Recap: SUPERGIRL Sees Red and Gets Punchy

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Episode 106 “Red Faced”
Written by Michael Grassi & Rachel Shukert
Directed by Jesse Warn

[Photos: Darren Michaels & Cliff Lipson/CBS]

Now we’re back on track with the episode order, and following that line, it makes a certain amount of sense that the show has been setting up the “love triangle” of Kara-Jimmy-Lucy only to throw a curveball into it. Plus, the US government builds an anti-alien android with no off switch or self-destruct, and Kara has to deal with some pent-up emotions.

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This week, we’re dealing with General Sam Lane, who isn’t big on Supergirl, Superman, or their best pal, Jimmy Olsen. He’s also not keen on Jimmy dating Lucy. Because nobody’s good enough for his baby girl (maybe Lois and Clark aren’t a thing, yet?). Lucy is in town, it’s finally revealed, to be part of the general’s test of a prototype android called “Red Tornado”. With a presidential order, General Lane tells Supergirl to help put the android through its paces.

Of course it’s going to go rogue.

"Red Faced" -- Personal and professional stress get the better of Kara when she goes too far during a training exercise against Red Tornado, a military cyborg commissioned by Lucy Lane's father, General Sam Lane, on SUPERGIRL, Monday, Nov. 30 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Iddo Goldberg as Red Tornado Photo: Darren Michaels/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

And of course Lane is going to blame Supergirl. After all, she’s the one who busted it in the first place, right? So when Dr. T.O. Morrow also catches fallout from Lane’s irritation and gets fired from the project — you know, before they get it back — he goes rogue, too.

Because it turns out that Red is actually functioning as a drone, under Morrow’s control when it attacks Lane after the fun family time he has with Jimmy and Lucy. Because we have to show that this guy is just a jerk to everyone. Because… reasons?

Now, the visual effects were pretty easy this week, as we’ve seen the same tornado effects over on The Flash, but the much-derided design of Red Tornado deserves a mention, mainly because it deserves the derision. This looks nothing like any incarnation of Red, especially in the face. I get that you’ve got an actor, and you’re paying him, and he should have some screen time and what-not, but this is Red Tornado, who doesn’t have a face. He has a face plate. With slits for eyes and a mouth. He’s more like C-3PO in that regard.

If you want to see what Red Tornado really looks like, check out the really great animated adventures on Young Justice over on… oh, wait. Never mind…

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Kara, feeling poorly because she busted the robot, is trying to get a handle on why she’s angry so much. The beginning of the episode has her stopping a couple of road-rage drivers from running down a bunch of kids. So when one of them tries to punch her, she does a little harm, scaring the kids with the cell phone cameras.

Really? Did she really do that much to scare anyone?

At the very least, it gives us more life skills lessons from Cat Grant as she tries to deal with her own issues with her mother, who’s in town for a book tour — world famous editor, that she is — and we see that Cat comes by the Devil Wears Prada personality honestly. Only Mom throws it all at Cat, and it rolls downhill, with Kara catching flak from Cat to the point where she blows her top at her boss.

So they go get drinks.

Probably the only really good part of this episode: Cat giving Kara anger management advice over martinis. “Find the anger behind the anger” needs to go on a t-shirt. Because Cat’s right. Kara has something else eating at her, and so she takes Jimmy to a warehouse, where she’s set up punching bags — er, punching cars — for the purpose of venting spleens. Now, the line about black men not being allowed to show anger could have come across preachy and political, but it’s nicely organic in the conversation between him and Kara. And when she finally gets to what’s bothering her — the fact that she will never have a “normal” life with anyone — it gives her a way into that anger to control it.

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Which she does the next time she faces Red Tornado, which is targeting a holographic Sam Lane at the testing grounds. Kara manages to get the upper hand, blasting away with her heat vision until the android blows apart. Props to Melissa Benoist for selling the rage so well.

But despite that performance, this is very easily the weakest episode we’ve had so far. A lot of the plot centered around handwavium reasons for things to happen. The “Hand of the Writer” was very much in evidence this week, and that’s disappointing, because this show has much more potential than what we got.

For instance: the fact that Alex asks Winn to hack into the DEO computers to find out what happened to Dr. Danvers. Sure, let’s have the federal agent suborn a citizen to commit a felony by hacking into a supersecret government law enforcement agency’s computer systems. Because there’s no one else who can do it, of course. It’s not like Alex has access to those computers… oh, wait.

The fact that we get more bread crumbs about the reported death of Danvers is beside the point, and as soon as Winn said “presumed dead” I know he’s not dead. Danvers and Hank Henshaw go to South America to track down an alien, and only Henshaw comes back out alive. I’m calling it now: Danvers is alive and a prisoner, while Henshaw is a cyborg controlled by Brainiac.

You can hear more of my theory on the next episode of Rogues Gallery. — click here for more

T.O. Morrow isn’t quite dead, either, I think. Since he was telepathically linked to RT at the time Alex shot him, he was able to jump the connection and transfer himself into Red’s body, I’m sure, especially since the show went out of its way to call attention to how RT was “sentient” all of a sudden. Of course, with Red’s body blasted into a bajillion pieces, it might be hard for Morrow to interact with anyone, but just wait till Maxwell Lord builds his own…

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And Lucy resigns her commission, like it’s that easy to do? Those of you in the military, tell me: can you just up and quit like that? It’s not the same as quitting the “family business” if you’re in furniture or accounting or something. When you wear a uniform, it means you’ve taken an oath. That’s not something you can easily abandon, I suspect. But, you know… hand of the writer. It puts Lucy in National City for a while so she can bond with Kara and re-kindle the flames with Jimmy.

Next game night is going to be so much more awkward than the last one…

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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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