Exposure to a piece of Red Kryptonite makes Kara into a more aggressive person and nothing will ever be the same again.
Countless Silver Age stories involving Red Kryptonite, Mark Waid's run on JLA (the idea of Red Kryptonite being a synthetic element created by Earth science), Spider-Man 3 (Kara's descent into evil is reminiscent of Peter Parker being influenced by The Symbiote) and the Legacy episode of Superman: The Animated Series (the theme of a brainwashed Kryptonian hero going on a rampage and then having to win back the public's trust).
Again, Cat is flip-flopping on the importance of reporting the truth no matter what.
For all of Cat's talk in this episode about only employing people she trusts, she doesn't seem to put much stock in James' assurance that what's happening to Supergirl is temporary and a cure is almost ready when he's trying to talk her into delaying her speech to National City about how Supergirl i snow a villain.
For that matter, you'd think Cat would think twice about endangering all of her employees and the public at large with any action that would further annoy a psychotic Supergirl.
While we're used to Superman not getting involved in Kara's business by now, you'd think if ever there was a time for Clark to come and help his cousin this would be it!
How exactly is J'onn's decision to turn himself in to the DEO keeping Kara and Alex safe?
The speed with which the whole world turns against Kara seems more appropriate to a Spider-Man comic than Supergirl.
Melissa Benoist has a strong performance here, playing the more aggressive Kara. She gets a little too hammy when she's doing her "BWAHAHAHA! I am evil now!" speech to Alex but her pained reaction upon waking up more than makes up for it.
For once, Calista Flockhart finds the perfect note to play Cat Grant for the whole episode - not just one fleeting moment. For the first time, Cat really does seem to care about Supergirl as something beyond a meal ticket and the final scene between the two is pure magic.
There are some very good speeches in this episode and a meta textual analysis of paragon superheroes like Supergirl not being allowed to be written as real people who have negative traits. These moments are so good, in fact, that you almost forget how stupid the overall plot-line is.
The scene with Supergirl saving one of her fans from a group of mean girls, however, is pitch perfect.
The red-tinted form of Kryptonite has a variety of different effects, with each individual piece inspiring a different condition in Kryptonians exposed to it. The effects are temporary, only lasting 24-72 hours.
The changes Red Kryptonite has caused in the comics include transforming Kryptonians into dragons, creating an evil clone, growing extra limbs, losing all sense of balance and coordination, causing mental transference, making them evil, causing them to shrink, granting them telepathy, causing blindness, driving them temporarily insane, causing rapid hair growth, turning them into a giant with no superpowers, causing color-blindness to the color green, depowering them, causing rapid aging, transforming their head into that of a giant ant, causing them to be unable to speak or read any language other than Kryptonese, losing invulnerability along the left side of the body, developing total amnesia and making their skin transparent, which has the side-effect of making their powers uncontrollable as they absorb solar radiation much faster.
In the DCTVU, Red Kryptonite was created by Max Lord in a failed attempt to create a synthetic form of the common Green Kryptonite used by the DEO. In the post-Crisis DC Comics Universe, Red Kryptonite was created by Batman during an experiment where he was trying to create a less-lethal version of Kryptonite that he could use to temporarily disable Superman without running the risk of killing him as with Green Kryptonite. His Red Kryptonite samples were stolen by the League of Assassins and used on Superman during one of Ra's al Ghul's attempts to take over the world.
The base plot of a Kryptonian hero losing control and needing to regain the world's trust once they regain control of themselves mirrors the base plot of Legacy - the final episode of Superman: The Animated Series. In that story, Superman was brainwashed by Darkseid into believing that he was Darkseid's son and led an invading Apokolyptian army on Earth.
Cat sarcastically suggests that Supergirl needs to go on Lexapro. While this is a real-world medication used to treat anxiety and depression, it probably isn't a coincidence that the writers chose to mention a drug that sounds like the creation of perennial Superman villain Lex Luthor.
