"Supergirl" finished the first half of its season strong with an emotional face off between Kara and her Aunt Astra, an attack on Lord Technologies, and an attempt to knock Cat Grant off of her media throne. But the best moment of the night came not in one of Kara's high-flying fights, but in the quieter character-driven scene that saw Cat finally putting the pieces together re: Kara's superhero identity.
Here were the eight best moments from "Hostile Takeover"...
Cat invested in Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical.CBS
If this episode had been entirely dedicated to exploring the random, quasi-character-damaging facts leaked in Cat's email hack, then it would have been worth it. We learned that Cat spends more money on a monthly haircut than Winn does on his monthly rent, that she once applied for "Undercover Boss" (it was a dare from Anderson Cooper), and that she thinks her board's CEO, Dirk, is a "walking personification of white male privilege."
Turns out this Dirk guy is a major toolbag. He was the one behind the leak, as part of a larger plan to take down Cat Grant and take over the Catco media empire. Kara finds out about it while super-hearing eavesdropping on Dirk's conversation, and puts her best people on it...
Kara, James, and Winn are the worst corporate spies ever.CBS
Rather than send in the superhero in their midst who can, you know, fly and has laser eyes to plant a simple bug on Dirk's computer, the gang sends in James to plant the bug. It doesn't go super well, but James manages to escape suspicion by feigning self-interest. He tells Dirk that, if Cat Grant has to go down, then he hopes the board knows whose side he's on. Well played, James. Well played.
Cat has a secret son.
There's one secret that Cat is willing to step down from her company to keep: Adam Foster. Adam is Cat's 24-year-old son. They have been estranged more or less since Cat quit the lawsuit that would have given her custody, and Cat doesn't want to let Adam down again by letting him be dragged into the media circus. This rang a bit false for me. I don't think Cat would give up her media empire for her son — not because she doesn't love him, but because she expects the people in her life (or, you know, tangential to her life) to be stronger than that. No doubt Adam could handle a little media attention.
That being said, I'm intrigued to see where this goes. It doesn't seem like "Supergirl" would bring this up without having some kind of larger narrative plan. Hopefully, we don't have to wait as long as we did to see Oliver reunited with his secret son on "Arrow" as we do to see Cat reunited with her secret son on "Supergirl."
Climate change killed Krypton.CBS
This just in: climate change Krypton and, this not just in, but it's killing Earth, too. We've heard Astra make general allusions to how she won't let another planet die again, but we've never heard her put it in the context of ecological disaster. It's the latest in topical issues that "Supergirl" rips from the think-peace headlines, and I don't hate it. I'm not sure why Astra cares so much about Earth in particular, but it makes her character more complex. It's hard not to feel at least a little sympathetic towards a woman who tried to save her home planet, but failed because her twin sister tricked her out of hiding using her love for her niece. Harsh.
Astra and Kara still care about one another.
The flashbacks to Krypton may be a little hokey (and, so far, confined to Kara's Kryptonian home), but I wouldn't say "no" to some more — especially more from Astra's perspective. In tonight's ep, we learned that Astra cared about Kara enough to come out of hiding. That she was playing the part of an eco-terrorist because she wanted to save Krypton for her niece. And that, whatever else she may have done in the intervening time, she has always kept the secret spy communicator that links her to her niece. I would have liked to see more of this nuanced emotion (on both sides) when Kara and Astra first encountered one another.
Because, for her part, Kara is not unmoved by the reappearance of her aunt, either. She once cared for her, too. She still does. It's hard to let go of family — especially when you have so little left. The confrontation between Kara and the digital projection of her mother was just as moving. Seeing an angry Kara yell at her not-mother for leaving her alone in the world was a long time coming, and a nice follow-up to Kara's rage in the Red Tornado episode.
James encourages Winn to tell Kara how he feels.
Meanwhile, in Love Triangle Land, James finally cottons on to the reason why Winn is being such a dick to him: Winn loves Kara, and is mad at James for being the current object of her affection. Unlike Winn, James is a total mature adult about the situation, telling Winn: if he likes Kara that much, he should go for it. James reaffirms that he is not standing in Winn's way and Winn shouldn't blame him for his f--kboy behavior (OK, I may have added that last part). This is all well and good, but I'm pretty sure Kara already knows that Winn hearts her. And, just because James is with Lucy, doesn't mean that Kara doesn't still heart him. Life is sometimes messy like that.
Cat figures out who Supergirl is.
Well, it only took a half-season, but Cat finally figured out that her administrative assistant is Supergirl. I would have liked to see this moment get a little more time. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that "Supergirl" doesn't over-utilize the secret identity trope like so many other superhero stories, but that only makes me want to see a moment like this one given even more weight. Because, with this cast of the characters mostly already in the know, we're not going to get many more of them.
Still, the relationship between Kara and Cat has been the best dynamic of this show for the first eight episodes. Even when Cat didn't know Kara's identity, she was still inspiring Kara's choices in her superhero-life. And, even when Kara wasn't loving what Cat was saying about "Supergirl," she still respected and cared about her boss, loyal to a woman who isn't always (or ever) the easiest person to work for.
I, for one, am excited to see how this relationship changes and progresses now that Cat knows the truth about Kara. Surely, Cat will try to exploit Kara's powers for journalistic gains. (The convos Kara could over hear alone could win CatCo some Pulitzers!) Presumably, Cat will inevitably brought further into Kara's superhero life. In the mean time, I'll just be replaying Cat's straight-forward "Thank you" in the wake of such a major revelation.
It all ends with Non v. Supergirl.
As far as midseason cliffhangers go, Kara and Non facing off in a to-be-continued fight is a middling one. Sure, Non seems like a pretty good fighter, but the fight doesn't have the emotional repercussions that the battle between Kara and Astra does — despite the fact that Non is technically Kara's uncle, and another surviving Kryptonian. Furthermore, it's never really clear why Astra's gang is going after Lord Technologies, which isn't featured in the episode until the very end. Some greater context wouldn't have gone amiss.
That being said, "Supergirl" has managed to craft a compelling world in these first eight episodes. Some elements — i.e. Kara and Cat's relationship, Kara and Alex's relationship, Kara's rage over Krypton, CAT GRANT — are working better than others — i.e. Maxwell Lord's semi-mysterious motives, the inconsistency of Astra, Winn (I'm so sorry, Jeremy Jordan) — but "Supergirl" is just getting started.