Warning: This recap for the “Ace Reporter” episode of Supergirl contains spoilers.
Lena Luthor takes center stage this episode as Supergirl reinvents a little-known villain from the comics to be a potential love interest for her. We learn a little more about her as a person and Mon-El’s mother returns with an offer that ensures the last good Luthor will be integral through the end of the season.
Jack Spheer (Rahul Kohli), an old flame of Lena Luthor, is back in town with an exciting new medical technology: nanobots. Lena and Jack rekindle their romance, but a whistleblower (Andrew McNee) tips off Kara that the experimental data was faked. A swarm of nanobots kill the whistleblower and a second person (Johnny Ghorbani) who reveals the same thing to Snapper Carr. Suspecting Jack, Kara and Mon-El crash Jack and Lena’s romantic dinner. They steal his key card and discover that Jack was the only human trial. Kara tells Lena and asks her not to confront him, but Lena does and learns that he is being controlled by his business partner, Beth Breen (Claudia Doumit). The nanobots attack Kara and Lena is forced to shut down Biomax with an override that kills Jack. Kara gives her research to CatCo rather than publish it herself, and Snapper rehires her. Rhea (Teri Hatcher) approaches Lena with a business proposition.
Slow News Day
With nothing threatening Earth or National City — things are so slow that Kara has time to ruin at least five attempts at making danish — we have time to see multiple sides of Lena. That includes her love life, which is as hopelessly entwined with her work life as you’d expect from someone that driven. Then there’s her badass side, as exemplified by the exchange, “Did I mention I’m a black belt?” “Did I mention I’m a Luthor?”
It also includes her friendship with Kara, who is her literal shoulder to cry on. Or not, as the case may be; Lena has been raised to shut down her emotions rather than feel grief. It’s an interesting contrast to Kara’s openness. The question is, will their relationship allow Lena to grow as a person before she is inevitably pitted against Kara? Hopefully it is, because the depiction of real, complicated friendships between women — what’s the female version of a bromance? — are rare on TV, and it would be a shame to see this one dashed.
Snapper and Kara
Boy, Snapper is a hard character to get quite right. Even though the path of surly news bosses is well-trod — before Cat Grant, there was Perry White and J. Jonah Jameson — Snapper Carr can be almost absurdly harsh. When tempered with humor — like the jibe about the Pinterest Anonymous group or when he grimaces and tells Kara not to start a food truck — his gruffness is a delight. But when he cuts her off during the press conference, it just feels like bullying. Even if the writers have decided the show needs more bitterness to rein in Melissa Benoist’s sweetness, a little bit goes a long way.
James, Winn, and Lyra have a fluffy little side story where Lyra attempts to join the team, but her rage-induced methods prove too harsh. James makes Winn dismiss her after she beats up a young kid, which sends her into another rage, and a possible breakup from Winn. James realizes he could have handled it better and re-invites her — in essence, mirroring the tutor/student relationship Kara had with Mon-El. It’s fun, but almost feels like it belongs on an entirely different show. The power differential between Guardian and Supergirl is huge — imagine if Thor showed up on Jessica Jones and constantly fought gods while Jones was rounding up random street thugs — and the tonal shift from intense investigation to lighthearted vigilante antics can be jarring. Usually, their stories intertwine, but this week the narratives feel like they’re fighting each other.
Inside Comics Moment
No, Supergirl did not rip off the medical breakthrough Baymax from Disney’s Big Hero 6 when they introduced Biomax; Jack Spheer has been around for some 15 years. Like a lot of DC villains, he was dunked in a vat of chemicals (those things are everywhere in the DCU) which turned him into a bodiless, mind-controlling entity. The comic book Biomax is very different from this version, but the influence of the original is clear.
*There is no shame in enjoying the free cheese at a press event, Snapper; sometimes, it’s the only thing that makes this job worth doing. Simmer down.
*It seemed like the show was making a statement that bloggers are today’s muckraking journalists, but it looks like Kara is once again a legitimately credentialed reporter. Do you prefer her as a solo act or do you think the show is better with the addition of Snapper and a bustling news room?
*Just how hard do Winn and Lyra make out? Because the violent rocking of that van suggested there was an 8 or 10-person orgy going on in there.
*Line of the Night: “I feel a connection to you. Like, a man-nection. We should hang. You should call me.” Not only was it funny, not only was he slick enough to use the bro hug to steal Jack’s keycard, but it also pointed out that Mon-El really could use a … man-nection with somebody. Maybe just an occasional beer with Supes over in Metropolis?
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on The CW.
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