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Recap / Supergirl (2015) S4E18 "Crime and Punishment"

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Supergirl and Lena go to Stryker's Island hoping to find clues about Lex's whereabouts. Meanwhile, Lockwood gets permission from President Baker to martial the Children of Liberty as a militia to hunt down Supergirl.


Tropes:

  • Absentee Actor: J'onn, who's on Mars, and Lex, yet again.
  • Adult Fear: Haley is convinced to go against Lockwood (and by extension, President Baker) when her daughter has a panic attack, expressing her fear of Martial Law.
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  • Artistic License – Law: Even under Martial Law, the military just can't go in and kill an entire prison of civilians hunting down one enemy — it'd be a war crime of the highest order. But then again President Baker has never cared about such niceties.
  • Black Eyes: James, when his new-found powers start overwhelming him.
  • Bothering by the Book: When Lockwood comes to the DEO looking for weaponry that can harm Supergirl, Alex points out that requisitioning such equipment would require a presidential order, something Lockwood can easily obtain but doesn't have at the moment. When Haley backs up her reading of the law, Lockwood reluctantly leaves to get said order.
  • Bullet Catch: When a citizen starts shooting at her, Supergirl reflexively catches most of the bullets.
  • Bury Your Gays: The warden of Strkyer's is mentioned to have a husband. Thanks to Otis, the warden doesn't survive the episode.
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  • Call-Back: Alex checked to make sure the attack on the White House wasn't done by Bizarro.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Deconstructed; despite being at the top of the most wanted list, Supergirl still insists on being a hero. It isn't until the military threatens to slaughter an entire prison, that she's convinced to lay low until her name is cleared.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Obviously, none of the prisoners stand a chance of apprehending Supergirl.
  • Destroy the Evidence: Lex has Otis go to his cell at Stryker's and then remotely detonates his Metallo core, destroying the cell and Lex's attached secret laboratory, with all the potential evidence in both being obliterated.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Pretty much anyone (save, surprisingly, Otis) who tries to take on Supergirl in this episode:
    • Three people try to make a citizen's arrest against Supergirl, with only one of them being armed, and even then, only with a pistol.
    • Most of the inmates that Otis releases from Stryker's attack an invulnerable, super-strong Kryptonian superhero barehanded.
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    • The military tries to arrest Supergirl at the prison with rifles, which she's just as invulnerable to.
    • Lockwood's plan to arrest Supergirl hinges on the precept that she'd fly straight to the DEO while she's the most wanted individual in the United States. Even without Haley's advance warning, that plan was doomed to failure.
    • Kara herself as it never occurs to her that, as a wanted fugitive and major threat, going around in costume is a bad idea. Likewise, it's not until Lomeli brings it up that Kara even considers the army will have no problem killing a place of convicted criminals to get at her.
  • Doublethink: The same people who believe that Supergirl went on a murderous rampage in the previous episode also seem to think that she'd willingly turn herself in and wouldn't kill anyone for trying to bring her in. That she's genuinely innocent and one of the good guys is the only reason nobody gets seriously hurt trying to arrest her.
  • Easily Condemned: As a result of Red Daughter framing Supergirl for attacking the White House in the previous episode, the public is quick to turn against her, four years of public service be damned.
  • Eureka Moment:
    • When Lex leaves Lena a note taunting her about the first fatality of her Harun'el, Lena covers by claiming it's a reminder of Anastasia, since Lex used to call her the "lost princess." Then she realizes that there's a chess configuration named after Anastasia, and that's the key to finding his diaries.
    • There's nothing actually important in Lex's diaries, they're just for taunting Lena. But in going over old memories, Lena remembers the time Lex told her he'd build a house on the mountain, and realizes his art is actually of that mountain. There's a hidden switch at the spot where he said he'd build the house.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • A prisoner tells Supergirl that this place is for criminals, not terrorists.
    • Baker's assistant Walker seems pretty unnerved when Baker authorizes the deputization of the Children of Liberty.
  • Fantastic Racism: Very evident in Baker's declaration of Martial Law; humans caught out past curfew will be "cited", whereas aliens will be "stopped by any means necessary". Haley mentions that one of her daughter's teachers, an alien who's clearly reading the writing on the wall, has gone into hiding to avoid persecution.
  • Fascists' Bed Time: Baker declares Martial Law as a result of the attack, including a nationwide curfew. In a blatant double standard, humans will merely be ordered to go to bed, aliens are to be given much more rough treatment.
