Features TV

REVIEW: Supergirl 1×08 “Hostile Takeover”

Written by Alex Reale

And another show hits the mid-season mark this week! But have no fear – Supergirl will only be on break for a few weeks before it returns to CBS, so we won’t be kept in suspense for too long. “Hostile Takeover” was another decent installment in the Kryptonian superhero’s televised saga, and the cliffhanger definitely has us anxiously awaiting for the show’s return. (spoilers ahead!)

As we saw at the end of last week’s episode, Astra finally returns! It’s a little odd how Astra was introduced in the pilot as the big bad of the series, but she only JUST returned to the show after a long absence. Once again, this isn’t exactly a new concept when it comes to Greg Berlanti and his television shows, but it’s starting to get stale. His formula is becoming predictable. It’s almost at the point where you can line up his shows on three separate televisions next to each other, and pinpoint the exact moment where they all sync up.

But as the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Why should they fix something that is clearly working? I love all of Berlanti’s shows, even Supergirl. The only question is, how long until we get tired of the rehashed storylines and predictable settings?

I’m straying too much from the review. Let’s just talk about this episode of Supergirl.

Astra is back in full form, and she’s not wasting anymore time. With her legion of Kryptonian cohorts (including her husband, Non), she’s now dedicated to recruiting Supergirl to her cause. But it’s not like Astra is exactly evil. No, no. In fact, we’re starting to learn about how she may actually be a hero in her own regard.

Through a series of flashbacks, we see how Astra and her sister Alura got into a bit of a quarrel regarding the fate of Krypton. Astra wanted to save the planet while her sister tried to stop her. Now, Astra believes that Earth is suffering from the same problems and might soon be destroyed as well. Supergirl is caught in a moral conundrum as she decides whether she should trust her aunt or not. These matters are only made more complicated when Kara discovers that her mother essentially used her as bait to arrest Astra. Life ain’t easy when you’re Supergirl…

We see some decent fight scenes throughout the episode when Alex and SG are sparring, and when Astra and Supergirl finally come to blows. Going back to picking on Berlanti, I have to say that he knows how to properly showcase a good superhero fight scene. Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl – all of them always have great visual effects and choreographed fights. I’m still waiting for the day when these three heroes finally meet up on screen and join forces to tackle some huge baddie. Please, oh please, let it happen one day.

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 at 6.59.31 PM

Astra is captured and held in a special DEO prison, which leads to her revealing her true benevolent intentions to Supergirl. The performances by the entire cast are excellent. There’s great chemistry with everyone involved, and all of the relationships between the characters feel organic and un-forced (unlike a certain relationship on Arrow). It’s awesome how this episode was able to cram so much development into an already action-packed storyline. It’s times like these that I wish the show could be a bit longer (or that it suffered from less commercials!).

The only thing that I really disliked about this episode was the CatCo hacking subplot. Someone apparently hacked Cat’s emails, threatening to reveal incriminating information that could possibly cause her to back out of the company. Kara, Winn, and James all work together to bring the perpetrator to justice, and while we see more development happening with the CatCo crew, the story ultimately slowed down the entire episode. There are better ways to incorporate these subplots into the main story arc – just look at the “Livewire”. This hacking story was clearly thrown together in an effort to show more of Cat’s background, but I just felt like it was crammed in at the last minute. They could’ve found a better way to integrate it into the story.

“Hostile Takeover” concludes on a major cliffhanger where Non leads his Kryptonian lackeys in an assault on Lord Technologies. It seems that Astra intentionally got herself captured by the DEO as a method of distraction, which makes you wonder if she really is a well-meaning person, or if her entire shtick was a ploy to distract Supergirl.

The last shot of the episode features SG and Non flying at each other, ready to partake in a Kryptonian beatdown. I can already guess what will happen next: Supergirl will get her ass kicked, but someone (maybe Alex or Superman) will save her at the last minute.

Looks like we’ll have to wait to get an answer when Supergirl returns from its short winter break.

Final Grade: B

+ The fight scenes were well-shot.

+ Excellent performances by the cast.

+ Hell of a cliffhanger!

– The hacking subplot fell flat and only slowed down the episode.

– The parts with Astra, Alura, and Non were slightly difficult to follow, and they required re-watching to fully understand.

– It’s odd how the show took so long to revisit the Astra storyline when she appears to be the main antagonist. Not a new concept for Berlanti, though.

Extra Thoughts:

– It’s about damn time Cat figured out Supergirl’s identity! Now let’s see who else wises up.

– I liked Henshaw’s passing reference to Superman knowing about (and being resistant to) his telepathy; I wonder if this means that the two have worked together before (possibly via the Justice League).

How did you feel about the Supergirl finale? Are you excited for the show to come back? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!