get out of a lot of different jams.