‘Supergirl’ 1×06 Roundtable: Discussing ‘Red Faced’

Every week, Fangirlish writers will be discussing new episodes of Supergirl and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and speculation about the hour’s hot topics in a little something we like to call Fangirlish Roundtables.

Today, we’re breaking down the sixth episode of Supergirl, where we discuss Kara’s troubles keeping her anger bottled up, Cat Grant’s horrid mother, the arrival of Red Tornado, and Kara and Cat’s developing relationship.

Kara had a problem learning to channel her anger in this episode until she learned the real reason behind it. What did you think about Kara dealing with that emotion throughout the episode?

   

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ALYSSA

One of the things I continue to love about Kara is how relatable she is as a person even though she’s technically not human. This season, Kara has exhibited different emotions and feelings that I myself, as well as a lot of others, have felt in their lifetime. While Kara has super abilities that’s never taken away from her humanity and how much she feels. This week Kara dealt with an emotion that we’re all too familiar with in anger. As we know, anger is one of those emotions that we suppress too often and it ends up biting us in the ass when those emotions are released all at once. It’s not healthy to let the rage build up until you eventually just break. But that’s what happened to Kara. With everything going on in Kara’s life, from her newfound responsibility as Supergirl to her professional life when she gets reamed out daily by Cat Grant to the newfound mystery about Alex’s dad to her complicated feelings for James Olsen, Kara has been feeling a lot of emotions, especially anger.

While on the surface it appeared as if Kara was angry about constantly being chewed out by Cat Grant or seeing James with someone else, Kara’s anger ran much deeper than that. Kara’s anger stems from her belief that she’ll never get to have a normal life; that she’ll never find someone who knows her better than anybody; that she’ll never find a partner in life or for game night. That right there proved to me just how human Kara is. We all have that fear that we won’t find that great love in our life; that great comfort where we feel at peace. That’s exactly what Kara was feeling only in her case it is much more difficult given that she’s an alien from another planet. So while Kara really did house feelings of jealously over James’ relationship with Lucy, what really pissed her off was that nagging voice in her head that – every time she’d see James with Lucy – would whisper in her ear: You’ll never have that. Whether it’s that great love or the love of her biological parents who were killed. And that was heartbreaking. So once Kara learned the root of her anger, she was able to control it. Better yet, she was able to use it to her advantage.

LIZZIE

I thought this was the best episode Supergirl has done so far. They’ve gotten progressively better, not only plot-wise, but character-wise, and as a viewer, I appreciate that. And I think the reason they’ve gotten better is that, given time, they’ve been able to truly express who these characters are, what makes them tick. They surely knew that from the beginning, but development takes time, and they’ve had that time.



Kara and Cat, in particular, were spot on for me. They, along with Alex, have been my favorite parts of the show from the start, but this was the first episode that actually managed to touch me. I was truly emotional. Cat’s words and Kara’s attitude were so on point with what it’s like being a working woman today that I couldn’t help but feel they were speaking directly to me. Kara’s way of dealing with her anger, of channeling, of using it to make her better was not only truthful, but it was a great message to young girls and women everywhere. Fact is, Kara is a role-model, even if she isn’t trying to be one. And though she’s not perfect, she is trying her best. .

LYRA

I was blown away! (And moved to tears.) It was the first time I could connect with Kara on a deeper level. For so long I’ve seen her as this peppy superhero who wants to help out her city because she cares and has powers. There was nothing else but what I saw on the surface. After this episode I know there is so much more.

Kara hasn’t dealt with the fact that her parents sent her off before their planet died. She hasn’t sat down and thought about how angry the whole situation has made her. There’s resentment, love, and understanding towards her parents. Kara knew that she couldn’t stay with them but a part of her wondered if it would be better to stay on Krypton and not live on this lonely path. She’s a Kryptonian out of time. Her ward was all grown up by the time she got to Earth and that stings a little too. She’s had to struggle to find her purpose after she veered off track.

When Cat helped her see the truth of her anger it made her more human. It made her like you, like me, like anyone trying to understand something unexplainable inside.

Supergirl battled a villain that once again wasn’t an alien but the result of a military project. What were your thoughts on Red Tornado?

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ALYSSA

I continue to enjoy that the villains that Kara encounters are the product of mankind. It’s a far cry from the multiple alien forces that it looked like she’d face every week. But something that Supergirl has done a good job of is balancing the two – having those human or human-made villains and then including the alien villains that are obvious because of Kara’s past and link to Fort Rozz.

