Supergirl – Ace Reporter Review
"A reporter returns to her roots"
It’s been nearly a month since the last episode of Supergirl aired and when I protested the heavy focus on Mon-El of late. I’d like to think that the showrunners were reading my reviews and taking my critiques into consideration. More likely, they took stock of where the show was heading during their weeks-long sabbatical and course corrected. As talented and likeable an actor as Chris Wood is, it never made sense to have such a monomial focus on his character given the other talented actors and intriguing characters competing for screen time.
If anything,“Ace Reporter” suffers from focusing on too many characters at once, which gives the episode a frantic feel at times and a sense of clutter throughout. The primary storyline centers on Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) and her former science/life partner Jack Spheer (Rahul Kohli). Lena visits Kara’s apartment to invite her to see Spheer, who has come to National City to unveil nanotechnology that he boasts will revolutionize healthcare. As old sparks start to rekindle between Lena and Jack, Kara is tipped off by a whistleblower in Jack’s company, Spherical Industries, about the dangers of the nanotechnology. As if on cue, the nanobots swarm into the parked car Kara and the whistleblower have been sitting in, causing it to explode. Kara is OK, of course, but the whistleblower, it turns out, isn’t invulnerable.
Kara goes to see James at his CatCo office about this incident, only to be drawn into another snippy confrontation with Snapper Carr (Ian Gomez). They previously encountered one another at the aforementioned Spherical unveiling, where Kara had to overcome Snapper’s attempt to talk over her question to Spheer. You may recall that Snapper fired Kara after she published a blog about the Cadmus threat without his consent. In his mind, she broke journalistic ethics even if her information proved to be correct and likely saved lives in the process. You’d think Snapper would be just a bit more lenient toward Kara because of that, but I suppose a caricature of an old-time newspaper man has to have his standards. In any event, Snapper tracks down another Spherical whistleblower at his apartment, and once again the nanobot swarm attacks. They form a cocoon around the whistleblower and somehow atomize him–that’s the best description I can come up with for what happens to the poor sap–but Supergirl is able to spirit Snapper away.
With two ex-Spherical employees now deceased, Kara has every reason to think that Spheer himself is behind their deaths. Kara and Mon-El (who, it should be noted, doesn’t make his first appearance until about halfway through the episode) crash Lena and Jack’s date so that Kara can grill Jack some more about his nanobots. That gambit proves unsuccessful, not to mention awkward, but as Kara and Mon-El are leaving Mon reveals that he’s lifted Jack’s security card. This enables the bespectacled pair to lurk around Spherical like a millennial Nick and Nora Charles before finding, conveniently enough, the evidence that proves Spheer is behind the nanobot swarm, and is in fact the nanobot swarm itself.
The denouement for this storyline is a bit unexpected but at the same time somewhat anticlimactic: it turns out that Spheer’s assistant has been controlling Spheer against his will and making him kill the whistleblowers because they’re bad for business. This has the effect of robbing Jack of his agency as a character, which is too bad because I would’ve liked to have seen it revealed that he was using his roguish charm to seduce Lena to the dark side. But instead we get a scene which climaxes in Lena making a Sophie’s Choice to kill her man in order to save Supergirl. Kara later visits Lena at her office to support her, and it was nice to see the show re-emphasize that bond.
The episode also re-establishes Kara’s bond with Snapper, with the latter giving the former byline credit on the Spherical story. Kara also tearfully apologizes to Snapper for her previous indiscretion and he magnanimously accepts that apology. Although this scene feels somewhat oily with male condescension, it does lead to an end result that I approve of: Kara’s reinstatement as a CatCo reporter. Honestly, it never made much sense to fire her in the first place aside from creating a bit of temporary drama. As I’d remarked a few reviews back, CatCo was and is an important part of Supergirl’s milieu in that it gives her a sense of purpose beyond being a superhero. Not to mention prosaic concerns like paying the rent, unless we’re now being led to believe that the DEO has a great pension plan or something.
Speaking of the DEO, they make nary an appearance in this episode, which I suppose is refreshing in that it puts the spotlight on characters like Lena who’d gone undeservedly neglected. I’d like to bring up the storyline involving James, Winn, and Lyra as the Three Amigos of crimefighting, but it seems as if I’ve run out of space in this review. Hopefully we can talk about it some other time.