Tonight's episode of Supergirl dealt with the consequences of the bomb used to save the world from the Daxamite invasion last season, a situation with some similarities to the real world.
Spoilers for tonight's episode of Supergirl, 'Damage', below.
Early in the episode, Morgan Edge (Adrian Pasdar) was shown giving a press conference from Luthor Children's Hospital, where he revealed that several children were gravely ill from lead poisoning. According to Edge, the lead poisoning was a direct result of the bomb Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) set off in the season two finale, a possibility that is devastating for Lena, personally and professionally.
Unfortunately, the idea of children suffering lead-related health issues (as a result of something that was intended to help them) is not just an issue on the pages of comics or in episodes of television. As Lena references within the episode, the residents of Flint, Michigan are dealing with their own lead crisis. In real-world Flint, residents were exposed to high levels of lead in the drinking water due to a change in water sources from Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water to the Flint River.
While the reality of contaminated water and the fiction of alien invasion are two very different worlds, tonight's episode also featured another nod to the events in the real world. Lena decided to deal with her lead crisis head on by having a press conference to address the issue, but was not met with a warm welcome. An angry crowd of parents and concerned residents chanting a phrase at her, which echoed back to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential run (and feelings from some about specific consequences for the candidate's alleged activities) -- "lock her up."
The two, hard-hitting nods to the real world are just the latest examples of Supergirl's socially conscious and political references. As McGrath put it to ComicBook.com last month, the world of Supergirl is not that far off from our own reality, and that allows them to take a few liberties.
"Because this is a world slightly altered from reality, the writers are able to take more liberties with their scripts," McGrath explained. "There are things that come up in this show that are much more topical, and we get away with doing, than you necessarily would on another show. Everything Cat Grant says, you 're like 'that woman is amazing!' But because people don't expect it from a show about aliens, we are able to be far more intelligent than people expect."
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.