Sunday, April 21, 2019

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 4, Episode 18 - Crime and Punishment

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


With Supergirl declared Public Enemy Number One, Ben Lockwood starts looting the DEO Armory for weapons to arm the Children of Liberty over Alex's objections.As Lena and Supergirl go to Stryker's island in search of evidence that might lead them to Lex Luthor, Kelly encourages James to turn to someone about his PTSD.


"The Late Mr. Kent" episode of Superman: The Animated Series. (Clark has better luck pursuing a case as Clark Kent than Superman.)


I can readily believe that there are anti-alien bigots who will ignore a man trapped in a burning car to try and pull a citizen's arrest on Supergirl while she's in the middle of trying to save someone. I cannot believe, however, that anyone would be so stupid as to try shooting Supergirl with an ordinary pistol after she apparently killed the heavily armored personnel protecting the White House.

It also seems a little unbelievable that the man whom Supergirl saves from said burning car, while being shot at, immediately turns on her and says he doesn't understand why she's saving him after what he saw on the news. Honestly, this whole episode feels like it was written by someone who only reads Marvel Comics the way the public is easily misled.

It's incredibly out of character for Brainiac-5 not to over-analyze every aspect of a mission before starting it, so it is hard to believe he would get into the vault containing the DEO Alien Registry before he considered the mathematical odds of his actions making situations worse and the probability of Ben Lockwood finding some other way to go after alien civilians.

Somehow, the random man with the gun is exceeded in his stupidity by all the random prisoners in Cell Block D who think they can punch hurt Supergirl with their bare hands or a crowbar. (At least Supergirl rolls her eyes at this too.)

The biggest news story in the world is that Lex Luthor is still at large, but nobody thinks there is a connection between this and Supergirl apparently attacking the White House, despite everything Lex has done in the past to try and discredit Kryptonians?


As over-the-top as it is, Robert Baker's performance as Otis the Metallo is just plain fun. And his execution on the "something's not right..." gag with Kara is perfect.

Super Trivia

Lex Luthor's chessboard has a lock on it that is opened when the board is set in a configuration of a checkmate maneuver known as Anastasia's Mate.This is a real-world chess maneuver that occurs when a rook and a knight are used to trap the opposing king between a friendly piece and the edge of the board. Some variants, such as the one Lena builds, add in a queen.

While Lena is inspired to think of the maneuver because of Lex's pet nickname for her (he called her Anastasia in reference to the famous lost princess), the pattern has been in existence for more than 200 years and was named after an 1803 novel which made reference to it - Anastasia and the Game of Chess.

Brainiac-5's plan to delete the DEO alien registry is similar to one enacted by real-world American librarians in the face of the passage of the Patriot Act. Among other civil-rights violations, the Patriot Act authorized federal agencies to demand the library lending records of any suspected terrorist without a warrant. The American Library Association responded to this by changing their policy to discourage libraries from keeping such records in the first place. This prompted one FBI official to complain that "radical militant librarians" were making it impossible for them to do their jobs.


Supergirl suggests that Lex's duplicate Supergirl is the result of a shapeshifter, a hologram or an image inducer. Lena dismisses all three ideas because the heat signatures don't match.

Paragraph 4, Sub-Section A of the DEO charter requires a Presidential order to comply with any request to hand over alien technology to non-DEO government personnel.

The Superman Signal Watch has a fail-safe to warn anyone who can hear it of an ambush. The fail-safe is activated by pushing the button to activate the alarm twice. Pushing it once delivers a regular distress call.

The server containing the DEO alien registry is located in a vault on sub-level 5 of the DEO's base in National City. It is protected by a voice-identification scanner, a retinal scanner and armed guards before the elevator leading to the sub-level.

Brainiac-5 is able to use his image inducer to scramble a retina scanner so his eyes look like those of someone else.

Bilateral stimulation is a technique used to calm people with anxiety.

Lex had some kind of sensor set-up in his cell that would alert him if someone with Kryptonian DNA entered it.

Dialogue Triumphs

(Supergirl hears a man calling for help in the distance.)
Supergirl: Someone's in trouble. I have to go.
Alex: But you heard the President. It isn't safe!
Supergirl: If the government wants to stop me from helping people, let them try.

Lena: (on Lex) He's sick and he's twisted but at least he's consistent.

Lena: (reading Lex's diary) Lena craves my attention. Pathetic. If she knew how brilliant she was, she wouldn't need it.

