Home Featured TV Shows All TV Shows Movie Reviews Book Reviews Articles Frequently Asked Questions About Us

Supergirl: Triggers

“Your fears don’t define you.”

This episode tackles fear, and how crippling it can be.

We have a new villain, “Psi”, who cripples everyone by making them relive their most terrifying memories and by fanning their worst fears. While people are incapacitated with terror, Psi relieves them of their worldly goods. The technique is effective, and spurred my curiosity. Why were people looking unhappy and scared? Why were they collapsing to the floor? Not only did it make me want to continue watching, but I expect it spared the special effects budget too.

What’s neat is that Supergirl is not immune to Psi’s powers. She is strong enough, however, to figure out what is going on. The others at the DEO attempt to persuade her that she is vulnerable and should take precautions, and both J’onn and Winn work on ways to protect her. These methods are not especially effective and Supergirl still suffers. We relive her main childhood fear, departing Krypton (leaving one’s family forever and watching your planet blow up has got to be traumatic). But then we discover the core current fear: her fear that, as she has not heard from Mon-El, he must be dead – and that her own decision to put lead into the atmosphere killed him. Only later does she realize that she does not know that that has happened (thanks, sister Alex) and she feels fear and guilt for something that may not have happened.

I was rather disappointed that Psi used her powers to manipulate people into violence. Stealing is one thing; physically harming people is another. Of course, she’s psychically harming people, and many may argue that that’s worse!

I liked the mother-daughter relationship between Samantha Arias and Ruby. Ruby is insisting that her mother has superpowers, and Sam insists that she doesn’t. But Sam is not sure. Near the end we see Sam attempting to bend metal, unsuccessfully. I also liked why Ruby wanted Sam to have superpowers: so that her mother could spend more time with her. After all, she doesn’t think Supergirl has a job.

And, I have touched on this before, but I also wonder why Supergirl has a job. Kara Danvers seems to be a terrible reporter. She shows no interest in that work at all, and is neglecting it so much that both James (previous episode) and Lena (this episode) – two people who are very fond of Kara, and hence likely to be tolerant – have complained about her performance.

This episode sets up for more conflict in the season. Lena is planning to be at CatCo full time (but says she doesn’t want a desk – really? Or have they blown the set budget?) but her constant presence is awkward for several people, especially James and Kara. Evidently Alex and Maggie are arguing about whether to have a DJ or band play at their wedding – while having neglected to discuss whether or not they want to raise children together! Oops! We finally link Samantha from her mostly parallel track to the other characters by making her the new boss of LuthorCorp. So far, J’onn has not yet had a lot to do, but in the episode tag we discover that he’s about to be called into serious action.

Title musings: “Triggers” is meant, I believe, to refer mostly to emotional triggers, which Psi is using so well. I believe that it also refers to some of the stories that will be triggered by the bits inserted into this episode – looking forward to the rest of the season.

Bits and pieces

Loved the visual of what young Kara saw when she was leaving Krypton – the conversation with her mother, the passage in the tube, the destruction below. I’m sure those memories would be strong in anyone.

Enjoyed how Alex threatened Winn. She did not have to say or do anything except glower. A real bad ass!

Appreciated how Samantha noticed that her daughter had gravel in her hair. Nice touch (although not nice to touch).

Reminded of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode called “Fear, Itself” – and how much I loved how tiny the monster was in the end of the episode – and how the book about the monster pointed out that the picture of the monster was “Actual Size.”

So, Kara Danvers goes into an elevator and has a severe attack of claustrophobia. She overcomes it by escaping the elevator, using her Supergirl strength, and in the meantime leaving Supergirl-sized holes at the top of the elevator and in the roof of the building. How does she explain that? And what construction company is taking care of all the Supergirl-sized holes throughout National City?

Chris Wood is still in the credits, so though Supergirl hasn’t heard from Mon-El yet, I assume she will eventually.


Lena: “Luthors don’t have friends; we have minions.”

Psi: “You think you’re the cat and I’m the bird. You got it backwards.”

Kara: “If I don’t have Supergirl, what do I have?”

Overall Rating.

Today I’m oscillating between 3 and 3.5. I am especially partial to shows that attack fear and how it destroys us – especially fears based on lies, which harm so many of us. I also thought that Supergirl’s fear about what may have happened to Mon-El especially realistic – because she is so good, the guilt stoked by the fear would eat her up. Alex’s advice – “Your fears don’t define you” – only works if we work against those terrors. So, 3.5 out of 4 conquered fears.

Victoria Grossack loves birds, math, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.


  1. Liking things so far but im watching with trepidation for the inevitable backlash and The 100 level fandom meltdown when 'Sanvers' breaks up.
    Mixing Samamntha into the main plot was a good move..Hope theey find Winn somethhing interesting to do soon.

  2. Dear Anonymous: you may be right about Sanvers! Alas, it's hard to write a story line without angst and grief. Only when stories end do we get "and they lived happily ever after..."

  3. My first, and nagging thought for the rest of the episode, was how the heck is she going to explain elevator?!

    Really liked the POV of the escape pod leaving Krypton. Such a character-defining moment that is Very different than her cousin, Superman's, story.

  4. I liked how they made Supergirl struggle to defeat the villain really organic. Usually they have to contrive some method for her to lose before she wins at the end of teh episode, but it's seldom so believable as here. So a big plus.

    Good that they linked Samantha to the main cast without inserting her via her latent superpowers. I think I'd like that plotline to develop slowly over time, maybe even wait until after the annual crossover?


We love comments! We moderate because of spam and trolls, but don't let that stop you! It’s never too late to comment on an old show, but please don’t spoil future episodes for newbies.