The superhero craze on TV is full of antiheroes like Arrow and Daredevil. CBS throws its hat into the superhero ring with a re-imagining of Supergirl – Superman’s cousin. It was refreshing to see a superhero make mistakes and be full of wonder – kind of a throwback to Smallville and Clark Kent’s early years.
The pilot opens with a familiar scene from the Superman universe – Krypton set to implode. Future Superman baby Kal-El is tucked away in his little pod and his cousin, 13-year-old Kara Zor-El is sent in another pod – her mission to protect him.
Kara’s pod gets trapped in the phantom zone and she arrives decades after her cousin. This allows the show to have Kal-El become Superman and have him rescue Kara when her pod finally arrives to Earth. He takes Kara to a pair of married scientists who helped him – she is adopted by them and also gains a sister – Alex, their daughter. Kudos to the show for casting Dean Cain, who played Superman in The Adventures of Lois and Clark, and Helen Slater, who played Supergirl in the feature film Supergirl.
Kara grows up in a normal household, suppressing her powers and striving to be normal. The audience meets her years later – she is working as an assistant for Cat Grant who owns the media conglomerate CatCo.
We also meet Jimmy Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) who has left Metropolis, and his coverage of Superman, for the sedate National City. Kara is awestruck by Jimmy and soaks in his stories of working with Superman.
On a failed blind date, Kara hears about a plane having trouble and realizes her sister Alex (Chyler Leigh) is on it. She forgoes her goal of being normal and goes off to save her sister and the rest of the plane’s passengers.
Her heroic efforts get her a blurry camera photo picture, captured by passengers all over the news. Kara is hurt when Alex scolds her for revealing herself. Needing someone to share in her secret, Kara seeks out her friend Winn (Jeremy Jordan) and reveals herself. The two work on a new outfit on her and seek out crimes to stop.
On one of Kara’s crime-stopping missions she is captured when she is shot with Kryptonite darts. When she wakes up strapped to the table, thanks to Kryptonite cuffs, she is told by the organization’s leader, Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), that they monitor aliens. The bigger shock is that her sister Alex is an agent for the organization.
Hank tells Kara that by revealing herself she has put herself and basically the world in danger. When Kara’s pod broke free of the phantom zone, it also released a prison ship full of the worst criminals from Krypton. To make matters worse, Kara’s real mother was the judge who sentenced them. Now, all the released aliens are out to get Kara as revenge.
One of the criminals goes after Kara and she is beaten up pretty badly. In a nice turn, it is Alex and her organization who save Kara from the guy.
After wrestling with this newfound knowledge and wondering if she should stop her superhero ways, Kara changes her mind when Alex comes to see her. Kara and Alex devise a plan to stop the evil alien by luring him out and then having Kara’s heat vision heat up his nuclear powered axe to stop him. After Kara manages to do so, the man kills himself.
Kara makes it her mission to help Alex and the organization she works with to help stop the escaped prisoners. Kara is also shocked when Jimmy tells her that he knows who she is and that her cousin, Superman, basically sent him there to help and keep an eye on her.