How much you want to bet that Supergirl‘s viewership goes soaring through the roof starting next week? If you haven’t started watching Supergirl yet, A) get on that, and B) why are you reading this review? This recent episode, “Human for a Day”, brought us a whole new level of characterization and storytelling, and fans of DC are missing out on a huge, huge, huge opportunity if they aren’t tuning in. (major spoilers ahead!)
At the end of the last episode, Kara accidentally cut herself on a shard of glass, causing her to bleed. This is a foreign concept to Kara since she’s always been near-invulnerable while on Earth (thanks to the sun’s effect on Kryptonians). The DEO and Kara learn that the battle with the Red Tornado essentially burned out her powers, and she’ll need time to recharge before she’s back to superhero status. This proves to be difficult for someone who’s never been sick, never broken a limb, and never really suffered human-like pain. Welcome to the world of hurt, Kara!
In all seriousness, it must truly suck for her right now. She’s gotta get used to an array of new feelings that she’s never felt before. Can you imagine what that’s like? I gotta hand it to Kara – she takes it like a champ! At one point, she breaks her arm during an earthquake, and while she complains about how much it hurt, she manages to walk it off a few minutes later. I’ve seen grown adults who have broken multiple bones in their lives STILL cry if they suffer a sprain or broken arm. Either Kara’s powers came back faster than we thought, or she can take the pain with no problem.
Cat Grant and the team at CatCo spend their time trying to provide media coverage of these freak earthquakes that have been plaguing National City as well as the mysterious absence of Supergirl. On the other end of the spectrum, Maxwell Lord is trying to turn the city against the hero by capitalizing on her disappearance. He also somehow deduces that Supergirl must be temporarily powerless after her fight with Red Tornado.
Don’t you dare pull that, showrunners. There is no way that Maxwell is smart enough to make a scientific guess such as this, yet he still can’t figure out that Supergirl and Kara are the same person. That’s BS. I’m drawing a line in the sand right here.
Anyway, the lack of superpowers doesn’t stop Kara from trying to save people. In a heartbreaking scene, we watch as she valiantly attempts to save a man who has been critically injured, only for him to die in her hands. You almost feel the pain and sadness that must be going through Kara’s mind as she realizes that she truly cannot save every single person. But she won’t spend the next few days moping about, feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she decides to move on and still work on saving people. As a matter of fact, she finds out how she can save multiple people when she spots a group of thugs holding up a convenience store.
In another powerful scene, Supergirl (in full uniform) confronts the robbers and convinces their leader to lower his gun. Here’s another reason why Kara is so bad-ass: she still doesn’t have her powers. All the robber had to do was call her bluff and shoot her. Supergirl is dead; National City falls apart.
Even without her bullet-stopping powers, she was willing to carry out her mission and perform her heroic duties. Personally, I think that makes Supergirl more of hero than any super powers could.
Now, onto the other thrilling half of the episode. The earthquakes cause the DEO’s lab to go on the fritz, causing one of the most hostile villains, Jemm, to escape his imprisonment. Jemm is reduced to a typical villain-of-the-week this episode, which is a shame since he has the potential to be a major baddie. The guy can control people telepathically – you do realize just how scary that is, right?
While the DEO agents are scouring the building in search of Jemm, Alex Danvers is keeping an eye on Hank Henshaw, who she knows is up to something fishy. She handcuffs him and leaves to go after Jemm alone. Fortunately, just before Jemm can turn her inside out, Henshaw appears and kicks the crap out of him. The two have a conversation that finally reveals Henshaw’s background as well as what happened to Alex’s father, Jeremiah Danvers.
Long story short: Henshaw isn’t really Henshaw. The real Henshaw worked with Jeremiah on a mission to find an alien that had crash-landed on Earth. Henshaw became obsessed with the alien while Jeremiah tried to protect it after finding out it was a refugee of a lost world. Jeremiah unfortunately perished in his attempt to stop Henshaw, and the alien assumed Henshaw’s identity and returned to work for the DEO.
That alien? None other than J’onn J’onzz, the last survivor of Mars, also known as Martian Manhunter.
It might be hard to appreciate Martian Manhunter’s appearance unless you are a big DC fan (or you at least watched the old Justice League cartoons). The introduction of this character is a big step forward for this show. Martian Manhunter’s appearance to Supergirl is akin to Barry Allen’s first appearance in Arrow. I’m willing to bet that there will be a huge rise in ratings starting with this episode since Manhunter has such a huge following.
Of course, we have to remember that this is Supergirl’s show, so we shouldn’t expect J’onn to be front-and-center of every episode. HOWEVER. That doesn’t mean that he won’t have his chance to shine here and there. I can’t wait for the first team-up between these two characters. And I know I’m not the only person who would love to see Manhunter summon the rest of the Justice League for a live-action appearance. I’m sure Grant Gustin, Stephen Amell, and the other heroes from the Arrow-verse wouldn’t be opposed to cameo appearances.
Supergirl‘s latest episode was a huge step up from last week’s disappointing installment. Even without Martian Manhunter’s appearance, I think the rest of the show would’ve held up quite well. I enjoyed watching Kara come to terms with her own mortality and find ways to be a hero without her powers. Let’s see a little more of that in the future.
Final Grade: B +
+ Watching Kara overcome obstacles as a mortal human being was amazing, and it truly showed just how brave she is, even without her powers.
+ So many action-packed scenes!
+ Martian freakin’ Manhunter!
– It’s a shame Jemm didn’t get more screen-time; however, since he’s a known adversary of Martian Manhunter, I’m wondering if he’ll be making a return in the near future.
– For once, I didn’t care what was going on with Cat Grant; her subplot was kinda meaningless compared to the rest of the episode.
– Maxwell Lord is somehow able to deduce that Supergirl blew out her powers and has to recharge? Come on. It took the city how long to realize she was related to Superman? And all of a sudden, someone can figure out how her powers work?
– Will Alex reveal Henshaw’s secret to Kara?
What did you think of tonight’s Supergirl? Was the big Henshaw twist awesome or what? Tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!