Monday, July 15, 2024

Supergirl: 1.4 Livewire Review

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And she’s mean in this episode, holy crap.

But hey, we do get her—Leslie Willis—talking crap about men who would try to sleep with Supergirl on her radio show, prompting some very insulted looks from James and Winn. It’s a little odd we’ve not heard of her shock-jock antics yet considering every recurring character save Hank, Alex, and Kara is shown listening to her, but hey. Turns out she was mentored by Cat Grant.

Some homophobic anti-butch stuff, too, but at least it’s coming from the monster-of-the-week rather than a good-guy character this time, and Grant ends up condemning the vitriol. Am I gonna have to start tracking how many times the show asks if Kara’s a lesbian? I don’t want to have to start tracking how many times the show asks if Kara’s a lesbian.

Unless she’s actually into girls. Then that’s cool. I mean, it gets into bi-erasure and that’s really not cool but now I’m digressing because I’m just so excited that BRIT MORGAN IS IN THIS EPISODE YOU GUYS.


She was in a short-lived ABC Family show called The Middleman way back in 2008 or so, and I loved it and I loved her. That’s enough of that.

This week’s episode, it’s important to note, was switched around. Originally, before the incidents in Paris, there was an episode that resembled said incidents and so CBS decided to pull a switch-a-roo. Instead of having a typical episode, then, we get a Thanksgiving one!

Yum, turkey.

So Alex’s and Kara’s mother Eliza (Helen Slater returns!) visits, bringing tension into the Danvers household: Kara was, according to Alex, Eliza’s favorite.

She’s also Cat Grant’s favorite because, while condemning the vitriol Leslie spews out about Supergirl, Grant completely takes the subject off the table, earning Leslie’s ire but also delivering a little bit of meta-commentary in saying that the people of National City want optimism, hope, and positivity— three things that Supergirl is providing to the superhero media landscape we’re seeing now on our screens. Sure, it’s a little hypocritical given her criticism of Supergirl last episode, and Leslie calls her out, but it’s an intriguing scene that gives us some insight into how Grant works.

It also gives us the impetus for Leslie’s villainous transformation: demoted to traffic reporter, she goes up in a helicopter and is struck by lightning arcing through Kara, gaining powers because Comic Books. Grant tells Kara it’s her fault and she is the one who should feel guilty for putting Leslie in the hospital, not Supergirl… but she doesn’t feel guilty.

(Hint: she does, she just doesn’t want to show it.)

(Also, Leslie gets electric powers. It’s funny because shock jock.)

Meanwhile, Alex is still worried that Eliza’s going to be mad at her for not preventing Kara “coming out” as Supergirl, while Kara herself argues that Alex should just tell their mother about the DEO and her career mission to protect her sister. Alex’s fears are true, though: Eliza insists that Kara still believes, after twelve years on Earth, that people are innately good and she doesn’t know better.

The tension makes for the World’s Awkwardest Thanksgiving, considering Kara thinks it a good idea to tell her family (plus Winn) what she’s grateful for: Alex, who has always been there for her; Winn, her best friend; Eliza, who raised her like a daughter.

Alex refuses to share.

And right as Winn gets up, probably to confess his undying love, James calls Kara.

I still wish Winn was just a gay best friend, to be completely honest. No character changes, no acting changes, just a gay friend instead of this pouty baby who gets mad every time Kara even smiles at another guy.

Also, I think National City is in California? James goes with his ex, Lucy, to spend Thanksgiving in Ojai, so it seems that it’s the stand-in for San Francisco much the way Metropolis is for New York.

Winn’s pouting is cut short, thank god. Alex finally admits that she’s a DEO operative, Eliza is outraged at her keeping it a secret for years, and then Alex calls her out on the hypocrisy in thinking of Supergirl as a hero but seeing Alex—who spent her career trying to watch over Kara—as a liar. Kara calls her out, too: ever since childhood, despite Kara taking responsibility for every issue she’s called, it’s been Alex viewed as responsible.

We also see that the DEO had a hand in their childhood.

But before they can resolve everything, Kara has to go help Grant with a tech issue… only to be confronted by Leslie Livewire, from inside Cat’s office monitors. It’s a pretty chilling scene, and when Livewire starts chasing after the two, her electric teleporting powers make it even scarier. Grant tries to protect Kara, ordering her away to get security while she distracts Livewire. Along comes Supergirl as soon as Kara gets out of sight, but Grant makes a stupid, uncharacteristic move: she dashes for the elevator.

That’s powered by electricity.

Come on, Cat, you’re smarter than that. Frankly, Calista Flockhart’s acting here isn’t the greatest; her “terrified” comes off as more “bored” than anything else, but considering I’ve never actually seen her in anything else save a single episode of Ally McBeal, I don’t know if it’s a bad instance of acting or an actual limitation of hers. It’s an jarring bit of weirdness considering that the cast is usually pretty competent, so I feel like it’s probably more of the former than the latter.

This episode is a big episode for Cat Grant, really. After the Livewire attack, despite seeing Kara as useless, Grant bids her to return to her family only to learn that Kara was adopted. She actually displays some sympathy for Kara and her past, and we even get to see her talk about her own relationship with her mother: Grant’s mother pushed her into the successful woman she is, but in doing so, like Alex, she never feels satisfied with herself. She pushes everyone around her, everyone she cares about.


Leslie, too, and Grant finally admits she feels guilt for not holding her to a higher standard.

But Alex and Eliza have a chance where Grant and her mother didn’t. Where Eliza needed to accept Kara (because what else can you do for a little orphan alien girl?), she pushed Alex to become better than her because she saw Alex as her own Supergirl.

Eliza tries to admit something, too, but she’s cut off by the DEO calling for Alex: with Cat Grant as Kara’s partner, they and the DEO are going to capture Livewire. The fight scene between Supergirl and Livewire is pretty cool; her ability to dissolve into sources of electricity makes for some dynamic cuts, and she gets some whips made of static, which is really neat. Grant distracts Leslie just long enough for Supergirl to use a water main to short her out, and she’s captured hopefully to come back because I just love Brit Morgan okay?.

The scare over, it turns to the next day, and Kara brings Winn leftovers beFORE HE KISSES HER ON THE CHEEK BECAUSE HE LOVES HER AND HOLY HELL CAN WE JUST BE DONE WITH THIS PLEASE

But hey, good news? Like I said, “Livewire” is very much a Cat Grant episode, and instead of running typical celebrity gossip, Grant decides that the Black Friday headlines from CatCo should be all about Thanksgiving, about family, about shelter and volunteer work. Sure, it’s a money tactic, but that’s not all it is. Grant genuinely does have a heart, and goes so far as to admit that after hearing the story of Kara’s family, she doesn’t know much about her assistant. She wants to correct that.

And here’s the point where I’d normally end my review with a heartfelt comment. With the exception of some mediocre acting, the episode was stronger than ever, but then we come to a screeching halt: Alex and Kara’s father was killed, and it was covered up by the DEO. They came to the Danvers household when the girls were young, demanding Kara for research, and instead Hank recruited Jeremiah Danvers.

The Danvers ladies are going to find out what happened.

Image courtesy of CBS

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