(Otis walks through the prison library, looking for Supergirl. Instead he finds Cara Danvers hiding between two bookcases.)
Otis: Where'd Supergirl go?
Kara: I don't know, but I - I saw a red blur go through that door.
(She gestures to the dining room exit and Otis starts to walk off. Suddenly he stops and takes a step back to Kara.) 
Otis: Wait a minute...
(Close up on Kara looking nervous, clearly afraid Otis has somehow seen through her disguise.)
Otis: D Block's for guys only. What are you doing here?
Kara: I - um - I'm a reporter. I was doing an interview in the dining hall when the guards rushed us out. (pulling herself up) The article's on prison reform. Maybe you'd care to comment?
Otis: (shaking his head) I don't trust the press. They always parachute into crises like this without any context for the lager systemic issues at play.
(Otis walks off as Kara shakes head head in disbelief at her good fortune.)

Steve Lomeli: What is it they say? The pen is mightier than the sword?
Kara: Hmm. Maybe even mightier than a cape.

Dialogue Disasters

(Supergirl is trying to save a man trapped in a burning car. A man with a pistol keeps shooting at her, despite her pleading for the three people to help her save this man or at least stop shooting at her.)
Man 1: She's going to kill us!
Man 2: Not if I kill her first.
(Man 2 continues to try and shoot at Supergirl, despite her catching all his bullets)


President Baker institutes a sun-down to sun-up curfew. Humans caught out after dark will be cited. Aliens will be detained.

Supergirl saves a man from a burning car, despite being shot at by some random man with a pistol who tries to do a citizen's arrest. Despite this, the man is confused as to why she save dhim and scared of Supergirl, saying his daughter used to look up to her.

Alex accounts for the Bizzaro Supergirl from 112, to make sure the Supergirl duplicate is not her.

Lena learned from her mother that Lex had been coming and going from his cell at Stryker's Island for months.

Lena tracks the Cayman Islands bank account of the Stryker's Island warden and confirms several payments from Lex's accounts.

The Warden admits to taking money from Lex but has no idea where he is now.

The Warden agrees to let Lena and Supergirl inspect Lex's cell for two hours in exchange for his husband being left out of things when Lena reports his crimes to the police.

Lena identifies the image Lex etched into his cell wall as Hannibal Crossing the Alps.

When they were children, Lex and Lena left hidden messages for each other inside of their chess pieces.

Lex left a message for Lena inside the White Queen of his chess set in his cell. On a rolled up piece of paper, Lex left the date 7/16/18 and a photo of her test subject from 407. Lena says the date is a reference to July 16th, 1918 - the date of the execution of the Romanovs.

Lex used to call Lena "The Lost Princess" in reference to Anastasia Romanov.

Lena realizes that Lex's chessboard has a hidden lock on it that requires her to set-up a checkmate pattern called Anastasia's Mate in order to open it.

The panel under Lex's chess set conceals his diaries.

Lena says Lex left his diaries behind to torment her since he'd know the last thing she'd want to do is get inside his head and go through old memories.

Ben Lockwood is now Secretary of the Department of Alien Affairs, his previous position as director having been elevated to a Presidential Cabinet post.

Lockwood demands any weapons that could be used against Kryptonians and that the DEO assist him and his men in ambushing Supergirl.

Alex refuses citing a DEO Protocol that requires a direct order from the President to hand over alien weapons to non DEO personnel.

Colonel Haley orders Alex to give her the signal watch that Supergirl gave to her, as she begins preparing the weapons for Lockwood's return.

Alex gives Colonel Haley bad instructions for using the watch, which will warn Supergirl that the signal is a trap.

Brainiac-5 suggests deleting the DEO registry of alien citizens before Lockwood demands they hand it over as well.

James has an appointment with one Doctor Park, who is apparently the best PTSD psychiatrist in National City.

Kelly meets with Alex, who asks her for advice on handling Colonel Haley and convincing her to defy Lockwood's orders.

Kelly tells a story about a jerk CO she had while in the military and how she learned to work him by appealing to his concern for his men's safety rather than moral concerns.

One of Lex's diaries details his pay-offs to the guards and inmates. Another runs through Superman's many failings. A third is an inventory of every mistake Lena has made since she was four years old.

James is showing the same black veins running through the skin on the back of his neck that Adam developed before he developed superpowers.

Lex Luthor's next-door cellmate was a man named Steve Lomeli, who was imprisoned for stealing data from the US Department of Defense that proved the military was using illegal drones and leaked that information to the press. He doesn't like Supergirl, seeing her as a narcissist who thinks she's above the law.

Brainiac-5 has not spoken to Nia Nul since they kissed in 415.

Nia gives Brainy a hard time about him refusing to tell her about her descendants in the future but still expecting her to tell him the future.

Nia lies about Brainiac not destroying the registry, to make him realize that he should destroy the registry.

Alex tries to convince Colonel Haley that following Lockwood's orders would violate the spirit of the American military and asks her to consider her daughter. This angers Colonel Haley, who has also figured out that Alex lied about using the signal watch.

