This episode has more action than most of the episodes that came before it, and the action is better than most of what came before it, though still a bit stiff. There’s also a strong emotional story to balance it all out.
We’re picking up right where we left off, with Kara being ambushed by her aunt Astra. It’s been like six episodes since we last saw Astra, but so much has happened that it was almost easy to forget about her. Where has she been? Has she spent all of this time trying to find a counter to Kyptonite? If that’s it, it paid off. She’s managed to make herself and her followers suits that are impervious to Kryptonite, so she can use the Kryptonite knife against Kara without weakening herself. Astra tells Kara that she doesn’t want to fight her, though. It’s hard to believe that when she’s just ambushed Kara and is threatening her with a Kryptonite knife, but that’s what she says. She wants Kara to join her, but Kara refuses and leaves.
The following morning at CatCo, news has leaked that Cat’s emails have been hacked. The hacker is releasing mostly harmless but still embarrassing facts from the emails, so Cat enlists Kara, James, and Winn to go through her emails and tell her if they find anything that could reflect badly on her if released.
At the DEO, we see Kara and Alex training together. Kara appears to have gotten much better. She can actually beat Alex now, although it’s clear that she doesn’t totally have her emotions under control. Alex knows it’s because of Astra, but she thinks that Kara doesn’t hate Astra as much as she says she does.
In a flashback, we see the last moment that Kara and Astra saw each other, and we see Astra telling Kara that she loves her as though she was her own daughter. She also tells Kara that Krypton was dying, and that she had to do some bad things to try and save it. Kara was only a child at the time and didn’t understand what that meant. Alura didn’t explain it to her and neither did Astra.
This brings us to the main conflict of the episode. No matter what Kara says, Astra is her family, and as angry as she may be there’s still a part of her that cares bout Astra. Could she kill Astra, if it came to that?
Alex doesn’t think she can, which is why she thinks it’s best if Kara lets the DEO handle Astra without her. Kara thinks the whole thing is unnecessary. If she doesn’t kill Astra it won’t be because it’s Astra, it will be because heroes never kill. Superman never kills. A nice philosophy, but Alex knows it’s not always that simple. The point is whether Kara can be trusted to be objective when it comes to Astra, and it doesn’t seem likely that she can be.
Back at CatCo, Cat is asked by the board members to put some distance between herself and the company for a while, at least until the whole hacker scandal blows over. Cat suspects that the chairman of the board, Dirk Armstrong, may be up to something. He’s not a fan of Cat’s and Cat once called him the “walking personification of white male privilege” (god I loVE CAT), but he’s being suspiciously nice to Cat. Using her super hearing, Kara hears Armstrong admit to having set Cat up. Before she can accuse him, she needs to find proof, so she asks James to enlist Lucy’s help, since Lucy has a background in law.
Kara and Astra have a confrontation, and Kara wins the ensuing fight easily. Too easily, really. Unable to finish Astra off, she brings her aunt back to the DEO where she can be kept prisoner. Initially Kara refused to talk to or about Astra once she was locked away, but when Astra refuses to talk to anyone but Kara, she has no choice but to speak to her aunt.
Astra tells Kara about what happened between her and Alura. Apparently, Alura contacted Astra pretending to be Kara, to lure Astra out of hiding. Despite Astra’s insistence that she was only trying to save Krypton, which was on the brink of ecological disaster, Alura sentenced Astra to Fort Rozz.
Kara is horrified that her mother used her against Astra and that this was kept from her. When the hologram confirms this to be true, Kara breaks down. We know that Kara admired her mother, and she seemed to place her mother on a pedestal. Throughout the episode she responds with anger every time Astra tried to say something about her mother’s mistakes, she doesn’t want to believe her mother was anything but perfect. Putting people on a pedestal like that is always dangerous, and I think one of the hardest things for anyone to learn is that the people we admire can and probably will let us down at some point. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we can’t still admire them, but it is upsetting to learn that people we held up as perfect are in fact still people. People are flawed, people can be cruel, people can make mistakes.
Back at Catco, some new information about Cat has come to light and Cat is worried about what may happen if it’s released. Apparently Cat has another son named Adam, who is much older than Carter and has a different father. When Cat and Adam’s father split up, Cat tried to sue for custody, but she ended up dropping the case because she thought Adam would be better off without her and that she would still be in Adam’s life anyway. Things didn’t totally work out that way. It’s Cat’s biggest regret, and she definitely doesn’t want that information leaked.
The point of getting this information in the narrative is to give Kara a new angle on her history with her mother. Kara has been angry for a long time about her mother’s choice to send her to Earth alone, and now Astra has given her something new to be angry about. As Kara tells Cat, she knows what it’s like to wonder about a mother’s choices. Cat was only doing what she thought was best for her son, just like Alura did what she thought was best for Kara and for their planet, but whatever their intentions were, their kids still got hurt by their choices. Even if Kara and Adam could one day come to understand their choices, it doesn’t erase the hurt.
Luckily for Cat, the gang have found a way to hack into Armstrong’s computer and prove that he was the one who hacked Cat. They share the news with Cat and she gets to fire Armstrong and have him arrested in a very satisfying scene. Cat is extremely grateful to Kara, James, Winn and Lucy for their help and it’s nice to her being vocal about her appreciation for them.
Later that evening, we get another surprising reveal from Cat. She suspects that Kara is Supergirl. Kara tries her best to deny it but Cat isn’t so easily dissuaded. She asks Kara to take off her glasses and when she does, it’s basically confirmed. Kara doesn’t really have any time to deal with this because she gets a call from the DEO and has to leave, but I remember feeling really excited by this reveal. It was very well-earned and it just makes sense for Cat to know, doesn’t it? Plus it opens up all kinds of possibilities for where their relationship can go and man I was so excited.
But first we need to deal with something else. Alex and J’onn (side note: Alex hasn’t told Kara or anyone about J’onn’s real identity, as far as they know he’s Hank Henshaw, but I prefer to call him J’onn either way) have been replaying Kara and Astra’s fight and they’ve realized that Astra must have lost on purpose. Why would she want to get caught? When they confronted Astra, they found out that the rest of the Kryptonians are invading Lord Technologies. The episode ends in the middle of the battle between the DEO and the Kryptonians, so we’re ending with another cliffhanger.
I find Astra more interesting in this episode than in past episodes. Astra forces Kara to think about her past in ways that are uncomfortable, and I like the complex relationship she has with Kara. There’s definitely love between them but they’re on opposite sides of a conflict and neither is willing to compromise, if compromise is even possible.
This show is at its best when it focuses on emotional storytelling and that’s definitely where this episode’s strengths lie. We’re given some interesting developments into Kara’s relationship with both Astra and Cat, but can the next episode, which is a continuation of this one, keep delivering? Hm. Well, we’ll get to that.