Monday, October 2, 2017

Mediocre Stratagems Undermine The "Hostile Takeover" On Supergirl!

The Good: Good performances, Decent fight sequences
The Bad: Stretched use of the ensemble cast, Plot convenience trumps sensible character direction, Lack of emotional resonance for the characters, Continues the forced romantic subplots
The Basics: "Hostile Takeover" is a mixed bag of a Supergirl episode where Cat Grant and Supergirl fall into boring traps the same way.

The first season of Supergirl had villains aplenty and by the time of "Hostile Takeover," the season was finally starting to come into focus with how the different adversaries would relate to one another. The basic plot of the first season of Supergirl followed the idea that as Supergirl was rising in National City to be Earth's second Kryptonian super hero, her aunt Astra came into direct conflict with her, the DEO was hunting extraterrestrials on Earth who had been released from their prison on Fort Rozz by Astra and in her mundane life, Kara was finding conflict with Max Lord, who was waging a propaganda war against Supergirl. In "Hostile Takeover," Astra returns, with her sidekick Non and her agenda against Supergirl becomes more clear.

"Hostile Takeover" picks up immediately after the events of "Human For A Day" (reviewed here!), which found Kara powerless. Barely recharged, Kara is assaulted by Astra and Non and "Hostile Takeover" begins there. "Hostile Takeover" also takes place immediately after Alex Danvers has learned that her boss at the DEO, Hank Henshaw, is actually J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter.

Astra squares off with Kara and tells her that she wants to team up with her niece to change the face of her plans. Returning to CatCo, Kara learns that the company has been hacked and Cat Grant is now on the defensive. Grant's lawyers advise her to be patient and Kara urges her to fight, which leads her boss to task her with reading all of her e-mails with James Olsen and Winn Schott. At their headquarters, Non and Astra discuss their allegiances and Astra claims to want to save Earth from an environmental disaster. Non promises Kara will join them or he will kill Astra's niece. At the DEO training facility, Alex tries to figure out what attachment Kara has for Astra, but her sister is tight-lipped.

Meeting with the Board, Cat Grant discovers that one of the members is working against her. While Schott and Olsen search for the proof that Dirk Armstrong is behind the hack, Supergirl takes to the skies where Astra is hovering to goad her into a fight. After incapacitating Astra, Supergirl brings her aunt to the DEO where she is imprisoned. James Olsen participates in an operation to bug Armstrong's computer in order to get the proof that he is behind the CatCo hack. When Kara meets with Astra at the DEO, she learns that Kara was trapped by her mother using Kara as bait. As Grant works to survive the attempt to oust her from her own company, Lord Industries comes under attack by Non.

Astra is characterized in "Hostile Takeover" as an environmental activist who tried desperately to save Krypton from ecological disaster. "Hostile Takeover" works to redefine Astra as an adversary as Kara's aunt claims to be working to save Earth from a similar environmental disaster as the one Krypton suffered.

Supergirl seems to be trying so hard to be hip in "Hostile Takeover." Cat Grant went to Burning Man and eats candy in her office in a way that seems ridiculously age-inappropriate for the character who is a workaholic. Grant references Idris Elba, a Jekyll And Hyde musical, and Anderson Cooper in a way that tries far too hard to namedrop and seem fresh and cool. But "Hostile Takeover" suffers for the same reason that people who insist that they are cool fail.

"Hostile Takeover" also keeps alive the painfully forced love triangle between Kara, James Olsen (who is working on his relationship with Lucy Lane) and Winn Schott. Schott is useful in "Hostile Takeover" and it is refreshing to see Lucy Lane used for her legal skills instead of just being a prop in a romantic subplot.

Cat Grant is the focus of much of "Hostile Takeover" and her choices as a mother reflect Kara's angst over learning the truth about her own mother. Grant, as it turns out, has another child and Dirk Armstrong plans to use her secret child to take Grant down. Grant is a shrewd business leader, but in "Hostile Takeover," she not only has a ticking time bomb for her private life that is about to be set off, but she requires the help of a team of novices to corporate espionage to save herself. It is hard not to wonder just how Cat Grant survived for decades before this particular team popped up in her life.

The DEO is similarly hampered by plot-convenient failure to think tactically and that is disappointing.

The performances in "Hostile Takeover" are good, though. Melissa Benoist steps up to play both Kara and Supergirl well and she plays Supergirl's newfound rage with realism that is enjoyable to watch.

Ultimately, "Hostile Takeover" is a well-dressed episode of Supergirl that plods along at a surprisingly slow pace and falls apart under even minimal scrutiny. The result is an aesthetically enjoyable episode that is objectively disappointing.

For other works with Malina Weissman, please visit my reviews of:
A Series Of Unfortunate Events
"Livewire" - Supergirl
"Stronger Together" - Supergirl
"Pilot" - Supergirl


For other television season and episode reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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