By Josh Melo
‘Supergirl’ Review – S1 Ep.5 (How Does She Do It?)
Faced with living a dual life as Cat Grant’s assistant and Supergirl, Kara is finally faced with the mundane issue of “so much to do so little time”. So how does she do it? The answer; she doesn’t really. Kara fumbles her way through protecting the city from a mad bomber, forgets to take care of her boss’s son and even manages to further ruin her love life.
How Does She Do It was supposed to air last week but was pulled at the last moment due to content deemed to reminiscent of the tragic events in Paris. The overall continuity wasn’t altered all that much and How She Does She Do It does little to add to the overarching narrative, aside from shedding light on why James and Lucy were seen back together.
In all honesty, only those hyper sensitive to violence or explosions will find anything about the episode offensive. A couple of things blow up and the word terrorist was uttered a single time. I don’t see a legitimate reason for shelving the episode for a week. Nevertheless, it happened.
As I mentioned last week, not much happened in Livewire that demanded further explanation outside of a possible introduction to Leslie Willis (which we didn’t get). What we did get was some background as to why James and Lucy seemed closer than ever when things seemed to be picking up between James and Kara. In Kara’s panicked attempt to save the day, take care of Cat’s son Carter and help run the CatCo offices, she kinda-sorta helps the pair get back together. I’m glad it happened (make room for Winn!) but for it to take up so much screen time was a bit of a let down. All of the scenes involving this awkward love triangle felt way too soapy for me. The show is best when it embraces its “girl power” infused comic book roots, not adhering to stereotypical female plotlines.
While on the topic of Kara’s hectic day at the office, the title of the episode says it all. Purposefully packed with disparate storylines of various import, How Does She Do It is all over the place. Jumping from one problem that requires her attention to the next, Kara (and in turn the episode) never has time to commit to one thread. This ultimately makes the show too scattered to really invest in. First she is running missions for the DEO, then she offers to help take care of Cat’s young son which in turn makes all of the work she has to get done at the office all the more difficult. If one of these plotlines were cut or even shortened there would have been a lot more breathing room for the more important arcs.
One such arc that should have been cut was the “babysitter Kara” story. Carter wasn’t remotely interesting (despite his love of nerd things and attractive women) and his only real purpose was to give Kara something to save. We got to see inklings of the more likable Cat that appears in the Liverwire but she is still pretty despicable here (is this the first time she has called her Kiera or is it just me?). Throwing a son in the mix plants the seeds for a different side of Cat to eventually emerge (one that plays Settlers of Catan) but other than that any other established character could have filled that role. I would have loved to see Winn go crazy over his idol’s latest invention, buy the first ticket for the Super Train (a terrible name) and unknowingly throw himself into dangers grasp. It would have made her decision to save the 100 passengers on the train over the thousands at the airport all the more conflicting and in turn more meaningful.
Yet in her emotionally charged to save the few a moment of good came out of the turmoil at the airport. Once again David Harewood’s Hank Henshaw shows glimpses of his Cyborg Superman persona. The glowing red eyes have become his signature move but this time we go a step further and witness what seems to be super strength. Defusing the bomb with his bare hands, Henshaw carries out the bomb declaring it a dud and distraction to the DEO agents and surrounding civilians. It was a great moment for the Henshaw character and managed to make the most interesting mystery on Supergirl even more intriguing.
The second and final reveal of the episode came at the very end, with Supergirl confronting Maxwell Lord about the supposed terrorist attacks. It turns out that Lord himself had ordered the attacks on National City so as to gauge her myriad abilities in the hopes that he could find out who she really is. The sudden turn for the character felt like it came out of nowhere and doesn’t seem inherently pertinent. To me it seems like the writers are setting up Lord to adopt a Lex Luthor type of role against Supergirl but as of now that isn’t entirely earned. When it is revealed that his end goal is to figure out who she is in everyday life I chuckled to myself. If he ever meets Kara face to face (which I believe he already has) putting the pieces together shouldn’t be that difficult (also, why didn’t Carter notice Kara/Supergirl are the same person? Cat’s a demeaning witch to her staff so I know her excuse, but a little boy?).
How Does She Do It most likely feels unnecessary because we have already seen what happens after it. The Cyborg Superman stuff was fantastic and Kara is her usual adorable self, but everything else in the episode just felt old to me. With Supergirl returning to its regular schedule next week things should pick up.
Overall, How Does She Do It isn’t a bad episode; it just doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
How Does She Do It gets a 6/10.
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