Supergirl: “Blood Bonds” turns back every advance made in the last episode

I’m a little concerned that Supergirl is starting to become tiresome. After a winter finale that ended literally in the middle of what seemed to be a pivotal fight, I expected something much better than what we’re given in “Blood Bonds,” which is a huge mess of spinning wheels and downright silly diversions that do nothing to move any of the show’s several major plots forward.

The fight that we were in the midst of in the last episode was wrapped up within moments this week when Non kidnaps Hank Henshaw. The rest of the episode is concerned largely with figuring out how to get Henshaw released without “negotiating with terrorists.” A secondary plot in the episode is Kara trying to convince Cat Grant that Kara is definitely not Supergirl, even though Cat is not stupid, and there’s even a sort of tertiary plot with James and Winn stalking and harassing Maxwell Lord. In short, “Blood Bonds” is a huge mess, and while it was another amazing episode for Kara’s character, I’m finally starting to doubt that Melissa Benoist is really capable of carrying the whole show on her own indefinitely.

Non’s kidnapping of Hank is actually pretty anti-climactic in the end. It does give us a glimpse of Alex Danvers in charge, which is nice, but I’m still a little confused by what feels like a very abrupt about face on Alex’s part regarding her distrust of Hank. I’m not sure how learning that he’s an extremely powerful alien just completely put an end to all of Alex’s questions and concerns. I’m also not sure what the show is going for, more broadly, with Non and Astra. There were several flashback sequences this week that shed a little more light on this pair and our understanding of Astra is certainly improved, but there’s also that scene where Non just murders some guy for no real reason. In any case, everything is back to the status quo by the end of the episode: Astra is on the loose and still an ecoterrorist, and Kara has conflicted feelings about it. The only thing that’s changed at all is that Kara now knows that Hank is actually Martian Manhunter—but that’s literally the only forward progress on any front in this episode.

When Kara isn’t negotiating with actual terrorists this week, she’s working absurdly hard to try and prove to her boss that she’s not Supergirl. Cat has threatened to fire her because she thinks that if Kara is Supergirl, then saving people is way more important than answering phones and bringing Cat coffee, and Kara’s fight to keep her position at CatCo, while somewhat absurd, produces the most authentically emotional moments of the episode. Melissa Benoist and Calista Flockhart have a great onscreen dynamic, and I would absolutely watch a show that was just about their relationship. The only problem with this all is that, again, I’m not really sure what the show is going for. Kara is obviously the worst at keeping a secret, but I think Cat would not be a bad person to let in on things, and if it’s the job that Kara is really worried about, I feel pretty certain that Cat could be persuaded to let her keep it. It just doesn’t make that much sense, for all the it’s fun to watch.

The tertiary plotline in “Blood Bonds” is almost too silly to bother mentioning. While Kara is busy this week, James and Winn decided, for some reason, that they were going to launch their own investigation into Maxwell Lord. Clearly, Max is a turd of a human being, and he’s acted shady about all kinds of things so far, but I don’t think he’s done much that James and Winn would know about to trigger their snooping. Alternatively, if they really think Max is so dangerous, I feel like their half-baked plan to spy on him somehow is just ridiculous. In any case, it gets James into trouble when he’s caught by a couple of Max’s goons and Max decides to beat up on him a little—which also gets him in trouble with Kara, who doesn’t like her human friends taking even the smallest, most calculated risks. The best part of this whole debacle, though? James doesn’t manage to find out anything new about Max at all; it’s only revealed to the audience at the end of the episode that Max is doing some kind of science experiment on a young woman who bears a more-than-passing resemblance to Supergirl.

This show is almost increasingly inconsistent, and its reliance on Melissa Benoist’s talent to redeem so many huge, glaring flaws seems certain to be its undoing. As much as I love her, and as much as I have so far maintained that Melissa Benoist is a delightful angel who definitely does carry the show, there’s ultimately only so much that one woman can do. Supergirl needs to decide what kind of show it wants to be or else it’s going to force viewers to decide whether or not they want to stick with it.

Miscellaneous thoughts:

  • I hate Maxwell Lord with a passion. As far as I’m concerned, his is definitely the most punchable face on television right now. It’s not that he’s such a great villain or anything. He’s just a huge douchebag.
  • They should have done the Hank Henshaw kidnap before revealing his identity to the audience. There was basically no sense of real peril or danger for him this week, which made everything Alex and Kara were going through to rescue him feel like melodramatic theatre.
  • I love seeing Kara work through her feelings about things. That’s definitely the thing this show does best, and while it may struggle in many other areas, Kara’s character growth is always excellent.

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