But focusing on Red Tornado, I actually liked that he wasn’t just a human in a robot suit. It was a robot controlled by a human, which proved that it’s the person behind the robot that is the ultimate culprit. Everyone was so worried about Red Tornado getting out of control on its own that they failed to consider that its owner would be leading the way. Seeing as General Lane threatened to end the project and fired its owner, that made things personal for its owner that used this military project that had been intended to end Kryptonians as a means to bring an end to Lane as revenge. But I also loved how this red-faced robot was on the receiving end of Kara’s rage this week. It only made sense considering things, and it provided the perfect test for Kara to channel her anger for good.

LIZZIE

I liked the episode, but Red Tornado was probably the weakest link for me. I know the intention is to shy away from making aliens be Monsters-of-the-Week, but this whole thing felt a little contrived, especially when Red Tornado decided to just go off, even after its creator was killed. Before I might not have liked the story-line, but I understood where they were going. Afterwards? They lost me.

What I did like was that it was smart – able to learn from its mistakes. Kara kicked it’s ass spectacularly the first time, so Red Tornado was all like, nope, not again, and that was fun, mostly because it introduces a kind of scary technology to the mythology of this show. Today Red Tornado failed, but what could someone else do with something like that? Someone like Maxwell Lord, perhaps?

LYRA

He was so cheesy. I’m a practical person who sits down and thinks, “A military project really let that guy make a bright red man in a suit? Isn’t that just the creator in costume? Why is he fit if he’s just a military project? And why hasn’t anyone learned from making things in the design of humans?!” A lot of unanswered questions for me.

In general, the Red Tornado was a backhand way of testing human technology on a Kyrptonian. They could have asked Clark but he would’ve seen through it. That’s why they went after Kara. They thought she was weaker, the newbie on the block. How wrong they were! They got their butt handed to them, figured out that even people in their organization were a threat, and that Supergirl isn’t just Superman’s cousin. She’s in a league of her own that they need to respect.

We finally got to meet Cat Grant’s condescending mother. What were your thoughts on her and how she impacted Cat in life and this episode?

   

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ALYSSA

Ever since the pilot we’ve heard Cat Grant mention her mother in not so kind regards, and we saw exactly why Cat would order a side of therapy after lunch with her mother. Cat’s mother stopped by National City and CatCo and she’s even worse than I could’ve imagined. Once you meet her it’s clear from the start why Cat is the way she is: she’s the product of her environment, forced to become this person who can’t be hurt by her selfish mother who appeared to have no love or respect for her daughter. It was kind of as if they were merely business associates only business associates treat each other better than Cat’s mother treated Cat. While Cat has had years of experience building herself up to protect herself from her mother, it’s clear the effect that her mother’s lack of love and respect has on her. Just when Cat seems to be making strides, a run-in with her with mother has the power to change all of that.

LIZZIE

She was hideous, and so, so real! I know people like that, and they’re no less awful in real life than Cat’s mother was on screen. So there’s a real sense of keeping things away from the fantastic when it comes to character development in this story that I can’t help but appreciate. Yes, mothers like that exist. No, they don’t suddenly “get better” if/when their daughters are successful. No, motherhood isn’t the be all and end all for all women. And yes, you can succeed and be happy despite a crappy mother-daughter relationship. These seems like obvious things for people who’ve grown up in a stable family environment, but they’re not really so obvious, and that a show that’s presumably about superheroes would take the time to drive this point home is nothing short of amazing.

Cat is clearly a result of her mother – and in that sense, I like Cat a lot more. Even her explanation about being a woman in the workplace, and her comparison with Perry White was dead on. Cat learned to be strong not because of her mother, but in spite of her, and that makes it easier to respect her. To like her, even.

LYRA

It made me want to grit my teeth and shake her condescending mother. Cat turned out like a gem even with a mother like that. True miracle. Cat is a fighter, at the top of her game, and a great mother. Somehow her mother still finds a problem with her. That makes Cat strive for bigger greatness in the hopes that one day she’ll gain her mother’s respect. She knows that it probably won’t happen and she’ll deny it to the end but…that doesn’t stop Cat from secretly hoping.

Cat’s mother is a perfect example of how some people just aren’t meant to be parents. Some people don’t have a nurturing bone in their body and they see competition even in the ones they created. Honestly, it’s like looking into a mirror and seeing a piec of myself in Cat. And if she can strive to be better, stay strong, and become a BAMF then so can I!

We continue to see some growth between Kara and Cat’s relationship. What are your thoughts on that relationship and its potential?

 

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ALYSSA

Seeing as Cat was on my shit list for quite some time because of her behavior towards Kara, it’s funny to see how now I’m viewing the relationship between these two as somewhat of a pseudo mother-daughter kind of relationship. While Cat still doesn’t treat the way she should, there is a softening to her character as she’s grown an attachment of sorts to Kara over these past few episodes.

