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There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

Wow! I was pretty defensive of the pilot of the show, and I do think it was a good pilot. This episode was remarkably strong. Any qualms I had with the first one? Smoothed over easily in the second. I have a lot of good things to say, but now that we’re past the pilot I can ramble a little about the nerd aspects of the show. Like The Flash and Arrow, we have quite a bit of them being thrown around, so I’ll comment on the characters in the show and their roles in the comics. It might give us insight into where they’re going with the storyline. It did give some clues for the other shows. Previously on Supergirl, we were introduced to Kara, the cousin of Superman who has now decided to become Supergirl and help save her city. National City is the name, by the way. In her normal life Kara is the assistant to the vicious but smart Cat Grant, and has two good friends and allies in nerdy Winn and charming Jimmy Olsen. Her sister Alex works for the DEO, the department that deals with alien threats, and now they’ve accepted Supergirl will be a part of their world whether they like it or not.

Kara was iffy on whether to become a superhero last episode, but this one tests her too, because it takes drive and determination. It’s hard to admit when you mess things up and to not get disgruntled by criticism. She struggles with that insecurity this episode, and I like that it’s not discounted. In fact, she accepts that it’s fair criticism and works to change it. After Kara bungles her way into a situation and causes more harm than good, Cat scathingly goes on about how Supergirl is a failure. Kara prods her for some recommendations, and Cat recommends things such as working from the bottom. Cat might be a difficult person, but she’s not wrong that Kara needs practice and she also needs to build up trust from the community. Instead of letting this drag her down, Kara gets help from Winn and Jimmy to find cases all around the city that need her. No task is too small, including saving a pet snake from a tree, or stopping a robbery. They also recommend she learn ways to contain problem, such as the very helpful detail that bullets bounce off her but could hurt someone nearby if it ricochets. These actions bolster up her reputation but also makes Kara more confident in her ability to become the superhero they need. Jimmy is threatened by Cat to get an interview with Supergirl or be fired, and Kara agrees to do it. Not just for him, in the end, but because she’s ready to take a stand and be in the public eye. Huzzah!

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Kara also has some trouble with the DEO. While Hank has accepted that Supergirl should be trained or at least watched by them, he pushes Alex to treat her a little more harshly. Alex puts her in a room with kryptonite (HOW DID THEY GET THIS????) and proves that without her powers she has no real fighting skills. I do appreciate that if anyone is going to criticize Kara and also to train her/help her get stronger, it’ll be the women in her life. Alex gets kidnapped by Kara’s aunt Astra, the twin sister of her mother. It’s interesting to note that Astra and Kara were close once, and whatever happened with Astra and her mother, her mother exiled her sister. Something she’s very bitter about. She says she wants to save this world, but probably for the same reason Zod did in Man of Steel. Take over Earth for their own people, duh. Kara learns first hand what it’s like to fight someone who is stronger and better trained than her, and it makes her understand that she needs to soak in guidance from the others in her life. Jimmy reveals to her that he was sad to be used as Superman’s friend only, that he wants to be his own man and have a reputation outside of the Man of Steel. Kara disagrees in the sense that she doesn’t want to be like her cousin: she wants a team, a family, not to be a lone wolf. She’ll pave a path for herself that respects her roots, while also staying true to her warmer personality. It’s great!

It’s also fun that she knows more about Krypton than anyone else, and it helps her figure out quickly who the monster of the week is here. But here are a few comic tidbits. Hank at the end reveals to have glowing red eyes. In the comics, Hank Henshaw is a villain who has a tragic backstory almost like the Fantastic Four. Him and his wife and others were on a mission, they were hit by radiation, but it ruined all of their lives. Hank became a Cyborg once his body was destroyed, and while at first he was a good person and ally of Superman, he turned against him. It’s hard to say where they’re going with him, but he does appear to at least be powered. It’s indicated that Winn may be the son of the villain Toyman, and it’s very unlikely that being named after him is a coincidence. That doesn’t meant he will go evil at some point, just like Caitlin Snow might not go evil on The Flash just because her character in the comics did. But we may find that his father becomes an antagonist for Kara later on. They introduced Maxwell Lord in this episode, played by Peter Facinelli, a major player in DC comics who is a tech mogul here and will no doubt play a bigger part as time goes on. Max didn’t start out a villain in the comics, but he certainly became a big one. My strongest memory of Max was in the Infinite Crisis storyline, probably his most famous one, and I shudder to think about it. So that’s your dose of nerd for this week. Just wait until next when Lucy Lane shows up.

Overall this was such a strong episode. The sisters bonding was beautiful to watch, Kara’s growth as a superhero is a delight, and can I just say I ship the hell out of her and Jimmy? I try not to get on board these things, especially not this early, but the chemistry between the two actors is instant. I’m sure it’ll end up destroying me eventually, but for now it’s great to see the beginnings, and to see them support each other so well here. I like that Kara is someone who can take criticism; it might hurt her at first, and make her get defensive, but she learns and she grows. That’s an excellent quality for anyone to have. I also like that her main villain on this show will be a powerful woman as well. Way to go on having such a variety of female leads, Supergirl! I can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

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