- For other episodes of the same name, see Pilot (disambiguation).
- "Well, he knew that I was trying to expand my own horizons, so, as a favor, he asked me to expand them here, National City. Hang out. Be near you."
"So, so, wait a minute. He... He wanted me to do this? Why didn't he just tell me?"
"Because he wanted you to choose it for yourself. The same way he did. That's what makes a hero, Kara."
- —James Olsen and Kara Danvers
"Pilot" is the first episode of the first season of , and the first episode overall. It aired on October 26, 2015.
|After 12 years of keeping her powers a secret on Earth, Kara Zor-El, Superman's cousin, decides to finally embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be.|
- 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
- Dean Cain as Dr. Jeremiah Danvers
- Laura Benanti as Alura Zor-El and General Astra
- Helen Slater as Dr. Eliza Danvers
- Owain Yeoman as Vartox
- Faran Tahir as The Commander
- Ben Begley as Tobey
- Robert Gant as Zor-El
- Derek Mio as Hayashi
- Malina Weissman as Young Kara Zor-El
- Jordan Mazarati as Young Alex Danvers
- Briana Venskus as Agent Vasquez
- Chriss Anglin as Pilot
- Rick Garcia as Himself
- Nick Jaine as Another Staffer
- Kinna McInroe as Waitress
- Leyna Nguyen as Herself
- Paul Stuart as Yale
- Julien Yuen as Terrified Teen
On the planet of Krypton before its impending destruction, Jor-El and his wife Lara Lor-Van held their only son Kal-El which they later set in a pod on a course set to Earth. Following in suit, Jor-El's brother Zor-El, prepared a pod for his own daughter, Kara Zor-El, telling her that her pod's coordinates were locked with Kal-El's, and she would follow him to Earth. Reassuring her father that she wasn't afraid, Kara was told by her mother that they'd be with her in her dreams, and on Earth, she'd have amazing abilities due to the Earth's yellow sun, promising her that she'd do extraordinary things. Boarding her pod, Kara's pod rocketed after Kal-El's, with Krypton self destructing seconds later. However shock waves from Krypton's destruction pushed Kara's pod into the Phantom Zone, a region of space where time didn't pass. Sleeping there for over twenty four years, Kara's pod was later able to get loose. Arriving on Earth, still a thirteen-year-old girl, her pod was discovered by a then-adult Kal-El, who had gone on to become the famous hero known as Superman, the most powerful man in the universe.
Wanting her to have a similar upbringing to his own, Kal-El placed Kara with the Danvers family, scientists who once helped him understand his own superhuman abilities. Though she wasn't her mother, Kara was reassured by Eliza Danvers that she was safe with them. Kara decided the best thing she could do was fit in, as Earth didn't need another hero.
Kara went to work at CatCo Worldwide Media as the personal assistant of Cat Grant, the most powerful woman in National City. Ordering two tickets for the Orchestra section of Wicked, Kara explained on the phone that they weren't for Grant, rather Grant's mother who wanted to see it again. Being put on hold, Kara went on to talk to call about the correspondents dinner, making sure that Cat Grant wasn't seated next to Bill O'Reily again. Walking in the CatCo Worldwide Media building, Kara was asked by Winn Schott whether she had seen the report about an armored car robbery, with a homeless guy swearing that the perpetrator had horns. Continuing by trying to convince Kara that aliens existed, she shot back by telling him they didn't, with Winn claiming she'd feel different if she read the website he read the reports from, though Kara pointed out he was the one wrote the website.
Changing the subject, Winn asked Kara whether or not she'd want to go see a movie that night, Kara apologetically rejected his offer as she had a date that night. Going on to ask who she was going out with, Winn was told by Kara that it was an online date, telling her that her and her date were eighty two percent compatible. Arguing that emotions couldn't be quantified by an algorithm, Kara asked Winn since he was in the IT department, whether or not his entire life was based upon algorithms. Agreeing that yes, his entire life was based upon algorithms, Winn pointed out that as such, he'd know if there was one for love, and that Kara would know when she was in love. Using her super-hearing, Kara heard Cat Grant coming up through her private elevator, complaining about the smell, comparing it to standing up in coach. Alerting the room that Grant had arrived, Kara greeted her boss, being told by Grant that the only reason she had bought the building was because of the private elevator, not wanting to be soaked in cheap cologne on her way to her office every morning, telling Kara to find out who had used it, and have them reprimanded or bathed.
