Supergirl season 4, episode 11 review: Blood Memory

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The dynamics between sisters plays a dual role in the newest episode of Supergirl where Alex Danvers no longer knows Supergirl’s real identity, and Nia Nal hides her own secret from her family.

At the end of episode 10, DEO Director Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh) had asked Martian Manhunter/ J’onn J’onzz (David Harewood) to erase her memory of Supergirl’s (Melissa Benoist) true identity so that it would not be discovered by Colonel Lauren Haley (April Parker Jones). In the latest episode of the show, we find out how that decision has affected the Danvers sisters.

While Alex feels “off” during an alien investigation, Kara joins Nia Nal (Nicola Maines) on a trip back home that turns bittersweet.

Dream a Little Dream, Nia Nal

Anticipation for Nia donning her Dreamer mantle has been high ever since it was announced that Maines was cast in the role for this season of Supergirl. In this episode, we get a better understanding of her home life, and planet of origin. Nia’s mother left her home planet, Naltor, to find her true love on Earth. Thankfully, she found him in an idyllic town known for its tolerance. Not only does this influence the town’s human-alien relations, it also helped Nia’s transition when she came out as transgender.

Throughout the episode, we get an insight into what a powerful and influential family Nia comes from. While her mother basically built up their home town of Parthas, her grandmother was like the Supergirl of Naltor. Those are big shoes to fill, especially for Nia who never imagined she’d be the chosen Dreamer of her generation. But destiny has a way of making decisions for you.

Sisterhood Hits a Rocky Patch

When Alex’s memory of Kara’s true origins was removed, no one suspected how deeply it would impact her. Unknown to Alex, being the sister of an alien superhero during her formative years shaped much of her personality and perception of people – it inured her from perceiving anyone as “other’.” With that “blood memory” gone, Alex’s treatment of Supergirl becomes less sympathetic. In fact, this version of Alex may never have accepted J’onn has her father figure.

Supergirl — “Blood Memory” — Image Number: SPG411b_0244b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Tedra Rogers as Bobbi Miller, Chyler Leigh as Alex Danvers, Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl and David Harewood as Hank Henshaw/JÕonn JÕonzz — Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.But the Danvers aren’t the only sisters divided. Nia and her sister, Maeve (Hannah James), also suffer because of their family’s superpowers. Maeve’s been accepted as the chosen one in her family since she was born, and she has been training to become the Dreamer because of that. How will the truth change her dynamics with Nia?

Prejudices Still Run Deep

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The writers of this episode of Supergirl understand just how important inclusive and tolerant upbringing shapes a cohesive society. This is an apt allegory for why the real world is so divisive today and what steps must be taken if we are to prevent an implosion.

But while fate itself is unprejudiced in the Supergirl universe, some differences run deep. The Children of Liberty continue to be the absolute worst, patrolling Parthas and protesting its annual Harvest festival, despite the town’s peaceful ways. Then there’s Alex, who can no longer see the vulnerability in superpowered aliens.

Supergirl — “Blood Memory” — Image Number: SPG411a_0203b.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Hannah James as Maeve Nal, Nicole Maines as Nia Nal, Kate Burton as Isabel Nal and Garwin Sanford as Paul Nal — Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The most shocking moment in the episode was at the Nal household. Without giving too much away, it’s fair to say that sometimes, people pay lip service to acceptance but deep down, they don’t feel that way at all. And when push comes to shove, their true colors become visible. How does any relationship come back from such revelations?

Super Sentiments

  • This is the first episode this season where the Red Daughter has had a direct influence on Supergirl’s gang. But, from the looks of it, she’s going to leave a bigger mark on the storyline soon.
  • “How did you learn to speak… dude-bro?” is probably my favorite line from this show. Alex Danvers and Brainy (Jesse Rath) have become quite the team!
  • James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) and Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) have had a rollercoaster relationship. They’ve stuck by each other and even have some genuinely adorable moments, like in this episode’s gaming practice scene. But how long is James going to sweep Lena’s indiscretions under the carpet?
  • Among the many allegories in this episode, Alex’s impassioned speech about powerlessness begetting rage was a heartfelt look at the consequences of bullying. However, in the context of the scene, the dialogue loses its potency.

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The emotional core of Supergirl has been the resolute relationships between the main players, especially Alex and Kara, who struggled to become sisters. Tearing them apart, especially during a curtailed season suggests these last few episodes are going to put viewers through the emotional wringer. Now that the threads are coming together, all signs point to season four ending on an exciting cliffhanger.