‘Supergirl’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 1 Episode 9: ‘Blood Bonds’
Welcome back to Supergirl Guys, our regular feature breaking down the highs and lows of CBS’s Supergirl TV show starring Melissa Benoist. Your travelling companions on this journey are Superman super-fan Chris Haley, and Flash recap veteran Dylan Todd.
This week, Supergirl faces some family secrets and a troublesome aunt, Kara tries to face down her boss’s suspicions, and the boys go off and have a subplot. “Blood Bonds,” was directed by Steven Shill and written by Ted Sullivan and Derek Simon.
Dylan: So this episode picks up right where we left off before the holidays, with Non and his gang of Alien super-army storming Lord Technologies and the DEO trying — and failing — to repel them. Kara shows up, fights Non a little, but he takes off with Hank Henshaw, which is probably the best case scenario at this point, as he is, you know, the Martian Manhunter. Meanwhile, Astra is still in DEO custody, Cat figured out Kara is Supergirl, and something else is going on that I’m probably forgetting? How’d you like the episode? Do you think it resolved the cliffhangers okay?
Chris: Don’t forget about the less-than-super spy James Olsen subplot. My overall review of the episode was that I liked it okay. I liked some parts, I didn’t like some parts so much. Nothing I hated, but there were just a few things in this episode that kinda made me roll my eyes or do that exasperated sigh… which is not really what I’m used to from Supergirl! But maybe it was just me having an off day. But several things certainly got pulled up from or kicked off of that cliff ledge, that’s for sure! What’d you think?
Dylan: Welcome to the Exasperated Sigh Club! Now that we’re almost halfway through the first season, a lot of the rhythm of the show is sort of wearing on me, namely the stretch in the middle of every episode, between action pieces, where everybody talks about their feelings and stuff for ten minutes. Feelings, yuck. I think the show is at its best when it stays light and breezy and action-y, and steers clear of soapy subplots or pathos, but here we are. This episode sort of had too much of that for my tastes, though I probably enjoyed it more than you did.
We also saw the return of General Lane, who continues to be a baby-headed jerkface. What did you think of his return?
Chris: I guess it canonically makes sense that they’d have him be the one in charge, but this was one of those little instances that bugged me. It felt a little bit like, “We can only have so many actors on the payroll” to me. Or at best, it was, “We don’t have time to introduce some new jerk, so here’s one you’re already familiar with”. Is that just me? Am I being unfair?
Dylan: No, that makes sense. I was a little put off by how quickly he went full villain, almost immediately resorting to torture to get Astra to give up Non’s location, but then again, this is America in 2016.
I’m fine with Lane becoming a recurring antagonist, to be honest. With him being Lucy’s dad, it’s going to be hard to keep him out of the show and the more they can fold him into DEO plots, the better.
Lots of Krypton flashbacks this episode, which sort of fleshed out Kara’s mom and aunt’s relationship before the whole “planet blew up” thing.
Chris: Yeah, that fly through of… probably Argo City, looked very expensive! There were a few other places in this episode where I thought the effects looked a little dicey and I wondered if they ate up too much of their budget on that shot.
I think I said something about this in our last column, but the way the Krypton Alura/Astra flashbacks kept just having more and more reveals was starting to wear on me, and now, finally, they seem to have given us the whole truth. It was this whole back and forth of auntie was bad, no mom was bad, no but really auntie was bad, no but mom tricked her and sent her to jail and Kara’s world view is turned on it’s head, or was auntie lying?! I guess now they get to have their cake and eat it too, by having them both be sort of philosophically right, but mom was still a good person who loved her sister and auntie isn’t so evil.
Dylan: So Cat figured out that Kara was Supergirl, which led to a pretty fun little segment where Kara had to find a way to prove her otherwise. And while I liked the subplot, I thought Cat’s ultimatum seemed a little nonsensical.