Giving Cat her latte, Kara was told by Grant that as she had a meeting with the board that day, to cancel sushi with her mother, and her therapy session, as she wouldn't need the session if she wasn't having sushi with her mother. Continuing on, Grant told Kara to prepare termination letters for several tribune employees as she was downsizing the tribune, also telling her to go see if the new art director had the layout ready. Concerned about what would happen to the terminated employees and their families, Kara brought up the point that the Daily Planet didn't have to downsize, though Grant pointed out that Metropolis had Superman, who flew around performing heroic acts, and that the Daily Planet put him on their cover half of the time. Finishing by telling Kara that if she wanted to save the tribune, to go find Grant a hero. Going to get the new layouts, Kara pointed out to the new art director that Cat Grant didn't like to wait, with the art director telling her that Grant could wait a minute. Asking him whether or not he had met Cat Grant, he redirected the question by asking Kara, whether or not Grant would fire him, right after hiring, as it'd be her loss. Turning around, the art director greeted her, with Kara later discovering him to be James Olsen, a photographer from the Daily Planet, after seeing the first photo ever taken of Superman in his office, which he had won a Pulitzer for.
Kara later asked her foster sister Alex over to her apartment as she needed help choosing what to wear for her date that night, she expressed to the latter that she felt as if she wasn't living up to her potential. After her failed date later that night, Kara saw on the news that Flight 237, the one Alex was flying on to go to her conference in Geneva, was going down. Attempting to save the flight, Kara used her abilities for the first time in years, successfully helping the plane land, though not without causing damage to Otto Binder Bridge. Kara was later berated at her apartment by Alex, who was upset that she had revealed herself to the world, and couldn't take it back. Deciding to become a hero, Kara confided her secret in Winn the next the day, on the roof of CatCo.
At a diner, Vartox watched the news of mysterious woman who had saved Flight 237, angrily walking to his truck, and getting into the back, he was asked by The Commander as to why the DEO operatives weren't dead. Explaining that they had been saved, the two questioned her identity, with Vartox putting together that if Jor-El had saved his own child, Alura might have potentially done the same. Being told by The Commander to eliminate her, Vartox agreed to do so, though telling him that he couldn't promise her death wouldn't be public and messy. With Winn's help, a costume was made, and Kara was able to stop a bank robbery and car chase. Though Kara soon followed by trying to put out a fire that was started, she was captured by the Department of Extra-Normal Operations, using Kryptonite to subdue her.
Waking up at their base, she was introduced to Hank Henshaw, the organization's director, and soon discovered that Alex was an agent for the organization as well. After being released, Kara was explained by Henshaw how her ship brought Fort Rozz to Earth, and released thousands of the galaxy's worst criminals. Although she offered to help capture them, her offer was rejected by Henshaw, telling her that if she wanted to help, she could go back to getting someone's coffee. Attempting to leave, Kara was stopped by Alex who tried to apologize, though Kara was angry as Alex had constantly tried to discourage her from using her abilities in the past, finding it strange how Alex's organization hunted aliens, and Kara happened to be one, leading her to believe that Alex was hired because of her. The next day at work, Kara furiously stormed into Cat Grant's office, upset that her boss had dubbed her heroic identity, Supergirl. Almost getting fired in the process, Kara was rescued by James, who presented Grant with a clear image of Supergirl, from the bank robbery she stopped, telling Cat that Kara had gotten it for them.
Leaving her office, Kara told James that she didn't need anyone fighting her battles for her, however, at the exact moment she was contacted by Vartox at a 50,000 Hz broadcast, telling her to meet him at the National City Power Plant. Arriving at the power plant, Kara battled Vartox but was eventually defeated before she was rescued by Alex and the DEO, with Vartox escaping. She was taken back to the DEO base where a piece of metal from Vartox's axe was removed from her arm.
Afterwards Alex explained to her that she was trying to protect her, as the only way the Fort Rozz escapees could now get back at Alura, who was their judge, was through Kara. Going back to her apartment, she was encouraged by Alex to give being a hero another try, as the world needed her. Though Kara was initially discouraged, after seeing a hologram projection of her mother that Alex had brought, Kara and Alex went back to the DEO base. Learning that Vartox was heading to the city to begin killing humans, Kara convinced Director Henshaw to let her stop him as she had started all of it.
Landing in front of his truck, making it explode on impact, Vartox initially had the upper-hand, though Kara was able to subdue him, heating his axe to such levels that made it explode, crippling him. Using a piece of metal from the shattered axe, Vartox committed suicide by stabbing himself in the chest after warning Kara that the true threat was incoming.
