The Hack is a Red Herring: Supergirl, “Solitude”

Secrets, secrets are no fun, unless they’re known by everyone.

I couldn’t get this sing-songy childhood rhyme out of my head while watching this week’s Supergirl, which uses another hack and another villain who can move through electronics to discuss how closely we guard the secrets that could alienate us from others: Kara holding tight to her secret identity and asking James not to tell Lucy; Alex letting Hank take the blame for killing Astra; even bitchy Assistant #1 Siobhan quietly bearing the pain of watching her dad cheat on her mom. The latter comes a little bit out of nowhere, in the form of a huge doxxing via Diamond Discretions, an Ashley Madison-esque infidelity dating site. But lest you think Supergirl is getting all ethical about relationships and betrayals, it’s actually all a cover for nuclear war.

Let me back up a few steps.

Spoilers for Supergirl 1×15 “Solitude.”

Seven episodes ago, Cat Grant’s email got hacked by her own board of directors to discredit her and force her to step down. Human and alien minds must think alike, because this week we get Indigo (Laura Vandervoort), a.k.a. Brainiac 8, tapping into the Internet through flash drives, phones, computers, and god knows what else in order to take down all of National City. Her plan begins with the very clickbaity idea of hacking Diamond Discretions, detonating thousands of mini-scandals among the family members and friends of the site’s members.

Supergirl 1x15 Solitude television review Indigo

Supergirl 1x15 Solitude television review Indigo

Cat’s decision not to run the story is admirable; no doubt her admission in the previous episode about the abusive actor who killed his wife informed her decision. But everyone else takes the dilemma and runs with it in their separate directions: Kara thinks that secrets belong to the people who own them, while Lucy is announcing to anyone who’ll listen how much she hates liars. What’s poor James to do?

Thankfully, he gets to put off that decision, because after CatCo turns down Indigo’s juicy scoop, she turns all of National City’s traffic lights to green. (“The age of chaos begins now. Enjoy.” More like a bunch of inconveniences and near-deaths that Supergirl pretty handily cleans up.) With people starting to panic about their investment funds getting drained and their raunchy Snapchats getting resurrected (I’m just going to assume), our trio is on the case! …Except that Winn is getting yanked in one direction by the DEO to be their wunderkind hacker, while Lucy is edging in on James and Kara’s plotting. She literally goes, “What are you guys doing, planning a surprise party for me?” Ummm girl. I’ve been there, thinking your boyfriend is cheating on you, but you have to (as the kids say) have more chill.

Supergirl 1x15 Solitude television review Indigo

Lucy Lane, third wheel.

To her credit, Lucy is the one who figures out that hacking cheating websites and banks is a red herring: What Indigo really wants is access to some general who has the nuclear codes. Which she succeeds in the classic gambit of let’s go underground where no one can find us, too bad one of us is already carrying the enemy on us. Second only to Lucy’s insane line is the general getting a phone call underground: “There’s reception in here? There shouldn’t be.”

Supergirl 1x15 Solitude television review Indigo


Before we get to this moment, however, Kara and James have a secret date field trip to none other than Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. The Man of Steel isn’t there—probably busy throwing Batman around—but thankfully, he left a key.

Supergirl 1x15 Solitude television review Indigo

This is the show’s most cheestastic moment yet, worse than Clark Kent’s damning IMs, and I kinda loved it anyway.

Supergirl 1x15 Solitude television review Indigo

At the Fortress, they discover what’s up with Indigo: Her people were the supercomputers on Krypton, running everything on that planet. But when she tried to terminate the entire planet’s population, she was sent to Fort Roz. (No worries, Indigo, Krypton got itself blown up anyway!) Now she’s doing the same thing on Earth—much as she hates “wander[ing] the same realm as Candy Crush”—but instead of trying to bring about the Singularity, she’s more interested in wiping National City off the map. “Predators cannot live with prey,” she tells Non, her maybe former love interest, potential future ally.

Of course, I haven’t mentioned the most interesting thing about Indigo: Laura Vandervoort played Kara/Supergirl on The CW’s Smallville, which makes sneering lines like “Supergirl? What exactly makes you so super?” so entertaining. And yet, there’s not really any personal reason why Indigo should hate Supergirl so much. Yes, her mother Alura put Indigo in jail, but—as she later reveals—Indigo is the one to activate Kara’s pod in the Phantom Zone and tow Fort Roz with it to Earth. So, these two actually have the groundwork for a more complicated relationship, but it’s less clear why Indigo is targeting her.

