Tonight's Supergirl didn't have the crazy cornucopia of Easter eggs that last week's did, but there was still plenty to see.
...And, really, we did have a Superman cameo, Jimmy Olsen's signal watch and more stuff that we've already called out in past Easter eggs stories. So there's that.
Anyway, the episode had plenty to keep us busy, so let's get into it.
What did we see? What did we miss? Read on...!
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While most "who is" stories around TV characters are pretty easy to summarize, the question "Who is Reactron?" is actually one that's potentially kind of fraught.
Prior to appearing as a Supergirl villain, the character had very little post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, pre-Flashpoint history...which wouldn't seem like a problem, right? This is, after all, a Supergirl show.
Except that they establish in-story that this is a Superman villain, and that he's making his way here from Metropolis. So...who is he? We might not have a lot of information. Even the pre-Crisis version is identified by the DC Wiki as being a threat who tangled with Supergirl and the Doom Patrol.
Benjamin Krullen is a guy with depression and/or personality issues. In the pre-Crisis era, he was a war criminal who actively targeted non-combatants and was stopped by a fellow U.S. soldier. In the post-Crisis, he was simply somebody who didn't know what to do with his life and joined the military because it offered direction. In both cases, he gained the power to harness energy but it came at a cost: his body was irradiated and he had to wear a containment suit.
In later years, Reactron was part of a group of radioactivity-powered supervillains who attacked Bludhaven. Later still, he was recruited by General Sam Lane -- along with longtime Superman villain Metallo and Lane's daughter Lucy, who plays a role in tonight's episode as well -- to a task force aimed at controlling Kryptonians on Earth. During an attack on New Krypton, it was Reactron who killed Supergirl's father, Zor-El.
KEEPING UP WITH THE KRYPTONIANS
In case the Caitlyn Jenner/Vanity Fair reference wasn't enough, we get another Kardashians joke.
Two in one episode is a little much for my taste, but whatever.
TRUTH, JUSTICE...ALL THAT STUFF
"Superman fights for truth, justice and the American way," says Hank Henshaw.
That's one of his most popular taglines/catchphrases, coined for The Adventures of Superman, the George Reeves TV series.
And, as you can see, it shows up on comic book covers from time to time.
When Supergirl disappears halfway through what Henshaw is telling her to go handle the traffic pile-up, it can't be just me who immediately thought of the way Batman tends to do that to Commissioner Gordon.
And pretty much anybody. At this point it's a running joke.
It only took a few minutes for tonight's episode of Supergirl to introduce Maxwell Lord.
To all appearances, he's a philanthropist -- albeit one who isn't crazy about aliens, even the ones that call themselves superheroes.
Expressing the opinion that Superman has turned Metropolis into a war zone beset by villain after villain since his first appearance in town, Lord has serious reservations about Supergirl.
Comic book fans recognize the name of Maxwell Lord, though -- and we're all wondering, which version will we meet?
First introduced in Justice League #1 in 1987, Maxwell Lord was created by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire. After the Justice League disbanded, it was Lord who reassembled a group of heroes under that banner -- this time with U.N. sanction. His version of the Justice League had a frequently-changing lineup, although the core of it -- Martian Manhunter, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Fire and Ice -- remained not only throughout Giffen and DeMatteis's run but after they left as well.
Lord was at first depicted as a crass, greedy opporutnist -- but one who had genuinely good intentions. When he was briefly taken over by a villainous alter ego, Martian Manhunter scanned his mind and determined that he still deserved to remain with the League.
Not so much a Lord supporter? Superman, who wrested control of the League from Lord following the events of the "Breakdowns" storyline which broke up the Justice League teams in place at the time and the "Panic in the Sky" storyline, in which Superman stepped up to lead the superhero community. Superman and Lord butted heads immediately, with Superman thinking that Lord exerted too much control over the League, and suspecting Lord's motives.
Following Superman's death at the hands of Doomsday, Lord remained on with the League for a while, but fell away. It was later revealed that his mother had died during the destruction of Coast City at the hands of Hank Henshaw, then posing as the a revived Superman.
Lord's next major appearance was in Countdown to Infinite Crisis, when it was revealed that he had been playing the superhero community for years. As Checkmate's Black King, he had been secretly manipulating the Justice League to be less effective because he despised superheroes and wanted to make the public at large less reliant on them.
When he was discovered, he murdered Ted Kord -- the second Blue Beetle -- and hid the evidence. When the superhero community as a whole eventually got wise to him, he used mind control powers that had been revealed during his time with the League to take over Superman's body and attempt to prove that superheroes were dangerous by making the Man of Steel into a murderous puppet. In order to stop him, Wonder Woman killed Lord, snapping his neck on live television, and leading to a distrust of superheroes in general and Wonder Woman in specific.
After the events of the Blackest Night crossover, Lord returned from the dead -- and menaced his former Justice League members, erasing any memory of Maxwell Lord from the rest of the world's memory and sending them on essentially a wild goose chase to find and stop him.
"I don't think he's evil," actor Peter Facinelli, who plays Lord on Supergirl, told ComicBook.com at New York Comic Con last month. "It's just that there's very clear good and bad and what Maxwell brings is a kind of a gray area. Don't always be too sure what is good or bad. I think his perspective is that humanity should save themselves and that these outside sources -- aliens, aka superheroes and -villains -- are just interfering with the problems that we need to face, and the problems that we're facing as humanity are way bigger than two superheroes battling it out."
