TV Review: Supergirl - Season 1 Episode 8 "Hostile Takeover"
EPISODE 8: "Hostile Takeover"
SYNOPSIS: When General Astra makes her return to National City, she challenges Kara's beliefs about her mother and, with the help of her Kryptonian minions, brings about major trouble. Meanwhile, Cat Grant is faced with an embarrassing e-mail hack that has the potential to ruin her position as CatCo CEO!
And with that, we have officially entered The Phantom Zone...errr... the mid-season hiatus. Like ARROW and THE FLASH, SUPERGIRL will be taking a break until mid-January. But fear not, "Hostile Takeover" gave us plenty to unpack, including the return of General Astra and Cat realizing Kara (or, as she would say, Keira) is the girl of steel.
The two main conflicts in tonight's episode were Kara dealing with her Aunt Astra's return to National City and Cat handling an e-mail hack that could potentially ruin her career. Oddly enough, I was more invested in the Cat issue than I was Astra. Don't get me wrong, Laura Benanti is fantastic as Astra and I always enjoy seeing her onscreen. However, when it came to Astra and her Kryptonian minions taking over the city on their way to world domination, the stakes never felt too dire... or particularly interesting.
As we found out tonight, General Astra and her husband were kinda like eco-terrorists back on Krypton. They realized their home planet was dying and tried to get their fellow citizens to stop making the situation worse. Unfortunately, they killed a security guard along the way and being that Alura was a judge, she was forced to put her sister and brother-in-law in prison. And, well, we know what ended up happening to Krypton. Guess they were right after all.
It's this environmentalist streak in Astra (no I am not talking about the white streak in her hair) that has her so interested in Earth. As it turns out, she has chosen to come to Earth to 1) lord over it and its people and 2) to save it from being destroyed like Krypton. Astra hopes she can convince Kara that what she is doing is right and beneficial to saving the Earth. With Supergirl by her side, Astra expects the people of Earth will, in turn, trust her. All Astra needs to do is bring Kara over to the "dark side" by convincing her to turn on her mother (or the memory of her mother).
Speaking of the dark side (and being that this is STAR WARS week), I found it a bit funny that this episode slightly mirrored a conflict we might see in our favorite space opera. I say this a bit tongue in cheek because let's be real, in no galaxy can SUPERGIRL everrrr be compared to STAR WARS. But I can't help but think of comparisons between the Emperor and Astra as they try to get Anakin Skywalker and Supergirl, respectively, to turn to the dark side through anger.
And of course, Admiral Ackbar's immortal words "It's a trap" were ringing in my ears as Astra obviously allowed Kara to beat and capture her in their big "rematch" fight. After all, ever since Kara first faced Astra in combat, she got her ass kicked. So when Kara easily defeats her aunt and imprisons her in DEO HQ, I knew there had to be something up. However, it doesn't take long before Astra's real plan is discovered and her Kryptonian minions break into Lord Technologies. Lord is able to fight the bad guys off for a little while with the help of his high-tech gadgets and DEO backup, but even with Supergirl's eventual help, the situation doesn't look great and we are left with a cliffhanger. However, this isn't a cliffhanger I will lose sleep over or even remember in a few days; the stakes don't feel high. What happens if the Kryptonians take over the lab? Not to mention, during the fight scene, I couldn't stop thinking back to the best part of the episode, when Cat reveals that she knows Kara is Supergirl. The fight scene feels forgettable in comparison.
Which brings us to the conflict surrounding Cat. Much like the Sony Hack, CatCo has had a hack of its own. Cat's personal, embarrassing e-mails were leaked, showing she calls Lois Lane nasty names and was rejected by Idris Elba when she asked him on a date (and this is just the tip of the iceberg). Thanks to Kara's super-hearing, she discovers Dirk Armstrong, a member of CatCo's board of directors, is behind the hack. He wants to embarrass Cat to the point where she is forced to step down as CEO, leaving the company in his hands. However, even the most embarrassing details of Cat's life don't seem to phase her. It's only after he goes for the jugular, threatening to release the identity of her estranged son Adam, that she finally decides to step down.
Unlike the conflict between Astra and Kara, which was obviously not going to amount to anything that huge, I was actually worried Cat may have to step down. I found myself wondering what the show was going to do with Cat's character if she wasn't CEO of CatCo. But my fear only lasted so long. With a little help from Kara, James, Wynn, and Lucy, Cat gets evidence of Armstrong's betrayal and sends him packing, leaving her CEO reign intact.
Now comes the best part of the episode. As Cat is having a drink of wine on her balcony at CatCo, she confronts Kara about her theory that Kara is actually Supergirl. Laying out all of the evidence Sherlock Holmes-style, Cat proves she is the observant, intelligent CEO we always knew her to be. And with a quick removal of her glasses, Kara confirms Cat's suspicions. Doesn't this leave only two people on the entire show who are unaware of Kara's alter-ego? Maxwell Lord and Lucy Lane. And here I thought Barry Allen was bad at keeping secrets!
The only thing that really made tonight's episode feel like a mid-season finale was the revealing scene between Cat and Kara. Both actresses have great chemistry, and I am always entertained by watching their polar opposite characters interact, especially in the more touching scenes. We aren't used to Cat showing her emotions, so when she actually does acknowledge how much she appreciates Kara, for example telling Kara she could work for her wherever she goes, it makes it extra special.
However, the same cannot be said with Astra and Kara. Of course, we knew Astra's return was imminent, but the re-match tonight felt off and contrived. Since when is Astra such a big part of Kara's childhood and why didn't it come up during the previous fight? If Astra really was so important in her niece's life, why hasn't Kara talked about her more or, I don't know, PREPARED for her to come back. But regardless of the strange shift in the backstory and relationship between Kara and Astra, tonight's episode seems to be setting up an action-packed second half of the season. I can't wait to see how Cat's Supergirl revelation propels the story forward and how she will continue to treat Kara in the office setting.
- When will that damn cell phone ring stop interrupting every interesting moment in Supergirl?! Enough already!
- As another example that MAN OF STEEL is not a part of this SUPERGIRL universe, Kara makes it a point to say her cousin doesn't kill. I imagine this issue will be something Kara has to figure out for herself. Will she kill an enemy or refrain like her cousin?
- Opal City shout out!
- James seems to have convinced Wynn to tell Kara about his feelings, but this has bad idea written all over it. Kara has never appeared to have romantic feelings for Wynn, and I hope he doesn't get hurt.
- Much to Alex's chagrin, it was revealed that Hank Henshaw/J'onn J'onzz can read non-Kryptonian minds. Apparently Superman finds it hilarious that the telepathy doesn't work on him.
- It looked to me that James was hacking into the computer monitor instead of the computer itself. That is, unless it was like an iMac. Also, why not just have Kara speed/fly into the office and bug the computer herself? That seemed like the better option.