When the pictures of Red Tornado on Supergirl first appeared on the Internet, fans were in an uproar. The opinions, like most things said about Supergirl before its premiere, were not positive. As we know, though, most of those naysayers were wrong about the show. Supergirl is a delightfully charming show that stands up there with the best of superhero TV.
This episode, “Red Faced,” sees the introduction of Red Tornado, so are fans equally wrong about him? Yes … well, kind off … um, define “wrong.” At the very least, Red Tornado is a better antagonist than Lucy Lane’s godawful father, General Lane, who also makes his first appearance in “Red Faced.”
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Daddy and Mommy Issues Cat’s mother comes to visit Central City and she’s just as awful as Cat has described. She’s basically Cat if you strip away all the fun and add a vaguely British accent. While Cat is distracted with her terrible mother, Kara and Alex come to Winn to help. They want him to look into what happened to their father at the DEO.
Kara and Alex have more pressing daddy issues, though, because Lucy’s father, General Lane, is in town. He wants Kara’s help to be his alien lackey and fight his new robot, Red Tornado. ‘Robot’ is pushing it, though; this is clearly a man in a very cheap costume.
Kara vs. Red Tornado, Round 1
Kara has some personal problems to deal with before she can fight the big, red, fake robot. Cat’s problems with her mother make Cat take out her aggression on Kara in new and awful ways. James also invites Lucy to the game night that Kara, Winn and James regularly hold. Both of these moments are just as uncomfortable and terrible for Kara.
When Kara does finally fight Red Tornado, she ends up taking a lot of her frustration out in the fight. Translation: she punches Red Tornado a lot in the face. Supergirl tries to dress up Red Tornado with a lot of fancy robot sounds and special effects, but he still looks like a bored man in tacky makeup. I don’t blame Kara for kicking his lazy ass, but General Lane disagrees. Kara goes too hard on Red Tornado and it triggers the robot’s emergency self-containment procedure. Red Tornado will now destroy everything in its path to protect itself. Why it has such clearly dangerous programming is a whole other question (that is never properly answered).
A Tale of Two Dinners
The next day, Cat continues to chew Kara out at work. So Kara explodes in anger at Cat. Thinking she has essentially fired herself, Kara profusely apologizes to Cat. Cat isn’t angry at her, though. Instead, she takes Kara out for drinks. Cat tells Kara that as a woman, she can never get mad at work. Cat also tells Kara she isn’t really mad at Cat. Kara needs to find the person or thing she is really angry at and confront them.
That person, aka James, is having an uncomfortable dinner with Lucy and her father. General Lane doesn’t even try to hide his disdain for James. General Lane does wait until Lucy is in the bathroom before he really lets loose. General Lane tells James that he thinks James is a garbage person who is not worthy of his beloved daughter. So that’s something, I guess.
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Kara vs. Red Tornado, Round 2
As James, Lucy and Douchemaster General Lane leave the restaurant, they are found by Red Tornado. The robot is traveling, as its name would suggest, by tornado. Thankfully, this effect looks much better than everything surrounding the Red Tornado. The robot shoots some tornadoes out of his arms, injuring Lucy. Kara arrives as Supergirl and saves the Lanes, James and everyone else on the street. Kara can’t apprehend Red Tornado and it escapes.
General Lane is not too pleased about the whole thing. He yells at Kara yet again, but thankfully Hank comes to her rescue. Hank tells everyone that Red Tornado wasn’t created as a defense measure. He was created to attack and kill aliens. General Lane chooses this moment to expose himself as a true xenophobe. Though, we should probably call a spade a spade. He’s a space racist. General Lane hates and mistrusts all aliens simply because they are aliens.
There’s more secrets with Red Tornado, though. Alex goes to Maxwell Lord, whom she still has creepy chemistry with, for more information. Lord tells Alex that Red Tornado isn’t working alone. He’s actually being controlled by his creator T.O. Morrow (actual name). They need to find Morrow if they want to stop the robot.
The Anger Behind the Anger
Kara invites James to take out their aggression at a workout session. While James punches a punching bag, Kara punches a car. They both confess their frustrations about life while punching. Kara quickly monopolizes the conversation. Let’s face it: she has way more to be upset about than James does.
Kara tells James that what she is really mad about is that she will never have a normal life anymore. She’ll never have a perfect partner like James has with Lucy, and that’s what is really bothering her. She is upset that her parents had to die and she is stuck on this world where she will never fit in. Supergirl‘s love square is kind of silly, but this moment is pretty glorious because Melissa Benoist is awesome at everything.
Alex interrupts this conversation. She has a plan for how they can find Morrow. The DEO uses a hologram of Lane as bait (though I really wish it was the real one) to draw Red Tornado out. Kara then fights Red Tornado, while Alex tracks down Morrow. Morrow has mapped Red Tornado to his brain, so the only way to stop the robot is to kill Morrow.
Naturally, Alex kills Morrow real dead and Kara is forced to explode Red Tornado real good. That’s it; the threat is neutralized. It kind of makes you wonder why Supergirl bothered promoting Red Tornado at all if the whole story was only going to last one episode. However, I can’t say I’m too upset about it. Though I suppose since he is a robot and his “brain” is on a computer, the door is still open.
After Red Tornado is defeated, there is a scene where Lucy stands up to her father and commits to dating James. The less we say about General Lane, though, the better; just know that he ends the episode just as awful as he started. The real meat of the conclusion comes in two big revelations.
Winn finds the files that Alex and Kara are looking for about their father in the DEO’s mainframe. Most of the information about their father’s disappearance has been redacted. The person who did the deleting is important, though. Hank was the last person to see Dr. Danvers alive and he is the one who redacted all the files. This convinces Alex even more than Hank is hiding something.
Cat then stands up to her mother when the latter turns her insults towards Kara. Cat tells her mother that Kara is an excellent assistant and she can’t speak to her that way. Kara is grateful for the assistance. Cat tells Kara that it really doesn’t mean anything. Did you really expect something different? The important part is that when Kara hands Cat a glass, she drops it and cuts herself. Kara starts to bleed. This is a new development for the supposedly invulnerable Kryptonian.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)