‘Supergirl’ Recap: Kara Plays With Fire (SPOILERS)

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read until you’ve watched the second episode of “Supergirl,” titled “Stronger Together.”

In the second episode of “Supergirl,” we spend time exploring Kara Danvers’ relationship with her sister, Alex. We also gain insight into her childhood on Krypton, and learn more about her family — both good and evil. The episode also continues to toy with the love triangle between Kara, James and Winn.

Like the pilot, the second episode begins with voiceover—Kara explains that since we saw her last, she has been training hard with the DEO. They’re testing her for stamina, strength and speed in order to make sure that she is ready to work in the field. Alex and Kara seem to be getting along, but Winn interrupts the training to tell Kara that there’s a huge fire at the port. While Kara jumps at the chance to take action, Alex warns that since Kara has been training all day, she might want to think twice—advice that Kara should clearly take, but for the sake of conflict, sure, why not, go fight the fire, Kara.

Cut to the port. Kara arrives and we learn there are almost a million barrels of crude oil aboard a ship that is dangerously close to the fire. “Superman would have blown it out by now,” Kara is told by an extremely condescending port-worker. Instead of blowing Mr. Sourpuss into the blaze, she attempts to blow out the fire, but only makes it worse. She decides to solve the problem by flying to the front of the ship, using her super strength to pull it away from the flames. She is successful and everyone cheers, but just as she starts to revel in her victory, the front of the ship tears off and oil starts to spill into the harbor. Whoops.

“Miracle, or menace?” asks a news anchor  (played by Jay Jackson aka Perd Hapley from “Parks and Recreation,” so it’s a little hard to take him seriously). Maxwell Lord (Winn’s personal hero, we’re told) is on the news, condemning Supergirl for bringing Metropolis’ problems to National City.

In an editorial meeting, Cat Grant wants to take control of Supergirl’s narrative since she branded the hero in the first place (now she suggests going with #Terriblegirl) — and demands a sit-down interview with Supergirl, giving James and the staff until the end of the week to make it happen. After the meeting, Cat reprimands Kara, telling her to “Get your head out of the clouds and back behind a desk, where it belongs.”

Kara and James walk through the office, talking loudly about whether or not Kara should sit down for the interview (How bad is this girl at keeping a secret?). They’re adorable: Kara wonders if, perhaps, she put on the ‘S’ too soon. James remarks that the city needs a hero. Sparks are flying. But Kara steps away, still unsure if she wants to go through with the interview and face Cat.

Next, we are introduced to our Baddie-Of-The-Week, a Hellgrammite, otherwise known as a giant insect that has a capacity to disguise itself. The beast also shoots venomous darts that look like icicles covered in poison. In a flashback to Krypton, we see Kara talking with her mother and learning, among other things, what Hellgrammites are. We also learn more about their relationship: Kara wishes she could spend more time with her mother, who is always working, but she also has a tremendous amount of respect for her, and aspires to be just like her some day.

Back in the present, Alex brings Kara into a training room to teach her how to fight, but Supergirl is a little too high on her superpowers to take instruction. Alex teaches Kara a lesson by essentially kicking the crap out of her. This is the most compelling development between the sisters so far, and allowing Alex to train Kara — giving her more of a purpose than simply being a dour rain cloud on Kara’s sunshiney disposition.

Back at the office, Kara is upset to see that Cat is running with the headline “Supergirl: Failure to Launch.” Kara gets some sage PR advice from her boss who does not hold back: “[Supergirl is] taking on way too much, way too fast,” Cat says, referring to the port incident. She suggests that Supergirl should start small. “Supergirl should take a page out of your book, Kara,” she says (you’d think Kara would just do away with these downers).

Kara tells Winn to meet her in the alley in five minutes. Winn arrives in the alley to find James, resulting in an uncomfortable and adorable confrontation. When the two suitors learn that the other one is aware of Kara’s identity, a masculinity war ensues, with Winn feeling more defensive. Kara seems pleased. They decide to listen to Cat and start small.

After a short cut scene where we learn that Kara’s aunt, General Astra, is behind the Hellgrammite mess and plans to use the insect villain as bait for her niece, we cut back to Kara. She flies above the city like a complete badass (“Hit Me With Your Best Shot” is playing in the background for emphasis). Kara fights crime by holding her hand up to the barrel of a gun, and rescuing a little girl’s snake from a tree (a play on the kitty-in-a-tree trope, of course). With Supergirl’s reputation on the rise, Winn, James and Kara are celebrating their PR victory, when Alex arrives the door. She’s upset that Kara would reveal her identity to James and Winn.

But more than that, Alex has come to apologize to Kara for taking her down in training earlier at the DEO. Kara insists that she is not a little girl anymore, and expresses that all she wants is for Alex to have faith in her. But the older sister gets a call from the DEO, and leaves without saying anything. At the headquarters, they learn that the Hellgrammite is running out of food (DDT), and they plan to bait him, which sets the episode’s major confrontation into motion.

The next few scenes happen quickly: Cat gives James 24 hours to secure the interview, or he’s fired. Alex and the DEO attempt to bait the Hellgrammite, but their plan backfires when he unleashes a fury of darts. One enters Alex’s leg, and she is captured. Meanwhile, James and Kara share another intimate moment in which she decides to go through with the interview. James confesses that he hated having to live in Superman’s shadow, and doesn’t want the same in National City. But Kara wants to be part of a team. “Part of being your own man is being able to accept help,” she tells him. Hank Henshaw from the DEO calls Kara with news that Alex has been abducted. Kara is furious.

Supergirl rushes over to save her sister, but (of course) it’s a trap! Astra punches Kara and then attempts to manipulate her with family guilt, but Kara doesn’t buy it. Meanwhile Alex fends off the Hellgrammite. Astra appears to have the upper hand when Kara has a flashback to her training sessions with Alex earlier in the episode. In the flashback, Alex tells Kara to use her enemies’ strength against them, and Kara blasts Astra away. Although she recovers, Henshaw arrives on the scene just in time to stab Astra with a knife. She gets scared and flies away through the ceiling.

As Alex is nursing back to health, the sisters share a lovely moment together. Alex gives Kara (and all of us) closure by finishing the conversation they left off before: “You wanted to know if I had faith in you. I do. I always have.” She also shows Kara “something I’ve been working on,” which turns out to be a place for Kara to communicate with her dead mother via artificial intelligence. Kara is overcome with emotion.

The episode wraps with a few strings left untied. Henshaw’s eyes turn red, revealing that he is evil (no big shocker there), then Astra and her crony analyze the blade that stabbed her, expressing Supergirl is stronger than she had thought. Finally, we see Cat riding in a car, threatening James again about the interview, and he informs the editor to look out her window. She is in the air, being carried by none other than the prize interviewee: Supergirl. “James Olsen says you want to talk?” she says. “Let’s talk.”

Best quote: “Drunk at 9 a.m., that’s the last time I have breakfast with Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” – Cat Grant

“Supergirl” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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