One of my favorite things about this episode was the development from Cat and this relationship. Kara got to see firsthand what makes Cat tick in the form of her awful mother, and she was also on the direct receiving end of Cat’s blowup, which primpted Kara to have a blowup of her own. But the two talked it through over several drinks and got to the root of both of their anger. I can’t help feeling like this was the first person –other than a therapist – that Cat has spoken to about her personal issues. Cat isn’t someone who lets her walls down, and she has been doing that with Kara. And it’s beautiful. I also loved at the end of the episode when Cat’s mother demeaned Kara that Cat defended Kara and put her mother in her place. That’s right, no one gets to talk down to Kara but Cat! From their bonding over mother issues in “Livewire” to Kara taking the bulk of Cat’s rage towards her mother and the two talking it out, this is a relationship that has taken me completely by surprise and has me craving more.

LIZZIE

Who would have thought Cat would end up being a real role model for Kara? I thought she was just there to get in the way of things, to deliver one or two good lines an episode, and generally, to act oblivious in the face of Supergirl. And boy, am I glad I’m wrong. In many respects this show follows the Superman mold, and yet, in others, it shatters it. The people close to Kara know right away, the boss is not just an antagonist figure. Cat is actually a strong woman, not a superhero, but a badass in her own right, and though Kara needs help with learning how to use her powers, she could also use a role-model in the regular side of things. And that’s what Cat is for.

LYRA

There’s something paternal there. I think Kara looks up to Cat as a part of her family. She’s the shining example of what a woman on Earth should be; brave, confident, and sharp witted. This week’s episode proved that there was more to this employee/boss relationship (especially after the yelling and unexpected drinks.) They both truly care for each other. As Kara continues down her path to becoming Supergirl, I think she’ll come to depend on Cat even more because her human identity is growing right alongside her superhero one.

The show continues to drive home this love triangle between Kara, James, and Lucy. Have your thoughts changed about the love triangle and the significance it could potentially have?

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ALYSSA

While I remain blatantly against pointless love triangles like this one appeared to be, I have to admit that after this episode I don’t hate it as much as I did last week. Maybe that’s because it served a valuable purpose in Kara’s character in this episode as James and Lucy’s relationship represented everything that she wanted but feels she’ll never have: a normal life with a person who is a partner in life and at game night. While on the surface it appeared as if Kara’s anger in this episode stemmed from her jealously of Lucy being with James. But really Kara was jealous of the kind of relationship that James and Lucy have. Sure, Kara has some kind of feelings for James, that’s obvious, as does he, but using James and Lucy’s relationship as an example for what Kara wants in life actually softened me to this love triangle that seems to be slow burning.

I’m not typically a fan of love triangles because they never seem to be done right where they’re never more than a silly plot point. If there is significance to the love triangle that doesn’t feel forced and unwarranted then I typically am open-minded. This love triangle has the potential to be more than just the clichéd love triangle. It has the potential to explore all three characters and what makes them tick. If Supergirl can give me that love triangle, then sign me the heck up.

LIZZIE

Nope. Still don’t like it. Don’t hate Lucy, but don’t love her, don’t hate James but don’t love him and I just want Winn and Kara. Maybe not even together, but I want them to have more scenes. I want them to hang out. I want to think the writers haven’t really managed to make this romance spark because they want Kara to stand up by herself before they really delve into the romance issue, and if that’s so, then I applaud them. And if that’s not so, then they’re failing with me. The love triangle is all meh. I’d enjoy Winn/Kara/James more, but all in all, I don’t even need romance on this show. Not yet. I’m happy with just the badass women.

LYRA

Honestly I don’t see a love triangle. I see a girl who finally has met someone who knows what she’s capable of. She can be completely honest with this person about herself and it’s so damn tempting to fall into that crush and look at it as a love triangle. I see it as a girl finding her own path and seeing that people can accept her for what she truly is. Could they potentially end up together at the end? Yes. Will it happen anytime soon? Hopefully not. It’s still the first season and I’m looking forward to Kara exploring the world around her. As they say, there are plenty of fish in the sea (or Earth if we’re being technical.)

We met General Lane who, shocker, has it out for aliens like Kara and her cousin. What are your thoughts on Lane?

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ALYSSA

The moment that prick of a man walked onto our screens I knew what a giant asshole he was going to be. Just the way he carried himself with such high regard was the sort of cocky thing you’d see from Class A assholes. And his actions proved just that. Lane came onto the scene as an Army general with a hatred of aliens looking to test out a new military project that, turns out, was designed to destroy Kryptonians. And after Lane insisted Supergirl fight the thing – and the Red Tornado escaped – Lane still had the nerve to blame everything that was happening on Supergirl. Like take some gosh damn responsibility for your actions, you grown ass man.

