Supergirl "S1E8 Hostile Takeover" - Review: A strong finish to a great debut run

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Supergirl "S1E8 Hostile Takeover" - Review: A strong finish to a great debut run

Hostile Takeover – As Kara helps Cat Grant deal with a hacking scandal that could oust her from Catco, Supergirl deals with her aunt Astra as her plans for taking over National City are set into motion.

This best thing about this episode is that it successfully manages to deliver separate and satisfying stories for both Kara’s civilian life and her red-caped activities. It balances both extremely well with each getting suitable screen time for developments and twists, but unlike many other episodes does not force them to eventually merge. This is a great sign of the show’s development that it can let different pools of its extended cast exist in isolation with only Kara/Supergirl to bridge them. Despite some impressive visuals, the Catco corporate espionage actually becomes the more enjoyable of the pair for the outright fun it delivers. Calsita Flockhart shines as Cat reacts to the revelations of her personal emails being exposed with a mixture of mild concern and uncaring indifference (her Lois Lane reaction is priceless).

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The story evolves well into a mixture of good lighter material like a team spy mission to bug a computer, complete with Kara on X-ray overmatch; to striking some good emotional notes too. The highlight of this comes over the reveal of Cat’s hidden older son, Adam, from a brief former partner. We’ve had a couple moments in past episodes reinforcing that Cat still has a heart under her icy surface layer, but this is by far the best, that Cat is prepared to walk her empire for the sake of protecting Adam. This links in well to Kara’s turmoil over her certain events instilling negative feelings towards her own mother, Alura Zor-El. The story also does well to minimize the relationship drama aspects for the week. This allows James and Winn’s peacemaking bro down to become a surprisingly effective moment because the theme has not been overexhausted throughout the episode.

The Supergirl vs. Astra side of the episode delivers some awesome action. The airborne fight between aunt and niece has some great pace to it, with a few 1st person flaying shots feeling staright out of Man of Steel’s Zod fight. We also get a great reprisal of Kara and Alex’s sparing (made equal via controlled Kryptonite emitters), which as well as highlighting Kara’s fighting progression makes for quite the spectacle in itself as the gals go all out against each other. Following up from previous episodes, we see Kara harnessing her anger as a weapon and attacking with more than just brute strength. Finally, there’s the end mass fight showdown, which delivers plenty of bang for its buck. The anti-Kryptonite shielding feels completely logical. Just as we’ve seen the DEO manage to manipulate the substance for different purposes over time, so too does it make sense that Kryptonian villains would develop ways to protect themselves. We gets see several different former prison inmates in action that could well be teases for future episodic villains.

Many of the episodes' events also do well to make us question the alignment of given villains. The Kryptonian flashbacks in particular paint Astra as more of an environmental activist than a criminal. Much of her dialogue about trying to save Krypton from the destruction of harvesting its core echoes the stance of Jor-El/Russel Crowe in Man of Steel. The major difference being the influence of her more radical military husband, Non, now finally seen on screen played by Chris Vance (Prison Break, Transporter: The Series). This is also expanded into her previous notions about saving Earth as she believes it to be on the edge of a similar environmental crisis to Krypton (she may have a point there) and wants to prevent it reaching a self-destructive point of no return. Much of this could be misdirection but for now leaves us viewing Astra as a far more sympathetic villain than expected.

They're similar if far briefer work done with Maxwell Lord too, as in contrast to initial opinions that he’s not on the same page as Astra and her inmate minions, falling firmly under his anti-alien viewpoints. This actually sets up a three-way conflict between Supergirl  with the DEO, Maxwell Lord’s anti-alien agenda and Astra along with Non and the former Fort-Raas inmates. The obvious move is for two parties to ally against the other but right now, that feels like it could play out in any direction, which is far more complex than most superhero shows deliver.

Despite spending more than half its time feeling like a regular episode, Hostile Takeover culminates into a very rewarding mid-season finale, complete with that all important cliff-hanger to leave us poised on. After his awesome reveal as Martian Manhunter/ J’onn J’onzz last week, Hank gets the best comics Easter Egg while remarking about his mental powers, “Kryptonians are immune to my telepathy, which Superman finds hilarious”. The implication that Superman and J’onn have a history together also begs a very serious question..... has the Justice League already formed in some way within this Universe (the pair both being original League members)? In Supergirl’s opening 2015 salvo, she’s more than earned her place within the current ranks of superhero shows, and this finale is a great way to compound that going into a festive 3-week break.