Monday, April 24, 2017

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 2, Episode 18 - Ace Reporter

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


When Lena Luthor's ex-boyfriend - a scientist named Jack Spheer - comes to National City to unveil his development of disease-destroying nanotechnology, Lena asks Kara to attend his news conference with her for mortal support. When Snapper Carr's presence inspires Kara to questions Jack's claims, she attracts the attention of a whistle-blower who prompts a bigger investigation that places Kara and everyone around her in danger!

Menwhile, Winn talks James into taking on Lyra as a partner in crime-fighting but Lyra proves over-zealous in making up for her criminal past.


The Power Company
(character of Jack Spheer and Biomax) and the movie Big Hero 6 (the villain being an executive controlling an army of nano-bots.)


The CGI for the nano-swarm changing back into Jack Spheer is a bit dodgy.

Lyra's sudden violent reaction to being told she can't help Guardian out doesn't jibe with her previous characterization.


Rahul Kohli is an engaging presence as Jack Spheer and does have good chemistry with Katie McGrath.

Between the scenes with Kohli and her bonding moments with Melissa Benoist as Kara, Katie McGrath does more in this episode to develop Lena's character into a sympathetic person than in any previous episode.

Super Trivia

Despite Kara having been fired from CatCo in 215, the opening narration still describes her as a reporter working for CatCo.

The character of Jack Spheer (a.k.a. Biomax) first appeared in the comics in Power Company #6 (September 2002). Jack Spheer was CEO of the Biospheer Technologies - a company which developed Biomax - a plasma that could control organic tissue. The original intent was to use Biomax to alter food production, creating cows that grew to maturity in days and vegetables that did not require refrigeration. Unfortunately, several people became sick after eating the altered foods but Spheer refused to stop production despite this. A confrontation with Green Arrow and Black Canary - who had started investigating the company after two of their friends got sick - resulted in Spheer falling into a vat of Biomax and becoming a non-physical being who could take control of other people.

The DCTVU version of Jack Spheer is quite a different character. The original one had no connection to Lena Luthor and was old enough to have an adult son. The DCTVU version of Jack Spheer runs a company called Spheerical Industries rather than Biospheer Technologies. The DCTVU version of Biomax is also promoted as a medical breakthrough rather than a genetic-engineering mechanism.

The biggest changes, however, are that Jack Spheer is now a living swarm of nanobots rather than a psychic projection and that rather than being a villain in his own right he is being controlled by his corrupt CFO.

An establishing shot shows that The L-Corp building is located on Cordova Street in National City. Cordova, Alaska was the name of the town where Clark Kent spent some time working on a crab boat in the movie Man of Steel.


Winn says he's going to spend the downtime working on a Lebeckian code breaker.

The Biomax Medical Nanobot Program is capable of healing a cut hand in seconds. Spheer claims that his nanobots can eliminate the need for vaccinations, anesthetics and antibiotics.

Kara asks about an FDA regulation regarding distributing drugs across state line and whether or not Spheer is following that law by having started developing Biomax in Metropolis but launching it in National City.

Lena asks Spheer about how he finally cracked the nano swarm.

Spheer says that he took inspiration from watching a flock of migrating starlings and how they all moved in perfect synchronicity. After musing on how he should have followed Lena to National City, he decided that they'd been modeling the nanobots on the wrong animal. Until that point, he'd been trying to create a "queen" as a base for the bee-like drones to revolve around by programming a protective algorithm.

The Buomax nanobots are based on murmuratiom - the technical term for a flock of starlings.

The nano-swarm's artificial nitelligence is a linked sentience, controlled through the Spheerical lab mainframe computer.

Valerians' sense of smell is so powerful that they can distinguish the scents of individual humans.

Three years earlier, Lena and Jack knew that the nanoforms had a side-effect. The brains of the rats they treated were forever altered so that "we could make them do whatever we wanted.".

Beth Breen - the CFO of Jack's company - plans to use the Biomax technology to take control of the world, one person at a time.

Sea salt incorporates better with the dough when making danishes.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Kara flies into the DEO office and walks into the War Room.)
Kara: Woo! It is another beautiful day in National City and the Girl of Steel is ready to take on the world!  I am here to kick some ass, take some names, and do it all with an endearing smile on my face! So - bring it on! What have you got for me?
J'onn: There is literally nothing for you to do.
Kara: Nothing?!
Winn: I challenge you to find an eight-year-old stealing candy!
Alex: It's like somebody slipped law-abiding serum into the reservoir.
Kara: Did somebody do that? Is that illegal? I could stop them.

