Episode 104 “How Does She Do It?”
Written by Yahlin Chang & Ted Sullivan
Directed by Thor Freudenthal
[Photos: Robert Voets/Warner Bros. Entertainment]
This week, we got last week’s episode, and as predicted, it has some material that makes perfect sense after “Stronger Together” and the arrival of Lucy Lane. Running out of order, we got the next steps in “Livewire” before seeing how we got there.
And that question “How Does She Do It?” isn’t about Kara. Not really. At least, the answer doesn’t apply to Kara.
Oh, and bombs and stuff.
There are three story tracks this hour: the bombs scattered throughout the city, the resurrection of the romance between Jimmy and Lucy, and Kara’s new career as a babysitter. All three end up converging in one big emergency that also gives us another non-hint about Hank Henshaw’s identity.
Let’s start with the bombs, which was enough of a concern for CBS suits to move it after the Paris and Beruit bombings. I have thoughts on that, but I’m keeping them to myself, mainly because … well, reasons.
Supergirl is in a pretty good mood. She’s finally out in the open with her powers, she’s got a good job, she’s getting along with her boss (mostly), working with her sister, getting a good thing going with a guy… nothing can kill her mood. Right?
Until she spots a drone following her. Giving chase, she finally catches the thing and takes it back to the DEO, accusing Henshaw of spying on her. He flatly denies it, and Alex recognizes that while it’s not alien tech, it’s very sophisticated. Henshaw says he’ll look into it personally, giving us our first mini-hint of the hour that he’s Cyborg
Those drones are monitoring Supergirl as several bombs start showing up throughout the city, targeting Maxwell Lord’s lab facilities. Under cover as FBI, using the show’s equivalent of psychic paper, Alex ends up being assigned to watch over Lord while he preps for the big opening night for his supertrain. They have just enough time to banter and debate about the usefulness of government when they find another bomb, and Lord cuts the wrong wire. As the countdown is accelerating, Supergirl shows up in time to whisk the bomb away before anyone gets hurt.
Now, notice there’s a clue in the bottom corner of the drone’s scan data:
Alex discovers the tech in the bomb is the same as the tech in the drone, and both belong to Maxwell Lord. But Lord doesn’t seem too concerned about it, as he’s apparently gotten used to the idea of being a target since he’s “trying to change the world” with his clean technology.
Of course, the other reason he’s not too concerned we’ll save for the end.
Meanwhile, Cat is now the winner of the Siegel Prize for Women in Media, a nice shout out to Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel. This presents the entry point for the Babysitter Kara thread, as Cat has to go to Metropolis to accept the award and has no one to watch her son, Carter. The nanny has a broken leg (storing Cat’s summer shoes) and Grandma can’t be bothered with it. So Kara offers to watch Carter, since she’s got it in her head that she can do it all now… Cat, of course, thinks that Kara’s working an angle, which is a plus in her book and scores Kara a couple of points.
Carter is a gifted kid, given to severe introversion, keeping to himself and not really opening up until someone at CatCo mentions Supergirl. Then he just lights up. Winn says the kid has good taste. Carter just wants to meet Supergirl. Like bad.
Also while Cat’s away, Jimmy is in charge, and the fact that Lucy’s in town has him frazzled to the point where he can’t do his job terribly well. Kara’s distractions with the bombs and watching Carter haven’t helped, either. Especially since Kara’s trying to avoid the “friend zone” by listening to Jimmy’s girl troubles.
The sister moments between Alex and Kara, as much as they’re somewhat out of place in the middle of a DEO corridor, still have a good vibe to them. Chyler Leigh and Melissa Benoist really do have a good chemistry between them.
Some good chemistry between Winn and Carter, too, as Winn watches Carter for Kara watching Carter for Cat. Until Carter wanders off away from CatCo to head down to the supertrain launch in the hopes of meeting his crush.
Here’s where all of the story points converge: the supertrain opening. Back in the second episode, Lord fired Ethan Knox from the project. Now Knox is back, and he’s the one who’s been setting the bombs. And it appears he’s going to set one on the train. But wait! —
— he’s also set one at the airport, where Lucy is about to board a plane back to Metropolis after she and Jimmy can’t come to terms. Turns out Jimmy thought she was spending too much time buried in work, and she thought he was spending too much time running off to be where the Superman action was, so they each broke it off from the other. So there’s still enough feeling there that Jimmy speeds to the airport where Lucy could be at risk. He’s not speeding off to be with Supergirl at the train —
— which is where Maxwell Lord, Carter Grant, and Ethan Knox are all aboard, bound for DOOooooommmm!
And at the airport, the bomb gets defused by Henshaw — again using abilities we don’t get to see yet — who claims it was a dud. But when Alex examines it at the DEO base, she discovers the same failsafe device that was in the other bombs. Why have a failsafe in a dummy bomb? Who likes to have failsafes for everything he does?
Knox reveals to Supergirl that he’s doing all of this for his little girl, and Kara has to make a choice when Knox activates his bomb. She chooses to save everyone else on the train, separating the engine from everything else. Only why didn’t she just grab the bomb vest, rip it off Knox, and take it into the upper atmosphere? She’s fast enough.
(Or maybe she’d need the Flash for that…)
After Knox’s demise, Winn hacks into hospital records to learn the scientist’s daughter has a disease that needs a super-expensive treatment. So Knox has been put up to this in exchange for his girl to get the medical help she needs. Who has the power and influence to do that?
So Maxwell Lord is going to be Kara’s Lex Luthor analogue, as he all but admits to testing her abilities, the final test showing that she chose to save the hundreds of people on the train and not the thousands at the airport. Which leads him to conclude that somewhere on the train was someone who means something to Supergirl, and finding that someone will be the key to figuring out her secret identity.
The gauntlet’s been thrown down.
Lord asks the question, “How does she do it?” with respect to Kara’s abilities, but Kara and Jimmy are both asking it about Cat Grant — super-successful media mogul, mother to a gifted kid who needs special attention, and frazzled daughter — and Cat’s answer is one that will go into Cat Grant’s Guide to Success. The trick is to learn how to handle things one at a time, and not take on too much too fast too soon.
Cat: Oh, Kara. You have stumbled upon the most annoying question of the century, and you are so young that you don’t even realize it. How do you juggle it all? You learn. That’s how. You start with two balls before adding another. I figured out how to be brilliant in business and then I added being a brilliant mother. Far too many women burn out trying to do too much before they’re ready.
Kara: So you can have it all?
Cat: Of course. Just not all at once, and not right away. And not with that hair. Use conditioner, for God’s sake.
But it should be noted — and Cat noted — that Carter the Introvert has opened up by the end of the episode, giving Kara a hug and telling jokes. He’s demonstrably different in his behavior and attitude, and one has to wonder just how much that’s been influenced by Supergirl asking him for help on the train. Giving him the task of moving passengers to the back of the train gives him a purpose, distracts him from being afraid, and enables him in a way that normal everyday life probably doesn’t. The long-term effects should be interesting to observe.
Especially when Maxwell Lord figures out that Cat Grant’s son was on the train…