Supergirl 1.8: “Hostile Takeover” Review

NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of Supergirl are present in this review



Supergirl concluded its first year well with “Hostile Takeover” this week, which didn’t reach the outstanding heights of “Human for a Day” from last week, but still rounded off the front portion of the show’s debut season on an exciting note, and one that really fleshed out the characters of Kara, Astra and Cat in particular.

Once again, both of Kara’s identities are being put to the test, as Astra resurfaces to pick another fight with Supergirl, which she manages to escape. Things don’t get better in Kara’s civilian life though, as Cat is hit with a major hack, which exposes damaging E-mails of some variety, threatening CatCo’s position as CEO of the company.

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The duality of Kara’s identities, and their equally valid struggles, continued to come into play well here. Kara is called between both the DEO and CatCo to try and contain both of the clear and present issues, though at least with the Cat problem, James and Winn are happy to help her. After Kara overhears that the chairman of CatCo was behind the hack, and wanted to force Cat out, she uses the knowledge to formulate a plan with James and Winn, which involves bugging the guy’s computer, so that Winn can steal his E-mails, and get proof of the conspiracy, at the suggestion of Lucy’s legal expertise.

The initial part of this plot, which sort of involved a fun little heist element, wasn’t really the meat of it though. It was more of a fun prelude to things to come, as the group are naturally successful at finding a smoking gun in the chairman’s E-mails, right as Cat is about to announce her stepping down to the press. Cat instead spins the situation to humiliate the chairman, re-affirming that she’s not going anywhere, and that’s the end of that.

The real highlight of this plot came shortly beforehand, when Cat was once again put in an effectively vulnerable position. Kara presses for information about what could possibly be so damaging to Cat that it could get her fired, and eventually, Cat admits that she’s been secretly sending money to an illegitimate son, which she had out of wedlock, long before she had Carter with a different man. The son’s name is Adam Foster, and apparently, Cat initially fought for custody of him, but eventually gave up, when she felt that the boy would be better off without his mother in his life. The emotional dialogue shared between Kara and Cat was once again very well-written here, and feels nicely reminiscent of the great bar scene from “Red Faced” a couple of weeks ago, only now with Cat being in the vulnerable position.

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The idea of Cat being a mother figure to Supergirl and Kara alike also came full circle this week, as Kara accidentally lets slip to Cat that she overheard the incriminating information on the chairman. Since Cat knows this is impossible from the distance Kara heard the information from, at least for a human, Cat begins to piece together the various coincidences involving Kara and Supergirl, referencing events from “Livewire” and “Human for a Day” as proof. Yes, Cat has been paying attention this whole time, and after insisting that Kara remove her glasses, Cat learns the truth about Kara’s identity as Supergirl! This was a big moment, and one that was actually quite heartwarming, despite Kara’s awkwardness and slight panic. There wasn’t much time to dwell on this big revelation for Cat though, as Kara is soon after called away by the DEO for the climax… Or, should I say, the cliffhanger, but I’ll get to that.

So, what exactly is the deal with Astra then? Well, Astra, along with her lieutenant and husband, Non (you might remember him as one of General Zod’s henchmen from 1980 movie, Superman II, who was officially brought into DC Comics canon a few years ago), has big plans for Earth, with Astra even mentioning that she can’t let a second world die on her watch. Still, Kara beats her in a fight that spans a short stretch of National City, and Astra is then imprisoned in a Kryptonite cell by the DEO.

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Just like Cat Grant, we get some heightened insight into Astra here, seeing how Astra was something of a terrorist back on Krypton, and that’s why she was imprisoned in Fort Rozz, along with Non. Apparently, Alura used Kara to call Astra to the family’s house, leading to Astra’s arrest, and preventing her from raising more awareness of the planet’s imminent death, albeit through terrorist bombings and the like. Alura is apparently one of the people that didn’t do anything about mining the core of Krypton, which ultimately led to the planet’s destruction. Astra recounts all of this to Kara, though despite Alex suggesting that Astra could by lying, Kara goes to the Alura A.I. for confirmation, learning that Astra is telling the truth. This results in a fantastically dramatic scene, pushing Melissa Benoist to awesome new heights in the part, as she must press for information as to her mother’s motives, but inevitably, the program won’t give Kara that information. Kara then becomes furious, even temporarily letting her heat vision loose, and ultimately feeling helpless to understand who she can really trust anymore. It was a brilliant scene, and one of Benoist’s best yet on this show!

Still, Kara’s got big fish to fry, as Alex figures out that Astra intentionally allowed herself to be captured, so that Non could lead a squad of alien thugs into Lord Technologies, while the DEO was distracted by trying to squeeze information out of Astra. After Maxwell Lord fends them off for a bit, before quickly getting subdued by Non, Alex, Henshaw and some DEO forces burst in just in time, giving us another solid action scene to enjoy. Kara soon after flies in, after Cat learns her secret identity, and is about to engage Non… Right as the episode ends! Yep, the show’s 2015 run ends on a cliffhanger, though fortunately, Supergirl’s Winter hiatus is a bit shorter than many other shows, and it will be back at the very start of January.

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Supergirl will definitely leave viewers wanting more with its midseason finale this week, even without that annoying cliffhanger to consider. There’s a lot to wonder about regarding Cat learning Kara’s secret identity, as this will inevitably change the dynamic between the two at CatCo. Might this mean that James and Winn will work with Cat on undercover Supergirl-related operations too? Will the DEO now engage Cat without secrets next time, after masquerading as a separate agency during the events of “Livewire”? Actually, if I’m being honest, the Cat material still feels like it’s a cut above the Astra/Non material. Still, maybe we’ll get more insight into their ideology for Earth and Krypton, when the show makes its return in 2016.

Supergirl's midseason finale delivered big reveals, particularly from Astra and Cat, leading to a strong episode that once again effectively played with both of Kara's identities, even if it could have done without the cliffhanger ending.
Kara learning harsh truths about her mother
Cat sniffing out Kara's identity as Supergirl
Lots of solid action scenes
Cliffhanger ending is a bit annoying