'Supergirl' 1×09 Review: Heroes Find A Way

Life is full of hardships that really test your character and strength. Where hardships push you to the edge where you teeter between what’s right and what you know is wrong and yet you feel compelled to act upon in a moment of heated rage. It’s called being human. Or alien in Kara’s instance.
In the midseason premiere of Supergirl, Kara was faced with several challenges that tested her morals when she felt everything was crumbling down right before her. Whether it was the need to get Hank Henshaw back from Non or trying to get through to Astra or dealing with Cat Grant’s persistent insistence that she’s Supergirl or Maxwell Lord’s ill intentions, Kara eventually reached a breaking point where she was bordering Astra-like behavior as the anger swelled within her.
What have become two of the most compelling dynamics on the show with Kara and Astra and Kara and Cat were both focal points in “Blood Bonds.”
Since her debut in the series premiere, Astra has evolved from a one-dimensional villain to a multi-dimensional antagonist that is compelling in her endgame. While Astra was a different person back on Krypton, there’s no denying that Astra still greatly cares about Kara now that she’s escaped hell in Fort Rozz and is plotting a takeover of Earth. In this episode we got to see Astra without the charades that came with distracting Kara. We saw that perhaps there’s still some humanity left in Astra, and the key to redeeming her is Kara.
Following the midseason finale where Cat Grant learned that Kara was Supergirl — or more like pieced together obvious bits of evidence and made a declaration — we were left to wonder what would become of the situation. Just how long could Kara keep denying to Cat that which was truth? Turns out Kara still is.
We saw Cat’s persistent insistence that Kara is Supergirl, and Kara kept on denying it even though it was obvious there was no convincing Cat otherwise. After some of the cuteness, things got serious when Cat realized that every time Kara is at the office that innocent people are left to fend for themselves. So Cat gives Kara an ultimatum: convince me you’re not Supergirl or you’re fired. But after Kara doesn’t admit it and quits her job, Kara gets a little help from Hank Henshaw to definitively convince Cat that Kara isn’t Supergirl. Henshaw shapeshifts into Supergirl and Kara walks in on the pair leaving Cat shocked and redacting new story.

I admit I'm disappointed that Cat doesn't definitevely know the truth, but one has to wonder just how long this will last? Because at this point it's not if Cat learns that Kara is Supergirl but when. And when she does learn that things are going to be interesting.
Here is a look at some more highlights from "Blood Bonds."

Hank Henshaw Kidnapped

Let's be honest, were we ever really worried about Hank Henshaw -- I mean J'onn J'onzz -- 's safety after Non kidnapped him as leverage for Astra? (Sorry, I don't know what it is about these secret identities but I can't help but call him Henshaw even though he isn't. I still do it with Harrison Wells aka Eobard Thawne). Henshaw's secret identity is incredibly important so there was no way that he'd reveal himself unless entirely necessary to, say, save lives. But Non did what was to be expected and kidnapped Henshaw as a means to trade his life for Astra's, which ended up working in the end. But not before Kara planted some compassionate seeds within Astra that might be the thing that ultimately saves Astra from complete destruction. But following the whole debacle, Kara finally found out the truth about Hank, making her and Alex the only ones that know. But more than anything we learned that it's Henshaw's secret identity that is his greatest asset. He's able to control the DEO from a better standpoint than say General Lane, who'd take over if the truth about Henshaw was discovered. They're all safer with the DEO behind Director Henshaw.

Maxwell Lord's Plan for Revenge

If there's anything we've known from the start about Maxwell Lord it's that he's not a good guy. But after watching "Blood Bonds," I'm convinced he's just as evil as Astra, Non and their gang. Just because he's human doesn't mean that what he's doing is acceptable nor forgivable. You can't help but agree with certain things that Astra has remarked on about the humans. While they fault her for murdering people -- her people -- what makes people like General Lane or Lord so different from her when they've done the same? Just because they're human doesn't give them an out. They're responsible for taking lives, and they are not honorable despite their beliefs that they're doing what must be done. When you look at it like that, so was Astra. But Lord is bordering Astra territory when it comes to his intended revenge, which has me wondering if we'll be faced with an alien vs. human battle that might have some humans choosing the side of the aliens because of what Lord is doing. Speaking of what he's doing, what the hell was that at the end? We know that Lord has some big plan that is secret from virtually anyone not in his inner circle -- look at what he did when James broke inside to try and find out what secret he was hiding. It seems like he's invested some time into finding someone who will act as a weapon against the Kryptonians. And it looks like he might've found her. And it doesn't look good.

Fort Rozz Flashbacks

I'm not one to count flashbacks as a big draw for these superhero shows -- I'm looking at you, Arrow -- but I've found myself quite intrigued about Supergirl's flashbacks to Fort Rozz as it provides some exposition for that which we do not know. It's relevant to the story, to the characters, and to the relationship between Kara and Astra. In "Blood Bonds" flashbacks, we picked up at Astra and Non's sentencing. In the beginning all we saw was Astra's influenced flashbacks painting Astra as the victimized and Alura as the villain. How Alura was seemingly ignoring the threats against Krypton's survival and sentencing Astra and Non to a lifetime imprisonment on Fort Rozz. But by episode's end when Kara and Astra had a heart-to-heart, Kara begged Astra to come clean about the entire truth. Where it wasn't just about using Kara's mother to break her emotionally. And Astra came clean. We saw that while Alura was indeed sentencing Astra to imprisonment it had nothing to do with her wanting to fight for Krypton. In fact, Alura assured her that she'd do whatever it took -- by morally right standards -- to continue Astra's vision to protect Krypton. But Alura couldn't ignore all of the wrong that Astra had done. She'd killed people in order to fight for what she believed in. So instead of fighting for Krypton with anger, Alura vowed that she'd fight for it with compassion.


Episode 1x10 "Childish Things"

Monday, January 11, 8/7c, CBS

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.

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