This week’s Supergirl juggled crisis on two ends: In the non-powered world, Cat Grant’s (Calista Flockheart) emails have been hacked, revealing embarrassing personal information and deep, dark secrets about the ubiquitous CEO. On the alien end, Kara’s (Melissa Benoist) Aunt Astra (Laura Benanti) has returned, and while havoc seems to be her goal, her end game remained unclear.
This was a big week for character. Not just in the sense that we got a bit more backstory here and there, though that did happen. We discovered that Cat Grant mothered a child that she lost custody of 24 years ago, in a parallel to Kara’s own issues with her departed mother Alura. And while that was an interesting bit of backstory for Cat, what it served to reveal was her driving force: not fear. Conviction.
It’s a distinction that’s getting increasingly more important as Supergirl moves forward. Cat dismisses most scandals with a shrug. But the idea of publicly revealing and shaming her son, of involving someone else in her family mess, is where Cat draws the line.
Incidentally, that doesn’t seem to be the case for the Zor-Els. We’ve learned a few key tidbits this week. One, that Alura used Kara to bring Astra in. Two, the Kryptonian justice system seemed well… lacking. And three, combining those two other facts, it’s beginning to look like Astra might not’ve been entirely in the wrong.
Or at least, it seemed that way right up until her forces stormed Maxwell Lord’s corporation. It seems we’ll have to wait and see if Astra is more villain or anti-villain. The latter would be an interesting spin, especially given what seems to be a blanket black and white morality on Krypton. Are things on Earth different? Do they have to be? It could open a lot of doors for Supergirl to make the jump from campy to more substantial TV.
On that note, we saw a markedly angrier Kara this week. While her temper was a key focus in “Red-Faced,” it seemed as though that may be a one time discussion. The good news is, that doesn’t seem to be the case. As Kara learns more about the inner workings of Krypton, she seems to grow increasingly disillusioned with her people and, more importantly, with her mother.
Kara’s tension with her mother created very real, emotional television. There was a common and very human thread to all of this. She’s been lied to by a parent. She’s been deceived. She didn’t know the whole situation, and she acted foolishly. It actually brings us to our quote of the week, between Kara and her mother’s hologram.
Kara: Could [Astra] have saved us?
Alura: She was a criminal.
Kara: But was she right?!
It’s not done maliciously. But it happens. All the time, actually. And while it’s unexpected for the girl of steel to have to wrestle with something so pathos-heavy, it’s entirely welcome.
Interestingly enough, this is also the week where (SPOILER) Cat finds out Kara’s big secret. Coming on the heels of Kara’s confrontation and disillusion with her mother, it seems like Kara may need to find out a little more about what it really means to be Kryptonian. Because the stakes are definitely changing. But it’s unclear if its for better or for worse.
Supergirl returns Monday, January 4th to CBS at 8/7c.