written by Cara Russell
SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT
After we were left with so many unsatisfying interpersonal cliffhangers from last season, Season 5’s premier is a balm. Lena Luthor knows that Kara is Supergirl, and has turned to a new virtual reality product to excise her feelings. In the VR world, she confronts and then beats up Supergirl. While it’s cool to see the technology in development, it’s far less cool to see this technology used to act out violent fantasies when a therapist would be a much healthier outlet. And we know Lena’s got the cash for an excellent health care plan.
This sets the pace for the remainder of the episode, with Alex pressuring Kara to stop procrastinating and tell Lena the truth about her secret identity. As it turns out, Kara has been putting literally everything ahead of coming clean to her closest friend…which should be a clue that she’s not treating Lena like a valuable priority in her life.
Meanwhile, in a concealed act of revenge, Lena sells CatCo to Andrea Rojas (Julie Gonzalo), a tech and media mogul who created the VR tech Lena has been abusing. Andrea turns out to be stone cold, intent on transforming CatCo into a company intent on generating clicks instead of maintaining journalistic integrity, while forcing a three-year non-compete contract onto the staff with threats of blacklisting anyone who balks. This goes over poorly with most of the staff, but mostly for Kara, whose work is suddenly subpar despite winning a Pulitzer this week; and for James, who quits.
At the Pulitzer ceremony, Lena plays the supportive cheerleader, but Kara, wracked with guilt, finally confesses and word-vomits her rationalizations and apologies. As a result, Lena stops her plan to release Kara’s secret identity to Andrea – and therefore, the world – before giving a touching speech in Kara’s honor to the assembled guests. Unfortunately, we soon find out that it’s all another Luthor plot so Lena can use Supergirl as a pawn in her grander schemes. I can’t say I enjoy this plot twist, but I’m sure Lex would be proud.
In healthier relationships, Alex and Kelly are adorable, and while Nia and Brainy have some issues, they’re not devastating and they’re both good at using their words to work through things together. It’s also nice to see the casting department continue to remember the heroes who came before, with Phil LaMarr (John Stewart in Justice League Unlimited) taking on the role of J’onn J’onzz’s brother Malefic – who is certainly a villain and responsible for the villain-of-the-week Midnight. I’ll hold these treasures close to heart, while many other characters create unnecessary conflict by refusing to talk honestly with each other.
Supergirl airs Sunday nights at 9 Eastern/8 Central on the CW. Cara can be found on Twitter @virtualcara.