Image: The CW

This week’s Supergirl was a blast to the past, giving us one long extended flashback to Supergirl and her sister’s teenage years in the definitely-not-Canada Midvale, USA. It was remarkably entertaining despite the absence of nearly all the show’s regulars and with a superpowered teenage lead in a rural Vancouver-like locale that you wouldn’t be remiss if you mistook it for an exceptional Smallville sequel.

The likelihood of confusing this week’s Supergirl with the original Super-CW show increased tenfold when Kara mentioned her cousin’s BFF Chloe, and sought her (off-screen) help hacking into a laptop.

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If you missed out on Smallville and never saw the scant references in the canon comic book, than you might not know who Chloe is. The character was introduced in the Smallville pilot as a Lois Lane replacement, a high school girl obsessed with reporting the news and finding the truth no matter the cost. Eventually, it was revealed that she was Lois Lane’s cousin, but her primary relationship was always as the best friend to Clark Kent.

It was a little unfortunate that she was a big plot help this week, as the actress that originated the role, Allison Mack, has been in the news recently, purportedly the leader of a sadist sex cult. At least Supergirl is set in a distinctly different universe, so you can imagine some other, less culty actress playing the character.

The actress who played Chloe’s on-screen cousin also made an appearance this week. If you remember, the role of Kara’s biological mother was recast over the summer, and Erica Durance has done a decent job stepping into Laura Benanti’s shoes. This week she appeared in the flashback as an FBI agent, named for original Lois Lane, Noel Niell, who also happened to resemble Kara’s mom, and thus thoroughly mess with Kara’s head.

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But before you could assume it was Kara’s aunt, her mother’s evil identical twin, the show revealed that she was actually J’onn J’onnz. Which...am I the only one a little horrified that the guy would wear a dead woman’s face to manipulated a grieving teenage girl into giving up on a dream of crime fighting?

Like his heart was in the right place, but holy crap!

Besides the big nods to Super-shows of the past, this episode also ended up being one of the best of the show’s run, an impressive feat for an episode that only features three regulars and only includes them for maybe a third of the running time.

What made the episode wonderful was the focus on one of the show’s biggest strengths, the relationship between Kara and Alex. The flashback picks up only a year or two after Alex’s father has died, and shows to angry, flawed teenagers struggling to navigate adolescence and their own grief while also INVESTIGATING A MURDER AND AN INVADING CANADIAN DRUG CARTEL.

Unfortunately, the episode ends with teenage Kara ending her reign as Midvale’s resident superhero to protect Alex, so its unlikely we’ll get more flashbacks to the sister’s high school crime-fighting days, but that won’t stop me from wishing for that spinoff series every day.

Assorted musings

  • There were a ton of other references to characters in the show, from Kara geeking out over Superman’s fights to Lex Luthor, to her foster mom reading Cat Grant’s book.
  • The two girls cast as young Kara and Alex were eerily perfect.
  • In the present day, a mean drunk Alex ripped into Kara for refusing to openly grieve Mon-El’s loss. The drunk sister fight was dark, but a highlight of an already entertaining episode.
  • Did anyone else get Twilight flashbacks as Kara tried flying in the forest?
  • Kara confirmed to be a science and math genius who is completely bored by human science and math.
  • Alex confirmed to be a history nerd just to bug her sister.
  • Alex also confirmed to be bad at calculus.
  • At one point Alex condemns a 27-year-old man for sleeping with a 17-year-old girl, thus making a show written and filmed a while baccidentally relevant.
  • Seriously J’onn, that was a cruel disguise.