Are you sensing there is a 'but' coming? Because there is one.
But I also felt that there was almost too much happening in this episode. We are dealing with two major plots. One is Supergirl fighting BizarroGirl, the creation of a suddenly darker Maxwell Lord. The other is Kara trying to date Adam Grant. When taken separately, they are both well done. And I can understand why they are both here, as themes of isolation and trying to find love are in both.
But I feel like this should have been all BizarroGirl. That plot was big enough to dominate the episode. And Adam's story could have waited. But by putting them together, the romance plot seemed small. When those scenes were happening I was waiting for them to end, even though they were well acted and well done.
The BizarroGirl plot really leaned heavily on some ideas of the Sterling Gates story, that is that BizarroGirl and Supergirl are reflections of each other, not true opposites. And the idea that both are dealing with feelings of isolation, of not being normal, of having their worlds and lives slowly destroyed, just resonated. And yet, even in that despair, Supergirl can inspire.
Add to that memorable character turns for Winn, James, and Cat, and overall it was superb. On to the details.
With her world reeling a bit, Kara asks Winn to help her. Initially he declines. But then his curiosity and his friendship make him change his mind. I am glad we only had to deal with a sulking Winn for a week. While he doesn't specifically articulate how he thought things through, we see later on that he has accepted that romance with Kara is off the table and that he can still be her friend. Good for him.
As for Cat, she is suddenly acting nice to Kara knowing that a relationship with her assistant will keep her son nearby longer. And from a Supergirl viewpoint, she takes Kara's idea that this truck-throwing Maid of Might could be an imposter.
Also surprising is the sort of cringe-inducing response by James who stammers out how he is glad for Kara even though it sounds all too flat.
Meanwhile, we see the tortured life of Bizarro in Lord's room 52. She is bombarded with images of Supergirl and subjected to shocks. She is told over and over that Supergirl is bad and that Supergirl must be killed.
Lord is suddenly going from narcissistic jerk to outright villain. This is brutal.
The date is cut short when Kara sees a new report of a skycar in National City about to fall. She runs out on Adam and flies to the rescue. That effort is stymied by the arrival of BizarroGirl. Before the fists fly, as always, Kara tries to reason with Bizarro, asking her why she is doing what she is doing. But the brainwashed duplicate lashes out.
This is the first of 3 fights in this episode and each improves on the last. Flying around, wrestling on the roof of the dangling car. When the car finally falls free, Kara stops fighting and flies to catch it. This reminded me a little of the Spiderman movie rescue.
After the fight, Supergirl heads to the DEO. This Bizarro (term coined by Cat) is a perfect copy. Alex thinks Kryptonite might stop her. Later, Alex confronts Max about Bizarro and he basically confesses to creating her through Kara's DNA that was left on Red Tornado's arm. Lord thinks he's untouchable.
But things get even creepier. Winn has learned that 7 comatose Jane Doe's have disappeared and been claimed by Prometheus Genetics, a shell company of Lord Industries. He has experimented on 7 women before one survived the process. Serial killer is a far cry from humanist.
But throughout this, we see the inspiration and heroism of Supergirl. First off, Bizarro wonders how Supergirl can be bad if she saved the falling car. Ironically, Lord convinces Bizarro that Supergirl still needs to be killed because 'things that seem good can be very very bad.' Look in the mirror!
When Alex says Bizarro needs to be liquidated, Supergirl reminds her sister that Bizarro is the victim in this. Supergirl always tries to help people.
As for the above pictured scene, Winn and James have a great scene. I like how these two have become good friends. Winn calls James out on the stilted support he gave the Kara/Adam romance. He knows James has feelings for Kara. Lucy deserves the truth. And James deserves happiness. That is relationship wisdom from Winn! Amazing.
Another battle erupts. This time we see a more full array of Bizarro powers, flame breath and freeze vision. Perfect.
The DEO arrives to lend support and batters Bizarro with high powered rounds of synthetic Kryptonite bullets. The radiation doesn't hurt Bizarro, but it does mutate her to the more classic disfigured imperfect doppelganger we are used to.
With BizarroGirl attacking Kara in her civilian mode, it is evident that Lord knows the Danvers secret. Anyone involved with Kara could be in danger. Fearing Adam may get hurt, Kara breaks it off with him. She wonders if she has room for someone like him in her life. Benoist conveys the sadness she is keeping under the surface well here. Even Adam knows she doesn't really want him out of her life but is isolating herself.
I really love the Alex character. But this seemed rash.
James again tries to reach the Supergirl portion of BizarroGirl's soul. He says that even if she looks like a monster, she could be loved as Supergirl is loved. Because people love Kara because she is brave, kind, and always trying to do what's right.
It almost works. But instead the third and final battle between the Supergirls breaks out. This is a great fight with strength, flight, breath weapons and vision powers all on display. All the fighting sequences in this episode were fantastic, well-choreographed.
And Alex shows up with a gun of synthetic Blue K, made when they discover that Kryptonite with ionic reversal will weaken BizarroGirl. I live in a world where blue Kryptonite was used to subdue a live action Bizarro after a super-brawl. Wonderful.
I almost welled here.
But how long can he be kept there illegally? Max almost seems bemused, joking about BizarroGirl, saying illegal imprisonment is 'American', and throwing a threat about Eliza Danvers out. Lord is a supervillain in the classic sense, an amoral sociopath with a god complex. Even his quoting Prometheus, who stole the power of the gods, is a tip.
BizarroGirl is a lost cause. Cat is suddenly cold with Kara for dumping Adam. James is weird and leaves to see Lucy. Things with Winn are still chilly. Her family is in danger. Kara is suddenly alone, and emotionally vulnerable.
So why not throw the Black Mercy, a parasite that shows someone their ultimate fantasy at her. It is the right time.
Just a few more notes. The writers continue to throw in some great throwaway lines. Hank says that while imitating Supergirl the skirt was 'surprisingly comfortable'. Winn saying he knows Kara's height, weight, and measurmenets ... then reminding people he made her suit. Cat says that Kara is 'skittish like a horse'. She also talked about putting out an Amber Alert about Kara, showing she thinks of Kara as a child. Kara says BizarroGirl talks like Cookie Monster. Dialogue flourishes make the show that much better.
Anyways, I shouldn't be damning with faint praise. This was very very good. But this felt a bit like the pilot to me, too stuffed for its own good.