[Review] Supergirl Episode 1×09: “Blood Bonds”

written by Dayna Abel, Jason Froikin and Cara Russell

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

Welcome back, Kara! I missed you so mu–aaannnnd wow you are just getting right to it, aren’t you? Well then. Episode 9 picks up at the very instant 8 left off, with Kara and Non squaring off in mid-air and man, after ten years of Smallville, just how great is it to see so much amazing flight on this show?

One of the biggest themes for this show so far is communication, specifically the importance of clear, constant and honest communication. For all the supposed IMing back and forth between Clark and Kara, there is still no evidence to suggest he did anything but pick her out of the rocket and toss her to the Danvers family like an unwanted pet…which I suppose is at least consistent with the Silver Age comics. I’ve mentioned the plot holes which sprung from a lack of communication between Clark and Kara in previous reviews, and I stand by my statement. Supergirl treats the lack of honest communication as a negative, and I tend to agree. A sisterly chat between Astra and Alura might have prevented unneeded deaths back on Krypton. We repeatedly see Kara reacting with hurt and anger when truths are held from her. Cat Grant, Ms. “Queen Of All Media” herself, is at her best when she’s being open and honest, as seen when she tries to impress upon Kara the importance of not wasting time with a secret identity when she could be helping more people. As an aside, look, the woman is your role model, Kara. YOU HAVE NO REASON NOT TO TELL HER THE TRUTH. YOU TOLD WINN FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. KNOCK IT OFF.

In the end, it’s honest and open communication between Kara and Astra which saves the day. Although the ominous ~truth about Alura~ is revealed to be…just…that she supported Astra’s ideas if not her methods. Huh. That was anti-climactic. I may be colored by having recently seen The Force Awakens, but I’ve got a strong feeling that Astra’s going to go through a Vader Redemption Arc at the end. I’m guessing Non will kill her and take her place as General, demanding obedience to his will from everyone on Earth. But I have faith that our heroes will fight him and refuse to become Non-compliant.

-Dayna

* * *

I’m going to come right out and say it. I don’t believe Cat Grant is convinced that Kara isn’t Supergirl. Why? Because her reaction to seeing them both in the same room wasn’t defeat, it was anger. I feel her reaction was more consistent with knowing that some trickery was afoot, being annoyed that she had to live up to her deal with “Kira”, and that she lost the round. The game is far from over, though. Like Cat said early in the episode, it will take more than parlor tricks to convince her.

That was just a fun end-cap to yet another very packed episode of Supergirl. Kara has learned how to use a most effective way of dealing with her Aunt – bonding with her, possibly putting her at odds with her own army. Kara also found out accidentally from Alex that Hank is Martian Manhunter, proving that Kara’s foster sister is just as bad at keeping secrets as she is. And still nearly-nameless Winn managed to be weird about simply blocking a doorway.

And then there’s Maxwell Lord, who, we already can tell by his wealth and position, is supposed to be National City’s Lex Luthor. Except that his motivation and claim to have been hurt by “aliens” is weak at best, while Lex historically has been injured by or tossed in jail through direct intervention from his own arch-nemesis, Superman. And you would think that someone with the intelligence and means to build a company like his would think more long-term, and be able to look beyond the simple existence of an alien in his town. After he’s already threatened just about everyone on the show in some fashion or another, when his story does play out it’s promising to be one heck of a huge confrontation.

-Jason

* * *

As Supergirl returns in the first episode of 2016, it seems to be cleaning house and tying up some loose plot ends and continuing the theme of choice and agency (or lack thereof) from the previous episode.

Cat Grant still suspects Kara to be Supergirl, and in her attempts to get an admission, gives Kara an ultimatum – prove she isn’t without a shadow of a doubt and remain with CatCo, or admit the truth and be forced to choose her allegiance, as Cat suffers no divided attentions among her empire. Meanwhile, Hank Henshaw is kidnapped by Lt. Non, and offered as an exchange for Astra, a captive of the DEO. Max Lord continues to play himself as morally superior through achievements that lack moral balance. James and Winn also get a slight showcase, working together to infiltrate Max’s lab – which ends in a beating for James and a creepy show of technological prowess for Winn.

Interestingly enough, there seems to be groundwork for a genuine redemption arc with Astra, in whom Kara still sees good even as she loses control and safe harbour in other aspects of her life. After trading Astra for Hank, a tense showdown is defused by Astra, and Hank’s identity as J’onn J’onnz is revealed to Kara, allowing her to beg a favour and trick Cat Grant into thinking that Kara and Supergirl are two very different people. Overall, it feels transitional, to restore a stable status quo rather than set a new bar, though the threads remain to pick up again (and thankfully, I feel more questions were answered than new ones asked).

-Cara

Supergirl airs Monday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on CBS. Dayna can be reached on Twitter @queenanthai, Jason at @Mangacool, and Cara at @virtualcara.

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