NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Supergirl” are present in this review
Despite Supergirl’s heroes securing a high-value prisoner in Rip Roar (even if he is a terrible villain-of-the-week), the DEO once again finds itself on the receiving end of an attack, when the mysterious shadow that killed Caroline O’Connor returns to finish off Rip Roar as well. “Confidence Women” finally reveals the identity of this mysterious shadow, one that especially avid DC fans may have been able to anticipate in advance, since the shadow is a character called Acrata, who, in DC Comics lore, is also known as Andrea Rojas! Yes, Andrea was the weird shadow the whole time, deriving her powers from a mysterious medallion bestowed upon her by Leviathan, cementing the rather obvious connection that Andrea had with the shady organization.
In revealing Andrea’s identity as Acrata, “Confidence Women” also spends most of its duration spotlighting the tumultuous friendship that Andrea has developed with Lena. As Lena mentioned to Kara previously, the two women have known each other since their boarding school days, though their friendship hasn’t always been very smooth. Fortunately, the examination of Lena’s and Andrea’s challenging connection makes for a much better episode than what Supergirl spat up last week, even if the narrative still isn’t quite airtight here. There’s nonetheless some inspired further development for Leviathan laced into this core flashback storyline though, with Leviathan’s influence apparently going all the way back to events that even precede the timeline of Supergirl as a whole!
After Lena and Andrea first forge a friendship in boarding school, the flashbacks begin around five years ago, as Lena ends up calling on Andrea, once Lena starts noticing that her adopted brother, Lex is beginning his downward spiral, and obsession with killing Superman. Believing that the Medallion of Acrata, the subject of an ancient fable passed down to Lena by her birth mother, can be used to stop Lex from seeding the atmosphere with Kryptonite, Lena and Andrea undertake an expedition together, with Andrea eventually being led to the Medallion of Acrata by Leviathan. Andrea is told to hide the Medallion of Acrata at all costs, and never mention it to anyone, including Lena, lest the revitalized success of her father and his business be permanently destroyed. This explains how Andrea got her shadow-manipulating powers, since the medallion essentially activates them, eventually leading to Andrea becoming an unwilling assassin for Leviathan.
This is a cool concept on paper, especially when it inevitably leads to tension between Andrea and Lena, considering that Andrea withheld the apparent means through which Lena could have stopped Lex from being imprisoned, and eventually killed by Lena’s own hand (even if the Monitor seems to be reversing this soon). The problem with this idea though is its execution, which is very shaky in some respects. For the most part, the rules with the medallion and Leviathan are not at all consistent. This is immediately problematic when Andrea proudly wears the medallion as a necklace, which Lena eventually notices, resulting in the initial falling out between the two women. Two things though; First, if Leviathan wants Andrea to hide the medallion, why is she visibly wearing it for all to see at a public party? Second, what makes Lena think that the medallion is real, when it could easily be a replica? This whole story turn felt really forced, and the rift between Lena and Andrea just doesn’t feel like it forms very organically.
Things don’t get much better when Andrea ends up meeting Russell either, long before he becomes Rip Roar. If you were hoping that the Supergirl universe’s Rip Roar would improve with more backstory, that doesn’t appear to be the case here. Instead, Russell finds the medallion sticking out of Andrea’s purse, and is immediately attacked and nearly killed by Leviathan’s people, who seemingly spawn out of nowhere! Andrea pleading for Russell’s life, basically ‘saving’ him by turning him into Rip Roar, is kind of a neat turn that could have been interesting, but again, this isn’t consistent, since Lena eventually outright seizes the medallion from Andrea, and yet, Leviathan never attacks Lena. Perhaps this could be because Lena is a key part of whatever Leviathan’s agenda is, but this is never clarified, and it just makes the writing appear sloppy.
Regardless, Andrea does end up talking Lena into helping her break into the DEO to steal back Rip Roar, who has now seemingly been separated from his technological hypnosis. Lena then uses her new inception technology to neutralize everyone at the DEO, attempting to distract Kara by faking a break-in, even though this eventually fails. Andrea and Rip Roar still get away, and Lena does get the medallion, but there nonetheless remains no real opportunity to keep developing Rip Roar. Instead, Leviathan’s people yet again spawn from nowhere and shoot Russell dead, right when he’s about to board an escape plane with Andrea, which not only kills a lot of potential story developments before they could take off, but also leaves a huge chunk of the current William drama completely stillborn. William was absent for this episode, but there could have been so much more to explore regarding William’s best friend being turned into Rip Roar. Sure, Rip Roar was a really dull villain that inexplicably got turned into a third-rate Doctor Octopus knock-off for the Supergirl universe, but the character perhaps could have improved if he was placed in a better storyline.
Overall though, the extended emphasis on the fractured friendship between Andrea and Lena, as well as Andrea’s origins as the shadowy Acrata, still led to, “Confidence Women” feeling like a much-needed rebound for Supergirl. The rules with Leviathan, and especially the Medallion of Acrata, are still kind of ill-defined though, especially since Andrea retains her powers even without the medallion, and in that case, why does she still keep it? I suppose it’s because the plot says so, since the medallion’s connection to Leviathan is eventually translated and used by Lena, in order to probe Eve Tessmacher’s memory for information on the organization. Seeing as Rip Roar blurted out the name, “Leviathan” to Kara however, couldn’t Kara have just as easily tipped Lena off when it made sense to do so? Well, whatever ends up happening from here, I will say that Andrea at least got her best storyline yet in this episode, even if it meant having to steal some of Lena’s thunder in this case.
- Strong showcase of Andrea's and Lena's tense history
- Andrea's memorable reveal as Acrata
- More great showcases of Leviathan's massive power
- Inconsistent rules with Leviathan and the Medallion of Acrata
- Rip Roar getting thanklessly killed off