Season 2 of Supergirl premieres on the CW on October 10. With the addition of Superman and a few other new faces, Supergirl’s second season is going to build upon the major National City shake-ups from the first.

Supergirl’s first season was an affair of peaks and valleys. There were some great moments that were tempered by moments of somewhat excessive hand-holding. It was occasionally a bit too heavy-handed and was guilty of beating us over the head with a few points over and over and over.

That isn’t to say that it’s not a great show. Supergirl is a lot of fun, and it’s a vital addition to the landscape of onscreen superheroes. But some episodes are better and more important than others. So if you’re behind on the show and short on time, here are the episodes you need to watch to catch up on Supergirl in time for the Season 2 premiere.

Episode 1: “Pilot”

Yes, it’s a pilot, but it’s also essential if you don’t want to be playing catch-up for an entire season. It’s heavy on exposition, but save yourself from feeling like you’re missing something by just sucking it up so you can make your way to the much better back half of the season.

Episode 5: “Livewire”

Most of the first few episodes of Supergirl have it struggling to find a voice that works. This episode isn’t necessarily an exception, but it does introduce us to a villain thats going to come into play later in the season. If you skipped Episodes 2-4, know that something is up with Hank Henshaw.

Episode 6: “Red Faced”

One of the most poignant episodes of the first half of the season, “RedFaced” tackles anger, who’s allowed to be angry in public, and how that anger affects us. Supergirl is at its best when it’s finding ways to tackle big, dark topics with sincerity while refraining from becoming too heavy-handed. This is about the best episode for that in the first ten episodes.

Episode 7: “Human for a Day”

After Kara loses her powers, we see her trying to contend with daily life as a normal person. Her powers return in the nick of time when she needs them, though, which is a little bit of a bummer. It makes us wish that we’d seen a little bit more exploration of the idea that powers do not a hero make, but this episode is key for its big Hank Henshaw reveal.

Episode 9: “Blood Bonds”

Cat Grant is one of Supergirl’s biggest bright spots, and her relationship with Kara is a driving force. In “Blood Bonds,” Cat suspects that Kara is Supergirl, which leaves Kara to throw Cat off the trail while she contends with family drama in the form of her Aunt Astra and Astra’s husband, Non.

Episode 15: “Solitude”

Believing that Hank killed Astra, Kara refuses to work with the DEO and takes on a new threat, Indigo, alone. “Solitude” highlights how key the DEO team is to Supergirl’s success, and the end of the episode delivers a poignant moment that solidifies the importance of the family theme in the show. The pace starts picking up dramatically at this point in the season, and the remaining episodes have a strength that the first stretch of episodes lacked.

Episode 16: “Falling”

Circling back to the anger that we saw in Episode 6, Kara comes into contact with Red Kryptonite, which turns off the kindness filter in her brain. All of the difficult, unkind, and cruel thoughts she has inside bubble to the surface, turning her into a deeply unheroic and, at times, evil version of herself. This forces us to confront the fact that there’s good and bad in even the best of us. “Falling” is another of Supergirl’s best thematic episodes.

Episode 17: “Manhunter”

After kinda sorta tearing the city apart under the influence of Red Kryptonite, Supergirl is working to assure National City that she’s still worthy of the “hero” mantle. Hank’s identity is revealed to the public, putting Alex and the DEO in danger. We learn more about the history of Alex’s family and find out that one of the fundamental truths of the series might not be true at all.

Episode 18: “Worlds Finest”

If you heard about one episode of Supergirl this season, it was probably this one, and for good reason. The Flash/Supergirl crossover was a delight and one that made Supergirl feel more grounded in the fun, jovial tone we hope to see more of in Season 2. With plenty of DC TV crossovers on the way in the coming season, we can’t wait to see what more interplay between the shows brings to Supergirl.

Episodes 19 & 20: “Myriad” and “Better Angels”

These are two separate episodes, but you really can’t have one without the other. Myriad changes everything and forces Kara, Cat, and Maxwell Lord to team up to save National City. Throw in some serious self-sacrificing Supergirl heroics and some touching moments of sisterly sincerity and you’ve got one hell of a season finale.

Photos via Robert Voets / Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Megan is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on WIRED, Slate, Travel + Leisure and GigaOm. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking, brewing beer, and extolling the virtues of The Cranberries.