‘Supergirl’ Wrestles With the Truth About Her Family in ‘Blood Bonds’

Supergirl Recap Episode 9
Courtesy of CBS

Spoiler alert: Do not read on unless you’ve seen episode nine of “Supergirl,” titled “Blood Bonds.”

After a two-week hiatus, “Supergirl” returns with a powerful episode that explores Astra’s character — her motives, and the space between good and evil. The DEO is caught in a standoff with Non that (unfortunately) brings General Lane back into the picture. Finally, Cat is determined to get Kara to admit to her super alter-ego.

The episode picks up right where it left off in December in a battle to keep Non and his henchmen from invading Lord Enterprises. The stakes are set as Non captures Hank Henshaw (oh no!). Considering what we know about Hank’s secret identity, it’s a little unclear why he wouldn’t use his superpowers and escape captivity. At the end of the episode Hank explains that it’s important for him to keep his identity a secret in order to keep from making the same mistake he made when Alex’s father died, and he also needs to continue to lead the DEO. But in such dire circumstances, in the hands of evil, not blowing Non away must have taken levels of self-control that exceed human comprehension.

Meanwhile, when Lord covers up the attack in the press, James and Winn want to figure out what the businessman is hiding by doing the only thing imaginable — breaking into Lord Enterprises. Traditional locks and lasers are no match for the duo, but Lord catches James at a door with an especially complex lock, and holds him captive. Lord ultimately lets James go, but not without threatening him to back off. When Kara finds out that James and Winn went behind her back, she is devastated. But the two suitors calm her fury, and the three hold hands in solidarity.

Back to the standoff, with Hank in captivity, Alex is in charge of the DEO (and Director Danvers sure does have a nice ring to it). Supergirl confronts Astra, who tries to convert the hero with the Kryptonian proverb “Blood bonds us all.” Aurora echoes the same phrase in a flashback to Krypton one year before the planet was destroyed.

Non gives the DEO 48 hours to trade Astra for Hank, which brings the US Army back in to take charge of the mission. With them comes the show’s greatest villain of all, General Lane, who even goes so far as to inject Astra with Kryptonite. Not cool, General Lane, not cool.

Astra’s character has some interesting developments in this episode. While she has had some sympathetic moments in the past, this time around we really get to see her sensitive side. For one, she tells Supergirl the truth about her mother — Aurora believed in Astra, but ultimately had to follow the law and punish her. Also, during the episode’s final standoff as Astra and Hank are released to their respective sides, Astra saves Hank, Alex and Supergirl by calling off Non’s henchmen. With the line between good and evil drawn so clearly for most of the show’s characters, it’s nice to have Astra dance in the grey area.

In the episode’s B plot (which is arguably more captivating than the action-packed A plot) Cat gives Kara the ultimatum — either prove she’s not Supergirl, or lose her job. With enough sexual tension to send shipper’s imaginations spinning, Kara tries to convince Cat to let her keep the job, but Cat doesn’t budge and Kara resigns. Later, in a stroke of convenient timing, Supergirl finds out that Hank is actually J’onn J’onzz — a shapeshifter from Mars — and the two stop by Cat’s office (J’onzz in the form of Supergirl) to convince Cat that Kara isn’t Supergirl. It’s one of the most precious moments of the season so far, and we all get to heave a collective sigh of relief because Kara can keep her job at CatCo.

At the end of the episode Kara chats with her cousin, Superman. Maybe it’s the cheesy, swelling music in the background; maybe it’s simply realizing how mundane our day-to-day Gchats are in comparison, but watching the two message back and forth is always a little emotional. Astra and Kara may have some bad blood, but the familial bond between the cousins is an enduring sense of hope for the future of National City. Hope, only to be undermined by the last-minute reveal that Lord is cooking up what looks to be Bizarro Supergirl, proving there are many tribulations still to come.

Adorable sister moment of the week: Supergirl brings Alex a brown paper bag lunch from her favorite food truck in the Chicago. (The unexpected perks of having a super sister!)