Check out Our Review [WITH SPOILERS] of Supergirl Episode 9: “Blood Bonds.”
Nowhere did my nerd brain ever imagine that one day it would witness a super-battle on prime time network television between Supergirl, Martian Manhunter, and Non of Krypton, but this DC Universe slug-fest took place on a rather enjoyable transition episode of Supergirl.
As we returned from the brief winter break, things picked up fast and furious as Kara and Non were locked in intense combat. Once again, the SFX budget on this show continues to impress as the fight looked great. When Supergirl got the upper hand, Non took Director Hank Henshaw as a hostage and we were off. Little did Non know, he actually kidnapped the mighty J’onn J’onzz, but the Martian was reluctant to reveal his true nature to his enemies.
His nature was revealed to Supergirl and I’m happy we didn’t have to sit through a prolonged period of Kara in the dark about Henshaw. The whole keeping secrets thing got played out on Arrow years ago and I’m glad all our players have their cards on the table about their secret identities.
Well, almost all. Cat Grant is convinced Kara is indeed Supergirl. Sadly, Cat wasn’t being very kind about it and threatened to fire Kara; the job at Cat CO. was a distraction to a hero who should be out saving people instead of making coffee and sending faxes (do people still send faxes, where do we stand on this?).
Kara continued to deny her heroic identity but that was the last of her problems as Non wanted to trade Henshaw for the imprisoned Astra. Now, Supergirl had to choose between duty and family, a choice made difficult by the fact that General Sam Lane took it upon himself to torture Supergirl’s imprisoned aunt. Astra was played as the victim this week as Lane got all Patriot Act on her and tortured her with Kryptonite. Of course, Supergirl holds herself to higher standards and was horrified by these events. We got to see Astra’s sentencing on Krypton through a series of well handled flashbacks as we learned that Supergirl’s mom took up Astra’s cause of warning people against Krypton’s eventual destruction after Astra was imprisoned. The show has been doing a very good job of developing Supergirl’s mom beyond the usually saintly ghost figure we have seen in so many Superman stories. She was flawed but self assured just like her daughter and it is always great to see some Kryptonian mythology play out on TV. Hey, whatever happened to the propped Syfy mini-series Krypton anyway? Isn’t fandom clamoring for the adventures of Superman’s great grandpa El? No? Hello?
Anyway, things were further complicated for Supergirl by the fact that the morally ambiguous Maxwell Lord was holding a secret within the bowels of his company, a secret Winn and James Olsen were determined to find. Olsen went all old school man of action, camera and all, to break into Lord HQ and find what was in room 52 (52!). Olsen got himself caught and had to enjoy a similar interrogation to the one Astra had to endure. Long story short, he never discovered what was in room 52. It is probably the script to the upcoming Justice League film.
Supergirl was too distracted by saving Henshaw and coming to terms with the fact that her boss is a Martian. She also had to somehow prove to Cat that she wasn’t Supergirl or else lose her job. Astra and Henshaw were the first priority and Alex and Supergirl went off to exchange the prisoners. Things almost went off without a hitch until Non surrounded the heroes with dozens of Kryptonians. Kara was in for it until Astra ordered the men to stand down. It seemed that honor was still important to Aunt Astra after all and with Henshaw back, all agreed to leave the fight for another day. But I was looking forward to seeing Martian Manhunter throw down with some Kryptonian bad-assess.
Astra continued to be a fascinating shades of gray character as she operated with a keen sense of honor. After all, all her crimes were committed in the name of saving her planet. She is a good parallel to the Man of Steel version of General Zod, a true patriot who is fighting for the sanctity of his people but so blinded by duty that there is no recognition of the immorality of his actions.
A less effective villain was Maxwell Lord who was like Lex Luthor lite. There is no difference between Max and the more modern versions of Lex and I wish the series would look to the comics to deliver us a more traditional Lord. He can be evil, God knows the comic version was, but there should be a certain smarmy charm to Lord instead of just a beat by beat, generic Lex clone. That’s not to say I’m not intrigued about who that black eyed girl is in room 52, I just wish whatever that secret is, there was a more interesting string puller beyond the answers. Oh, by the by, room 52 also contained the arm of Red Tornado so we might have the rise of a DC heroic great to look forward to sometime soon.
As for Cat, of course Supergirl and J’onn J’onzz pulled the old shape shift switcheroo on Cat and had Kara and Supergirl appear in the same room at the same time. The show continued to vacillate between Cat being a supportive mother figure and a J. Jonah Jameson-like patsy, but it was fun to see the old Martian Manhunter stand in for a secret identity gag played out on TV. The series is much stronger with an accurate and fun version of J’onn J’onzz as one of the main protagonists.
This week’s Supergirl might have been a transition episode, but it was a fun one as the board is set for all our major players as we head into the back ten episode of this always delightful series.