[Supergirl] Recap • 210 We Can Be Heroes

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Bu Chancellor Agard • @chancelloragard for Entertainment Weekly

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Tonight’s Supergirl saw the welcomed return of Kara’s nemesis, Livewire, whom we last saw in last year’s fantastic Supergirl-The Flash crossover. When we pick up with her in “We Can Be Heroes,” she’s busy wallowing jail, spewing crazy to her innocent therapist, who is just trying to help her out. However, midway through this session, a prison guard and another inmate stage a prison break, and Livewire escapes.

It doesn’t take long for Maggie and Alex to arrive on the scene of the crime. As they examine Livewire’s cell, they place bets on how long it’ll take Kara to stop being polite (i.e. using her press badge) and force her way into the cell. It’s an incredibly delightful exchange that is just one example of how delightful this relationship is. Naturally, Alex wins, which means they’re spending the night at her apartment and without vegan ice cream. As Kara, Maggie, and Alex survey the scene, they deduce that Livewire definitely had outside help because she couldn’t have planned something like this alone.

Winn gleefully presents Livewire to the rest of the DEO, but alas, Kara doesn’t share his glee. “I hate having a nemesis,” she complains to James, who called her into his office to finally come clean about his new nighttime hobby. The one thing that is helping Kara deal with the Livewire stress is knowing that she’ll have Mon-El, whom she’s been training to fight crime, to help her. James is taken aback. “I think he’s a fun guy, but he’s just not a hero,” says James. (This was the first and only time I agreed with James in tonight’s episode). But they don’t discuss the matter much further because they receive an alert that Livewire is attacking the NCPD.

Supergirl and Mon-El, rocking a rather lame superhero outfit, arrive on the scene and discover two things: First, this isn’t Livewire, but the inmate who broke her out and now has her powers; and second, the prison guard also has powers now. Supergirl tells Mon-El to protect the other policemen while she handles the Livewire clones. (Guardian is also there, because he won’t go away). Mon-El disobeys Kara and tries to protect her, which leads to both Guardian and another police officer getting injured and the Livewire knockoffs escaping. Supergirl takes this opportunity to unmask Guardian and discovers it’s James.

Obviously, Supergirl doesn’t take this news well. When they return to the DEO, she scolds James and Winn like an angry parent who says, “I’m not mad. I’m disappointed.” James asks to speak to Kara alone, and that conversation doesn’t go well either. Kara is too concerned about James’ safety to hear him when he says, “I am more me as Guardian than I have ever felt as James Olsen.” James takes issue with the fact that Kara is willing to let Mon-El, who is selfish, go out there, but won’t accept him as Guardian. That doesn’t faze Kara too much in the moment, and she threatens to stop him if he continues to do this.

I know this may make me a hypocrite — because I spent most of Arrow season 3 complaining about how Oliver had no right to tell Laurel she couldn’t fight crime — but I find myself siding with Kara on this. Whereas Laurel donning a mask felt like a natural development for the character, James deciding to become Guardian feels like it came out of nowhere, and I still don’t really believe it was necessary for the show to go down this route with his character. That being said, this is probably the most interesting material Kara and James have been given in quite some time.

Although James doesn’t have powers, he wants to be a hero because he genuinely wants to help people. The same can’t said of Mon-El, who has powers but is driven by something else. So Kara confronts Mon-El about disobeying her in the field and asks if he only wanted to become a hero because he likes her. Mon-El dodges the question. Frustrated, Kara storms off to track down Livewire, who is currently being held and tortured by a creepy scientist.

Meanwhile, in the most compelling part of the episode, J’onn is struggling to deal with the lingering resentment and hatred he feels toward M’Gann, who had a psychic attack and has collapsed into a coma. Alex keeps pleading with J’onn to do everything he can to help her — i.e. sharing their minds — but he refuses because she’s a White Martian. The White Martians are responsible for the deaths of his family, and he refuses to share the memories of his family with her.

Supergirl has been doing a pretty good job at tackling prejudice this season, and with J’onn, we’re exploring a situation where someone is finding it hard to move past these ingrained biases. J’onn is aware that he should put aside his hate for M’Gann, but he refuses because he’s worried he’ll lose everything if he loses that hate. To be fair, it’s understandable why J’onn can only see the White Martians as monolithic entity and fails to acknowledge that some of them, like M’Gann, might not be evil. But it is wrong, nonetheless, because M’Gann has shown that she genuinely cares for him and wants to help.

After Alex reminds J’onn of all of the good that M’Gann has done since they met her, J’onn agrees to share his mind with her. With Kara and Alex, his surrogate daughters, by his side, he enters M’Gann’s mind and finds her cowering on the battlefield, distraught over the terror on Mars. Not only was she ordered by to kill a young Green Martian, but the only way she could save the boy and the other captives was to kill all of the White Martian guards. (It’s a subtle reminder that war is damaging for both sides). J’onn comforts M’Gann, telling her she’s his friend and that it’s time to come home. This was probably one of the show’s most moving scenes.

Meanwhile, the mad doctor continues to siphon off Livewire’s powers in order to create electricity-powered super soldiers that he can sell to other nations’ governments. Winn manages to locate Livewire and sends Guardian in to save her in order to show Kara that they’re just as good at this as she is. Mon-El, eager to prove himself to Kara, too, follows Guardian into battle, but they both fail because the scientist also has powers and subdues them.

Thankfully, Supergirl arrives in time to save the day. She frees Livewire, and in a nice little change of pace, she teams up with her to take on the doctor and wannabe Livewires. Livewire also wants to kill the scientist, but Supergirl agrees to maybe give her head start and not chase her down until he’s in prison. Livewire accepts the deal and tells Supergirl to leave the incompetent boys at home the next time they fight.

With the day saved, Kara confronts James and Winn about Guardian again and says that she can’t stop them from doing this, but she won’t support them, which is a fairly mature response to the entire situation. Meanwhile, M’Gann, who has woken up in the infirmary, tells J’onn that her fellow White Martians were behind the attack on her mind and are coming to Earth to find her.

Kara’s day isn’t quite over just yet, because she finds Mon-El waiting outside of her apartment. He admits that he does remember kissing her and that he does have feelings for her. Kara is literally speechless, which doesn’t happen quite often. Mon-El takes that as a sign that she might not feel the same way, so he just high-fives her, says they should ignore this (jokes!), and leaves the apartment. Yeah, we know this isn’t going away anytime soon.

Wall of Weird:

• Supergirl definitely had a balance problem this week. We spent far too much time on the Guardian drama and, honestly, not enough on the more emotionally interesting material involving J’onn and M’gann.
• “That frat boy wants to be a superhero?” — James, when he finds out Kara is training Mon-El.
• “Your [Superman] cosplay sucks.” — Livewire, reacting to Mon-El’s terrible costume
• “You know what I love? Little boys who think they can do a better job than the actual superhero.” — Livewire to Mon-El and Guardian after they’ve been captured

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