TV Review: Supergirl - Season 1 Ep 16 "Falling"
EPISODE 16: "Falling"
SYNOPSIS: When Kara is infected by Red Kryptonite, her personality changes cause serious problems in her personal life and professional life. Her friends, colleagues, and citizens of National City are forced to reconsider their opinion of Supergirl.
What an absolutely phenomenal episode of SUPERGIRL. Just when I think I have seen my favorite episode, the show outdoes itself. I didn't want tonight to end! Over the next three weeks, we have new episodes to look forward to, including the appearance of The Flash on March 28! But before we can celebrate Barry Allen, we need to talk about another pesky red object that caused major problems in National City tonight...Red Kryptonite!
I'm surprised it took this long for SUPERGIRL to have an episode where Kara was affected by Red Kryptonite. This seems to be a staple with every Superman-related TV show, creating some of the most memorable, albeit silly, episodes on SMALLVILLE and LOIS AND CLARK. But while those shows mostly used Red Kryptonite for fun, one-off stories, SUPERGIRL used it to change the entire storyline, showing that there can be entertainment, which comes hand-in-hand with the crimson toxin, as well as serious, long-lasting stakes for our hero's personal life and reputation in National City.
At first, everything seems to be working out for Kara. Cat goes on THE TALK to tell the world how amazing and kind Supergirl is. And we even see Supergirl help a little girl who is being bullied. To make matters even better, Lucy resigned from CatCo, and James admitted maybe he didn't love her as much as he thought he did. But, of course, the good fortune doesn't last for long. Everything starts to go downhill after Kara, who was attempting to save a firefighter from a burning rooftop, is infected by Red Kryptonite. As we later find out, Maxwell Lorde booby trapped a satellite on the roof of the building with synthetic (red) Kryptonite in hopes it would harm Non. However, the unintentional fire caused the plan to backfire, leaving Supergirl to pay the price.
This new "Dark Kara" is certainly different from her normal self. She leaves the sweet personality and conservative clothes behind, and transforms into a girl with a serious attitude problem and a sexy wardrobe. And don't think I didn't notice that Dark Kara's hair and makeup game were ON POINT. Basically, this is what happens when Kara Danvers stops being nice, and starts getting real.
Initially, Alex and Henshaw think this new sassy Kara is still acting out about her Aunt's death. But when Kara lets the alien criminal Khund escape instead of detaining him, Alex can tell there is something seriously wrong. The situation only escalates when Kara rails against Henshaw, calling him a coward for not being his true alien self. After all, because Supergirl is "public" (kinda) about her alien heritage, she is the target of their enemies. Why should she be the only one dealing with that?
This wickedly destructive attitude bleeds over to her personal life as well. Inhibtionless Kara comes onto the newly single James at a bar, letting him know she is interested in him (while also saying mean things about Lucy Lane). James is less than enthused. At CatCo, Kara also gets Siobhan fired after she discovers her coworker was attempting to leak video footage showing Supergirl let Khund escape because Cat refused to run it.
But things really go off the deep end later that night, when Kara meets Cat at CatCo. Cat wanted to confront Supergirl about letting Khund go free. However, Kara uses this opportunity to criticize Cat for making Supergirl look so two-dimensional and nice in the news. Cat becomes worried Supergirl is having a mental breakdown. After all, she had a part in making her heroic persona and will NOT allow Supergirl to ruin it. Everyone has a dark side, Kara retorts, and throws Cat off of the balcony, 40 stories high, catching her only at the very last second. "True power is choosing who lives and who dies," she says, leaving a shaken Cat to pick herself up off the ground. Phew, Dark Kara has a serious god complex.
This act is the last straw for everyone involved in Kara's life. Cat makes the hard decision of going on national TV to warn the world of Supergirl's threat to public safety. The entire city turns its back on Supergirl, with children throwing away their costumes and people trashing Supergirl banners. And what does Kara do? Yes, she sits in a bar, flicking peanuts (at the speed of bullets) into liquor bottles. Quick side note, wasn't that such a creative idea for a scene? Such a small, insignificant action really illustrates Supergirl's inherent power. [Note: Completely forgot about the scene in SUPERMAN 3, which shows Christopher Reeve's Superman getting drunk at a bar and flicking peanuts in the same manner. This scene was obviously a reference to the film. Thanks to JoBlo reader BillJr106 for the reminder!]
It seems the Red Kryptonite is causing Dark Kara to confront all of her deep seeded issues, with every mean thought she has suddenly bubbling to the surface. Not even her sister Alex is safe. And no surprise, the issue of Astra's murder is one of the biggest topics Kara wants to discuss with her sister. That didn't take long. Kara blames Alex for being jealous of her and says every nasty thing that you can imagine. She even goes as far as to say they aren't really sisters.
Meanwhile, the DEO mobilizes to bring Kara to heel and Maxwell Lorde, who knows his "synthesized K" is behind Supergirl's change in demeanor, discovers an antidote. Using Lorde's cure, Alex, Henshaw, and the rest of the DEO face off against Kara. But, no surprise, none of them are really a match for her. Just as Kara is about to use her heat vision to kill Alex, Henshaw sacrifices his secret identity to save her (returning the favor from when Alex saved him against Astra). In front of a crowd of onlookers, he transforms into J'onn J'onzz and battles Kara in his true form, causing serious damage to the CatCo building. This gives Alex enough time to shoot Kara with the antidote, which expels the Red Kryptonite from her system.
Unlike some of the other shows that featured Red Kryptonite as a fun plot device and a way to see the Clark Kent/Superman character in another light, Dark Kara's actions are going to have serious consequences on the final four episodes of the show. The major impact being Kara/Supergirl trying to make nice with all of the people she hurt. Let's assess the carnage left over from Kara's trip to the dark side: Cat almost went splat; Winn's love interest Siobhan is now out of the picture; James says he needs time to think and doesn't seem interested in speaking to Kara; Alex believes there is some truth to the nasty things Kara said and think they need to work on it; and the DEO arrested Henshaw because he revealed himself to be an alien. Will Alex be the DEO director now? But probably the most important question from the episode is what will it take for the people of National City to trust Supergirl again...
At the end of the episode, Kara (as Supergirl) apologizes to Cat for what she did. And instead of calling her out, Cat takes the high road, giving Kara some much-needed support and advice. She helps Kara feel less defeatist about what happened and says there is hope that the city will trust her again, but it will take hard work and time. I love that they have developed Cat into Supergirl's mentor and strong feminine role model. But come on, she has to have noticed that Kara and Supergirl both had the same weird temperament changes at the same time. We can't keep pretending that a smart, observant reporter would miss such huge clues, especially after she already thought there was a tie between Kara and Supergirl.
If there was any doubt before, tonight Melissa Benoist proved she is one of the most talented young actors working on television and is a serious force to be reckoned with. I knew she was good, but her performance in this episode was spellbinding. Benoist always kills it in the emotional scenes, but it was nice to see her get to leave the sweet Kara behind and play such an edgy part. It was also great that Calista Flockhart was given so much to do in the episode. Her performance is really underrated on the show, and her scenes are usually highlights of the episode. I love how multi-layered her character is, going from a horribly demanding boss to a tough role model. Cat has a heart and wants the strong superhero she helped to prop up actually succeed and be a positive female role model for the city.
SUPERGIRL is on such a roll with back-to-back incredible episodes. And with THE FLASH crossover coming in two weeks, I only think we can go up from here. Hopefully you won't get sick of seeing these 10/10's. I know I won't get tired of giving them.
Did everyone else like this episode as much as I did? Let me know below!