Supergirl’s second episode (“Triggers”) packed an (emotional) punch in myriad ways. For one thing, Alex and Maggie seem to be slowly leaning into a rough patch. It starts off small, but then ends with Alex wanting kids and Maggie…not. That is, for a lot of people, a deal breaker. So, this is obviously the sad road to splitsville, which…actually infuriates me. Maybe let Alex be happy for five minutes, y’all. And maybe not blow up her relationship with Maggie. It occurs to me that no one has a happy relationship on this show, except maybe Winn.
Anyway, the villain, Psi, is a brilliant turn by Petra Solano—sorry, non-Jane the Virgin fans, that’s Yael Grobglas. Although her main motivation seems to literally be money equals happiness (no depth), Grobglas makes this character vividly her own, from the quips (“Oh, you think you’re the cat, and I’m the bird. You got it backwards.”) to her (ironic) fearlessness. Granted, she’s basically a psychic metahuman of Batman’s Scarecrow.
This episode also gave us Lena, who blithely reminds Kara she’s a Luthor and therefore impervious to people trying to hide things…in the midst of Kara hiding things, namely that she keeps dashing off, because she’s Supergirl. I do not think Lena is a stupid person, but Kara has been blatant in her constant disappearing act. I wouldn’t be surprised if Eve Teschmacher realized who she was before Lena. I mean, yes, Lena does show concern for her friend, but she chalks it up to losing Mon-El. (I will say I enjoyed her redressing Kara when she was a shit and stomped all over their friendship: “This is unacceptable behavior for an employee.” The delivery was perfect.) While that loss is plaguing Kara like mad, I want Lena to be a keener observer, as much as I adore her.
You know who doesn’t adore her? Jimmy. That probably has something to do with the fact that she works very differently than Cat Grant, steps all over his toes and then pretends she’s not wearing stilettos. I mean, scheduling meetings and not telling him? I thought Lena had more couth. Perhaps she was trying to carve out her place, but she’d do it more effectively by not alienating the person who stepped into Cat’s shoes. (The elevator bit with Eve was charming, although it made me oddly nostalgic for latte drama and snark. Le sigh.)
Obviously, we need to talk about Samantha and her daughter, Ruby. It is okay to say that Ruby is kind of the worst? And also appears to be waaaay too old to assume that if her mother has superpowers, she wouldn’t have to work? Because that seemed like something a younger child would hope/think. That said, I was fairly convinced that Samantha was going to stop that crane ball, instead of Supergirl. It was fascinating to see that she tried to later bend the crowbar in the garage. And while the principal was certainly invasive as all hell, I am definitely wondering about Ruby’s dad.
Finally, let’s talk about the mental health theme, which was excellently done. After encountering Psi, Kara’s childhood panic attacks reemerge, debilitating as ever. She tries to laugh it off, like she’s better than that, but she tearfully confides in Winn and is later talked down by Alex. In fact, Alex is constantly the MVP, saying the right thing at the right time to give Kara the tools to save herself. Alex may not fly, but man, that’s a damn fine superpower to have. (Chyler Leigh is constantly astounding, and I hope she knows how talented she is.) But the panic attacks. Mental illness doesn’t care who you are or what you can do. It slips in, insidiously, and can sometimes make you believe your worst fears. Melissa Benoist was absolutely, utterly fantastic (check out here I Don’t Mind campaign) and making that reality sing in an unmistakably powerful way. There’s the very real understanding that we could all, at some point, be Kara. You cannot strongarm a panic attack into submission. But you can, as Kara did, work through it. Alex’s “Go get her” made me cheer loudly, because these two…their relationship? It’s my favorite ship on the show.
Speaking of ships, M’gann psychically calls Hank, so it looks like next week, we’re going to Mars! I hope we get more of Sharon Leal this season. She’s pretty damn wonderful, and I feel like her connection with Hank had just began to solidify when she took off on her mission. Hank deserves some happy.
Things are definitely getting interesting early on in the season. My only regret is that we don’t have more Cat Grant. Gimme.