Supergirl, Season 3, Episode 5, “Damage”
Alex’s journey of self-discovery was one of last season’s strongest story arcs, and a deep well of emotional drama once she got together with Maggie Sawyer. But with Floriana Lima heading off to greener pastures, it’s time to put the good ship Sanvers into dry dock for a while. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest episode of Supergirl:
What’s the scoop: Somebody remembered junior high science class (lead is poisonous, especially to children) and decided to write an episode about it. Children all over National City are getting sick with symptoms of lead poisoning. Morgan Edge goes on TV and points the finger squarely are Lena Luthor, seeing as how she created the bomb that drove the Daxumites away by throwing a bunch of lead into the atmosphere. Kara is convinced the bomb isn’t the cause (seeing as how she bears no small amount of the blame if it is), and puts all of her investigative skills to work to clear Lena’s name.
Meanwhile in B Plot Land: Wouldn’t you know it, the first time Alex and Maggie decide to communicate like grown-ups, it’s done to put the final nail in their relationship. They try to hash out their differences: Alex and her newfound, lifelong desire to be a mother and Maggie’s desire to drink tequila and screw without interruptions. They realize it is a chasm that cannot be bridged, and start the painful process of separating. To demonstrate Sanvers still has passion, liquor is consumed and make-up sex is had, but that still isn’t enough to save the relationship. After another impassioned speech about wanting to be a mom, Alex gives Maggie a final goodbye, but with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer as the door of their relationship is literally left open.
What about the action: With all that investigating to do, Kara doesn’t spend much time in the cape. An enraged parent takes some shots at Lena during a big outdoor press conference, and Jimmy finally comes in handy by acting as a human shield. It also give the series an opportunity to show Lena’s state of mind when she literally has blood on her hands (once again, subtle this series is not). Kara and Mystery Single Mom, Samantha try to link the victims in a way that doesn’t involve breathing lead from the atmosphere. They trace all the victims back to the same swimming pool, where they discover that the pool is spiked with a compound that when combined with water causes a toxicity in humans similar to lead poisoning. Lena is way ahead of them, thanks to the power of a half a bottle of merlot. She deduces that Edge is exactly the type to poison kids in order to further his rivalry with Lena, and confronts him with a gun. Lena gets kayoed for her efforts, and ends up strapped into a drone cargo plane full of the chemicals that poison the water. Kara stages a daring rescue, then confronts Edge. He calls Kara’s bluff because there’s not enough evidence linking him to the crime, and he knows Kara is too good to kill him in his office.
What’s next: Once Alex tells Kara about the break-up, Kara rushes to her side and decides the best remedy for her sister is a little home cooking. Also, Jimmy and Lena take another step toward an eventual hookup. Finally, Jimmy wasn’t the only one shot during the conference. Ruby discovers there is a hole in her mom’s shirt. Samantha checks her jacket and a smushed bullet falls to the floor, yet there’s not a scratch on her. Another wrinkle in the life of Mystery Single Mom.
Last impressions: This was a difficult episode to pull off. The writers had to write Maggie off the show, but that’s not enough to build an entire episode around. They did a good job of adding a few new layers to Lena, and established just how much of a jerk Edge is. Alex’s trajectory is worrisome. Her desire for motherhood parallels her sexual awakening a little too closely. Alex is too important to the fabric of the show to either drop her maternal instincts now that they have done their job of breaking Sanvers up, or to merely relegate Alex’s personal life to being the show’s interpersonal drama engine. It’s a tricky path Supergirl is taking with one of its main characters, and next week’s Danvers sisters go home should go a long way toward establishing how Alex will be used going forward.