  • Genre Blind: Otis wonders what Lex means by "this is what you get". If he hadn't still been useful, those musings would probably have been Otis' last words.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Nia lampshades how much Brainy was against using her powers to find out about her future descendants, but now he wants her to use them to find out whether he should delete the Alien Registry or not. He concedes it, but insists that it's the only way.
  • Heel Realization: After her daughter has a nervous breakdown due to her favorite teacher (an alien) having gone missing, Haley finally realizes that her My Country, Right or Wrong attitude is partially to blame for the catastrophe at hand and decides to go along with Alex's plan to warn Supergirl about Lockwood's ambush.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Red Daughter's Frame-Up of Supergirl causes her to become Public Enemy #1.
  • Hidden Depths: Otis turns out to have some pretty serious and well thought out criticisms of the press.
    Kara Danvers: The article's on prison reform, maybe you'd care to comment?
    Otis Graves: I don't trust the press. They always parachute into crises like this without any context for the larger systemic issues at play.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • You really have to wonder why Lena and Supergirl thought it was a good idea for Supergirl now Public Enemy #1 to go to Stryker's Island, and not expect any complications. She would've had much better luck going just as plain old Kara Danvers, something she lampshades by the end of the episode where she gets much better results.
    • Lockwood honestly thinks he can just click the signal watch and Supergirl will walk into an obvious trap — even if Colonel Haley hadn't tapped it twice, it's unlikely that Kara would take the bait.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Steve Lomeli brings up some valid points when he tells Supergirl that she is essentially above the law, while activists like him have to give up their freedom to fight the good fight. In the end, she concedes that it is probably best for Supergirl to lay low for a while and she then interviews him in her civilian persona for more intel on Lex.
  • Kick the Dog: Lex intentionally leaves notes behind for Lena, in order to screw with her. Special mention goes to reminding her of the young man who died as a test subject for the Harun-El.
  • Kirk Summation: Alex tries to appeal towards Haley by bringing up her daughter and telling her that sometimes you have to defy orders to do the right thing. At first Haley turns her down, but in the end she decides to do the right thing.
  • Likes Clark Kent, Hates Superman: Steve Lomeli, the hacktivist in Lex's cell block, thinks Supergirl is a malignant narcissist who causes nothing but harm to people around her and chews her out when she tries to get him to help her by giving any information he might have about Lex. However, he adores Kara Danvers, particularly due to her Aliens of National City column and because she is a fellow reporter. Because of this, Kara is much more easily able to get information about Lex from the hacktivist in her civilian guise as Kara Danvers than she was able to as Supergirl.
  • Living MacGuffin: Brainy copies the alien registry into his brain before he deletes it. Nia's dream suggests Agent Liberty will arrest him to get it.
  • Manly Tears: James sheds a few, still being shaken by his PTSD.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Haley knows Supergirl is innocent and is clearly disgusted to be taking orders from Lockwood, but still goes along with her orders. She averts it at the end, however; Alex's speech about following immoral orders, as well as her own daughter's fear of Martial Law convince Haley to take a look at the human cost of the government's actions and do the right thing.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Steve Lomeli, the self-righteous hacktivist in Lex's cell block is one to Julian Assange.
  • No Social Skills: Brainy, once again. After Alex tells him to be clandestine, he loudly brags for everyone in the room to hear it that nobody is more clandestine than him.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Lampshaded, Brainy has the idea to delete the alien registry on Earth to stop Lockwood from deporting them. But just as he's about to do it he runs through all the negative unintentional consequences such an action would might cause and calculates there's a 50/50 chance it could go wrong and opts not to do it. He decides to consult Nia's precognitive dreams for an answer. He eventually decides to copy the list and delete it ... minutes before Nia has a vision of the Children of Liberty arresting him.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Had Lex and Eve bothered to tell Otis that Kara Danvers is Supergirl, he wouldn't have let her slip right through his fingers when he had her cornered.
  • Private Eye Monologue: Brainy self-monologues when infiltrating the D.E.O. servers for the Alien Registry.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Declaring Martial Law in a country like America predictably creates more problems than it solves — food shortages and an uptick in crime.
    • Normal civilians confronting Supergirl goes about as well as you'd expect; she all but ignores being shot at, catching bullets solely on reflex, and easily tosses aside the prisoners who try to fight her hand-to-hand.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Lomeli deems Supergirl a malignant narcissist and claims that she sees herself as above the law.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Supergirl just changing her clothes while running away from Otis and actually convincing him that she is here as a reporter in an all-men Cell Block.
