Supergirl: Blood Bonds
January 4, 2016 6:27 PM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

While Astra is held captive by the DEO, her husband abducts Hank and demands a hostage exchange; Cat continues to suspect that Kara is Supergirl; James tries to infiltrate Max Lord's HQ with Winn's help.

*Kara finds out about Henshaw's secret Martian identity, and he uses his shapeshifting abilities to solve her Cat Grant problem.
*Astra tells Kara the truth about her last conversation with Alura.
posted by oh yeah! (19 comments total)
I had to agree with everything Cat said about Kara's job being a waste of time. I heave a sigh every time the scene cuts to Catco. Look at The Flash: Barry Allen is a police scientist, a job that could easily lead into main storylines, and we still see the inside of that police station maybe two minutes a week. Because who cares. When it seemed like Cat would be let in on the secret, she was finally relevant to the show! But now she is consigned to this weird limbo of scenes and subplots I can't imagine anyone gives a damn about; I presume Cat interludes are when little kids watching the show with their families make a break for the bathroom.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:14 PM on January 4, 2016

I haaaaaaaaaaaate that they pulled that shit with Cat. HATE IT. Hate it hate it hated it.

It was so touching when Kara was talking to her as her mentor, though.

But seriously, why does there always have to be one buttmonkey who doesn't know the secret? Even worse, they took it back.

I don't have a problem with Kara having a job at CatCo, though: (a) girl needs to eat, (b) girl needs to maintain a public identity as a person with a regular job, and (c) it'd be far more useful to Kara to see if any crime is going on on all of Cat's TV's in her office than just randomly flying around the city. Come on, like Kara couldn't just skip out to "get Cat a latte," go fight some crime, and then come back with a drink? Like Cat wouldn't send Kara out to make some news here and there? Like Cat wouldn't eat that shit up?

posted by jenfullmoon at 9:25 PM on January 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

Catco is my favorite part of the show. If it were just mildly interesting standard superhero stuff, I don't think I'd really care about Kara as much as I do. Maybe in two or three years, she'll outgrow it, but it is kinda awesome that a really powerful superhero has a job just because they like it.

I haaaaaaaaaaaate that they pulled that shit with Cat. HATE IT. Hate it hate it hated it.

On almost every other show, I'd agree, but I think they actually put in some effort to make this work storywise, even if it is still annoying in a metanarrative way - Cat is still wickedly smart as she figured it out, then was convinced by something beyond her ability (for now) to comprehend, a flying shapeshifter; the reason Kara is doing it is that she loves her job and Cat will totally, justifiably fire her if she knows. And for Kara, this job is incredibly important as she views it as helping her become a better person.
posted by humans are superior! at 10:08 PM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

I don't have a problem with how they pulled back Cat's realization that Kara as Supergirl, just the fact that they did it at all. I love Cat's relationship with Supergirl as a public figure and was looking forward to seeing that play out.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:45 AM on January 5, 2016

Me too, Holy Zarquon.

I still think it's reasonable that Kara could maintain a day job and still save people--like I said, there's literal cameras and video feed going on in Cat's office all day, that'd be far easier to spot crime than just randomly flying around the streets every day.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:34 PM on January 5, 2016

Is it from how overused an idea it is? It seems like you're okay with the execution, which is normally why I hate it (see Flash, twice).
posted by humans are superior! at 4:27 PM on January 5, 2016

In addition to everything with Cat, which I honestly wasn't expecting and really really don't like, I hate the message that they're preaching to the show's young audience: stay with a job because you think you've got friends there. Aagghhh!!! No. If they're friends, they will be friends outside of work. If they're work buddies, then they're not friends, and you don't need to stay for them.

I really wanted Kara to stand up to Cat and slap her with all of the reasons jenfullmoon articulated. That would have been a message to deliver: that you can advocate for yourself, and that you have a worth, a value and an ability to make decisions for yourself and set your own path, and not just if you've got powers and a cape.
posted by sardonyx at 8:05 PM on January 5, 2016

I think it's an even worse message than that, because Cat is a really abusive employer. She basically seems monstrous. I guess this is kind of played for laughs (?), but her constant verbal abuse and threats to fire people for no reason are hallmarks of a toxic workplace. Kara is better off looking up to Astra, and so are kids watching the show. The starry-eyed things that Kara says about her do not square with the way Cat is written. I'm not sure why anyone would actually want to work at Catco.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:01 PM on January 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Kara is better off looking up to Astra

A multiple murderer and her psycho-killer husband? THAT'S who Kara should look up to?

I mean, doing so would probably cut short the Max Lord plot-line, as Kara vaporizes the building form orbit, but I'm not sure we want to go in the direction of "Hard Kryptonians making Hard choices". We have the movies for that.
posted by happyroach at 10:49 PM on January 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I, too, absolutely hate this regression with Cat. In my opinion, having Cat know would add a lot of interesting complication to the show and make Cat and Catco much more relevant. I admit that a lot of it for me is metanarrative stuff -- not only am I completely fed-up with the whole "not in on the secret" contrivance, I also am completely fed-up with big narrative developments that are reset the next episode. Those two things epitomize what I hate about traditional television. The only mitigating factor to me is that these are also very much traditional comic-book things to do and one of the best things about this show and The Flash are that they are willing to buck the trend of grimdark and do this the old-fashioned way.

Still, they have been willing to not do the secret identity idiot-stick thing so much on The Flash and I think the show is better for it. (They're doing it again with Barry's girlfriend, but at least they didn't just maintain the status quo with Iris as they seem determined to do here with Cat.)

