Supergirl has gone from strength to strength and 'Red Faced' is no exception. The Woman of Steel has received some negative press recently, but followers of my weekly articles will know I'm a big follower of Kara Danvers's adventures as Supergirl.
The theme of the week was anger, a point highlighted by the title, 'Red Faced.' Kara was struggling to deal with personal issues, including James and Lucy's relationship and her lack of a normal life. This ultimately led to her going a little too far in response to a motorist who took a swing at her, and again when she was sparring with General Lane's Red Tornado.
More interestingly, Kara's temper led to her bonding a little with Cat as they discussed the difficulties of expressing anger as a woman; this was followed by Cat becoming a little more humanized.
Where the first few episodes were teeming with DC comics references and Easter eggs, as the show progresses the references become much less frequent. However, there continues to be a hand-full of noteworthy elements included in the show, which I'll outline below.
References and Easter Eggs in 'Red Faced'
1. Red Tornado
If you missed Red Tornado in Supergirl, he was the big red robot that projected tornadoes. Yeah, that was him!
Red Tornado is essentially DC comics' answer to Marvel's The Vision. This particular android has enhanced strength and the ability to manipulate wind. Like his comic book counterpart, the character in Superman was being controlled by Dr. Morrow, a DC villain.
The comic book character was in fact a wind elemental named Ulthoon, who inhabited and controlled Red Tornado. It's unclear how much of a role the Justice League character will play in the future of Supergirl... especially as he seems to have died, but it's interesting to see a JLA member in the Supergirl universe.
2. Cat Grant Drinking
I've previously noted that where it seems Cat Grant occasionally enjoys a relaxing drink when in a stressful situation, it's often a non-alcoholic substitute. This led to me speculating that the Supergirl creators were mirroring Cat Grant's status as an alcoholic in the comic book source material.
However, in 'Red Faced' we see Cat and Kara drinking together. Does this mean this incarnation of Cat isn't an alcoholic, or does this scene confirm the notion that she has a drinking problem? She certainly seemed to be powering her way through those martinis.
Perhaps Supergirl's Cat Grant has a history of substance abuse, kept in check by the workplace willpower she explains to Kara.
3. A Woman President?
This is just a small reference, but significant nonetheless. The president of the United States was referenced in Supergirl and it turns out she's a woman.
This isn't entirely unsurprising; many conversations between Kara and Cat involve female empowerment and living as a woman, especially in 'Red Faced' as they discuss anger and the difficulties of expressing oneself as a woman.
With this issue underlining the events of the episode, it really makes sense to have the ultimate figure of power and authority in the U.S. as a woman. It's possible that this point won't lead anywhere, but it's interesting to note that in the Supergirl universe the U.S. has a super-woman in charge.
4. Sam Lane
Lois and Lucy Lane's father, Sam, played a prominent role in 'Red Faced.' A ranking U.S. army General, Lane seems to be depicted similarly to his later comic book incarnation.
General Lane seems to play the role of the anti-superhero pseudo bad-guy, a role which I was fairly certain had already been filled by Maxwell Lord. It'll be interesting to see how General Lane is used in the future of Supergirl, and whether he becomes a recurring character.
Personally, I feel there wasn't much depth awarded to the character, who was used more as a means of developing Kara's character and her revelation about using her anger for her own benefit. It will certainly be interesting to see if he's used in the future.
5. Rocky Balboa
A fairly blunt reference was made this episode about Rocky Balboa, who was known for his training with slabs of meat. Parodying this training, Kara trained alongside James Olsen using a car which was hanging from the ceiling. Although this reference was clarified by Olsen, it was still very much welcome in the episode.
6. Hank Henshaw
How can I write a weekly recap without including Hank Henshaw? As per usual, a prominent Supergirl subplot was devoted to Kara and Alex Danvers delving into the history of Henshaw, this time discovering that he's involved in the death of their father.
I've not been subtle about my opinion on this matter: I think the Hank Henshaw subplot is pretty good, however it is starting to feel a little like the Harrison Wells plot of The Flash Season 1.
The leader with a mysterious past and a secret identity, who's somehow involved in the death of the protagonist's parent and aides in hunting down metahumans -- I mean, aliens... sound familiar to anyone?