Supergirl debuted later than most of the fall shows, and is still doing some odd stuff schedule-wise. It went to hiatus later than the others, and now seems to be back early for one week. I’m not sure I see the plan there, but we get to see a new episode early, so I’ll take it.
“Blood Bonds,” is apparently part of a Kryptonian proverb that recurs several times during this episode. I think they fell in love with the idea and used it a bit heavy-handedly throughout the show. Aside from that, it was a decent enough episode, although it had its flaws.
The action starts right where the previous episode left off, with Astra’s Fort Rozz army attacking Lord Technologies for reasons I’m not sure I follow. Supergirl shows up to help even the odds, and ends up in a big throwdown with Non. In Superman II, Non was a hulking brute. Here, he seems to be a smarter, schemer type, as well as Astra’s husband. I guess supervillainy is their family business, with Kara being the black sheep. Their fight ends when they make a major impact crater right outside Max Lord’s building, and Non grabs Hank Henshaw as a hostage before flying off with him.
In the aftermath of the fight, Max Lord is acting like even more of a snot than usual. He’s had it in for Supergirl for whatever reason, but now he’s turning on Alex, too, and they were hinting at something between them a while ago. He refuses to cooperate with the DEO and orders them off his property. I’m not sure you get to do that to a Federal agency responding to something that’s in their jurisdiction, but it works here. Kara is a bit distracted, since Alex isn’t worrying about Henshaw as much as she should be. Then again, Alex knows Henshaw’s secret and Kara doesn’t.
Back at the DEO, they say that Henshaw kept the line of succession for the DEO classified, which seems foolish to me. What if they lost their base at the same time Henshaw was captured? Then no one knows who’s in charge? Eventually, the computer reveals that the Acting Director is Alex Danvers. This moment of triumph lasts about two scenes, when General Lane shows up to take charge by Presidential order. He hasn’t gotten any nicer since last time we saw him.
Kara, meanwhile, goes to try and get more information from their captive, Astra. There are a lot of flashbacks and family drama this episode. The full saying from Krypton seems to be “Blood bonds us all.” They argue about their perspective on things, and there are flashbacks to before Krypton’s destruction.
Max Lord goes on tv, and covers up the attack on his company, telling the media it was “industrial espionage.” Kara and her friends are curious about this, and Jimmy Olsen ends up going off to play spy and find out about it, with Wynn’s reluctant help. Kara herself, meanwhile, is freaking out about Cat being sure Kara is Supergirl. These scenes are some of the worst done of the show, both writing and acting wise. That’s too bad, because I usually enjoy the Cat Grant scenes, and they didn’t to a lot for me this time around.
Non calls the DEO to up the tension levels. He wants a prisoner exchange- Astra for Henshaw. Lane, of course, isn’t going to go for it. He uses some “enhanced interrogation” techniques on Astra that are pretty ugly. Non, on his end, gets frustrated when his telepath can’t read Henshaw’s mind. Non and his underlings believe that the DEO came up with some kind of psi-shields, but never follow up on that thought to search him for whatever’s blocking the mental powers. That’s sloppy writing.
James’ attempt at playing spy goes badly, and Max is now acting a lot more like a flat-out villain. The more they go down this road, the more they are writing Max like Lex Luthor. They really need to find a way to distinguish the two, and so far they haven’t. In the other backup plot, Cat keeps quizzing Kara about her life, trying to trip her up, and delivers an ultimatum to Kara as well. Honestly, neither of these subplots did a lot for me.
Lane, confident that he’s getting good results, launches a rescue attempt to get Henshaw back. Predictably, Supergirl shows up, and equally predictably, Lane is pissed off about it. Also, to no surprise, it’s a trap that goes badly. Supergirl manages to save a few lives, but it’s an ugly mess.
After more soap opera scenes and flashbacks, they finally agree to the prisoner exchange. There’s some drama, but it goes off in the end, which is what you’d expect. There was a lot of potential here to do some serious changes to the status quo, but they didn’t do anything that brave.
There are a few wrap up scenes. Kara finally learns Henshaw’s secret, and they use that to “prove” to Cat that Kara isn’t Supergirl. This is a trick they did many times in the comics, and it’s nice to see it here. There’s also some set up for a scheme that Lord is developing, and another text chat between Kara and Clark.
What I liked: Henshaw helping preserve Kara’s secret identity was a nice nod to a comic book trope. Lane’s temporary appointment was obnoxious, but it made sense.
What I didn’t: The bad outweighed the good this time around for me. Henshaw’s classifying the succession made no sense, and really, how many people have died now so Henshaw can hide who he is? He needs to take some responsibility for what he can do. Lord is getting more and more stereotypical villain. The family drama scenes were overdone, and the “blood bonds…” saying was used too many times. The James as spy bit wasn’t really well done; him running around with his camera looked kind of silly.
I’m giving this one a 2.5 out of 5. I have enjoyed the series overall, but this was not one of their better ones.