When an experimental space-plane almost crashes, Superman shows up in National City - first to help Supergirl save the plane and then to investigate it as Clark Kent. Kara is thrilled to be working with her cousin directly but she has other concerns to balance as well - chief among them being her attempts to have a normal, uninterrupted date with Jimmy Olsen and figuring out what career she wants now that Cat Grant has offered her a promotion into the job of her dreams.
John Byrne's Man of Steel (the opening sequence of Superman and Supergirl working to save a space plane), Superman: The Movie (Cat's new assistant is named Miss Teschmacher, Winn refers to Lex Luthor starting an earthquake in California, Lena's line about flying being the safest method of travel, the helicopter rescue scene), The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl (title is referred to in the episode title and Cat Grant tells Kara she must be "daring" in her new life) and Superman: The Animated Series (Metallo's origin here similar to that presented in the cartoon.)
Tyler Hoechlin cuts a fine figure in his premiere as Superman. When playing Superman, an actor has to decide who is the mask - Clark Kent or Superman. Despite playing Clark with the same clumsy stutter as Christopher Reeve, Hoechlin definitely plays the character with Clark the country boy as the dominant personality.
The chemistry between Hoechin and Melissa Benoist is noteworthy. The two are convincing as cousins and the decision to treat the characters as close family who enjoy teasing one another is something rarely seen in most Superman stories. It makes the characters more interesting and relatable - a frequent challenge both Clark and Kara face as characters.
Cliche though it is, the scene of Clark Kent ripping his shirt open as he runs down the alley is directed and filmed perfectly. Some things are cliches because they work. And this worked.
The entire sequence with the space plane rescue is an amazing one on all fronts. The direction. The music. The cinematography. And the special effects are a welcome assurance that while we may not get as many effects-driven sequences as before, the show's move to The CW will not result in a sudden skimping on the effects budget.
The new DEO set? Fantastic!
The title of this episode comes from the name of the first Supergirl solo comic - The Daring New Adventures Of Supergirl.
The comic series based on this TV show is also called The Adventures of Supergirl.
Cat Grant's new assistant in this episode is revealed to be named Eve Teschmacher. The character of Eve Teschmacher first appeared in Superman: The Movie. There, she was Lex Luthor's assistant and possibly his girlfriend. Since that time, various Superman stories set in alternate universes featured Lex Luthor employing women named Miss Teschmacher as a personal assistant, including the stories Red Son, Earth 2 and the children's series Superman Family Adventures.
In the TV series Smallville, Lex Luthor's assistant was named Tess Mercer and was later revealed to be his long-lost sister, Lutessa Lena Luthor.
The news channel Kara turns to in order to watch The Venture launch is Channel 25. This may be a sly reference to how - on Arrow - the news station of choice is Channel 52. The number 52, of course, has a great deal of significance in the DC Comics Universe.
In the first scene we see him in, Clark Kent is having a conversation with "Mr. White". This is a reference to Perry White - editor at The Daily Planet.
In the John Byrne's Man of Steel, Superman first revealed himself publicly to the world by saving an experimental space-plane similar to The Venture - the ship that Superman and Supergirl save here - although that plane was not given a name.
Winn refers to an incident where Lex Luthor triggered an earthquake in California. Lex Luthor also did this in Superman: The Movie.
The character of Lena Luthor has been a mainstay of the Superman comics and made her way into several adaptions as well. She first appeared in Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #23 (February 1961).
In the pre-Crisis DC Universe, Lena went by the name Lena Thorul and was unaware of her relation to the famous criminal mastermind, Lex's parents changed their name while Lena was still young and Luthor - for his own reasons - sought to prevent his sister from learning about the relationship. Lena was gifted with psychic powers (the result of one of Lex's early experiments) but lost them after having brain surgery. Eventually she learned the truth and reconciled with her brother.
In the post-Crisis DC Universe, Lena Luthor was a foster daughter in the same home that Lex Luthor grew up in. She was killed by her foster father during one of his infamous abusive drunken benders. While not truly a blood relation, Lex thought highly enough of Lena to name his daughter after her.
Following the Infinite Crisis soft-reboot of the Post-Crisis DC Universe, it was revealed that Lex Luthor had a sister named Lena, who was an invalid living in Smallville. She had a daughter, Lori, who became friends with the Conner Kent Superboy.
In the New 52 DC Universe, Lex once again has a sister named Lena. This version of Lena was diagnosed with an incurable illness that Luthor tried - and failed - to cure. He kept Lena in a secret lab for several years, hiding her to hide his failure. Following his redemption and joining The Justice League, Luthor honestly renewed his attempts to save his sister. In the middle of this, she became influenced by Darkseid and tried to kill Luthor. At the end of the event called The Darkseid War, Lena was left comatose with Lex vowing to find a way to save her yet again.
Curiously, the only version of Lena Luthor who acts as an assistant to her brother's nefarious schemes in the comics is in the 2009 Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures In The Eighth Grade mini-series. This series also saw Lena set against Supergirl.
