This review contains spoilers.
2.18 Ace Reporter
Now, that is how you do a filler episode. Aside from Kara’s return to CatCo as a reporter, Ace Reporter wasn’t a particularly important episode when it comes to the larger plot threads of season two. But what it lacked in moving the larger storylines along, it more than made up for in terms of character moments for Lena Luthor. As always, Supergirl is at its best when it is servicing the female relationships on this show.
Lena Luthor can’t catch a break. First of all, she’s a Luthor, which may come with its fair share of resources, sure, but might not be worth it when you also take into account the drama and emotional abuse that also seems to be a requisite part of being in this family. Second of all, her ex-boyfriend ended up being nanobot-infected serial killer. Sure, he wasn’t aware of what he was doing, but that arguably only made it more difficult when Lena had to choose between killing Jack (played by iZombie‘s Rahul Kohli) and letting Supergirl die a slow, tortorous death-by-nanobot. Lena chose Supergirl.
It’s moments like these that I wish Lena were in the know about Supergirl’s true identity. (Who knows? Maybe she is. Secretly.) It was still moving to know that Lena would choose Supergirl over Jack, but it would have felt a bit more honest, perhaps, if she were choosing Kara over Jack. After all, Kara is the one to whom she goes when she need a friend to support her and Kara is the one who shows up to give Lena flowers and comfort her when Jack is dead. Kara promises Lena that she will always be here for her, which is not only a touching scene, but an oddly foreshadow-y one. I’m not sure if I believe that Lena is secretly evil right now, but I kind of wonder if she has the capacity to be. To be fair, Lena wonders this, too, telling Kara that she is afraid that, once she can feel something again, she will be afraid of the kind of person she has become.
Supergirl surprised me when it came to the last minute bait-and-switch with Jack. It wasn’t the Evil Ex trope. He was being controlled by the money-desperate CFO. That was an unexpected, original twist. I hope Supergirl does something similar with its Lena storyline. Part of me wants Lena to be a proper Luthor antagonist to Supergirl. Another part of me wants that to be complicated or all-out subverted by this show that prioritises female friendship and support above all else. We’ll have to wait and see. For now, #SuperCorp is alive and well, people.
I wanted to love the Jimmy & Winn stuff in this episode, but it just came off feeling like a cheap knockoff of the Lena/Kara storyline that made up the A Plot. Supergirl‘s inability to figure out something to do with James now that he isn’t Kara’s love interest continues to be problematic in season two. It’s one of the only continuing weak spots of this otherwise great season. Winn’s relationship with Lyra isn’t going to win any Best Plotline Awards, but at least it’s serviceable. James feels like he belongs on a completely different show (probably Arrow) and it was particularly obvious in an episode like this, which relied so much on character moments. Do better, Supergirl.
Meanwhile, Kat is back at CatCo. I love how much Supergirl loves glorifying journalism. You can tell that the show is just itching to be relevant and socially progressive, but that only so much politicising fits within the structures of its plot. The purpose and important of journalism is one of the things it can do, and it owns that slightly pedantic theme.
In Ace Reporter, we saw Kara doing her best to get to the bottom of the BioMax miracle development. When Lena asks Kara to support her when she goes to see her ex’s presentation, Kara can’t help but be a reporter. It’s not because she wants the glory or the paycheck. It’s because she wants the truth and she wants other people to know it, too.
Ultimately, it’s that commitment to the truth that Snapper Carr responds to. In some ways, Snapper pisses me off as a character. He’s funny and he’s consistent, but he’s also kind of an unnecessarily cruel jerk in the ways that he wields his power. He’s a throwback to the kind of newspaper editor that I don’t think pop culture needs to be supporting anymore.
That being said, his curmedgeonly attitude is a perfect thematic counterpoint to Kara’s sunny optimism. And the fact that they ultimately see eye-to-eye about a lot of things proves that you don’t need to be a ray of sunshine like Kara to want to do good in the world. Morality comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, it looks like Snapper Carr.
Read Kayti’s review of the previous episode, Distant Sun, here.