Supergirl 1x15 Solitude television review Indigo

Well, for the moment there’s a nuke targeting National City, so Kara handles that first. Blame it on the Marvel superhero movies, but I’ve gotten tired of watching superheroes grapple with nuclear warheads. When Tony Stark carried the nuke into space in The Avengers, I cried; ditto with The Iron Giant, which probably actually inspired the former’s visual. But every time since, it’s a big shrug. What, are we really going to believe that National City will be engulfed in a mushroom cloud in episode 15?

Supergirl 1x15 Solitude television review Indigo

This is the rare case where I’d like to see a villain come back, so I was relieved when Indigo wasn’t dashed out in one episode like other foes. Winn sets a nasty computer virus on her that rips her into pieces, but we see at the end that Non is slowly reassembling her; perhaps he’s hoping now she’ll be onboard with his Myriad plan?

With nuclear destruction averted, a bunch of delayed relationship bombs go off. Kara finally comes to terms with letting Lucy in on her secret, but that becomes a moot point after Kara unintentionally drops a truth bomb: James told her the touching story about his dad and his first camera, while he never saw fit to tell Lucy that detail. So, she breaks up with him before he can excitedly reveal Supergirl’s identity. That scene doesn’t quite resonate, because instead of Lucy saying, “You don’t trust me enough to open up,” she jumps right to “You told Kara because you love her.” Or they simply have more opportunity to bond, what with spending their lunch break in the secret upstairs command room and wandering down a Kryptonian memory lane. I’m definitely a Kara/James ‘shipper (when I’m not making the case for Kara/Cat), but it’s too early to be making pronouncements about who loves whom.

Supergirl 1x15 Solitude television review Indigo

OK, maybe not too early.

Supergirl 1x15 Solitude television review Indigo

Secrets, secrets are no fun. Secrets, secrets hurt someone.

And then we get to the secret that is killing Alex. Complicating the Indigo issue is Kara’s refusal to work with the DEO, believing she can’t trust Hank after he killed Astra. Alex tries to get through to her:

Kara: “I don’t kill.”

Alex: “Soldiers do, when they have to. And Hank had to.”

Kara: “I had the chance to bring Astra back into the light, and Hank cheated her—and me—out of that chance.”

So I was wrong last week—Kara didn’t kill the Master Jailer. I figured that if (when?) she is faced with a scenario where she has to take a life, the show will linger on it more.

Knowing that the truth will come out eventually, poor Alex just bites the bullet:

Alex: “I saw Astra standing over J’onn. She said she was going to give him an honorable death. And I reacted… because that’s what I was taught to do.”

No joke, I was completely expecting from Kara’s expression that she was going to stride over to Alex with some “You’re not my sister!” pronouncement. It’s a testament to Melissa Benoist’s acting that you see her face change as she considers that Alex never meant to hurt her, that she did what she had to to protect their boss/surrogate uncle figure Hank. Props to Chyler Leigh, too, for showing in her face Alex’s defeat, her thought of She’ll never talk to me again now. But instead we get this:

Supergirl 1x15 Solitude television review Indigo

One of the show’s most touching moments so far.

Other Thoughts

  • “I could throw her into space. I dream of doing that.” That’s it, Kara, give in to your hatred of Siobhan. She’s gonna reveal herself as (whited out in case no one reads the upcoming episode descriptions) Silver Banshee soon enough.
  • Siobhan/Winn, though? Nooope, not a fan.
  • “First, never call me ma’am. This is not the Old West. And second, circle the wagons.” The only bit of wit we get from Cat Grant in this episode, but it made me giggle.
  • “Oh, thank God we have our own personal black ops unit.” Winn’s lines tended more toward the cheesy this episode, but again, hee.
  • “I LOVE FIREWORKS.” Oh, Indigo, find another catchphrase by the time you get reassembled.

Supergirl 1x15 Solitude television review Indigo

  • Can we also talk about how this final shot of Non standing over Indigo’s body is really similar to Maxwell Lord manipulating poor Bizarro? Both men use “Look what Supergirl did to you” as a way to get these poor girls angry at the wrong person.

Supergirl 1x15 Solitude television review Indigo

  • This show does trios really well.


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