​"Blood Memory" – Supergirl S04E11 Review

And this week with "Blood Memory" we get some of the payoff on the whole Alex memory-wiping thing. It still seems a bit odd to me: so Alex does remember her childhood with Kara, but doesn't know she's an alien. So … does she think of Kara as a biological sister? A foster sister who is human? What? At the very least, this suggests that "mind-wiping" is a gross simplification of what J'onn did to her. He didn't just wipe her memories: he changed and altered them in a pretty substantial way.

Chyler Leigh, Supergirl S04E11

So, while Alex isn't hostile to aliens -- she still seems to be buddies with J'onn -- she is pretty cold to Supergirl. Which granted, I can't say I blame her: without the sisterly affection, Supergirl is a bit of a buttinsky. I did note last week that J'onn's presence in the Danver sisters' lives was because of Supergirl. That's not entirely accurate, as I was simplifying. He wasn't her childhood guardian. However, J'onn did note at one point although Supergirl was the reason Alex was recruited into the DEO, Alex's own actions were the reason she stayed. So ... what does Alex remember now about why she was brought into the DEO? If it was because of Supergirl, you'd think she'd be a little friendlier toward Supergirl.

See what I mean about the whole memory thing being confusing? And of course, Supergirl decides to bang the anvil slowly by having Nia and Maeve's relationship parallel Kara and Alex's new relationship. Because that's how the creative team rolls. But how does it parallel their relationship? Let's find out.

The gang is having their game night, which this time involves Exploding Kittens. This somehow turns into couples trivia, and we find out Lena and James don't know each other that well. There's a shocker. Nia talks about going to her hometown of Parthas for Harvest Fest. And this is one of the things I've noted before, but ... how long have aliens been on Earth? Parthas is a town where humans and aliens have been getting along for quite a while. And Nia is presumably 21 like Nicole Amber Maines. So since roughly 1997, or 20 years ago. If that's the case, why is the whole alien/human conflict just now coming to a head?

Nicole Amber Maines, Melissa Benoist, Supergirl S04E11

Kara decides to go to Parthas with Nia and meet her family, since Nia hasn't told them she has the Dreamer powers. Nia talks about being trans on the way there, and they confirm Nia's mother is Isabel (Kate Burton) from Naltor and she has another daughter, Maeve (Hannah James). Maeve is presumably (half) Naltorian as well, and everyone expects her to inherit the Dreamer powers. Since Nia hasn't told them of her powers, Maeve is waiting for her Dreamer power to manifest since only one (female) child gets it in a generation.

Everything's interrelated, and I'll explain more in a bit. But basically an alien rage drug has become hot, and some Children of Liberty guys have taken the drug and decide to bust up the Harvest Fest which has become a memorial service since Isabel dies of a spider bite. Who knew living in small towns was so dangerous? At least, I think she died of a spider bite: it's all done and expositioned a bit confusingly, at least to me.

Alex arrives with the DEO, is all hostile to Supergirl, and Nia has to reveal she has the Dreamer power to Maeve. Maeve doesn't take it well, says that Nia isn't female, and storms off. Kara understands what Nia is going through because of her issues with her own sister, and so reveals her secret identity to Nia. Also, Isabel leaves her costume to Nia after cuing her human husband Paul (Garwin Sanford) to do it via a dream.

We check in with the Kasnian clone Supergirl, which my stepson and other folks on the Internet have dubbed "Red Daughter", since the whole plot line is a knockoff of the Elseworlds story "Red Son" with Kal-El crashing in Russia instead of Kansas. She gets a bloody nose from ... something and passes out. When the Kasnians try to revive her, for some reason energy shoots out of her body and hits a tray of drugs in an RV near National City. They keep calling it a van, but it sure looks like an RV. The energy turns the drugs into rage steroids, and the hapless drug dealers handing out the drug discover they've hit on a money-making sure thing.

Frat boys buy the drug and go on a rampage. The DEO investigates and Brainiac-5 poses as a "bro" to find out who they're buying from. Have I mentioned Jesse Rath is currently the best part of the show as Brainiac-5? I did? Good. His impression of a bro is funny, and the trail eventually leads the DEO to the drug dealers. One guy's sister has taken off, and goes after the CoL types who stole the drug. The sister, Bobbi, has suppressed rage issues. I get the impression this sibling relationship is supposed to parallel the Kara/Alex and Nia/Maeve thing somehow, but I couldn't figure it out. Alex and her DEO bunkies go to Panthas after Bobbi and that's when the earlier stuff I described happens.

