- "Fascinating theory. Unprovable, but worth exploring. I suspect that whoever is responsible for these attacks might be curious about you, Supergirl. What is she made of? How does she do it?"
- —Maxwell Lord to Supergirl.
"How Does She Do It?" is the fifth episode of the first season of , and the fifth episode overall. It aired on November 23, 2015. Originally set to be the fourth episode of the season, it was set to air on November 16, 2015, but was instead replaced with "" due to the terrorist attack in Paris, France. Since this creates a small continuity error regarding the progression of James Olsen and Lucy Lane's relationship, the DVD release uses the originally intended running order.
|Kara’s two identities are stretched thin when Supergirl must protect National City from a series of bombings and Kara is tasked with babysitting Cat’s son, Carter. Also, James is conflicted when his ex-girlfriend Lucy Lane seeks to rekindle their relationship.|
- Melissa Benoist as Kara Danvers/Supergirl
- Mehcad Brooks as James Olsen
- Chyler Leigh as Dr. Alex Danvers
- Jeremy Jordan as Winn Schott
- David Harewood as Director "Hank Henshaw"
- Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant
Special guest stars
- Briana Venskus as Agent Vasquez
- Jay Jackson as Male Newscaster
- Pilar Holland as Female Newscaster
- Stephanie Czajkowski as Security Guard
- Carly Nykanen as Editor
- Renee Pezzotta as Teacher
Supergirl flies above National City, when she notices red lasers on her forearm, from a drone that had been following her. She then proceeded to fly after the drone, destroying it with her heat vision. Afterwards, she brought the broken drone back to the D.E.O., accusing Hank Henshaw of spying on her, despite her having thought that they were gaining a mutual trust.
Henshaw denied the allegations, and told her the drone wasn't the D.E.O.'s. Alex Danvers then arrived, inspecting the drone and confirming it was human made. Henshaw then made the declaration that the D.E.O. would handle it, and after he left, Alex reassured Kara that she could trust Hank. At CatCo Worldwide Media, Kara arrived as Winn Schott frantically attempted to cover for Kara, citing that it wasn't his job. After discovering that Cat had won the Siegel Award for Women in Media, Kara sought to book a plan for Grant, though while doing so she overheard Cat begging her mother to watch her son while she attended the ceremony for her award.
Kara was soon called into the office, where Cat demanded her lunch. Kara congratulated Cat on winning her award, though Cat told her she couldn't attend because she didn't have anyone to watch her son, Carter. Kara then offered to watch Carter during the ceremony, with Cat agreeing, though telling Kara that Carter wasn't a normal boy who needed "special attention". Cat then beckoned for Kara to go get her lunch.
At Noonan's, James Olsen questioned Lucy Lane as to why she was in National City. After attempting to excuse her presence by saying it was for work, she admitted that she had come because she had missed James. However, James told her that he had to leave as he was in charge of digital marketing while Cat was out of town, and that he'd give her a call if he wasn't too busy. As Lucy left, Kara and James discussed his and Lucy's situation, though a bomb was soon set off with Kara arriving at the scene as Supergirl to stop the building it went off in from collapsing. After fixing the structures with her heat vision, Kara blew out the fire with her super breath. At the D.E.O., they evaluated the situation, with Alex discovering that the bomb and the drone were connected, as both had been developed at Lord Technologies. Hank and Alex then agreed to go handle the situation, but disguised as F.B.I. agents.
Kara then announced that she had to go back to work, with her and Alex discussing the James and Lucy situation. Alex warned Kara not to talk to James about his girl problems, as that was a quick way into the friend zone, with Kara agreeing with the statement. After confidently telling Kara that only an idiot would choose Lucy Lane over Supergirl, Kara answered a call from Cat Grant, who questioned her about Carter, reminding Kara that she needed to pick him up. At St. Edmund Hall, Kara attempted to talk to Carter, who listened but didn't respond initially. Elsewhere at Lord Technologies, Maxwell Lord talked with Hank and Alex, confirming it was his technology, though he wasn't worried with becoming their suspect as it was his lab that was destroyed.
Alex questioned Maxwell as to whether he knew who'd be trying to target him, with Hank soon after telling Max that he was leaving Alex behind to protect him. Back at CatCo, Carter expressed his admiration of Supergirl to Kara, with Winn commenting that he had good taste. The trio then noticed James struggling the stapler in Cat's office, with James expressing his frustration, not knowing how Cat did it. James then received a call from Lucy, though he ignored it. He began to talk to Kara about Lucy once more, though Kara put an end to it, in an attempt to stay out of the friendzone.
At Lord Technologies, Alex looked over the blueprints for Maxwell Lord's super train. Max questioned to as why she wasted her brain working for the government, with Alex telling him that she felt as if there was no higher calling than helping others. While the two talked, Max received a call from his assistant, Paulina, who told him to come down to Level 3. There, Paulina directed Maxwell to the bomb that he been discovered during a security sweep of the floor. Maxwell then took the bomb out of the case, and attempted to diffuse it, though it backfired, speeding up the countdown. Back at CatCo, Carter asked Kara whether she thought James could introduce him to Supergirl, Kara then received a call from Alex about the bomb in Lord Tech, with Kara asking Winn to watch Carter.
Arriving at Lord Tech, Supergirl was told to get the bomb clear of the city. Flying away from National City, Hank Henshaw informed Kara to go upwards. While doing so, Hank ordered Kara to throw the bomb, however Kara refused as she felt she wasn't high enough. With three seconds left on the clock, Kara threw the bomb, being knocked unconscious from the bomb's explosion. Later, Kara awoke at the D.E.O., with Hank telling her that their rescue team had pulled her from the ocean. Alex then arrived in the room, embracing Kara. In the D.E.O.'s control center, Hank informed the Danvers sisters that they had discovered the identity of the bomber, Ethan Knox, a former Lord Technologies employee, who had been fired six months ago.
