Kara's attempts to train Mon-El in heroism go awry when - while trying to recapture an escaped Livewire - Mon-El puts rescuing Kara over protecting civilians. Meanwhile, M'gann suddenly goes into a coma and James debates revealing his secret identity as The Guardian to Kara.
Star Wars (the drones in the combat training sequence resemble the one Luke used for lightsaber training) and various classic Superman comics where Jimmy Olsen tried to be a hero over Superman's objections.
How is James able to do "one more" crime scene after getting shot in the arm? I don't care how good Winn's armor-forging skills are - James' arm has got to be hurting a bit, even if the bullet (which ripped the Guardian suit) didn't break his skin.
Alex and Maggie are a little free about discussing Kara's secret identity at the crime scene. Presumably the DEO agents know about Alex's relationship with Supergirl but what about the staff at the jail who are in the vicinity?
Kara's feelings about Livewire aside, she does have a point - how the heck DID Livewire get transferred into a regular human prison? Granting the DEO's mission statement is to deal with alien threats, that didn't stop them from being called in to investigate when Livewire escaped.
Kara's telling James he has no business trying to be a hero seems a bit hypocritical given that - in last week's episode - she was rallying a bunch of ordinary humans to fight back against heavily armed alien slavers who seemed to be stronger than ordinary humans. And because Kara walked into a slaver's camp without any superpowers because it was the right thing to do. And because Kara works with several ordinary humans - her sister among them - who routinely go after alien menaces and criminals. (It's likely Kara's objections come from her repressed love for James and not wanting to see him hurt.)
The slow-motion fight between the Livewire knock-offs and our heroes looks silly as all get-out.
For that matter, why are the Livewire knock-offs just running around punching everyone instead of electrocuting them?
The chemistry between Melissa Benosit and Chris Wood continues to impress.
Mehcad Brooks gives a powerful performance when James stands up to Supergirl.
The strongest performance of the episode, however, goes to David Harewood as J'onn confronts his own prejudices to try and be a better person and - in doing so - proves himself a hero, though that is the last thing on his mind.
Good effects work and direction on the sequences where J'onn goes into M'Gann's mind.
A solid script with a lot of great character moments.
The episode title comes from a lyric in the David Bowie song, Heroes.
The yellow-tinted sunglasses Mon-El wears as part of his costume resemble those worn by the 1990s Superboy.
Lisa Gold - the female Livewire knock-off was played by actress, stuntwoman, American Ninja Warrior champion and fanatical Supergirl fan Jessie Graff.
Alex checks for the heat signature of an invisible being when watching the security tapes of M'gann's cell.
Martian biology is usually intertwined with psychic phenomena. This means that a telepathic attack can bring about brain death in a Martian, despite the body being in otherwise perfect physical condition.
Winn claims to have trouble billineating Livewire's energy from other wavelengths when asked to track her.
(Kara and Mon-El have just finished a round in the DEO combat simulation room.)
Kara: Uh - Mon-El?
(Kara points to one of the cardboard cut-out civilians - a little girl whose head was knocked off.)
Mon-El: Mistakes were made. But it's our fewest cardboard fatalities yet!
Livewire: Do you know what power is, Freud? It's the feeling of somebody's life in your hands. Every atom in you just burns electric. It's like kissing a frayed wire. You know what that power makes me? A bad guy? Evil? It makes me a god!
Winn: (in the style of a professional wrestling announcer) Lady and gentlemen, the one, the only Livewire! Who knows what havoc she will wreak when she resurfaces?! Maybe she'll turn all of her girlfriends evil again?! I don't know! We're talking about full on rats in the attic here, people! Except the rats are electrified and the attic is on fire! Behold, ye mighty, and despair!
(Alex is asking J'onn to use his telepathy to see what is going on in M'gann's head.)
Alex: You have shown them mercy before-
J'onn: Not this! I will not give her my people's memories. I will not give her my daughter's smiles! Her kind has taken enough from me. From us! If she dies, she dies. She deserves it a thousand times over! Let her drown in her own sins!
