Supergirl Episode 4 Recap: She's A Real Livewire

Photo: Courtesy of CBS.
Last week, Kara felt the pressure of being Superman's cousin. This week, it's Alex who has to deal with the burden of family. Eliza Danvers (Helen Slater), Kara's foster mother and Alex's real mother, comes to town for Thanksgiving.

We normally see Alex calm and focused on crime fighting. Apparently all of that composure disappears when her mother come to town. As Kara battles an alien that got loose at the DEO, Alex is anxiously in her ear telling her to come home. Alex is nervous that Eliza is going to give her crap for Kara's new gig as Supergirl, but Kara happily answers the door in her uniform. Eliza cheerily tells her foster daughter that she "always looked great in blue," and then promptly criticizes Alex for looking tired.

Supergirl isn't getting any compliments from Leslie Willis (Brit Morgan), a radio host for CatCo. Leslie goes after Supergirl with teeth. Funnily enough Leslie's criticisms of the hero sound a lot like media criticisms of the character. Leslie hates Supergirl's "look at me I'm adorkable thing" and her "rejected from the Olympics figure skating outfit." And then she gets even nastier, speculating about Supergirl's sex life. (Winn and James are certainly listening to that part.)

Though it's not like Cat's been particularly kind to Supergirl, the media mogul isn't happy with Leslie's anti-Supergirl rant. Cat wants to establish a relationship with the hero, and having one of her employees consistently bash her isn't a good look. "People don't want your brand of negativity anymore," Cat tells her, and transfers her to a gig reporting on traffic from a chopper. There's some thick foreshadowing as lightning flashes when Leslie leaves Cat's office.

Sure enough that chopper gets caught in the middle of a storm, and even though the pilot wants cut the broadcast short and land, Leslie is determined to stay aloft. But the chopper starts going down and Supergirl must come to the rescue. She gets the pilot out, and then returns to save Leslie. But, just as she grabs the DJ, a bolt of lightning hits them, putting Leslie in a coma.

Despite being in a coma, Leslie looks pretty great when Cat and Kara go to visit her in the hospital. (Cat deems her new blueish grey hair Katy Perry-esque, but I think she looks more like Kesha.) Regardless, the fact that Leslie has a totally rocking new style probably should have clued Cat and Kara into the fact that there's a new supervillain in town. Clearly, Cat has some affection for Leslie, despite her aversion to hospitals. She says, "Get up off your ass, Willis, you and I both know you’re tougher than a bolt of lightning." After her guests have left, Leslie opens her eyes and reveals that something electric is going on there.

News of Supergirl's latest heroic act is playing on the TV at Kara's apartment, but Eliza asks Alex to turn it off. Alex was right, Eliza is frustrated that Alex let Kara become Supergirl. She thinks Kara is naive for her belief in the good of people. "You know better," Eliza says. "You should have stopped her.” Angry, Alex leaves. And that's when we get the first flashback of the evening: little Kara and Alex sneaking out of their childhood home to take a late night flight.

In the present day, out on the streets of National City, Leslie figures out her powers, by taking down a creepy dude on the street.

And then it's Thanksgiving time. Winn joins the Danvers women for the turkey feast. (Kara has contributed to the cooking by zapping the bird with her heat vision.) Kara also invited James for Friendsgiving, only he took a trip with Lucy. He does call to check up on Kara, thwarting Winn's what-I'm-grateful-for speech. When Kara returns from her call Alex, boozed up on wine, decides to get real: she tells her mother what she really does for a living: she's not in a lab, she works for the DEO. Eliza is enraged: "Are you out of your mind?" Alex doesn't understand why Kara is celebrated for helping people, and she gets chastised for doing the same. Cut to: the second flashback. Eliza and her husband, the other Dr. Danvers, catch young Alex and Kara sneaking back into the house after their flight. There's a knock on the door. The Danvers doctors tell the girls to go upstairs and Kara not to use her super hearing. Who is there? Hank Henshaw.

