'Supergirl' 2×18 Review: 'Ace Reporter'

You don’t realize how much you miss something until it’s gone for four weeks – an entire month! – and are left waiting, wishing, and speculating until its grand return.

Supergirl has easily been my favorite DC Comics show on television this season due to a plethora of reasons (which I go into detail here.) It’s not only found its identity, but it’s embraced it. It has capitalized on the preexisting aspects of the show that have made it work. And then it’s brought in new elements that have only made the show better.

So when Supergirl made its grand return (FINALLY), it reminded me why I love this show so much. Even when several key characters are absent, this show still manages to deliver with its core storylines in a way that leaves the audience invested and clamoring for more.

“Ace Reporter” served as Kara’s return to her aspirations of being a reporter, while also alluding to Lena’s descent into the infamous Luthor darkness that has plagued that family.

Even when there’s an episode where Mon-El isn’t a focal point – which he is because he’s a huge part of Kara’s story right now – there’s still petty hate floating around. “Ace Reporter” was a great episode not because it lacked Mon-El but because it was a damn good episode.

Because of quotes like this:


And evil foreshadowing like this:

And just damn good writing and acting all around.

Let’s break down tonight’s episode:

Lena is Going to Become Evil, Right?

Lena Luthor’s journey on Supergirl has always felt like it’s had an endgame before it ever began. Given the dynamic that Smallville cultivated with Clark and Lex – who started as friends and became enemies – and given the parallels between Kara and Clark that we’ve witnessed thus far, at this point we all know that Lena is destined to become evil, right?




What I’ve loved about Lena Luthor – apart from her strong, female presence and take-no-shit attitude and her drive to succeed – is how she’s fought to get out of the dark shadows of the Luthor name. Given her infamous brother’s downfall and her evil mother – oh, and evil daddy – Lena just wants to do good and be good. But when you have this Luthor stigma following you like a swarm of bees, it’s impossible to not break at some point.

The thing with journeys are that they’re guided by decisions – and those decisions and guided by emotions and events that force you to act. “Ace Reporter” was an episode that served as an emotional catalyst for Lena, as it appears she’s headed down a dark path.

Lena’s ex-boyfriend, Jack Spheer (played by the wonderful Rahul Kohli) wandered back into her life with some nano-technology that he promised could save the world. While that ultimately wasn’t the case, the more important part of the episode was the emotional impact he had on Lena. This is clearly someone that Lena has loved and has loved for a long time. This is someone who Lena is clearly not over.

Lena and Jack broke my heart. They had a beautiful chemistry, and Jack wasn’t evil as we suspected. It was genuine. All of it.

So when Jack died – after Lena had to make the decision to turn the nano-bots off and subsequently kill Jack – it affected her in a grand way. She recounted the day that her brother Lex was arrested and taken away how her mother tried to go on as if things were normal, when in fact they were not. Lena described her current emotional state as being cold and calm, which is something that troubled her very much. So much so that she believes that once the numbness wears off – and the emotions hit – that she’s not going to like the woman that greets her on the other side.

“When I start to feel again, I’m afraid of the person I will be.”

Those are powerful words. That is Lena admitting that she’s afraid that she’s going to become someone unrecognizable. That is Lena admitting that she has been worried about her state for a little while. That is Lena admitting that that she might be headed down that same dark path that every Luthor before her has walked. And there’s not a damn thing she can do about it.

Even when Kara sat there and comforted her, reminding her that she’ll always be her friend, you could see the doubt on Lena’s face. And us, as an audience, could feel the subtle foreshadowing that the statement “I’ll always be your friend” would not be set in stone. Because everything that Supergirl has shown us so far has indicated that Lena is headed down that same Luthor path.

But then again this isn’t a storyline that’s going to be rushed. This is a storyline that’s going to build over the course of several seasons before the inevitable shift begins. Or perhaps that shift begins next season as Katie McGrath becomes a series regular.

This is a show delivering the goods, as in the journey not the destination. Sure, we all know Lena is going to become evil. But I’m interested in seeing why. I want to see the events that make Lena Luthor the Lena Luthor. And that’s what Supergirl is giving us.

Kara Gets Back on the Journalistic Track

Kara’s journey this season has been centered around the struggle to balance life as Supergirl and Kara Danvers. It certainly hasn’t been an easy journey, but it’s one that Kara has fought for and has proven she can have. A big part of that has been her romance with Mon-El, which has been the romance I’ve been waiting for with our lead heroine. It’s something that was so natural, so intriguing, so real, and has so much more potential moving forward.