The following day at work Kara was once more greeted by Winn, who had read about her fight with Vartox in the desert, with Kara promising to tell him all about it on their next crime fighting meetup. Deciding to ask James to lunch, he told her that she must be hungry as fighting Vartox must have burned calories, following by telling her to meet him on the roof. There he revealed to Kara that Superman had asked him to come to National City, as Superman had asked him to come there to keep an eye on her. Realizing that her cousin had wanted her to become a hero, Kara was confused as to why he didn't just tell her himself, with James revealing to her that Superman wanted her to choose it for herself, the same way he had to, as that was what made a hero. Kara was then given the blanket Kal-El was wrapped in as a baby, that James had been entrusted to give to Kara for her to use as a cape. elsewhere, The Commander met with The General who gave him orders to find and kill Kara, as no one could interfere with their plans, not even Kara, who was the General's niece.
On May 21, 2015, "Pilot" was leaked online via torrenting sites, a full six months before it was scheduled to air, in high-definition.
- This episode was released before the official release date on July 9, 2015 at the San Diego Comic-Con International.
- National City is a reference to DC Comics' original company name, National Comics.
- The first picture of Superman taken by James Olsen is reminiscent of Superman: The Movie poster by Bob Peak.
- The Otto Binder Bridge is named after the co-creator of Supergirl, Otto Binder.
- Kara is referred to as a "Guardian Angel" after saving Flight 237. The original Supergirl was also known as "Midvale's Guardian Angel".
- James mentioned that the first thing Superman did was also saving a plane. In Man of Steel #1 (October, 1986), Superman saves an experimental plane as his first heroic act.
- When Kara is about to tell Winn Schott her secret, he becomes convinced that she's about to come out as a lesbian. The same thing happened in Supergirl vol. 4 #14 (October, 1997), when Linda Danvers/Supergirl tried to reveal her secret identity to her parents.
- Supergirl putting out a fire at intersection of Gates and Igle is a reference to Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle, the creative team responsible for what is considered one of the best runs of the character.
- Kara suggested to Cat Grant that they should have named the heroine "Superwoman" instead of "Supergirl". In the comics, the name Superwoman has been used by seven different characters, among which are Lois Lane, Lucy Lane, and Lana Lang. Lucy's Superwoman was also one of Supergirl's worst enemies.
- Winn refers to himself and Kara as the "Superfriends", which is a reference to the DC animated television series, comic series, and group.
- At the end of the episode, James says, "Up, Up and Away" to Kara when he tells her to go save people and points up. "Up, Up and Away" is one of Superman's catchphrases, which was first coined in the radio show "The Adventures of Superman" to let the kids know he was taking off to fly.
- A few scenes from the pilot featuring Kara's first day at school were cut for time, but later used in the episode "".
- The first costume Kara tries on is a mix of several elements from the various suits worn by Supergirl over the years:
- It is similarly revealing like the costume of Power Girl, who is Kara's Earth-Two counterpart.
- The headband comes from Kara's 1980s look, just prior to her being killed off in the Crisis of Infinite Earths storyline.
- The bare midriff comes from the costume which has been generally used in the comics and animated appearances since the character's revival in 2004.
- The hot pants come from the costume worn in the 1970s.
- When Kara walks against the bullets, she is seen using red Dr. Martens and socks, resembling the shoelace boots Supergirl wore in the comics as part of her then new costume, which debuted in Supergirl vol. 4 #51 (December, 2000).
- The costume Kara eventually settles on is inspired by the most iconic version of her outfit, with touches inspired by the costume worn by Henry Cavill in the DCEU films. The most noticeable change is the lack of yellow backing behind the "S" symbol.
- Kara lifts her glasses from her eyes before using her X-Ray vision. In the comics, it is often stated that Clark Kent must do the same because his super-vision can melt the lenses.
- Kara's adopted parents, Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers, are portrayed by Dean Cain and Helen Slater, respectively. Dean portrayed Clark Kent/Superman in the popular series Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and also guest-starred in the Smallville episode "Cure" as Dr. Curtis Knox. Helen portrayed the title character in 1984's Supergirl and also had a recurring role as Clark Kent's biological mother, Lara-El, on Smallville.
- According to the timeline, when Kara arrives on Earth, Clark had been active as Superman for at least four years; given he was only 23 when Kara arrived.
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