This week’s episode of Supergirl pit Kara Danvers against two villains. One, Red Tornado, is an anthropomorphic combat robot who looks like the impossible love child of Tony Stark and The Vision. The other is Kara’s personal demons. Previously, the show had ignored the pressures of its leading heroine in favor of building its characters and premise. Six weeks into its first season, “Red Faced” tackles her anxieties head-on. It gave us the best scene of the entire series to date.

Supergirl’s loss of control is expertly handled. Her frustrations are not sugar-coated, reneging on the show’s typically light and airy tone. It certainly stands out from other superhero fare because its central figure is so utterly delighted with her role. Well, the latest episode said bye-bye to all that. Kara lost her shit several times throughout the 40 minute story. Here’s the highlights:

After she saves all those school kids from two road ragers:

When Lucy Lane does well, anything:

And when she goes too far during her first battle with Red Tornado:

Watching her lose it is a welcome departure from her sunny, costumed bravado. And they’re just precursors to a bigger reveal. As usual, one of the episode’s most enjoyable — and plot-pushing — moments is a two-hander between Kara and Cat. Her boss advises that she seek out the ‘anger behind the anger’ if she wants to take command of her emotions. It’s a neat piece of foreshadowing, that gifts us with a dark scene that’s so far removed from everything Supergirl has delivered before.

Kara has a meltdown.

Physically, she’s defeating Red Tornado. Mentally? All those demons about parental abandonment come raging to the surface, zapped out of existence along with the clunky rouge ‘bot.

OK, that GIF doesn’t do the whole drawn-out affair justice, but I had goosebumps watching that scene. That guttural moan, the sound of a raw wound exposed for the first time. The hunk of metal slowly getting its ass kicked, cut with flashes of that last goodbye with her parents. It was so damn unexpected, it caught me off guard. I didn’t anticipate this area of Supergirl’s psyche to be examined so early on. Now that it has, the floodgates have opened. For the character and for the show itself.

Don’t get me wrong, I welcome the happy-go-lucky vibe — it’s a pleasure to watch superheroism without the constant anguish. But “Red Faced” presents a possible future where those two approaches, the dark and the light, can co-exist without detriment. If Kara continues to experience a genuine depth of feeling that way, then I say bring it on. A long-forgotten sibling rivalry with Alex ought to do nicely.

Photos via CBS.com