The alien bank robber whom Supergirl lets go is identified as a K'hund. In the DC Comics Universe, the Khund (no apostrophe in the name) are an alien race best known as enemies of the Legion of Superheroes in the 30th century. The Khunds are a war-like humanoid race with pale magenta skin from a world with much stronger gravity than Earth. This makes the Khunds stronger and more durable than humans, despite being of similar size and shape. In the 21st Century, the Khunds are known to the Green Lantern Corps and were part of the alien alliance that attacked earth in the storyline Invasion!
Apart from the slightly different name spelling, the K'hund of the DCTVU seem to be just like the Khund of the DC Comics Universe.
Siobhan attempts to send her scoop to Perry White. Perry White is the Editor In Chief of The Daily Planet - the newspaper that employs Lois Lane and Clark Kent in the comics and in the reality of the DCTVU.
Cat suggests that Supergirl needs to go on Lexapro - a real world drug used to treat anxiety and depression.
The DEO is able to detect the Red Kryptonite at the scene of the fire with a thermodynamic scan and comparing the radiation signature to that of Green Kryptonite.
Red Kryptonite does not damage Kryptonians on a cellular level but can apparently alter their body chemistry like a drug. causing erratic behavior.
(Kara is flying when she overhears her name at a nearby school. A group of mean girls is laughing at another girl in a home-made Supergirl costume.)
Mean Girl: So, you think you're Supergirl? If I shoved you, could you fly? You look so stupid.
Fan Girl: No I don't!
Mean Girl: Everybody thinks so. That's why you don't have any friends.
(Supergirl lands behind the Mean Girls.)
Supergirl: I wouldn't say that.(moves to stand next to the fan girl) I actually think you look pretty awesome...
Fan Girl: Thanks!
(Supergirl uses her X-Ray vision and peeks a look at the Fan Girl's homework in her backpack, to find out her name is Laura.)
Supergirl ... Laura.
Mean Girl: You know Supergirl?!
Supergirl: Yeah! I'm friends with all the nice girls. (pats Laura on the shoulder) See you later!
(J'onn, Alex, Supergirl and Senator Crane are talking when an emergency report regarding a fire-fighter trapped under rubble at the scene of a fire comes up on The Big Board.)
Senator Crane: Supergirl, can you get there in time?
(They all turn around to see Supergirl is already gone.)
Alex: (smiling) Yeah. She can.
Cat: I know you see yourself as a plucky heroine who broke a story as big as Watergate and then gave it to my biggest competitor. And I know that you think once The Daily Planet runs the story that you will have a fancy job there. And I know that you believe in the end that I will admire your gumption for scooping me and I will beg you to come back.
Siobhan: Won't you?
Cat: No. I admire loyalty, integrity and employees that I can trust - not back-stabbing, opportunistic little... imps. Clean out your desk.
(Siobhan blinks and seems like she's about to speak but Cat cuts her off.)
Cat: I''m sorry? Was I using my inside voice? (deliberately, raising her voice on the last word) You. Are. FIRED!
(Supergirl lands on Cat Grant's balcony)
Supergirl: What do you want?
Cat: I want to know if Ashton Kutcher and his camera crew are hiding underneath your cape. Supergirl would never release an evil alien caught in the act of armed robbery, so I assume I am being "punked".
Supergirl: I wouldn't assume anything from now on, Cat.
Cat: Did you just call me Cat?
Supergirl: You branded me in the media as a Girl Scout. "Supergirl is brave, kind and strong."
Supergirl: Isn't that kind of a stock characterization? Very two-dimensional. Everyone knows real people have a dark side.
Cat: Yes, but you don't get to be a real person. You'er a superhero. You get to represent all the goodness in the world.
Supergirl: Yeah, well I'm sick of it. And you know what else I'm sick of? Enabling all of you in your victimhood. (mocking sing-song voice) "Oh well, my building's burning down, la-di-ah. Supergirl will just swoop in and save the day." Well, get used to the flames, people, because I quit!