Chris: I mean, she’s sort of a ridiculous character at times, so it didn’t bother me too badly. I know this is jumping ahead slightly, but I prepared an image for the occasion…
Our prediction hubris record stands tall and proud moving into 2016! I may even have another bold prediction to make by the end of this episode. How about you?
Dylan: I will leave the prognostication to you.
Chris: How do you feel about them using the old “use your shape-shifting alien associate to maintain your secret identity” trick? I recall some people in the comments for last episode saying they’d feel cheated if they took this route, but I’m completely fine with it.
Dylan: I’m fine with it. It made sense and, given the corner Cat painted Kara into, it’s a completely fine solution. I just don’t get why Cat has to be so pig-headed about Kara being Supergirl. I thought we left that scene with a certain amount of begrudging respect, but nope, she just wants to blow up Kara’s spot to sell newspapers. Like I said, it made no sense to me, but here we are.
Max Lord sort of heel-turned here, yeah? I mean, sure, he blew up sizeable chunks of his building, putting many innocents in peril in order to get a better handle on Supergirl’s powers, but threatening a tied-up James with a wrench somehow drove home the point that he is a bad dude who is not to be trusted. I’m… kind of bummed by this. Don’t get me wrong, the show needs an overarching nemesis and Lord seems to fit the description, but I liked the grey area they had him in so far this season. Do you feel like they turned him into The Bad Guy too soon?
Chris: You know, I hadn’t thought it was too soon until you said that, but now you’ve got me thinking. I definitely felt like it was a real “we’re drawing a hard line in the sand about this character” moment. You can’t really go back to being flirty with Alex after you beat up Jimmy Olsen while he’s strapped to a chair. I don’t think it was necessarily too soon, but I think a case could be made for either argument.
It’ll really depend on where they go with it from here, and I think we got a pretty strong indicator of what’s up his sleeve in that final scene. (Hint: I’m guessing this is gonna be our Bizarro Supergirl.) Either way, it was a fairly brutal scene.
Dylan: Oh, that’s a nice call on Bizarro Supergirl. It’s a concept that “normal” people are familiar with and sets ups a fun, possibly recurring villain for Kara to face off against. I think most of my Maxwell Lord side-eye comes from the fact that I’m reading through the Keith Giffen/JM DeMatteis/Kevin Maguire/et al Justice League run from the late-80s that introduced the character and I’m wishing we had more of that guy in here instead of Lex Luthor Jr, but oh well.
Chris: Speaking of brutal, did you think that scene with General Lane torturing Astra was pretty intense too?
Dylan: Yeah, it was gross. If I never see somebody get tortured in a superhero thing ever again, I will be a happy man. I will say that I thought this article by the Legal Geeks was a pretty interesting look at the legality of Lane’s DEO coup.
Chris: We don’t normally do this kind of thing, but I have to point out this hilarious tweet from the official Supergirl Twitter account.
I did not make this up. That is a real tweet from the official account of a big budget, major network television show. I just couldn’t stop laughing at how ridiculous/cute it was that they were like, “This quote is so good, we’ve gotta find a way to make it work!”
I think I’ve complained a lot this week or at least more than usual for me, so I want to point out a specific moment I really liked. This is a small thing, but that shot of Supergirl slowly flying above the military convoy that just looks like they really have someone on wires “flying” has so much more verisimilitude than even great CGI. I’m going to feel like a real dumbass if it turns out it was CGI, but it just looked so slow and uneventful that it felt real, if that makes any sense at all. It’s the little moments like that that keep my positivity for this show high.
Dylan: My favorite moment was when Clark Kent is yet again too busy to actually show up but does manage to IM Kara to drive the emotional thesis of the episode home by talking about how “blood bonds us all.” Which is great and all, but bro: there is an army of evil Kryptonians out there and maybe you can put the smartphone down long enough to help your cousin clean them up? Or will that cut into your valuable neck-snapping time? SMDH.
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