UK TV review: Supergirl Season 3, Episode 5
Ivan Radford | On 20, Nov 2017
Warning: This contains spoilers. For how to watch Supergirl, click here.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that if you’re in any doubt about someone being a villain in a superhero TV show, they will immediately do something so obviously villain-like that they might as well be dressed in red and carrying a pitchfork. Enter Morgan Edge, everyone’s favourite business tyrant named after a U2 guitarist. You remember Morgan, right? The sleazy, snide dude in a suit who tried to buy up CatCo and threatened Lena Luthor? Well, he’s back again – and, in case you doubted his evil credentials, he’s busy poisoning children.
That’s pretty much all there is Episode 5 of Supergirl’s third season. It’s the thinnest and weakest outing so far, as it follows Lena’s trial by media in the wake of Season 2’s finale: with children all over National City suffering from lead poisoning, Edge is promptly in front of the cameras to blame her anti-Daxamite device that she used to repel their invasion. And so Lena decides to step down from running CatCo.
A press conference later and Lena’s still not redeemed herself in the public eye, with a woman in the crowd shooting at her – although thankfully, James is there to take a bullet in the shoulder and knock her to safety. Winn, meanwhile, is on hand to test the lead molecules to make sure that they primarily bonded to Daxamite cells, thereby clearing Lena’s name. (Spoiler: it doesn’t.)
All of this leads to the best scene of the episode, as Lena, Sam and Kara all have a drunk girls’ night in, in which they try to reassure Lena that it wasn’t her fault. “Stop believing in me, ok?” whines Lena, as Katie McGrath seizes the chance to display new sides of her character – in this case, the side that has always tried to do the right thing, despite being stuck with her family’s legacy and surname. Lena also mocks Kara for being unable to conceal secrets, because we can never have enough cute moments between these two adorable friends. After two seasons of James and Winn taking centre stage in Kara’s affections, Season 3 is succeeding partly because it foregrounds its female relationships so effectively.
And so, with Lena eventually out for the night, Sam and Kara take centre stage and continue to investigate. Thanks to some suspect hacking by Sam, they work out that all the kids also attended the local swimming pool, where chlorine has been supplied by Acre Lee Chemical. Acre Lee, inevitably, is owned by Morgan Edge, who poisoned the water with a chemical that coincidentally acts just like lead once it comes into contact with the wet stuff. Cue Lena storming into Morgan’s office and threatening him – not with media humiliation but with a gun. He responds in kind by knocking out her out and trapping her on a plane full of Bad Chemicals, which they plan to crash into a reservoir.
Supergirl, naturally, saves the day, crashing the plane safely and rescuing Lena – and then heads to Morgan’s office for a typically snide, sleazy confrontation. Due to some sneaky boardroom wheeling and dealing, he lives to bribe and poison another day – but mainly because Supergirl is too honourable to kill him. It’s that genuine nice streak that continues to mark Supergirl out as a lovely role model, not getting corrupted and preferring to spend time hanging out with her makeshift sisters instead. Because yes, Lena, Sam and Kara consider each other sisters, and it’s just wonderful.
That happiness is contrasted to poignant effect with the show’s other major female relationship: Maggie and Alex. After almost getting back together and endlessly discussing the matter of Alex wanting a baby and Maggie not wanting a baby, they heartbreakingly agree to part ways – and it really is heartbreaking, because unlike last episode, we can’t see any way back for them. Luckily, Kara’s there for her actual sister too – and she promptly finds her in a bar, calls in sick to the DEO for several days and announces that they’ll be going home for a while.
It’s a superbly acted moment by Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh, although it’s not quite enough to mask the fact that the plot for this episode was incredibly flimsy and not very logical. On the plus side, we do also get the hint of a new romance between Lena and James – if the fact that James didn’t stop her bullet in his Guardian costume wasn’t promising enough, it’s reassuring that they might finally be sorting out a storyline for him that doesn’t involve being a superhero or a boyfriend to Kara. (Winn, thankfully, gets another chance to be involved in the plot directly this episode, but he’s still spinning his wheels this season.)
It all wraps up with another tease involving Sam, as she tucks Ruby into bed and notices that she has a hole in her top. The cause? A flashback to the press conference confirms it: she was caught by a stray bullet in the failed assassination attempt. Several hours later? There’s not a scratch on her. It’s the latest piece in the Sam puzzle, after a conversation with Kara that includes the important information that she’s also adopted and has bad dreams. What did we say about signposting villains again?
Supergirl Season 3 is available on Sky 1 every Monday, within a week of its US broadcast. Don’t have Sky? You can stream it live or catch up on-demand through NOW TV, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription, no contract. A 7-day free trial is available for new subscribers.