SUPERGIRL Review: “Crime and Punishment”

You can’t change people, but you can appeal to who they are.

This post contains spoilers for Supergirl.
Check out our last review here.

Supergirl’s imperative is to help the people of Earth. But what happens when that imperative is compromised by the fact that her very presence is putting them in danger? Kara’s joined in her crisis of conscience by Colonel Haley and Brainiac 5 in what ended up being a really solid return of Supergirl after the show’s mini-hiatus.

Though Lena still doesn’t know her true identity, we finally get some solid moments between her and Supergirl. The two head to Lex’s cell to see what they can dig up on his scheme before things go nuclear. Lena’s forced to relive some traumatic childhood memories, but those memories also help her find Lex’s secret lab. That he somehow built into the prison. Because comic books. While she battles with her past, Supergirl struggles with her present and the idea that the government would slaughter as many prisoners necessary to bring the Girl of Steel to “justice”.

In addition to Supergirl being named public enemy number one, the President enacts a nationwide dusk till dawn curfew. With the Alien Amnesty Act repealed, Lockwood goes to work on his new primary focus: bringing down the Girl of Steel. Lockwood’s mission sparks both Haley and Brainy’s stories, both of which are exceptional additions to their character arcs.

With the help of Alex, Haley realizes that sometimes following orders doesn’t make you a good soldier. Sometimes it just makes you complicit. We’ve gone on a complicated ride with the Colonel. From her casual xenophobia towards aliens, all the way to her fierce insistence that all orders must be followed, even if she knows they’re wrong. When she does finally elect to do the right thing (and after she goes after Alex for trying to manipulate her), she says that she’s always done what she does for “the greater good”, but now finds herself wondering about the few. What about the ones who are left behind? How can she give her daughter guidance when she knows she’s part of the reason that people like her daughter’s beloved teacher (an alien) have gone missing? Watching Haley grow has been one of Supergirl’s greatest gifts this season. Here’s hoping they don’t make the terrible call to kill her off.

Less impactful, but still worthwhile, is Brainy’s arc. The DEO is home to the Alien Registry. In the wrong hands, this list can mean very bad things for the alien population. At first, Brainy is stalwart on his mission to destroy it, taking pages from one Ethan Hunt’s book while working through the impossible steps. Right as he’s about to wipe out all the data, he wonders if doing so will do more harm than good. After all, the government knows it exists. If it’s suddenly gone, will they come down harder on the aliens?

When logic fails him, he turns to Nia to dream the future. She tells him to trust his gut, but since he doesn’t believe in such things, he insists that she use her powers. Nia tricks him into admitting the outcome he wants and sends him on his way. He settles on removing the files because it’s the right thing to do, even if that right thing might result in bad news for him. Because he’s a smarty pants, he doesn’t delete the file entirely. Instead, he keeps a copy for himself and the other Super Friends in the event that they need to find the aliens and get them to safety.

The final revelation goes to Kara Danvers. In an act of desperation, she changes from Supergirl to Kara to escape Otis and his kryptonite. Though it works, she’s quickly apprehended by two inmates who threaten her with a shiv. One of them happens to be the very same inmate who refused information about Lex Luthor to Supergirl not minutes before, but it turns out he’s a big fan of Kara Danvers of CatCo. They immediately let her go, and start chatting about how important her articles have been. He even reads them to the other inmates!

It’s that moment that Supergirl realizes that it might be time to hang up her cape for little bit. She’ll always be there to help people in need, but right now the cape is harming more than it’s helping. She returns to the prison as Kara to interview Steve, who hands over a jump drive that he used to steal the information from Lex. In moments, Kara achieves what Supergirl had been trying to accomplish all episode. The importance of journalism is about to get a fierce shove to front and center in the Supergirl narrative, and it couldn’t come at a better time.

Next week, Nia takes the stage in an effort to protect the city as Dreamer in Supergirl’s stead. We’ll hopefully learn more about what’s going on with Jimmy. PTSD might be playing a factor, but those powers of his don’t look like they’re doing his body any good. Shame Lena didn’t mention the super powers she knew were involved with her serum from the jump? In her defense, she’s been a little busy.

You know what to do if you had thoughts on this week’s episode of Supergirl!