The DCTVU version of Lena Luthor is Lex Luthor's adopted sister, brought into the family when she was four. She says Lex was the only person in the family who made her feel welcome. Despite this, she is still changing the name of his company to L-Corp in an effort to make a name for herself outside of her family. Thus far, she seems to be an honest business woman trying to get out of her sinister brother's shadow.
As she's leaving on a helicopter, Lena comments that she hates flying despite logically knowing that it is the safest method of travel, statistically speaking. This is a reference to a line from Superman: The Movie, where Superman tells Lois Lane this fact after saving her from a crashing helicopter.
On that note, Supergirl saving Lena Luthor's copter is another nod to Superman: The Movie.
After Superman saves his family from a drone, a father declares "We're moving back to Gotham." This is, of course, a reference to Gotham City - home of Batman.
At one point, Cat Grant tells Kara that "we must keep daring." This is likely a nod to the comic title The Daring New Adventures Of Supergirl.
Superman has fought many villains named Metallo over the years. The most famous of these incarnations is probably The Silver Age version, John Corben, who first appeared in Action Comics #252 (May 1959). Most versions of the character are robots with human minds that are powered by Kryptonite, but the Golden Age Superman stories featured a killer robot called Metallo and two criminals who used the name while wearing powered armor.
A journalist who was also secretly a thief and killer, John Corben suffered a fatal accident while fleeing from the scene of his latest murder. He was discovered by a scientist, Professor Vale, who transferred Corben's brain into a robot body. The body required radioactive material to function and Corben found his new body would run through the uranium that powered it in a day. This led to his trying to steal Kryptonite, which he was told would make him immortal. John Corben died at the end of his first appearance.
John Corben's brother, Roger Corben would emerge in the Bronze Age of Comics to menace Superman, whom he blamed for his brother's death. He too had his mind transfered into a Kryptonite-powered body. It is this version of Metallo that appeared in Alan Moore's "final" Superman story Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?
John Corben's background would be rewritten slightly by John Byrne in crafting the post-Crisis version of Metallo. This John Corben was a petty criminal, who was transformed into Metallo by a paranoid Profesor Vale. This version of Vale had somehow gotten his hands on the rocket that brought Superman to Earth as a baby and mistranslated a message Jor-El had left in the rocket as battle plans for an upcoming invasion. He created Metallo was a weapon to use against Superman. The unappreciative Corben killed the scientist and returned to his life of crime
The DCTVU version of John Corben is an assassin for hire apparently employed by Lex Luthor to do various dirty deeds "off the books". This is similar to the version of John Corben seen in the DC Animated Universe, who was a mercenary working for Lex Luthor before he had the surgery that transformed him into Metallo.
John Corben is said to have been tied to Intergang. Intergang is a organized crime group armed with the technology of the villainous New Gods of Apokolips in the Superman comics.
John Corben is said to have been tied to Kasnian terrorists. Kasnia is a fictional Balkan nation in the DC Comics Universe, frequently beset by civil war. It was first introduced in the DC Animated Universe and has been referred to on both Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow.
John Corben is said to have been tied to the genocide in Corto Maltese. Corto Maltese is a fictional banana republic in the DC Universe, first mentioned in The Dark Knight Returns. It was named in honor of a fictional sailor/adventurer created by cartoonist Hugo Pratt. It has been a frequent location of international unrest in the comics and made an appearance on Arrow, where it was the nation that Thea Queen and Malcolm Merlyn retreated to between Seasons 2 and 3.
The Venture is the first commercial spacecraft designed for suborbital transportation.
Winn asks about an incident when Lex Luthor set off an earthquake in California and wonders if he gauged the focal depth with his X-Ray Vision. In seismology, focal depth refers to how far down the starting point of an earthquake is.
Superman suggests using a quantum scan to determine the age of the young man in the Kryptonian rocket.
Superman later suggests x-raying him for foreign objects like a cybernetic data core.
The drone John Corben test-drives is described as a heavy tactical unmanned aerial vehicle with a 160 km range.
Kara (voice-over): When I was a child, my world ended. But I was saved, sent to Earth to protect my baby cousin, Kal-El. But Krypton's destruction sent a shockwave that knocked my ship off-course, into The Phantom Zone. Somehow, my pod got loose and I made the long journey to Earth. Though I was still a child when I arrived, my cousin had already grown up to become Superman. I hid who I really was, until one day my adoptive sister, Alex, was in danger and I was forced to reveal myself to the world. From that day on, I became Supergirl. Now, I work in secret with my sister and the DEO to fight alien menaces that threaten the Earth and others that would cause my city harm. I have friends. And allies. I have a family. After so many years of being lost, I'm finally home.
(We open on a newsstand. We see Clark Kent, talking on his phone.)
Clark Kent: Yes. I- I understand, Mr. White. Uh, yes- no, Mr. White. Uh, yes. Yes, Mr. White. Yes, I-I will have my article on your desk lickety-split. (chuckles nervously) Uh, yes sir, I- I know that nobody says "lickety-split" anymore. Um... although, although you do still say "Great Ceaser's Ghost!" which is a a bit of a throw back. (chuckles nervously) No. Yes sir. I am very aware that we are not talking about you. Yes sir. Yes. I- I will have that to you - hello?
