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REVIEW: Supergirl 1×09 “Blood Bonds”

Well that was a short break, wasn’t it? Most shows take at least a month off in their midseason break, but Supergirl didn’t waste any time. Unfortunately, I think the show definitely needed that longer break to polish up its latest episode. “Blood Bonds” was another “meh” installment in an otherwise great show, and it has me slightly worried for the rest of the season. (spoilers ahead!)

We last left the show with Supergirl and Non flying at each other, about to engage in a big smackdown. I thought this would be the brawl of the century, but it ended up being anticlimactic. Usually, that first episode back from the mid-season break is meant to kick things off with a bang. This ended up being more of a fizzle.

Towards the end of the fight, Non snatches up Hank Henshaw and flies away. Now the DEO has a hostage situation on their hands. Alex Danvers is appointed as acting director while the department works out a strategy to retrieve Hank. At the same time, the big bad military steps in with the intent to do things the hard way. And by hard way, I mean injecting Astra with kryptonite and torturing her for information on where Hank can be found. It’s a pretty dark moment in the episode when you first see Astra being tortured, but I’m still not sure whether I’m supposed to feel sorry for her or not. At the beginning of the season, you expected Astra to just be this villainous overlord bent on defeating her niece. Instead, it appears that she’s more of a sympathetic villain who is simply acting upon orders from her overbearing husband. Personally, I like to imagine Astra as the big bad since she’s got the closer blood ties to Supergirl.

Speaking of Supergirl, she’s got a lot on her plate now that Cat Grant has deduced her secret identity. Through the whole episode, Kara vehemently denies the allegations and tries her hardest to convince Cat that she’s wrong. It goes back and forth between them, and while it seemed annoying at first, my perspective changed when I realized Cat’s true intentions.

Cat doesn’t want to know Supergirl’s identity purely because it’s a hot scoop. The truth is that she doesn’t like the fact that Kara is working in an office building when she could be out saving the world as Supergirl. In short, Cat wants Kara to be a hero instead of wasting her time. It further proves my earlier point about how Cat does indeed have a heard deep down inside her and that she ultimately cares for others.

The military, Non, and Cat Grant weren’t the only ones stirring up trouble this episode. Maxwell Lord is up to his same old douchey ways. By the way, I’m still convinced that he’s going to sleep with Alex at some point. I can just tell. But anyway, his shadiness attracts the attention of James Olsen, who decides to sneak around his building to get more answers. The next thing you know, James is knocked out and tied up in a chair in a secret room at Lord Technologies. Maxwell proceeds to beat the crap out of him while warning him about the consequences of future meddling. My favorite part? Lord actually mentions that he’d like to face James like a man, and then proceeds to beat the crap out of him while he’s still strapped in a chair. Yeah, you sure showed him!

The episode hits its climax with the DEO and Non exchanging prisoners – Astra for Hank. Surprise, surprise, Non has planned an ambush. I was hoping that this would be the moment where we got to see Hank finally use his J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter powers in action. Just one super punch is all I wanted. Is that too much to ask for? Instead, before Non’s soldiers can vaporize the DEO troops, Astra steps in and forces them to stand down.

But at least we got to see J’onn use his powers in a different manner. In one of the final scenes, Kara and Supergirl appear in the same room in front of Cat’s eyes. Cat then declares that she was wrong about her suspicions. She also says that Kara and Supergirl really look nothing alike. No comment.

The big twist is that J’onn disguised himself as Supergirl (after Kara discovered his identity thanks to Alex making a passing reference to his transformation powers). Overall, it was a very clever way to make Martian Manhunter’s role in the show relevant, but I’m getting impatient waiting for him to kick some ass!

“Blood Bonds” was a fun ride, albeit a bit rushed. I think Supergirl could’ve used a longer break to hash out a better episode plan. For now, we’ll have to wait and see if the rest of the season feels rushed as well, or if the show quickly regains its footing.

Final Grade: B –

+ It was clever how Hank and Kara tricked Cat with the Supergirl ruse.

+ Solid performances all around.

+ Decent progression on the Astra storyline.

– Oh, come on – Cat can’t say Kara and Supergirl don’t look anything alike; that’s a bold-faced lie. Hopefully she’s just trying to be snippy and she’s not actually being serious.

– I really wanted to see Hank transform into Martian Manhunter during the ambush.

– The initial and climax scenes were underwhelming.

Extra Thoughts

– Did we get a glimpse of Bizarro Supergirl at the end?

Were you satisfied with this episode of Supergirl? When do you think Hank will finally join Supergirl in battle? 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!