Supergirl S01E09 “Blood Bonds” REVIEW

Supergirl S01E09 “Blood Bonds” REVIEW

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stars 3
Airing in the UK on Sky 1, new episodes every Friday
Writers: Ted Sullivan and Derek Simon
Director: Steve Shill

Essential Plot Points:

  • The episode starts off right where we left off last time, with Non and Kara going head-to-head over Astra’s confinement. During the scuffle Non kidnaps Hank, and now it’s up to Kara and the DEO to negotiate terms to get him back.
  • Alex briefly takes over the DEO before General Lane takes over the operation, and begins to use Kryptonite on Astra.
  • Maxwell Lord is trying to cover up the incident, and James and Winn are suspicious of why this is so they try to break into his lab.
  • Meanwhile, Cat is onto Kara and is determined to get her to admit to being Supergirl.

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Review:

It’s been some time since Supergirl was last seen on our screens in the UK, but now she’s back and is about to face one of her toughest fights yet: choosing between her family or duty.

Kicking off (quite literally) where the series left off last time, Kara is up against Non and after a brief scuffle the latter decides to kidnap Hank Henshaw so that he can be exchanged for Astra. “Blood Bonds” tackles one of the more interesting topics to come up in the series so far, as things are not going Kara’s way and she is pitted against both her family and Maxwell Lord in the episode.

Despite all the drama, though, it is Cat trying to get Kara to admit to being Supergirl that’s the highlight of the episode. Her determination to trip her up by questioning her about her school life, and even going so far as to ask her to leave if she can’t prove that she is definitely not Supergirl was quite amusing. Cat also has the best lines of the episode thanks to these exchanges, so it was frustrating that Kara tricked her so easily into believing that she was not Supergirl by using a shapeshifter. It was a great way to progress the plot before the series went on a break, but now this episode has undone all that. It would have been a lot more interesting if they just let Cat find out that Kara is Supergirl. Given how many people are aware of who she is, why can’t Cat know?

While Kara’s relationships with those around her during her normal day-to-day life provide the entertainment, her interactions with people as Supergirl are quite different. The development of her relationship with Astra takes an interesting turn, for example, as it gives Kara the chance to come to terms with her feelings for her aunt and also gives her time to start to accept her aunt’s ideology. The development of their relationship is quite strong in this episode, especially when it comes to comparing Kara to her cousin Kal-el. Unlike him she has memories of her life on Krypton so her connection and commitement to humanity may not be as strong.

It wasn’t all that surprising that Astra was set free given that she’s one of the main villains of the series, so it will be exciting to see how Kara deals with her in future episodes. While Astra and Kara’s exchanges were an interesting development in “Blood Bonds” the flashbacks to when Kara’s mother Alura had Astra imprisoned did not work at all, mainly because of Laura Benanti’s wooden delivery. It’s not easy to take on two characters, but since there was no distinct difference between Alura and Astra in this scene it meant that the performance fell flat. Also, despite having two villains up against her not a lot really seemed to happen in this episode as it struggled to choose between which one was more important. This is particularly the case with Maxwell Lord, as he just seems like someone trying to get someone else’s attention (“notice me, senpai!”) rather than a full-fledged villain yet. We will have to wait and see.

 

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The Good:

  • Cat’s witty comments about Kara being Supergirl are the highlight of the episode. She’s very charming as she tries to trip Kara up, and also gives the best lines.
  • Kara, James and Winn’s relationship is fun to watch; they have a lot of chemistry so the dynamic between them works really well.
  • The development of the relationship between Kara and Astra is interesting.
  • “How do you think I caught Lance Armstrong?”
  • “Aww, you can’t kick lasers can you?”
  • “My security isn’t state of the art – it is art.”
  • “Unless he has superpowers you’re not telling me about, we have to help him.”
  • “Kiera, there are many topics that I find appropriate for humour – English cuisine, black lipstick – but I will never make a joke about a good story.”

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The Bad:

  • The action sequences in this episode end far too soon, so any build-up of intensity is just wasted. This is especially true when Kara is facing an army of Kryptonians.
  • Both Astra’s and Maxwell Lord’s roles as villains seem weak, as both are vying for Kara’s attention but neither are quite compelling enough to carry an episode on their own.
  • Why can’t Cat know about Kara being Supergirl? It would be more interesting if she was in the know, and using a shape-shifter to keep her in the dark is frustrating when her witty remarks about Kara’s vigilante ways are the best part of “Blood Bonds”.
  • Astra’s delivery of her lines during the flashbacks to Krypton is quite flat. This is mainly because Laura Benanti isn’t able to deliver a convincing double-act.

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And the Random:

  • The characters mention blood bonds an awful lot in the episode. Go on, try counting to see how many times they say it. On health grounds we’re not suggesting a drinking game, though.
  • Maxwell Lord’s secret experiment is in room 52, a reference to DC Comics’ New 52 line.

Review by Roxy Simons


 

 

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