Supergirl: Hostile Takeover

hostile

Not so good family reunion

Since it debuted after the other shows this season, the winter finale for Supergirl comes a bit later than most of the other shows currently running. “Hostile Takeover” has several surprises along the way for several of the cast. Most of them aren’t good, and a few of them I didn’t quite understand. 

Last episode ended with Supergirl being confronted by Astra and two thugs, all powered Kryptonians. Supergirl is outnumbered, but fights well. Her hand to hand skills have improved a lot, how I’m not sure, since that later surprises Alex, too. Astra comes with Henshaw’s Kryptonite knife, and a suit that shields her from the effects. Her thugs have them, too, so the Kryptonite radiation is only effecting Supergirl putting her at even more of a disadvantage. Our hero manages to get away, taking a pretty big gamble to do it.

Not being an idiot, Supergirl goes to the DEO to tell them what happened and try to get some help. Alex and Henshaw agree that Astra is up to something, but no one seems to have any good ideas as to what. There’s an amusing moment when Henshaw asks if Kara got his knife back. Kara is further confused by Alex suddenly saying that Henshaw had nothing to do with their father’s death, but not saying why.

Kara made the grave mistake of hoping out loud that her day at work would be uneventful so she could keep recovering from the Kryptonite exposure. That’s almost as bad as, “What could go wrong?” Cat has been hacked, and embarrassing emails are popping up all over the place. She hasn’t done anything wrong, and no one is making demands of her, the goal just seems to be to make her look bad. It’s a decent little “ripped from the headlines” kind of story.

Cat has Kara investigate the hack. She recommends James and, “that handsome little hobbit with more cardigans than you have.” She’s taken enough notice of Winn to find him attractive and still can’t remember his name? I get it, Cat doesn’t care about her employees that much (she keeps mispronouncing Kara’s name), but this is getting ridiculous.

Bizarrely, Kara and her team are working out of their hidden little base that I’ve dubbed the “Office of Solitude.” It seems like an odd choice for something they are trying to keep secret. They couldn’t commandeer a conference room? It’s not like they’re hiding this effort from Cat. There’s some tension between James and Winn which I just can’t think is going to go anywhere good.

Astra is off plotting with one of her fellow Kryptonians. There’s an odd power dynamic between them, especially since she calls him Lieutenant at one point, but he’s wearing the crest of the El family. This finally gets explained at the end of the scene. Astra is very defensive of Kara, which is nice to see considering how much Kara cares about her.

Kara goes back out to the DEO base and spars with Alex. As I mentioned before, Kara’s skills are increasing a lot. But if she’s not training with Alex, and she’s not spending time with her famous cousin, then how is this happening? As she said herself a while back, it’s not like she can join a kickboxing class. Alex’s concern about Kara’s feelings for her aunt trigger a flashback scene. Astra apparently knew about the coming destruction of Krypton, and was committing terrorist acts to try and get people’s attention, which is a horrid plan for an otherwise bright woman. There’s also a lot of tension between Astra and Kara’s mother Allura.

Cat isn’t really concerned about being hacked. She looks on it as a rite of passage among famous and influential people. That changes a bit when she meets with the board of CatCo. Most of them are very worried about the damage this might do to the company. The only one defending Cat is Dirk Armstrong, Chairman of the Board. In the comics, Armstrong was a conservative reporter at the Daily Planet who seemed to spend most of his time being a thorn in the side of Clark Kent, Perry White, and Superman. Kara overhears him plotting and realizes he’s behind the smear against Cat.

For reasons I don’t entirely understand, Team Cat recruits Lucy Lane. They seem really concerned with legal issues and want her advice. I’m not sure why they need that, since they aren’t cops and this isn’t an official investigation with an arrest or trial as the goal. Lucy tells them they need a paper trail to tie him to the hacks. Their meeting is cut off when Astra shows up, hovering over CatCo. Winn helps cover for Kara as she runs off.

