Supergirl’s 11th episode (“Blood Memory”) was excellent. I loved getting to see Nia’s hometown, getting to learn more of her backstory. There’s a certain reverence in her voice, before she and Kara take their road trip. It was sweet to see a character with such fondness for home, such a strong sense of community and belonging. (Children of Liberty not withstanding, obviously.) The trip was brilliant, but heartbreaking.
First, we got the amazing Kate Burton as Isabel, Nia’s mom. Burton should be in everything always, and I would honestly like that wig, please. I absolutely loved the warm in her character, the joviality in the family dynamics (awkward Dreamer issue excluded). It was fascinating to see so much focus on nature, growing things—like a farm town version of Stars Hollow. But what I adored most was Isabel’s absolute joy in her daughter’s revelation. Her reaction wasn’t just tolerance or acceptance. It was genuine pleasure, tinged with belief and encouragement: “It was your destiny to be my daughter. … Life put you through many trials. … That strength will serve you well, as a hero.” This was a stark contrast to Nia’s sister Maeve (Hannah James), who had the opposite reaction, lashing out, taking a jab at her womanhood, her identity. That moment, although almost expected, was horrific to watch. I felt like all of the emotions that were plain on Kara’s face, as she watched in horror. Kara, in this episode, often served as proxy for the audience’s reaction.
Now, do I think that means she should’ve confessed her identity to Nia? Yes, and I loved that moment: “You too are a hero. I was the sister with powers, and I watched Alex pay the price for it and so many ways.” Seeing Nia feel understood by Kara was a huge thing, and I think it reflected in her face—that determination—when she looked at her silver suit, near the end of the show. (That said, I have huge issues with Lena being the only person (Eternal Sunshine’d Alex aside) who doesn’t know who Kara is.)
I wasn’t super thrilled with the cave troll frat boys, I’ll be honest. As far as villains go, it was idiot Band Candy episode of Buffy, minus all of the charm of Giles and Joyce making out. I found Bobby fascinating, and I wish she would’ve been allowed to kick more ass, honestly. She was used to create conflict between Alex and Supergirl, which is already getting hard to watch. I hope the Haley storyline resolves soon, because I need my Danvers girls back in full force.
That said, I feel like Alex’s character is serving as an interesting test case for how people change their opinions. J’onn posits that Alex’s “blood memory” made Alex the ally that she was, but “Without that memory, that exposure to other, her perspective has changed.” Is that all it takes to be open—a personal connection? Or is there another factor involved? This is the age old conversation about nature versus nurture, and I’m not sure which wins. I guess we’ll see.