Kara then questioned as to how they'd find him, though Alex told her she was staying home, as a fall from the height she had, would have rattled even Superman, and that Kara was spreading herself too thin. At CatCo, Kara arrived in Cat's office to find Winn and Carter playing video games on Cat's monitors behind her desk. She told Carter that she'd go get them some lunch, and thanked Winn for watching him. While at Noonan's Kara encountered Lucy Lane, who asked her whether James was dating anyone. Lucy then confided to Kara that she was worried James would fall for Supergirl, and that the reason her and James broke up was because she prioritized work in the past, because James prioritized Superman.
At Lord Technologies, Alex confronted Maxwell about Ethan Knox, telling him to cancel his train's opening, as Ethan Knox would target the event. However, Maxwell refused to as he wouldn't be intimidated by terrorists. Back at CatCo, Kara apologized for cutting him off earlier when he attempted to talk to her about Lucy. She then told him about the conversation she had with Lucy at Noonan's, telling him that Lucy still loved him, and the reason she broke it off between the two of them was because she was tired of coming in second to Superman. Kara then told James to fight for love, before leaving to give Carter his lunch.
Later, Kara arrived at the D.E.O. telling Hank and Alex that she would go to protect the train. Back at CatCo, Lucy went to tell James that she was leaving, and the two soon began to discuss their previous relationship problems, finally kissing, after the two agreed that they wanted the best for each other. Soon after, Winn noticed that Carter was missing, deducing that he went to the opening of Maxwell Lord's train to meet Supergirl. At the D.E.O., Agent Vasquez informed Hank and Alex that a bomb was discovered at Lord Air Terminal. Hank then informed Kara of the bomb, who told him that she was on the job. James as well was told, who then attempted to call Lucy, who was on her way there.
At the train terminal, Carter was escorted onto the train by Maxwell Lord, with Winn arriving too late, and was denied entrance because of his lack of a ticket. Kara then received a call from Winn, who told her that Knox was on the train, and she deduced that there are two bombs, telling Alex and Hank to handle the airport, and she'd handle the train bomb. Arriving on the train, Supergirl alerted Lord of the bomb, and told him and Carter to get all of the passengers to the back of the train. Back at the Lord Air terminal, James and Lucy were reunited, and Hank along with Alex went inside the air terminal to diffuse the bomb. While there, Hank ordered Alex to get clear of the room while he diffused the bomb.
On the train, Kara opened the door leading to Ethan Knox. She attempted plead with him to deactivate the bomb, telling him to think of his daughter. At the air terminal, Hank Henshaw walked out, holding the successfully diffused bomb over his head. He then lied to Alex telling her it was a dud, when questioned as to how he diffused it. Back on the train, Ethan activated the bomb, telling Supergirl to save the passengers, as she only had 30 seconds. Supergirl then detached the train car that Ethan was in from the rest of the train, watching it, along with him, blow up from a distance. At the D.E.O., Kara and Alex discussed the day's events, with both agreeing that several things weren't adding up.Soon after Kara, realized that Cat would be angry after finding out that Carter had been on the train.
The next morning, Carter greeted his mother as she arrived at CatCo, with the two embracing. Before getting him off to school, Carter asked whether Kara could watch him again after reminiscing about the fun he had with her, though Cat told him to hold onto the memories. After Carter left, Kara apologized for letting Carter getting on the train, telling Cat that she didn't know how she balanced worked, and being a mother. Kara was then told by Cat that you could have it all - just not right away. Leaving out of Cat's office, Kara witnessed James and Lucy kissing. At her desk, Kara and Winn watched Maxwell Lord on the news, wondering why he was getting choked up about Ethan Knox's death. Kara then asked Winn to hack into hospital records.
Later that night, Kara as Supergirl confronted Maxwell Lord, telling him that she knew he had Ethan Knox plant the bombs, in exchange for saving his daughter's life. Though Lord denied doing so, he called it a theory worth exploring, and dissected the recent attacks, implying that he had done it all to test Supergirl, and furthermore discover her identity. Kara then warned him that she watching him, and it wasn't over, to which Max agreed.
- Cat Grant is being presented with the Siegel Prize for Women in Media. This is named after Jerry Siegel, one of the co-creators of Superman.
- The number 52 can be briefly seen on the rooftop of a building (instead of the traditional H) as Supergirl flies to the train station, at 28:10. 52 is likely a reference to DC Comics The New 52 rebooted story arcs between 2011 and 2015.
- The scene at end of the episode when Supergirl meets with Maxwell Lord is reminiscent of when Superman meets Lex Luthor in his penthouse after Luthor's tests in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. Luthor, just like Lord, put Superman through a series of tests to observe his powers. In response, the Kryptonian superhero warns Lex/Max that they know who he is and will stop him.
- This is the second episode in a row to make use of a song originally popularized by Cyndi Lauper as background music. In "", it was a cover of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". Here, it's "Time After Time", performed by Jessica Mauboy.
- When Kara hands over the papers to James just after the countdown speeds up, her hands are together in front of her in the side shot, but at her sides immediately afterwards.
- When Max cuts the wire on the bomb, the timer starts to decrease rapidly, going down several minutes in just a couple of seconds. The bomb should have therefore detonated before he says, "We may have a problem". Continuing on, Alex still has time to call Kara, who in turn has time to safely fly the bomb into the air before it goes off.
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