Supergirl becomes an Ace Reporter

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Supergirl returned this week with a little CW synergy. Special guest star Rahul Kohli from iZombie played Jack Spheer, a billionaire tech guru and Lena Luthor’s ex beau. As Columbo taught us, the special guest star always did it, so it came as zero surprise that he wasn’t all he seemed.

However before we get to that, we first have to reset the scene. Strangely this episode almost feels like it should have come out two episodes previously. Kara starts off bored and experimenting with cooking, still adjusting to unemployed life from her firing from CatCo. She acts as if the termination is still fresh even though there have been two episodes since. This whole season has just been a jumbled mess so this really wasn’t a surprise, it just deserves a mention.

I thought her quirky cooking stuff was a fun side throughout the episode. The GoPro shot from inside the oven was an odd choice though and completely out of place on this series. Also, they missed out on a great gag. Kara doesn’t use any mitts to pull her baking from the oven, a fact that many viewers may have overlooked because they did zero to draw attention to it. I like the idea of how Kara doesn’t have to take the same precautions as the rest of us, I just wish they did more with this.

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So luckily for our bored Kara, Lena Luthor’s ex is in town to introduce a new technology he started developing with Lena. Lena asks Kara to come along to the event as her plus one. Wouldn’t you know it? They end up sitting right next to Snapper Carr. So this new tech is a swarm of microbots that can heal any wound … or something like that? According to Spheer, these bots can basically treat and cure any and all ailments. Kara uses the opportunity to do some actual reporting and manages to awkwardly squeak out a legitimate question to the CEO.

I understand that as this episode was entitled “Ace Reporter” they were going to push Kara back towards reporting but isn’t it kind of rude to use her friend’s invitation for moral support to further her own career? Plus she’s technically there as Lena’s guest not a credentialed press member. The whole thing felt a bit rude to me.

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Of course while at the event Kara is approached by a whistleblower, trusting her because of how she went against normal conventions to get her Cadmus story out (a weak explanation). But while meeting in his car later, we got one of the darkest scenes in the series so far. The swarm of microbots fills the car and causes it to explode. The imagery of Kara flying through the top of the vehicle, clothes burning away to expose her super suit as she looks on at the fiery wreck where her informant has just died a terrible death right in front of her. The way this was presented was really fantastic, not pulling any punches at all.

Similarly, later on Snapper is with his own source and Kara intervenes to try and stop a second murder by the bot swarm. This time the swarm engulfs the man consuming him like a pack of piranha and leaving nothing but dust behind. Then when turning on Snapper, Kara freezes the swarm mid air in a intricate crystalline pattern. Again, another scene fairly dark in tone and beautifully executed. These scenes remind us of just how great the show can be when they want to.

This whole episode was a great reminder of the heights Supergirl is capable of. I keep saying time and time again, this series excels when dealing with smaller scale stories. Every time they focus on these little adventures the show is so much fun. Even with giant plot holes (don’t worry we’re getting to those) Supergirl turns into such a different, such a better show.

So of course Kara warns Lena that her ex is behind these horrible murders and makes her promise not to confront him … which of course she immediately does. Can’t anyone keep their word on these things? But anyway we eventually learn that Spheer injected himself with the bots and is now under his CFO’s control and has no actual memory of the horrible things he’s done. Kara gets trapped by the bots and with Jack Spheer begging to be released, Lena is forced to kill her ex by destroying the bots, both saving Kara and releasing Spheer from his hellish prison. Wow, dark.

I had two giant issues with this plotline. First being why Spheer injected himself instead of doing real testing. The video Kara finds shows him disheveled, sweating and wide eyed. This feels like a lost subplot, perhaps he had a terminal condition, some legitimate reason for taking such drastic steps. Unfortunately if there was such a plot it got cut. Second, the CFO says she is releasing the dangerous program for financial success. How was this supposed to work in the long run? If the bots change everyone they merge with and enslave them, how is the long term plan going to work? There is no version of this that doesn’t end with the truth exposed and her in jail. Frustratingly short sighted.

Out of the whole ordeal Kara managed to get rehired by Snapper. A quick reprieve considering the reasons behind her firing. I knew she was going to go back eventually but it would have been nice to make her earn it over a few weeks rather than all at once. Also Lena discusses how afraid she is of what darkness might emerge in her from this event and is immediately approached by Mon-El’s mother. So I guess they will be a villainous team for the finale this year? If so, such a boring turn for Lena’s character.

There was also a “B” plot with Lyra trying to join Jimmy and Winn’s Guardian team. Lyra turns out to be a little bit of a nut, with a gigantic temper. While a total throwaway plot line, Lyra is still lots of fun to watch and she and Winn have amazing chemistry, even when she is threatening his life. Maybe putting her with Jimmy will cover up his lack of charisma.

So yeah, some glaring potholes here and there but “Ace Reporter” is the most fun I’ve had watching Supergirl in weeks. Smaller scale, interesting ideas, and dark, well-produced scenes all add up to a fun and interesting episode.

What did you think of this episode? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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