(Superman flies up as Supergirl is steadying The Venture.)
Superman: Need a hand?
Supergirl: Hey cuz!
Superman: Good to see you!
Supergirl: This looks like a job for the both of us.
Supergirl: That was awesome! I mean, that was terrible, but it was awesome! We've never saved anything together!
Superman: (smiling) I know.
Supergirl: I've dreamed of this moment. The two of us teaming up.
Superman: (chuckling) Me too.
(A family on bikes pull up, awestruck.)
Supergirl: I usually say hi.
Superman: Me too.
(They walk over to the family.)
Girl: Way to go, Supergirl!
Father: And Superman!
Supergirl (mock whisper) I used to change his diapers.
Girl: No way!
Superman: (through a forced smile) Uh - I'm not exactly sure you had to tell them that.
Supergirl: No, I do. I think I really do.
Superman: ... ok.
Clark: Ms. Grant. It's good to see you. It's been a long time.
Cat: No fault of mine. So, are you still seeing Lois Lane or did that fizzle out like I predicted in the office pool? No one ever sent me my $20.
Clark: Lois and I are great. We're still going strong.
Cat: Ahhhh.... so she's not still hung up on Superman?
Clark: (chuckling) You know - I'd say that she has room in her life for both of us.
Cat: Well... that's modern.
(Clark suddenly realizes what she is saying.)
Clark: Uh, no. I- I....
Kara: How do you do it all, Clark? You're an amazing reporter, a great boyfriend and... and Superman. I mean, I love being Supergirl. That part of my life is clear. But... but the rest of it...
Clark: You mean Jimmy?
Kara: How'd you know that?
Clark: It's super-telepathy. It's a power you'll get. Someday.
Kara: (excited) Really?!
J'onn: (shaking hands with Winn) Welcome to the DEO, Mr. Schott.
Winn: Thank you, Hank. Or Director Henshaw? Or what is it... J'onn? Or Martian Manhunter? What's the protocol here?
J'onn: "Sir" will do just fine.
The opening scene is taken from the end of 120. This time, it is revealed that the Kryptonian rocket contains a young man.
The DEO has several facilities, including a glass-windowed office building in downtown National City and the remove cave complex we saw in Season One.
The office building DEO base is one block from Alex Danvers' apartment.
Winn taught himself how to read Kryptonian.
Kara's favorite meal is pizza and pot-stickers.
Kara has a deep interest in space travel.
In Kryptonian, Segara Beyal means "Well of Stars." Time does not pass there.
Superman apparently smells great, according to Alex.
Kryptonians age at a much slower rate on Earth. This is why Clark - despite being 12 years older than Kara - does not look that much older than her.
Cat Grant finds Clark highly attractive and Clark is aware that he has some "sway" with her. She apparently sent him a florid drunk text once.
Clark and Lois Lane are dating in this reality. It is suggested that she knows Clark Kent is Superman.
Lex Luthor is in jail. His sister, Lena Luthor, is running Luthor Corp and just recently moved to National City.
Luthor Corp manufactured the oscillator on The Venture which failed.
Project Emerald detailed the first recorded instance of Kryptonite arriving on Earth. J'onn J'onzz discovered the first Kryptonite and named it, shortly after becoming head of the DEO while disguised as Hank Henshaw.
The awkwardness between Superman and J'onn came about because of Project Emerald. Superman wanted to destroy all the Kryptonite. J'onn wanted to hold some in reserve to use against hostile Kryptonians. It is for this reason that Clark stopped working with the DEO.
Kara decides that she wants to become a reporter.
An unmarried woman of Kara's age on Krypton would be considered a spinster.
Kara tells James that she thinks they'd be better as friends.
Winn is hired on as a DEO agent.
In the final scene, we see John Corben in Cadmus as he begins the process of being turned into Metallo.
The first scene with Clark Kent is set in Metropolis.
The final scene of the episode is set inside Cadmus.
The Project Emerald incident in which Kryptonite was first discovered.
Winn refers to Lex Luthor attempting to trigger an earthquake in California and Superman stopping him.
The Bottom Line
It's an odd thing that the best part of last year's supporting cast - the relationship between Kara and James - gets the short shrift here whereas most of the episode is devoted toward establishing new characters and shifting the established cast around into the new status quo. Between setting up Cat Grant's exit and moving Winn into the DEO, there's very little time for Kara and James and one gets the feeling that their relationship was ended before it began because the writers really weren't sure how to move forward with them as a couple.
The new material proves stronger, however, with the relationship between Kara and Clark handled well. Corben is underwhelming as a villain but his threat-range is about to get boosted based on the ending of the episode. Lena Luthor is an interesting presence but it remains to be seen if she really is as honest as she seems to be.
Overall, this is just what the show needed to be out of the gate. The regular cast has been shaken up enough to be made interesting again and there's a number of new mysteries involving the new players. And watching Clark and Kara play off of each other like real cousins ribbing each other is perhaps the single greatest take on the characters I've ever seen.