After the dinner table confrontation Kara, also baffled by Eliza's reaction, has to go into work to help Cat. All the electronics in the CatCo building have gone dead. This isn't a simple power outage, it's Leslie, who announces her presence in a grand fashion, appearing on the screens in Cat's office. Except she's not Leslie anymore: she's Livewire. Cat tells Kara to go get security, though Kara's not going to bother with that. Supergirl instead swoops in, and inadvertently gives Livewire more power by blasting her with heat vision. Cat tries to escape via elevator, but Livewire sends it plunging to the ground. Supergirl, however, saves her boss.

Kara — having changed back into her glasses — calls in the DEO for help. Hank explains that Livewire got her powers not because lightning hit her, but because lightning hit Kara when she was attempting to save her. While Hank goes to figure out how to fight Livewire, Kara offers to stay with Cat. The two have a bit of a heart-to-heart. Kara tells Cat she has a foster mother, which piques Cat's interest. Cat shows genuine emotion when Kara tells her, in a little fib, that her parents died in a fire. Cat's own mother is hyper-critical, but Cat credits her success to her mother's "pushing." Cat confesses she should have pushed Leslie to do better instead of encouraging the nastiness that got everyone into this mess in the first place. Cat resolves to get in touch with Supergirl and solve the Livewire problem.

There's another heart-to-heart going on in National City too. Alex and her mom talk it out in Kara's apartment, illuminated by candlelight. Eliza confides that she has always felt she had to accept Kara, a girl who lost her entire family and world. Alex, on the other hand, is Eliza's own daughter. "I wanted you to be better than me," Eliza says. But here's the sweet clincher, Eliza tells Alex: "You have always been my super girl." Eliza is just about to tell Alex a crucial piece of information about their past when she gets a call to help her sister.

Armed with a device that will contain Livewire, Kara goes to fight alongside Cat. The two women summon Livewire through a radio broadcast. But the trap doesn't exactly work as planned, and Livewire lassoes Supergirl with electrical currents and shoves the container away. Supergirl ultimately wins through common sense. She blasts water at Livewire, defeating her.

Back at work the next day Kara brings Winn leftovers, and Winn finally gets to say what he's thankful for: of course, it's Kara, but it's not just for the reason you think. His father is in prison, and he's happy she allowed him to be a part of her family. He kisses her on the cheek, and she reacts as awkwardly as you might expect. Plus, James and Lucy return right at that moment, diverting Kara's attention.

Cat is also in the holiday spirit, deciding to run photos of people volunteering on Thanksgiving instead of paparazzi shots. She also admits that there's a lot she doesn't know about Kara. "That should probably change," Cat says. Is she onto something? Or just showing a bit of a warmth?

Finally, all is well between the Danvers girls and their mother, but Eliza has one more thing to share. That's when we get the final flashback. Hank wants to take young Kara away, but her foster father, Jeremiah, offers to help the DEO himself. Eliza tells her daughters that Jeremiah died working "for a man named Hank Henshaw."

Now there's another mystery. At the DEO Alex tells Kara: "We have to find out what happened to my dad." Kara responds: "Absolutely."

We should note that this wasn't the episode that was originally supposed to air tonight. Still, the show has planted a lot of seeds, and I'm curious to see how well it follows through on all of them and whether they relate to one another. Let's tally: there's Kara's evil aunt, the matter of Henshaw's glaring red eyes, the circumstances surrounding Jeremiah Danvers' death, and whatever Maxwell Lord is up to. I also wonder if and how Winn's imprisoned dad will show up at any point.
Some other moments of note:

Lots of nerd culture references this week! Winn plans to stay in for Thanksgiving and watch Orphan Black. Cat addresses Hank as "Agent Mulder." After Hank and Alex give Kara the container to trap Livewire, Kara declares, "like Ghostbusters!"

Cat's comebacks are sharp, and I'm starting to really love her. "Oh, Leslie, you and I got through you not supporting Hillary in 2008, we can get through this," she says during the final conflict. When Livewire comes at her with the lame "there's are so many ways to skin a..." Cat cuts her off before she gets to, well, "cat." Cat tells her: "You have the wit of a YouTube comment."

The cover of "Take Me To Church" that played during Alex and Eliza's scene was very distracting.

I really appreciated that this episode didn't spend too much time riffing on some overarching feminist theme. It was nice to get an episode that didn't dwell on what Supergirl means.
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