In the New 52, Lord hasn't been seen much. He appeared during Giffen and DC co-publisher Dan DiDio's short-lived O.M.A.C. series, again as the head of Checkmate but this time not evil. In both the pre- and post-Flashpoint DC Universes, Lord's Checkmate had ties to Brother Eye and the O.M.A.C. Project.
The character -- again in his capacity as Black King of Checkmate -- appeared on Smallville.
Yes, that was a Star Wars reference.
Made by Harrison Ford's real-life wife.
Just in case there was any doubt it was done on purpose, here's some words from an executive producer:
During a red carpet interview at New York Comic Con, Supergirl co-star Mehcad Brooks shared some insight about how much of James Olsen's backstory and supporting characters might play a role in Supergirl, how his version of "Jimmy" is similar to and different from those that came before -- and, yes, he teased that this reporter ought to know what sort of watch that is.
And this week, we saw him actually show it to Supergirl.
"They're definitely bringing him into the heroics of it all, which I'm very happy about," Brooks said, noting that Jimmy's deeply-felt sense of justice helps motivate the character to help Earth's greatest heroes day in and day out.
Sometimes, of course, Jimmy might need a hand -- that's what tends to happen when mortal men put themselves in the crosshairs. And if he does, it seems like he's got some blue-and-red-clad friends on speed dial.
How so? Well, there's one particular thing we've already seen in trailers for Supergirl...he seems to have a fairly large watch.
"Yeah, it's a special watch," he told us with a knowing look.
Just when we thought he was ready to walk away to his next interview, he added, "You know what kind of watch it is, right? Yeah, you do."
You can check out our interview below.
Besides his signal watch, we know Olsen's past will come into play when his ex-girlfriend Lucy Lane shows up, as well. Beyond that...who knows?
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
CAT HAS TERRIBLE TASTE IN MEN
In the comics, Cat Grant had terrible taste in men.
Hanging out with Maxwell Lord seems to establish that will carry over to TV, as well.
Her first marriage, to millionaire Joe Morgan, ended in divorce when Cat's alcoholism got in the way of their marriage and her parenting. After that, it became clear Morgan was not a nice man, as he went out of his way to make sure she didn't get to see their son.
Later, she had a relationship with Morgan Edge, the head of the organized crime syndicate Intergang -- although that later proved to be a ploy on her part to impress Lois Lane and Perry White by breaking open the story of the organization.
The most common use of lead in Superman and Supergirl stories is to hide things from X-ray vision.
That's not always a really good use of the element.
After all, when it's the only thing you can't see through, it STICKS OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB, as Superman once pointed out to some particularly not-as-clever-as-they-thought bad guys. Supergirl used that this week to find something that was lead in a big hurry so that she could use it against Reactron.
Tonight's episode of Supergirl features the first appearance of Lucy Lane, sister to famed Daily Planet reporter Lois and ex-girlfriend to James Olsen.
Although, for the sake of this story, her relationship with Lois isn't quite as significant as the one she has with Lois's longtime co-worker James Olsen, now Art Director at one of Cat Grant's publications and a co-worker and confidant to Supergirl herself.
Since much of what we're seeing this season on Supergirl comes from the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, pre-Flashpoint comics published between 1986 and 2011, it seemed worth a look at what Lucy -- and her relationship with Olsen -- looked like during that publication period.
Lucy and Lois both had a bit of a tough childhood, with a mother who was often sick and a domineering father who had hoped for a son and wanted to be hard on his daughters essentially to "make a man out of them." They bounced around a lot due to the demands of Sam's military career, and eventually each of the two would come to believe that the other was Sam's favorite and had it comparably easier.
When we first met her in John Byrne's The Man of Steel, Lucy had recently left her job as a flight attendant due to the sudden onset of an unexplained blindness. She was cured when a version of Bizarro exploded into dust, and the dust got in Lucy's eyes. It was the second time she had been rescued by the creature in one way or another: at the start of the story, she had attempted suicide by jumping off a building, only to be rescued by Bizarro on the way down.
Lucy would then enter into a relationship with Jimmy Olsen which lasted about two years, but never got particularly serious. The two would make up, break up (usually without drama or even having it depicted on the page), and then re-enter each other's orbit. Eventually, during one of the times they were dating, Lucy met Daily Planet journalist Ron Troupe, and the two were taken with one another. Lucy didn't do anything until after she and Jimmy broke up, but it wasn't long after she was single that she and Ron started dating. The two eventually married and had a son, named after Lucy's father Sam.
Not long after Lucy and Ron started dating, there was a bit of awkwardness as she served as the Maid of Honor at her sister's wedding to Clark Kent, and Jimmy was the Best Man.
After the wedding, Lucy vanished from the comics for a while and reappeared in an unexpected way: following General Sam Lane's apparent death, she learned that he was alive and started working with him on a government project aimed at curbing the influence of Kryptonians on Earth. During the World of New Krypton story, Lucy was given powers from a sophisticated costume and appeared as the masked figure Superwoman, hiding amongst the Kryptonians.
After an accident involving Supergirl left her presumed dead, she would return again later and go on a crime spree for which Supergirl eventually brought her to justice. Her return was explained because while the accident had destroyed the suit that gave her powers, it had by then altered her physiology, leaving Lucy actually superhuman.
With Sam Lane expected to play a major role on Supergirl and both the DEO and Maxwell Lord scared of the impact aliens have on humanity, it seems possible if not likely that the Superwoman story will be explored at some point. Much of the story thus far has made references to the Supergirl run by Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle, during which much of that story was dealt with.
Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle's Supergirl: Who is Superwoman? is available at Amazon for $9.99 on Kindle or a little bit less as a used paperback. You can also get it at comiXology.
Supergirl airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.