Cat: Supergirl? I fear that you are having some sort of a mental breakdown. Don't worry. It happens to the best of us. And I'm happy to take you to Dr. Schuman for emergency Lexapro. That is, if your alien brain will respond to the SSRIs...but, in the meantime I would lay low. This haughty attitude is highly unsuitable.
Supergirl: Well, I learned it from the best - Cat Grant! You are the most arrogant, self-serving, mean-spirited person I know!
Cat: Now you listen to me. I made you! And you are not going to let me down!
Supergirl: Or what?
Cat: Or what?
Supergirl: (mock horror) Wait! I forgot! You're the most powerful person in National City. At least, that's what they say on TV.
(Supergirl takes a step closer to Cat.)
Supergirl: You want to see what powerful really looks like? Watch.
(Supergirl picks Cat up with one arm and throws her over the balcony ledge. Cat screams as she falls forty stories, only being caught by Supergirl in front of a crowd seconds before hitting the ground.)
Supergirl: True power, Cat, is deciding who will live and who will die. And don't ever call me again.
(Supergirl flies off, leaving a truly horrified Cat Grant kneeling on the pavement.)
(Cat Grant steps out on her balcony with a glass of wine, only to find Supergirl sitting there.)
Supergirl: I love this city. (exhales deeply) The lights. All the windows. I love that behind every window there's a story. Someone's eating take-out with their boyfriend. Someone's playing board games with their kids. (exhales) To me, every person in the city is a light. And every time I've helped one of them, a little bit of their light has become a part of me. I've never been happier than when I've been Supergirl... I know what happened wasn't exactly my fault. My... brain was altered. But it brought something inside of me out... that was mean and horrible. What I did to you, Miss Grant, I-
Cat: (dismissive) Oh, please. I've base jumped Mount Kilimanjaro. Do you really think you scared me? (thinks a moment) Well, okay, yes, you DID scare me.
Supergirl: I know...I scared the whole city. And now I'm so afraid that I'm never gonna win them back.
Cat: Well... if you came here for me to tell you that everything is going to be okay, I can't do that. It's not that easy.
Supergirl: (sighing) I know.
Cat: Now, I said that it's not going to be easy but I didn't say it would be impossible. Personally, I don't believe in failure. Not if you get back up and face the music. It takes time. But if anybody can win this city back... it's you.
Supergirl: (softly) Can I just sit here a little while?
Cat: Of course.
(Cat leans against the balcony railing and looks at the city lights along with Supergirl.)
Kara finds out about Winn and Siobhan's "relationship".
Lucy Lane resigned her position with CatCo.
Senator Crane, first seen in 111, makes an appearance, saying that she's trying to get the funding for the DEO increased. By the end of the episode, she has returned to her alien-hating ways.
Siobhan is fired from her position as Cat Grant's assistant.
When fighting the K'hund, Supergirl refers to defeating White Martians (111), Coluans (115) and Kryptonians (113) and says he's nowhere near as tough as them.
Max Lord created Red Kryptonite as part of a trap for Non and the other Kryptonians attacking his satellite labs. He claims that the fire was a true accident and that he never intended for any firefighters or Supergirl to be harmed by it. To make up for what he did, Lord creates an energy weapon that purges the Red Kryptonite radiation from Supergirl's body.
J'onn exposes himself to the world in order to stop Supergirl from killing Alex. He then allows himself to be arrested by the DEO.
J'onn also confirms, by saying nothing when accused of the murder, that he killed the original Hank Henshaw.
The Bottom Line
This episode does for Supergirl what Spider-Man 3 did to the Raimi-directed Spider-Man films. There's some fine performances but the episode tries to do too much, too quickly to create the darkness before the dawn, with Kara having alienated most of her allies and the world at large.