Even superheroes have to start somewhere. That’s something Kara learns the hard way after she answers a distress call at the National City Port, where a raging inferno is sending emergency workers scurrying to safety and threatening to blow an oil tanker sky-high. With no time to waste, she wrenches hundreds of tonnes of steel with her bare hands and shunts the ship away from the worst of the flames. Alas, her efforts send cracks zig-zagging through the hull, spewing millions of gallons of crude oil into the pristine waters. Not exactly saving the day.
Back at the office, Kara learns the drawbacks of working at a major news organisation, where the phones are ringing off the hook and the TV screens are all covering Supergirl’s muck-up on an endless loop. One of her most outspoken critics is Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli), a billionaire businessman who warns the bill for the ecological disaster is one of many the citizens of National City will be expected to foot. Who knew that tycoons with the net worth of a small island nation would be so concerned for the taxpayer’s wellbeing?
Sidenote: I actually met Peter Facinelli at a con once. In retrospect, he was a lot like his character: charming in that slick, my-publicist-debriefed-me-before-I-came-here sort of way. At any rate, it looks like the writers are setting him up to be some sort of Lex Luthor clone, so I assume we’re going to be seeing a lot more of him down the track.
But for now, that’s the least of Kara’s worries. An escapee from Fort Rozz – this time, it’s some sort of weird insectile shapeshifter with snapping mandibles – is guzzling nuclear-grade compounds like they’re Gatorade or something. To prepare for the inevitable confrontation, Alex teaches her sister a thing or two about hand-to-hand combat in a special chamber which emits green, power-sapping light. You can’t help but feel Alex – who worked her butt off to get where she is now – is enjoying levelling the playing field for a change.
Out in the field, it’s back to basics, with Kara realising – thanks to some tough love from her boss, the captivating Cat Grant (Callista Flockhart) – that she needs to prove herself in the minor league before she starts batting with the big cheese. With the help of her support system from the control room, mostly comprising of Winn, whose scenes are accompanied by the frenzied clickity-clack of rapid-fire typing, she foils a robbery, reroutes an ambulance caught in a traffic jam, and even rescues a little girl’s beloved pet stuck up a tree… though “Fluffy” turns out to be a 1.5 metre-long bullsnake.
While Supergirl is preoccupied with getting back into the public’s good graces, her aunt decides to strike from the shadows. She gives the order for the Hellgrammite – that’s the overgrown tick from earlier – to kidnap Alex and dump her back at their evil lair, which is some kind of abandoned industrial unit. (I wonder if the Kryptonians pay rent?) When Kara learns her sister is MIA, she races to save her, coming face-to-face with Astra for the first time since she left her planet.
What happens next is a knock-down, drag-out brawl between family, complete with more lasers and clouds of mist than a funhouse lightshow. As luck would have it, Kara holds her own against a much more experienced adversary thanks to some nifty flashbacks to Alex’s gruelling training sessions. After Alex impales the Hellgrammite on its own claw, and reinforcements arrive to back both girls up, Astra takes flight – literally – jetting off into the night.
Flash-forward to the DEO’s centre of operations. Once she’s all bandaged up, Alex shows Kara to a room bathed in blue light. Inside, a hologram springs up, taking the incorporeal form of her mother. Alex explains they built the chamber using technology salvaged from Kara’s pod to serve as her very own Fortress of Solitude, and that the A.I. will answer all her questions to the best of its ability. Choking back tears at seeing her mom again, Kara steels herself and demands to know more about her Aunt Astra.
Aaaand that’s a wrap. Who knows what Astra has in store for her niece? Why is she so hell-bent on causing trouble for Supergirl? And will National City ever recover from its seafood shortage? These questions and more will be answered next time! Probably.