(The Guardian walks to Winn's van which is rocking rhythmically. He opens up the back of the van to discover Winn and Lyra making out.)
The Guardian: Oh my God... are you serious?
Winn: Woah... ohhhhh.
The Guardian: What are you doing?! You're supposed to be watching out for me!
Winn: (laughing) Guardian! Hey, man! Uh.. you had those guys! I mean, you didn't need me!
Lyra: Yeah!
Winn: Great job!
Lyra: Relax, James. You had him.
(The Guardian pulls off his helmet to reveal himself as a furious James Olsen.)
What - told her?!
Winn: I did NOT tell her!
James; (pointing at Lyra) Well, then how do you know?!
Lyra: Humans all smell different.
Winn: Oh, hey, uh... what do I smell like?
(Lyra spins around getting right in Winn's face, slowly inhaling.)
Lyra: You smell like honey.
Winn: Oh-ho!
(The two start cuddling again, momentarily oblivious to the incredulous James.)

(As Kara is dragging him out to crash Lena and Spheer's dinner date.)
This just feels like stalking.
Kara: No! It's journalism!
Mon-El: Okay. (quietly, to himself) It's very creepy journalism.

Kara; I heard Supergirl saved you.
Snapper: Yeah. She was there.
Kara; Did you say thank you?
Snapper: Once. To a divorce lawyer. It was uncomfortable for everyone involved.

Beth Breen: You know, it's true what they say? Behind every great man is a strong woman.
Lena: Oh, I wouldn't know. I've never stood behind a man.

Kara: How are you holding up?
Lena: When Lex was arrested, my mother was there. My mother saw her son, dragged bleeding and raving from her house. And when I got there, Lillian was tidynig his room. Like he'd been away on a business trip. (pauses) That's how I feel. Cold and clam. Until I think about Beth dying in jail, and then I feel warm for a minute.
Kara: You're in shock, Lena...
Lena: Loss does strange things to my family and I have lost a lot of people...
Kara: Well, you're not going to lose me.
Lena: I think when I feel things again I... I'm gonna be very, very afraid. Of the person I might be.
(Kara puts an arm around Lena and hugs her close.)
Kara: You don't have to be afraid. I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere.
Lena: Promise?
Kara: I will always be your friend. And I will always protect you. I promise.


When not otherwise occupied on Thursday mornings, Alex practices knife-fighting.

Lena Luthor and Jack Spheer dated for two years. They spend five years working together on a start-up out of a garage, trying to find a cure for cancer. They broke up when she left Metropolis to run L-Corp from National City and he refused to go with her.

It is confirmed that Metropolis and National City are in different states.

Lyra Strayd was apparently freed from DEO custody and is still dating Winn, following the events of 216.

Valerians are able to identify humans based on their unique scent. Because of this, Lyra knows that James is The Guardian.

According to Lyra, Winn smells like honey.

Winn brings Lyra in to help James with fighting crime.

The L-Corp building is located on Cordova Street.

Lena's executive assistant is named Hector.

Mon-El is still using Mike as an alias.

Mon-El is a good enough pick-pocket that he steal's Spheer's security badge while hugging him.

Lena Luthor is capable enough a fighter to go up against a black-belt.

Jack Spheer dies when Lena deactivates the robots.

Beth Breen is arrested although on what charges isn't precisely clear. Presumably the two murders she caused using a weapon.

James tells Winn that he considers him a brother.

James invites Lyra to rejoin the team with the understanding that she follow his orders exactly.

Snapper Carr enjoys baking.

Kara gets her job as a reporter at CatCo back.

At the end of the episode, Lena is approached by Queen Rhea, who is dressed as an ordinary Earth woman. She says she has a business proposition for her.

The Fridge Factor

Lyra is suddenly portrayed as having a violent temper in order to set up a crazy girlfriend joke.

The Bottom Line

A sadly flat episode that proves how essential the DEO setting has become to the series in Season 2. The biggest problem is that most of the episode is devoted to Lena's romance with Jack Spheer, which its hard to become emotionally invested in since Lena hasn't been developed much as a character so far. It's a credit to Rahul Kohli and Katie McGrath that the subplot works as well as it does.

The rest of the episode isn't any better, focusing on Kara's efforts to prove herself as a reporter and James' continuing misadventures as The Guardian. I think the Kara subplot might have been stronger had she depended more on her reporting skills and less on her powers, ala The Late Mr. Kent episode of Superman: The Animated Series. And while I seem to be one of the few critics who don't mind the Guardian scenes, even I think this week's subplot was total filler.

Worse yet, The Guardian scenes undermined one of the better subplots introduced this season - Winn's relationship with Lyra - by having her become a violent berserker when she hasn't shown any tendencies towards violence before. Where were those fighting skills when she was being abducted by Lillian Luthor's thugs or her brother was being threatened a few episodes ago?

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