(Kara walks into the med bay. She walks to the far side of the room before turning to face James, Winn, Alex and Mon-El.)
Kara: It's a cool suit.
(James just looks at her.)
Kara: (To Winn) Yours?
(Winn nods silently.)
James: ... I was... going to tell you.
Winn: I told him to tell you last night.
Alex: I told you both weeks ago.
Kara: You all knew?!
Mon-El: Um, I didn't! I thought James was a professionally handsome desk person.
Kara: I am calm. I am going to listen to you. I owe you that much. But you need to tell me why.
James: Because that thing that you feel...that thing that makes you want to make everything better? I feel that too. And I always have. And I have tried so many different ways in my life to help people. Whether it's career or friendship. But it's just not enough. But this is. Now, look... I was never meant to be in Superman's shadow. Or yours. I am more me as Guardian than I've ever felt as James Olsen. Kara, we are the same-
Kara: No. We are not the same. You are a human. You are going to get yourself killed. One mistake - one human error - and you're gone! That's it! You don't get a strike, James! Not like me! Not like-
James: Are you serious?! You saw him! He left civilians unprotected at that fight, which I had to go back for!
Kara: Mon-El is still learning-
James: At what cost, Kara?! There was a cop that took a lighting bolt because "Mon-El is still learning." Okay?! He cares about himself, he cares about you and that's what he fights for!
Kara: He can change! You can't! You are never going to be strong enough for this!
James: (cooly) You do not get to decide who is a hero. And who are you to tell me how to be? Or who to be? I am meant for this.
Kara: If you don't stop, I'll stop you.
James: You're welcome to try.
J'onn: Hate becomes your reason for living when you've lost everything that you love. If I find that there was some good in their kind... I don't hate her.
Alex: Forgiveness isn't something that you give to somebody who has hurt you. Forgiveness is something you give to yourself.
(Mon-El dashes through a window at super-speed and knocks down the two Livewire knock-offs.)
Livewire: Who the hell are you supposed to be?
Mon-El: Uh. The other Superman... in training.
Livewire: Your cosplay sucks.
Mon-El: .. that's not nice.
(And finally - possibly the most meta moment in the series to date.)
James: I don't want to be the guy at the office anymore.
Winn: Yeah, and I don't want to just be stuck behind a computer.
Livewire: This is copyright infringement, asshat. I'm going to sue you. And then... I'm going to murder you.
Mad Scientist: Such a nasty woman.
The Guardian suit is not entirely bulletproof.
M'gann was last seen in 207.
M'gann is kept in Containment Cell 19.
M'gann is capable of emitting a yell that can break reinforced glass.
Livewire last appeared in 118.
Maggie Sawyer is a vegan.
The female inmate who esacped with Livewire is named Lisa Gold.
Livewire's profile with the DEO describes the events of her previous appearances, notes her affiliation with Silver Banshee and the fact that water shorts out her powers.
Kara considers Livewire to be her nemesis.
Kara discovers James' secret identity after he is knocked out while saving a police officer from a stray electrical blast that Mon-El accidentally redirected at the cop.
Alex refers to the events of 206 and M'Gann donating her blood to save J'onn despite knowing it would reveal her secret identity as a White Martian.
Kara refers to Mon-El kissing her while delirious in 208.
Livewire is still at large as the episode ends.
J'onn frees M'gann.
M'gann says the rest of the White Martian race are still alive and they now know where she is.
The Bottom Line
A surprisingly solid hour of entertainment despite its flaws. The villains are strictly one note, with half of them not having names and Brit Morgan phoning it in as Livewire this time around. The script does Kara a disservice, making her suddenly dismissive of James' ability to be a hero despite her working alongside other ordinary human DEO agents and trying to be a hero without powers herself in last week's episode! And yet, the ensemble cast make all of this work and the good bits of the show - particularly the bits with J'onn and James' standing up to Kara - knock it out of the park.