The CW's Supergirl keeps rocking the pants as she confidently strides into her new season. This episode takes a sort of fun turn as its major axis actually revolves around our two newly-dating couples, Brainy (Jesse Rath) and Nia (Nicole Maines) vs. Kelly (Azie Tesfai) and Alex (Chyler Leigh). The "Stranger Beside Me" name refers to that fun time in a relationship when you sort of realize you don't actually know everything you should about your new partner, with sometimes nearly disastrous consequences.
It also takes an interesting turn as J'onn's (David Harewood) long-lost brother uses his Martian shape-shifting abilities to impersonate various members of Team Supergirl. Meanwhile, the real Kelly tries to help J'onn recover his lost memories of his brother. Everyone who loves Martian history and Manhunter backstory is going to love this episode, as we gets all sorts of juicy details.
Meanwhile, Kara (Melissa Benoist) is struggling with her eternal struggle to be both Supergirl and Kara Danvers, the Catco reporter. There's also trouble with her new boss Andrea Rojas (Julie Gonzalo) as she shakes up Catco by… making her new Pulitzer Prize winner write an article about who was wearing what at her award ceremony?
(Legitimate question– do people actually read articles like this?)
Rojas is also busy in her transition to supervillain as she confronts Lena (Katie McGrath) for some reason? Her heel turn is a little unearned and seems more to signify, "Look! I'm the bad guy!" than anything else.
But also, it gives Lena a chance to bond, in more ways than one, with her new "guest" Eve Tessmacher (Andrea Brooks). Unearned villain turn for Andrea Rojas? Meh. Do better. In service of moving Lena's story and character forward? All is forgiven.
But perhaps the most interesting character development we get this episode is Kara's new rival, William (Staz Nair). No spoilers, just watch. He's a great foil for Kara. My only worry is they're setting him up as a romantic interest. It wouldn't be the first time a character is introduced as some overbearing jerk and then Kara falls for him. Let's hope he doesn't figure out she's Supergirl.
"Supergirl" season 5, episode 2 "Stranger Beside Me": TECHNOLOGY BECOMES THE NEW THREAT- Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), Alex (Chyler Leigh), and Brainiac (Jesse Rath) thwart an alien attack while William (Staz Nair) investigates Kara (Melissa Benoist). J'onn J'onzz (David Harewood) and Kelly (Azie Tesfai) use Obsidian tech to solve a problem. David McWhirter directed the episode written by Dana Horgan & Katie Rose Rogers
The best part of this episode, hands down, is all of the hilarious ways Brainy tries to woo Nia. Oh, silly super-intelligent alien! You'll never understand.
There's also some nice bits in this episode as we foreshadow how James Olson will be written off the show. Good news – sounds like he's going to land on his feet in an amazing dream job. Come on: who doesn't want to hire the former editor of Catco and Superman's best friend?
This episode was fun, but it was sort of filler. It moved the plot forward, but it's mostly setup for future episodes. The other shows have the excuse that they're setting up for "Crisis", but Supergirl doesn't get that to use.
Here's hoping things pick up in next episode "Blurred Lines"…