Martin Carr reviews the ninth episode of Supergirl…
If ‘Hostile Takeover’ seemed truncated in its need to leave us hanging, then ‘Blood Bonds’ seeks to remedy its predecessor’s tardiness. Launching back into that monumental smack down with gusto. Which results in a huge crater and one director of the DEO being taken hostage. In true fashion this pitch battle kicks off and dissipates quickly enough to establish story without feeling forced. Bringing with it that full season greenlit bravado, which accompanies any serial with confidence and Nielsen numbers to spare.
That last paragraph may sound conceited but what Supergirl has done and continues doing, is take nothing for granted. Yes tropes are acknowledged and geek culture references snuck in everywhere, but this detracts little from Supergirls appeal. Whether exploring the conflicted nature of Max and Alex’s relationship, or the dichotomy which exists between Alura and Astra. Supergirl remains interesting because these characters are fleshed out and grounded, in spite their circumstances.
Take shapeshifter J’onn J’onzz who is sworn to protect Alex and Kara, yet masquerades in plain sight as human Hank Henshaw. Or look to Maxwell Lord that mad scientist in a sharp suit which every show should have. These men are stereotypes who adhere to comic book conventions. Yet Harewood and Facinelli have taken them and made them fallible. Which anything based in fantasy requires in order to connect with an audience.
This week what gives Supergirl an edge is that element of darkness personified by General Lane’s treatment of Astra. Simply name checking The Day The Earth Stood Still, these writers effectively demonstrate his blinked view without fanfare or digression. In truth Non and Lane are two sides of the same coin, while Benoist and Benanti’s Astra represent their opposite number. However beyond the preoccupation with family ties Supergirl still manages to break things up. Whether that’s through the continuing Kara and Cat dynamic, or the tag team partnership of James and Winn. One doing all the action set pieces, while another taps away behind a keyboard. Sort of like low-budget Cruise and Pegg circa Mission: Impossible III, minus Seymour Hoffman and rabbits feet.
So what ‘Blood Bonds’ brings to the table is a confident continuation. That assurance and character driven plot which got us here to begin with. Benoist continues knocking it out of the park, whilst being ably supported by all and sundry. As next week marks the half way point, I predict that there will be no disappointments and these guys will just keep running with the ball. Can’t say I’m not curious about the trauma patient strapped to that gurney though. You gotta love those megalomaniac, billionaire philanthropists. Where would heroes be without them? Out of a job I suspect.