Other subplots? James learns one of his reporters has learned of Lena's black-account genetic work. He says he's going to vet it, doesn't talk to Lena about it, and tells the reporter to drop it because there's nothing there. Yep, that's a healthy relationship.

David Harewood, Supergirl S04E11

Alex asks J'onn (David Harewood) to mind-scan her because she feels off after the mind-wipe, without knowing why. Since he can't tell her the truth (since he's the one who mind-wiped her in the first place), he claims she's fine and this gives her the strength to go on.

Most of the episode's focus is on Nia, and fortunately Ms. Maines is up to the job. I think this is the first time they've come out and said she's trans, and Maeve throws it in her face when she complains the Dreamer power is supposed to come down along female lines and Nia isn't "female". Even Isabel seems blind to that possibility--she had a dream of her daughter inheriting her power and assumed it was Maeve--so apparently they don't have trans on Naltor. Garwin Sanford doesn't have much to do in any of this.

We do get Kara sharing her secret ID with Nia. Now if she'd just tell Lena. I suppose the way to find out superheroes' secret identities is to pretend to have emotional issues around anyone you suspect and hope they'll crack.

The whole Alex/mind-wipe thing seems like a bit of a muddle to me. It seems like they're afraid to have her actually turn anti-alien, since Alex is a main character and heaven forbid if a main character does not like aliens/immigrants. So Alex likes J'onn and seems to like aliens in general, she just dislikes Supergirl. Her relationship with Haley (who is absent this week) seems to be the same, which again tracks what they seem to be doing, namely keeping Haley as a nemesis and Alex as a generally "good" main character.

Chyler Leigh, Supergirl S04E11

Instead, she just doesn't like Supergirl. But then again, Supergirl is apparently still fired from the DEO, so Alex's reaction to her butting in on a DEO matter (and burning a gun out of Alex's hand when Alex considers shooting a Parthas alien townsperson) isn't that surprising. It's like how Haley acted toward Supergirl last week when Supergirl got involved in DEO/government matters.

That raises the question of how the government interacts with superheroes in the Supergirl world. Granted, hero-wise we only know of Supergirl, Superman, Guardian, and a hinted-at Batman (and Dreamer when she shows up in the next episode). What has the government done in the past when Superman got too close to some of their beeswax? With Supergirl, she gets involved, they complain, and she keeps on doing it.

So overall, "Blood Memory" was a good episode if you wanted to see more of Maines. Aside from Maines, the creatives team spent most of their time checking in with previous subplots. The Children of Liberty are still out there even with Agent Liberty in prison. Lena is still doing superhuman-creation stuff and James is going behind her back to cover up her experiments. Red Daughter is still doing her thing off in Kasnia, having yet another training sequence, and shooting off random bursts of energy to hit the drug dealers' pills half a continent away. It still seems kind of incoherent, but it's kinda coming together.

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. What do you think?


Speaking of next episode, there's a three-week hiatus for whatever reason, and the next new episode is on February 17. So we'll see you in two weeks. Catch you then.

Written by Gislef on Jan 28, 2019


Gislef posted 23 days ago

Also, is someone going to cue Eliza in on the whole Alex/memory-wiping thing? Otherwise the next Thanksgiving get-together is going to be very awkward. "So how is your Kryptonian foster sister doing?" "Say what?!?"

Not to mention the next annual CW superhero crossover. Alex fought with Supergirl and the others during the Dominion invasion, right? Even if she has altered memories of that ("I only fought with Supergirl because enemy of my enemy and all"), is someone going to cue in Flash, Arrow, Cisco, Mr. Terrifiic, etc.? "Be vewy vewy quiet: she doesn't remember Supergirl is her foster sister anymore."

And what does Alex remember of Supergirl being a former DEO member for 3+ years? That would seem to suggest they had a good working relationship, even if Alex doesn't remember Supergirl is Kara and her foster sister. It sure wasn't in evidence in this episode. Lots of as-yet unanswered questions.

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