Otis Graves goes to the Warden of Stryker's Island after one of Lex's alarms senses that Supergirl is in his cell and kills him.

Otis releases all the prisoners on Cell Block D and tells them he'll free whoever can subdue Supergirl.

Lena gives Supergirl a Kryptonite shield that should protect her from Otis's refined Metallo body.

Supergirl welds Lena into Lex's cell to protect her from the prisoners while she fights her way to Otis.

James suddenly develops super-hearing, super-sight and crushes a metal lamp with one hand while having another PTSD attack after a gun-shot goes off on the TV behind him, after he returns to his office after his first therapy session.

One of Lex's journals talks about how Lena stole their father's favorite fountain pen for Lex. It was given to him by the King of Jordan.

As children, Lena and Lex sought shelter in a tree house when Lionel Luthor was drunk, since he couldn't climb into the tree.

Lex told Lena that when they were grown up, he was going to build a house for them where they'd always be safe in the mountains behind their home.

Lena recognizes the mountain in Lex's etching of The Alps as being, not one of the Alps, but the mountain he pointed out to her when they were younger.

Lena discovers the mountain conceals a button, which reveals a secret passage out of the cell.

Kara is able to escape from Otis by changing back into her Kara Danvers clothes and claiming to have been interviewing inmates on prison reform when the riot started.

Steve Lomeli stops another inmate from stabbing Kara with an improvised knife after she identifies herself as Kara Danvers with CatCo Magazine. He reveals himself as a fan of her writing and says he writes the only newsletter in Stryker's Island - "The Not So Free Press"

Lex apparently contact the National Guard, informing them that Supergirl was at Stryker's Island.

Kara knocks down all the fighting inmates with one shockwave generated with a clap of her hands, putting them all on the ground before the National Guard starts opening fire.

The tunnel in Lex's cell leads to a secret lab.

Amertek electronics on are a work-bench in the lab. This is the same corrupt company whose executives The Red Daughter severed in 416.

Lex has monitors in the secret lab that show the DEO's desert facility as well as his cell.

Otis lies about Luthor's cell still being in order when he calls.

Lex triggers a self-destruct in Otis' Metallo body which makes him explode, releasing a Kryptonite gas throughout the facility. Supergirl and Lena barely outrun the cloud and escape through a side tunnel out of the prison.

Nia has a nightmare vision of Brainiac-5 being grabbed by Children of Liberty while at the DEO.

Nia calls Brainy and tells him not to delete the registry. He says he already did, but he's holding a copy of it in his brain just in case they need it later.

Brainy says he was wrong to ask Nia to try and view the future on his behalf - mostly because the moral imperative to do the right thing is more important than any calculation but also because she's not very good at interpreting her dreams yet and the odds of him being arrested are 3 to 2 against.

Lockwood returns with his court order and sets his ambush. However, Colonel Haley pushes the button on the signal watch twice.

When Alex asks her about this later, Colonel Haley says it had nothing to do with what Alex said and everything to do with her daughter having nightmares about the martial law and the fact that her favorite teacher, an alien, has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

The news is now reporting that Supergirl tried to free the prisoners at Stryker's Island.

Supergirl decides she needs to lie low for a while, despite what Alex and Lena think, and find another way to fight Lockwood and President Baker.

James calls Kelly, tells her about his seeing and hearing things from a distance, and how they need to talk to Lena.

President Baker authorizes Lockwood to deputize the Children of Liberty.

Otis was put back together by Eve Tessmacher after being blown up.

Kara interviews Steve Lomeli with the understand that he'll be an unnamed source. He reveals to her that he hacked the prison Wi-Fi and was able to back-up the computer in Lex Luthor's secret lab as a result.


Stryker's Island - Metropolis.

The Bottom Line

A bit of a mixed bag, overall. When the episode is good, it is very good and the interactions between Lena and Supergirl,, Supergirl with Steve Lomeli (in both her identities) and Alex with Colonel Haley is golden. Braniac-5 and Dreamer's storyline is okay, if it a bit rushed, but it says a lot that I hadn't noticed that they hadn't interacted in three episodes.

The worst part of the episode is everything involving James and his sister, which instantly drags the plot down to a snail's pace. I know many people complain that James is a wholly unneeded character, but adding his sister into the show has only aggravated the problems with his scenes feeling tacked on.

Ironically, for all the problems this episode has with logic and people trying to hurt Supergirl who should really know better, some of its best moments involve Robert Baker hamming it up as Otis Graves and being appropriately stupid when it comes to seeing the obvious. Cheap as his resurrection is, it's actually a relief that such an amusing character wasn't killed off so casually. 

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