Don’t even get me started on how he treated James during their dinner with Lucy. From what we’ve seen and gathered about what kind of person James is, he’s been nothing but nice towards General Lane and loving towards his daughter, and yet Lane thinks he can just crap on James because he doesn’t live up to his standards of “good enough” for his daughter. What’s worse than that was how Lane honed right in on James’ insecurity regarding his worthiness in life. While it wasn’t James’ association with Superman and Supergirl that made him dislike James, Lane told James that just because he associates himself with greatness doesn’t make him great. That is exactly the reason why James wanted to escape to National City, apart from watching out for Kara. He wanted to start a new life where he’d hoped he could be defined as someone other than the guy that’s friends with Superman. He wants to know that he’s good enough as himself – without that Superman connection – to be successful and worthy. So when Lane told James that, I was ready to start throwing punches.

LIZZIE

He’s not very sympathetic at all. I mean, I know I wasn’t supposed to like him, but for a character like this to work they have to show me some humanity, some reason why he is the way he is – and in this episode, I saw nothing but a one dimensional character. As such, I’m glad he was gone. I won’t miss him. But since I imagine he’s going to be coming back, I think the writers need to give him complexity. It would also serve the story to mention Lois. His problems with aliens PROBABLY have something to do with older daughter and Superman, let’s not beat around the bush. Either way, he needs more humanity, he needs a reason. He needs development, and he needs it fast.

LYRA

He’s rude, underhanded, and doesn’t know how to take the blame. He tried to pass off his ‘military project’ as just a test. WRONG! He’s got it out for Superman so much that he came to his cousin because Lane thought she was weaker. WRONG AGAIN. The most annoying thing about him is that after his military project went rogue he blamed Supergirl. Excuse me? It’s his huge secret project. Emphasis on the ‘his’. How dare he try to slide the blame onto her when he’s the one who didn’t properly prepare, maintain, or watch over his Red Tornado project. He’s an unorganized jerk.

Alex enlisted Winn’s help with uncovering some truth about what the DEO is hiding about her father’s death. We finally got some kind of answer no matter how confusing it is; we actually know something new. What do you think happened on that mission with Henshaw and Alex’s dad?

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ALYSSA

The mystery surrounding Hank Henshaw continues to intrigue me, as well as piss me off because at this point I just need some kind of answers – even if they’re not the answers I want. Luckily, “Red Faced” provided the first real answer to the Henshaw mystery even though it prompted even more questions. Turns out the last person who saw Alex’s father alive was Henshaw, but even more intriguing were two aspects: 1) regarding the alien mission they were investigating and 2) the possibility that Alex’s father might actually still be alive. We’ve yet to find any definitive proof regarding his death – and if there’s no body then I’m flat out calling it: Mr. Danvers is still alive.

But regarding Henshaw, whatever happened to him – red eyes and all – I believe happened to him during that mission. I don’t believe that what Henshaw did or didn’t do to Mr. Danvers – or his current intentions at the DEO – are purposefull. I believe they happened because of what happened during that mission. Seeing how in the comics he became this not-entirely human thing because of a run-in with Superman, it might be a hint as to what is happening with Henshaw on this show. It would explain his hatred for the aliens. But the only thing I can’t help but wonder is what initially drove Henshaw into investigating aliens, especially when he used Kara as a means to get Mr. Danvers to join him. While we finally got the first piece of the Henshaw puzzle, it’s a piece that raises even more questions as to who or what Henshaw is, what happened to him, and what his true intentions are.

LIZZIE

I’ve got a new theory; Alex’s father is not dead. Dean Cain is a wonderful and underutilized actor, and I’m pretty sure that not that this has all gotten murky we’re going to learn that he didn’t really die that day. Maybe he and Hank got attacked by something (red eyes for the win!). Maybe they’re being controlled. Maybe Alex’s father is still trapped there. Point is, I’m sure he’s not dead. That’s a BIG plotline to leave hanging. He’s coming back, possibly around sweeps. And he’s probably not going to be the guy Alex and Kara remember, because where’s the fun in that?­­­­­­­

LYRA

Alex’s dad found out about Henshaw’s glowing eyes problem. Since Henshaw is on a super secret mission with the DEO and on this planet he took care of the threat. He’s got a mission to carry and he’s not letting any man get into his way. Even if he has to kill that person. My other theory is that Alex’s dad might have been up to something dangerous and Henshaw had to stop him. Maybe it was something to help Kara that could’ve still been dangerous and hurt plenty of people. You do crazy things for your kids right? Whatever happened it was for Alex and Kara.

What are your thoughts on “Red Faced?” Sound off in the comments to keep the discussion going!

Join us for another Fangirlish Roundtable with Supergirl next Sunday.

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.

Alyssa Barbieri

Co-Executive Editor

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment | Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes | Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters | Co-executive Editor for Fangirlish | Contributor for Bears Wire at USA Today SMG | Producer/Co-Host of Buffone 55 for Bears Barroom Radio Network | Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.