  • The Reveal: Otis really was killed by the Hellgrammite, but Eve used the Metallo process to resurrect him.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: An eerie unintentional example — Lockwood's request to turn the Children of Liberty into a militia to hunt down Supergirl comes days after reports of a right-wing militia in New Mexico hunting now illegal immigrants to turn over to the Border Patrol.
  • Schmuck Bait: Otis releases several prisoners from their cells, offering them freedom if they take down Supergirl. Most of them fall for it, and get their asses handed to them.
  • Sensory Overload: Happens to James as part of the unforeseen side effects of the Harun-El Serum as he too begins to develop powers.
  • Shockwave Clap: How Kara forces the rioting prisoners to get to the ground and not get shot by the overzealous military.
  • Shooting Superman: A guy with a gun tries to perform a citizen's arrest on Supergirl and even has it in his mind that he can somehow kill her after watching her catch or deflect several of his bullets. The prisoners at Stryker's are even dumber, because they think they can fight her hand-to-hand.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Shrink: James is visiting one for his PTSD at the advice of his sister.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Otis is pretty legitimately a dullard, but he makes effective use of the prisoners at Stryker's to slow down Supergirl, starts targeting the Kryptonite shield on her chest to get an edge in their fight, questions Kara's presence in the cell block, and has some reasonably intelligent opinions about the role of the press in modern society.
  • Spotting the Thread: Kara switches to her civilian clothes when the fight with Otis goes in his favor. Otis doesn't recognise Kara as Supergirl, but he does catch on to the fact that a random woman definitely wouldn't be in a male-only prison block. It takes some quick thinking on Kara's part to get out of the situation.
  • Stupid Crooks: The prisoners who think they can actually subdue Supergirl.
  • Super Strength: James accidentally bends a metal lamp when his powers activate.
  • Tainted Veins:
    • As usual, Kara's veins turn green when exposed to kryptonite. This is problematic when she disguises herself as Kara Danvers to fool Otis, as she has to hide her tainted hand to keep him from realizing the deception.
    • James gets black veins as his Haren-El powers start to kick in.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Colonel Haley doesn't want to comply with Lockwood's demands, but as military officer she doesn't have a choice as she knows that Baker will do whatever he asks... but in the end decides what her country asks of her isn't the right choice, especially after her daughter begins having panic attacks and her favorite school teacher, an alien, goes into hiding.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • As listed above in Shooting Superman, a particularly brilliant citizen thinks he can arrest Supergirl by threatening her with a handgun and two unarmed friends as back-up. Failing that, he seems to think that said gun can kill her, even after she catches a bullet on reflex. Even worse, he seems to think that trying to kill a Kryptonian criminal is somehow a good idea; if he'd been dealing with almost any other Kryptonian, the guy likely wouldn't have walked away from the encounter alive.
    • The soldiers who try to arrest Supergirl at Stryker's don't bring anything more powerful than rifles, let alone anything with the potential to actually subdue a Kryptonian.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The scene of Children of Liberty apprehending Brainy? Just Nia having a dream of a Bad Future.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Downplayed; the man Supergirl rescues from a car wreck does thank her, but this only leaves him more confused as to why she would attack the White House, explaining how that action crushed his daughter's faith in her, and walks away.
    • Played straight with everyone who condemns Supergirl; her years of world-saving heroics are forgotten in an instant with nobody who believes the Frame-Up being willing to give her the benefit of the doubt or an opportunity to explain herself.
  • Villainous Valor: One way to interpret the convicts on Stryker's being willing to come at Supergirl barehanded (the other being that they're Too Dumb to Live).
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Otis was revived using the Metallo process, though with significant upgrades. It happens again at the end of the episode, after he's turned into a kryptonite bomb in a last-ditch attempt to kill Supergirl.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: Otis is instructed to stand in the center of Lex's cell, then his implants start beeping. Moments before he becomes a kryptonite bomb, he realizes the implications of this. Lucky for him, all it does is vent the kryptonite in his implants, allowing Eve to revive him.
  • You Are Too Late: Nia has a vision of Agent Liberty arresting Brainy and calls him to stop him from deleting the alien registry. It turns out Brainy has not only done that already, but has also stored a copy in his mind, which is presumably why Agent Liberty will come for him.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Supergirl can barely take it when the convicts as Stryker's talk of how "impressed" they were at "her" attack and even chanting her name.

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