REVIEW: Supergirl, S4E18 – Crime and Punishment

“Crime and Punishment” saw most of the Supergirl cast employing their specialties in order to clear their favorite caped heroine of the terrorism charges laid against her, exacerbated by the 9pm citywide curfew President Baker imposed until she was found. Throughout the process, Kara (Melissa Benoist) realized that maybe her speciality lay in the power of the press for now rather than the powers of America’s most wanted.

Superior little sister.

Alex (Chyler Leigh) was in perhaps the trickiest spot when it came to defending Supergirl, because Colonel Haley (April Parker Jones) insisted on following the chain of command even though she wholeheartedly agreed that the caped crusader was innocent. So when Ben Lockwood (Sam Witwer) descended upon the DEO in all his Secretary of State glory, Haley sent him away to obtain a presidential order but still went through with gathering the alien technology he requisitioned. This left Alex in the position of lying to her boss about how the signal watch worked (she told Haley to press it twice to summon Supergirl, knowing that would let her know it was a trap instead) and then meet Kelly (Azie Tesfai) for some professional advice. Sidenote: the ladies have a nice, understated chemistry between them which suggests the possibility of a future together. Hopefully fans can let go of their previous expectations in order to enjoy Alex finding the happiness she deserves.

Kelly, who for her own part showed off her touching support for James (Mehcad Brooks) throughout “Crime and Punishment,” explained that while you can’t change people, you can appeal to who they are and what they care about. Which for Alex meant bringing up Haley’s daughter in order to get her moral compass and motherly instincts pinging. At first this only enraged the Colonel, who understood she was being played with the signal watch all along, but the ploy worked by the time Lockwood returned. Haley steadfastly pressed the watch twice and held her head high as Lockwood seethed over Supergirl’s no-show status. Afterwards, Parker Jones gave her best performance of the season as she broke down her reasons for disobeying orders and wondered what kind of world she was leaving for her daughter.

Brainy (Jesse Rath) had his own heroic moment at the DEO as well, tasked with deleting the alien registry so that Lockwood’s people couldn’t round up anyone else. Just as he was about to complete his clandestine Mission Impossible, he was plagued with the 50/50 chance that this could actually turn out worse for him and his fellow aliens. So he turned to Nia (Nicole Maines) for psychic help, despite the fallout of their “incredible yet devastating romantic encounter at the hospital.” Instead of providing a real vision, since that’s not actually how her powers work, Nia tricked him into admitting that his intestinal inclination was to destroy the registry. Of course, as soon as he did that and downloaded a copy into his brain just in case, Nia had a real vision that it would get him in trouble. But Brainy had already learned a valuable lesson from her and chose to risk it because danger was the cost of being hero.

Kara Danvers doing what Supergirl can’t.

Meanwhile, Supergirl herself was accompanied by the loyal Lena (Katie McGrath) for the entirety of “Crime and Punishment.” Still reeling from the fact that the country had turned on her in a single day, Supergirl followed Lena to the prison thanks to a tip from Lillian about the warden’s lenience. They leveraged his husband’s freedom in order to get access to Lex’s cell, which is where Lena uncovered a stash of her brother’s journals and began the long trek through his memories  of her supposed failings. While she tried to power through, Supergirl tried to get information out of Lex’s fellow prisoner, Steve Lemelli. Except he wasn’t about to share anything with the nation’s traitor who considered herself above the law. Furthermore, he tore into her for all the exculpatory evidence she’s destroyed while supposedly saving the day, giving Kara a new perspective on her activities.

She didn’t have much time to contemplate, however, because that’s when Otis Graves stormed in and declared a free-for-all to capture Supergirl with the winner receiving his freedom. And so “Crime and Punishment” nearly devolved into a riot, although Lena remained safely locked in Lex’s cell as she continued poring through his words, with Supergirl and Otis locked in a Kryptonite vs. Kryptonite Shield (thanks, Luthor siblings!) battle. Supergirl transformed herself into Kara the meek journalist to escape Otis, and it turned out that Steve Lemelli loved Kara and her articles enough to give her information on Lex. She then returned to Supergirl form and followed Lena down the rabbit hole, for the latter had in fact discovered a clue in his memories that led to his secret prison lab. Despite not being able to gather the evidence yet, Supergirl had to fly Lena out of there in order to avoid the blast from Otis getting exploded by his boss.

While the scene at the prison resulted in the Children of Liberty getting deputized, thanks to Lex and Lockwood’s continued ability to twist the truth to make Supergirl look like the culprit, “Crime and Punishment” offered some light at the end of the tunnel. Kara realized she would have to let Supergirl lay low and use her influence as a journalist instead. We even see how that works by the end, with Steve handing over Lex’s hard drive in order to help bring him to justice.

Over on the Olsen side of things, James prepared to go to his trauma therapy with Kelly alongside him offering support. The therapist taught James some bilateral stimulation to deal with his anxiety, but when he first tried it he was reminded of CatCo and thus of being shot. While he regained his bearings, though, his veins glow with the after effects of Lena’s cure. When the city went into lockdown thanks to the prison shenanigans, he experienced an even stronger shock that included powerful visions and hearing. While Kelly still believed hallucinations were the cause, James insisted they were too real and was ready to call Lena in for a consult. Though this only took up a few scenes, it went a long way towards softening the relationship between the Olsen siblings and it fit in with the overall theme of figuring out the right way to be a hero.

Supergirl airs Sundays at 8/7c on the CW.