As is true for other people, Cat has grown on me -- but so much about the character and the situation is annoying and problematic that this is sort of damning with faint praise. I don't really have a problem with their general idea of the character, but most of the specifics and the way things actually play out annoy the hell out of me numerous times every episode. Like the name-dropping stuff.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:01 AM on January 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

I didn't like the rollback of the reveal when it happened, but I'm finding it less and less annoying the more I think about it. Two things that come to mind about it: that's exactly how it would have played out in a Silver Age book, and probably did at some point for either Superman or Supergirl. And, related, I couldn't stop thinking about the 60s Batman TV show pulling the same trick with Alfred the (ancient) butler in the Bat-suit while Bruce Wayne talked to Commissioner Gordon. One of the things I like about Supergirl is that, like Flash, it adheres pretty well to those Silver Age guidelines. I think they did it here, and that makes me a lot more forgiving of it.

Also, I'm going to have to push back on the "she shouldn't have this job because she should really be saving people". Kara's a person and not a robot, and she doesn't have to justify wanting to do something for herself that she enjoys and feels is psychologically important to her to other people (Cat included). And if you don't understand why it's important, go read that early Astro City about Samaritan and see what you think after that.

Last but not least, hate on Cat Grant all you want, but I love her and I'm glad that even as a flawed, humorous character she gets to be an awesome 40-ish woman on TV. She's not that much better than the mediocre white dudes who have had that kind of roles in other shows, sure, but you know what? She doesn't have to be.

I really feel like viewers expect more out of Supergirl and its female characters because they're female. Both on the emotional labor front in-world and justification for the women doing things that dudes do all the time. And I side-eye a lot when I hear those complaints.
posted by immlass at 9:57 PM on January 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

When Cat figured it out on the previous episode, I was ecstatic. I was totally not expecting her to figure it out, not this quickly. My immediate thought after she thanked Kara was "well, now this is going to get interesting!" and I was all excited about Catco scenes going forward and...

... then we have the rollback.

While I didn't mind how it was done (I was sitting there going "what the?" for a second), I mind that it was done at all. I didn't like Cat's ultimatum. I mean, if you're not going to follow through with it, why let Cat figure it out in the first place? I enjoyed her piecing it together, because Cat was a journalist, no? (To be fair, most of my knowledge of Cat Grant comes from Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman...) It seemed like such a nice way for her to differentiate herself from Lois, who is constantly played (in various adaptations) as the fool.

But taking that away means that Cat will probably be stuck in this "annoying boss/super successful woman" box for the foreseeable future. I mean, I'd hate to work for Cat, but I do like her as the head of this whole media empire. Is there not more to her than that? For a few minutes, we had that -- we had her thanking Kara for all she's done as Supergirl, we had the conflict that Cat might want to share that secret with the world (not because of anything that happened on the show, just that she's in media and this is a huge scoop!)... we had the opportunity for more depth.

I fear that, despite how powerful Cat is, we'll just see Cat boxed in as this awful boss who keeps mispronouncing people's names, firing people at the drop of a hat and generally throwing boss-style tantrums.

I guess that I just had all these ideas and thoughts and possibilities running through my head when it came to Cat knowing and now those are all gone and it makes me sad. :(
posted by juliebug at 12:38 AM on January 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

Me too, juliebug. You know Cat could really use having a superhero assistant to her advantage even beyond "go reheat my latte." Every time she sees something on the news, Kara suddenly has to make an emergency coffee run to go save the day...I think Cat would really be into the power of deploying Supergirl.

Maybe that's what the show people are worried about?
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:24 PM on January 7, 2016

jenfullmoon - Mmmm. I think you have a point in that Cat would certainly be into the whole "Supergirl deployment" thing and I'm not sure how that would fly (har, har, no pun intended), but it would certainly add a level of conflict to the Catco scenes. It would also add tension for Kara in her balancing of the job and the cape. However, if that's what the show's worried about, why on earth would they even have Cat figure it out? That's what's really bugging me. It's like... either let her figure it out (fine, no worries!) or just don't. Letting her figure it out and then convincing her that she's wrong is just so disappointing.

I have to hope that they'll revisit this Soon(tm) to help resolve it. We could just be in the middle of the arc and don't know it yet. They did just get extended for a total of 20 episodes, right? Maybe that was a rewrite because hey, all of a sudden, they have a ton more episodes to do?

Totally grasping at straws, here. The reveal scene on the balcony at Catco is my favourite scene of them all and I am still desperately hoping there's some way to get back to that...
posted by juliebug at 2:28 AM on January 8, 2016

Finally caught up, and I didn't hate the rollback as some, because at least it made sense.

I also laughed so hard at the neck-snapping scene. I can't help but see it as yet another dig at the movies. Which I am fine with.

Who was the telepathic alien, by the way? I am not as familiar with the various corners of the DC Universe.
posted by Mezentian at 10:04 PM on January 13, 2016

He is J'onn J'onzz - the Martian Manhunter. One of the mainstays of the Justice League (rotating team of the most powerful super heroes); his comment about Superman was a nod to this, I think.

His background is that he is almost (sometimes is) the last survivor of Mars trying to peacefully exist on Earth.
posted by humans are superior! at 9:26 PM on January 14, 2016

Sorry, not J'onn Bloodwynd, I mean the eight(?)-eyed alien with Non who was torturing our Oreo-loving chum.
posted by Mezentian at 10:01 PM on January 14, 2016

ha, sorry! That makes a ton of sense; I was wondering the same thing.
posted by humans are superior! at 10:50 PM on January 14, 2016 and just call him a "mind reader". I suppose given how quickly he dies he was a throwaway character.

Which seems out of character.
I'd guess if nothing his species is DC lore.
posted by Mezentian at 11:39 PM on January 14, 2016

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