Astra makes another bid to recruit Kara into her cause. Astra keeps talking about not letting another world die, but they still haven’t explained why Earth is supposedly in danger, or from what. The talk goes badly, devolving into a fight that takes them all over the city and does a fair amount of damage to several buildings, which is treated with Man of Steel-like indifference (yeah, I’m one of the ones that really didn’t like that movie). She does at least catch some of the debris coming down on civilians. Kara beats Astra and drags her (literally) back to the DEO. She ends up in what looks like the same cage Jemm was in recently. That worked out so well last time.

Winn, meanwhile, has come up with a plan to get information on Armstrong. He’s going to plant a bug on the man’s computer to give him remote access to look for proof about the email hacking. I’d think it’d be simpler for Winn to just hack the man’s computer, but he seems to like the idea of sending James in to plant the bug. Kara plays lookout for this little espionage mission, using her telescopic and X-ray visions. James gets caught, but bluffs his way out by saying he came to see Dirk to offer help against Cat. For no reason at all that I can work out, Winn’s computer bug has audio. Does he know the computer doesn’t read files out loud?

What eventually comes out at the DEO is that Allura used Astra’s affection for Kara to trap her and arrest her. I can see that being a nasty trick, but Astra was a terrorist, who regarded killing people as an “unfortunate necessity.” That’s classic supervillain in my book. She needed to be stopped, and that was Astra’s job. Granted, using Kara was a nasty trick, but I don’t see that it needed to be such a big soap opera like reveal. Also, if Astra was waging a terrorist campaign to publicize the danger Krypton was in, it kind of makes the whole Jor-El (Superman’s father) was the only one who knew about the coming disaster a lot less likely.

Kara is upset when she comes back to the others, but doesn’t want to talk about it. We eventually learn that Cat has a son in Opal City (comic book home of Starman). Cat is willing to step down from her job rather than drag him into the media feeding frenzy that’s coming, which is very noble on her part. Of course, this is when Winn and James burst in and reveal they have proof about Dirk. Cat confronts Dirk, and points out that since all the emails were done on CatCo computers through a CatCo account, they are company property, so they can be used against him. All of that is true, and makes the entire fiasco with Winn’s corporate espionage bit wholly unnecessary.

The end has a few surprises. Cat is a bright woman, and Kara has been very careless. Cat lays out a very nice, point by point case about something she has figured out. It’s a nicely done scene showing that Cat isn’t someone you should under-estimate. Kara is saved by the bell as the next crisis erupts.

The Fort Rozz prisoners attack Max Lord’s company. Why? They never get around to explaining that part. Lord does have a few gadgets that work against Krpytonians, fitting with his anti-Supergirl, Lex Luthor-ish anti-hero stance. Henshaw and the DEO show up as well, and at least some of the prisoners find out Henshaw’s secret. It seems that in this version of things, Kryptonians are stronger than Martians, and Martian telepathy doesn’t work on them. They close with Supergirl rushing in to confront Astra’s husband, Non.

What I liked: I’ve been enjoying Cat’s character for most of the series. She gets some great scenes this week. I especially liked her reasoning with Kara and willingness to quit her job to spare her son. The nod to Opal City was nice, too. They dug deep to come up with Dirk Armstrong as an antagonist this week.

What I didn’t: The whole office espionage bit was silly and, as it turned out, irrelevant. The computer bug having a mic was really weird, unless that was supposed to be James’ phone, in which case it has a really sensitive mic. They still haven’t explained what Astra is trying to save Earth from, which might make her a lot more sympathetic. I don’t get how the anti-Kryptonite suits worked with their head and hands exposed. The soap opera aspects of the Astra/Alurra conflict seemed weird. And really, at this point, how many people has J’Onn let die to preserve his secret?

I don’t think this was one of their better episodes. It has a few holes in it, and some things they needed to explain a bit better. I’ll give this one a low 3 out of 5. I’ve really been enjoying the series, but this episode has some issues.

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