But another part of Kara’s journey this season has been growing into an establishing journalist, which has been about as easy as lifting a building that is threatening to crush citizens below. Well, okay. Much more difficult than that.

When Cat Grant promoted Kara in the season 1 finale, Kara made the decision to follow in her cousin’s footsteps as a reporter. She fell in love with the idea of preaching truth; the kind of truth that can save lives. And it was that love and drive that actually served as an obstacle in Kara’s journey. When she published a story about Cadmus that Snapper Carr, her editor at CatCo, after he shot it down, he proceeded to fire her leaving Kara doubting if this was merely a dream or a potential future.

After an arc of episodes where Kara channeled her energy into the DEO, fighting Cadmus and butting heads with her future mother-in-law, things finally slowed down enough for Kara to set her sights back on her reporter dream. And she picked quite an episode to do it.

Kara is someone who is determined, brave, instinct-driven, and damn impressive when it comes to getting what she wants. In that case, this included getting to the truth of Jack Spheer, who presented this nano-technology capable of eradicating all diseases. While Jack’s intentions appeared to be good, the nano-tech wasn’t as much.

But Kara never stopped fighting to get to the truth, which she ultimately did. She even managed to get her job back at CatCo. You see, sometimes you have to just admit when you were wrong. Sometimes you have to apologize to an asshole even when you feel like you’re dying from the inside. Sometimes, you just have to suck it up. And that’s what Kara did. That’s exactly what Snapper Carr needed from her. That’s exactly what Kara needed for herself.

Brotherhood

Two of Supergirl’s most underutilized characters this season have been Winn and James. But the show has found magic with these two dating back to season 1 when their uncharacteristic friendship flourished and guided them to being heroes together in season 2.

While this Guardian storyline originally appeared to be a more significant storyline, it kind of faded as James did over the past several episodes. I guess we were to assume that it continued to happen off screen every night as James and Winn went out there fighting crime. But the way that it was brought back was definitely something I can get on board with.

Funny thing about emotions. They can often appear inactive or suppressed when not at the forefront, especially for someone like James. So while we’ve known that James and Winn have a close friendship that has only grown this season, we got to see just how much they mean to each other in a storyline that brought laughs, emotion, and an angry girlfriend.

Winn, who has found a special connection with Lyra, brought her along on his and James’ crimefighting journey, which is something that did not sit well with James. At first it appeared as if it had to do with Lyra knowing that he was Guardian. But we soon learned that it was more about Lyra intruding on something that was James and Winn’s.

Truth be told, James got jealous. Winn has been more than a friend to him; he’s become a brother. Which is why when James explained himself and told Winn that he was his “brother” I kind of lost it. I live for moments like that. And I want more of those moments.

Sometimes you get jealous of a significant other. Sometimes you just miss your friend.

But that’s the kind of thing that you have to communicate, and something that is easily fixable, as we saw once James came clean to Winn. But being open with your feelings isn’t easy. Luckily, James had the courage to save his friendship and his brother’s romance.

Six Things

  1. Can we all agree that Lena Luthor is going to become evil? So it’s not going to happen immediately, but this whole losing Jack thing is going to be the catalyst that leads to her going down the wrong path. We know Kara will try to save her. But can Lena be saved from this inevitable Luthor curse?
  2. Kara and Mon-El working as secret agents to spy on Jack was EVERYTHING. Like who would suspect two adorable puppies of being anything but honest and nonthreatening? It was so incredibly cute and showcased how Supergirl can utilize their adorable dynamic in such a fun way!
  3. JIYA FROM TIMELESS IS EVIL?! Not only was it a treat to see Claudia Doumit on Supergirl, but learning that her role ended up being even greater was amazing. I don’t what shocked me the most in this episode – the fact that Jack was comprised of these killer nanobots or that my girl Jiya was instigating all the evil and killing?!
  4. James and Winn’s friendship is so heartwarming…GOD. James hasn’t really been a character that has appealed to me – blame it on the writing. But this friendship with Winn is actually giving me what I wanted with James. When James told Winn that he was his brother, I legit died and then came back to life to write this. But why do I get the sneaking suspicion that James is going to die?!
  5. Where was Alex in this episode? I’m sorry, but after that jaw-dropping, creepy af promo for next week’s episode, I’m terrified for my baby Alex. No, no. Not good.
  6. WHAT IS RHEA GOING TO DO WITH LENA? I don’t like this. I don’t like this one bit. Me thinks Rhea is going to use Lena to get to Kara – or perhaps use Lena and her name, Luthor, to take down Supergirl. Or maybe she’s going to do something else. All I know is I don’t like.

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.


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