Episode 1.03 “Fight or Flight”
Rather unexpectedly, this week’s Supergirl episode, “Fight or Flight,” picks up right where last week’s left off, with Supergirl flying Cat Grant (Calista Flockart)’s car to a secluded spot to conduct an interview on her terms.
I kinda thought this episode would start out with the interview going to press and that being that. But nope. Kara never touches the ground and deepens her voice, an interesting way of trying to back up her confidence. But despite this, she still gets unmoored when Cat asks her if she plans to start a family.
“Nobody ever asks my cousin these questions,” Supergirl snaps. Realizing what she’s done, Kara declares the interview over and flies off. But that’s all the scoop Cat needs and the next day, media is abuzz with news of the Man of Steel and the Maid of Might being related.
Kara receives no end of crap over this from her sister Alex (Chyler Leigh) and of course Hank Henshaw (David Harewood). But on the bright side, Winn—who the show is still trying to make as appealing as Cisco on The Flash and it just isn’t working—has taken an abandoned office in the CatCo building and turned it into an ersatz Fortress of Solitude so Kara can track down threats when not at the DEO office.
Speaking of, after getting chewed out by Henshaw over the “interview,” Kara sees footage of a highway pileup and goes to assist. She saves a woman trapped in an overturned bus but barely has time to get her to safety before she’s blasted right in the fact by villain-of-the-week Reactron (Chris Browning). Looking like Iron Man and powered by nuclear radiation ala Firestorm, Reactron turns out to be a long-time foe of Superman who the big guy has never managed to actually defeat due to his immense power.
Wanting to destroy Superman piece by piece, Reactron resolves to destroy Supergirl to make her cousin “suffer as I have suffered.” What he alludes to is actually found out fairly quickly by our heroes. Turns out Reactron is Ben Krull, a nuclear engineer who survived a reactor meltdown that Superman prevented. But his wife didn’t, hence his dedication to crushing Supes.
Despite having been pummeled by him once before, Kara tracks Reactron down after he kidnaps tech mogul Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli, making his first real appearance this week after a cameo last week) to help him repair his damaged suit. Despite declaring she only wants to help him, Reactron beats Kara down again. She’s about to lose consciousness when she—and the viewers—see another familiar figure in red and blue arrive. With his back to the camera, Superman pushes Reactron back and flies off.
Understandably, Kara is beyond angry that her cousin saved her. Making the whole situation even worse is Cat Grant’s article deriding Supergirl as a pathetic excuse for a hero who will call Superman “the same way every Millennial calls Mommy & Daddy when things don’t go their way.” How she reacts to Jimmy (who used his famous signal-watch to call for help) as well as how she defeats Reactron makes for a really solid third episode that doubles down on the show and less of the tell of what Supergirl is supposed to stand for.
Being a newly minted college graduate, Cat’s anti-Millenial speech raised my ire a bit. But what episode writers Michael Grassi and Rachel Shuker mean by including that speech is to show how Kara is the polar opposite of everything Cat assumes (Speaking of Kara, Melissa Benoist has some killer goofy/awkward laughs this week). It’s a nice parallel that hopefully gets doubled down on as the show progresses.
Episode director Dermott Downs mostly keeps the big action scenes in shadow, probably due to budgetary reasons. It’s a shame because otherwise, there’s a real zing to the fight scenes though Reactron is a bit of a lame villain. But it’s interesting to see Supergirl come more and more into her own and I’m still excited to see where the show goes from here.