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Recap / Supergirl (2015) S1E9 "Blood Bonds"

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Left to right: Kara and... Supergirl?

Non takes J'onn hostage, demanding Astra in trade for him.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Apple of Discord: As the psychic interrogator fruitlessly tries to scan J'onn's mind, Henshaw suggests to Non that he's lying about his failure for his own ends. The interrogator denies it, but Non snaps his neck for failing anyway.
  • Arc Number: Lord's secret lab is in room 52, which has been a prominent number in DC Comics's mythology for years.
  • Arc Words: "Blood bonds us all." It's an ancient Kryptonian proverb.
  • Artistic License – Law: Apparently, Maxwell Lord can just kick federal agents out of an active crime scene, because he says it's his building. Even Alex seems skeptical of this, though it is somewhat justified—Lord was the victim of the crime, and can choose not to cooperate, and the DEO's secretive nature means they can't counter his claim that it was industrial espionage without revealing itself.
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  • Badass in Distress: J'onn's probably never actually in danger (or at least far less than Non thinks), but nobody except Alex knows that.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Once the attack on his building is over, Lord kicks the DEO out and tries to cover it up. He doesn't want to admit what he has that Astra's forces were after.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Maxwell Lord is properly established in this episode as another central antagonist.
  • Call-Back:
    • The Kryptonian hologram technology from "Red Faced" is used by Non to make Lane think J'onn is being kept at the abandoned warehouse, only for the hologram to deactivate and reveal a bomb beneath.
    • Lord has a projection of Red Tornado's severed arm in his lab.
  • Foreshadowing: Speaking of Kal-El joining Kara in beating information out of Astra, the latter says, "He doesn't have the stomach. He was raised on Earth; he might as well be human."
  • Hypocrite:
    • After Non is exasperated by his alien telepath's inability to penetrate J'onn's mind, Non snaps the telepath's neck. J'onn gets in a word edgewise about how above the Kryptonians are above the human "savages".
    • Astra accuses Sam Lane of one on the rationale that he killed many people to become an army general and calls her the menace.
  • Identity Impersonator: J'onn shapeshifts into Supergirl while Kara appears as herself to get Cat off Kara's back.
  • Idiot Ball: Yes, Alex, by all means quietly tell J'onn he should shapeshift when your stepsister from another planet with super hearing is standing right there. She'll never notice and certainly won't bring it up later on. Kara even lampshades this.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: A variant. When Kara finds out about Lord roughing up James, her frustration over everything that's been happening almost convinces her to go and deal with him the quick way, only for James and Winn to talk her down, since it would make her no better than Astra.
  • Internal Reveal: Kara finds out about "Henshaw" being the Martian Manhunter.
  • I Owe You My Life: The soldier Kara saves from Non's ambush in turn refuses to stop her from exchanging Astra for J'onn.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Maxwell Lord criticizes James for claiming that journalism is about seeking the truth: the media advocates lower gas prices, which leads to higher fossil fuel dependency, and popular celebrities gain more coverage compared to political corruptions. Though Lord is harsh with his evaluations on contemporary society, he's not wrong about the social controversies.
    • Cat threatening to fire Kara if the latter can't prove she's Supergirl does come off as harsh in deed, though she seems to realize that a lot more lives could be saved if the superheroine isn't working in a 9-5 job.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: After Cat is convinced she was wrong about Kara being Supergirl, she tells Kara she doesn't want them to mention this again.
  • Mundane Utility: Kara usually uses her heat vision to heat up Cat's coffee, but this time she's so upset that she pretty much nukes it and spills it.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Cat makes two Superman references to Kara in this episode:
      Kara: I'll just get out of your hair.
      Cat: Why? Have a building to leap in a single bound?
    • Cat still believes that Kara is Supergirl when she concludes that a person with great secrets is determined to keep up the act.
      Cat: You see, Keira, you and I both fight for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, just so happens that my methods are better and more fun.
  • Neck Lift: Non does this to Kara at the end of their battle. When the DEO reinforcements interrupt, he drops her.
  • Neck Snap: Non kills his psychic interrogator for not being able to read J'onn's mind.
  • Not So Different: Once again the point of this episode is that Kara and Astra are very much alike when it comes to certain situations.
  • Pet the Dog: Non calls in a bunch of Kryptonian reinforcements at the hostage exchange, intending to take out the DEO, but Astra calls them off since Kara honored her side of the deal.
  • Power Incontinence: When Kara is fretting over Cat having figured out her identity, she accidentally uses more of her heat vision than normal to warm up Cat's latte, spilling it everywhere.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: After learning Astra's story and how her mother had manipulated Astra into being captured, Kara had started having doubts about the regard she held Alura in. When she finally learned the whole story, that Alura sentenced her sister because it was her responsibility to uphold the law and Astra had killed several people but Alura still loved her and believed her and vowed to continue her work to save the planet — legally and peacefully — Kara's faith in her mother is restored.
    • Averted with Astra, because Alura still betrayed her.
  • Shapeshifter Default Form: J'onn seems to need to revert to his true form before he can morph into someone else, as seen when he reverts from being Lord and later Supergirl back to being "Henshaw".
  • Shout-Out: General Lane compares Astra's scheme with the plot of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), with an alien civilization demanding Earth governments to change their ways by force/intimidation.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!:
    General Lane: Your idealism will doom us all.
    J'onn: No... it'll save us.
  • Status Quo Is God: With some help from J'onn, Kara fools Cat into thinking she was mistaken about her being Supergirl.
  • Title Drop: Astra says "blood bonds unite us" when she tells Kara that she was spared. Alura had said the same phrase when prosecuting Astra, Non and company. Clark in his chat also says the phrase.
  • Torture Always Works: Subverted. General Lane tortures Astra for the location of her base, but she instead gives up an abandoned warehouse where Non has arranged a trap.
  • Wrench Whack: Lord smashes James' camera with a wrench, then warns he won't stop at the camera if he catches James again.


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