Blood Memory
Credit: Diyah Pera/The CW
S4 E11
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Between the sister tension, the rage-bros, and pretty much everything James did, this week’s episode was a tough watch.

We open, again, on Red Daughter, who collapses during training. The Russian doctors dial the shock paddles to max to zap her back to life, and the ensuing purple lightning travels across the globe, striking a pile of pills in a crappy RV on the West Coast. Dealers Jerry and Kev then happily sell the glowing pills to a pair of dudebros, who pop them and morph into whatever the DC version of the Hulk is. (Solomon Grundy, maybe?)

This goes down during Kara’s game night, where the Danvers sisters have just cleaned up in Exploding Kittens. The thought of James and Lena having an unfair advantage if they were teamed up makes everybody laugh because they have the chemistry of soggy cardboard, and even Red Daughter in her coma knows it. Then Alex’s confusion about not being able to name Kara’s favorite movie is interrupted by an SOS call about the rage-bros tearing up a frat party.

Supergirl arrives to help the DEO subdue the assailants, and Alex frostily says, “I would really appreciate it if you would address me as Director Danvers.” Yikes.

The next day, Kara eats her feelings in the form of donuts and frets to James that Alex’s mind wipe could have unintended consequences. He urges her to throw herself into work, then takes a meeting with one of his reporters, who has a source telling her that L-Corp’s got a black budget to fund shady genetic testing. James tells her to investigate but keep him in the loop.

He visits Lena, presumably to ask her about this, but he’s charmed to see she’s got board games spread all over her coffee table so they can level up their game night skills. The next day, he tells the reporter that he checked into it, and the story’s a non-starter.

NO NO NO. This season, Supergirl’s trying to make the case that journalism is vital, heroic work. This is true and important, but you CANNOT make that argument when the head of a major news organization is burying actual stories to keep his on-again, off-again girlfriend’s company from getting into trouble. Do better, show.

Back at the DEO, Alex couldn’t crack the frat boys in interrogation, and she’s slow to realize that others could get their hands on the drug, which Brainy determines was irradiated with gamma rays. This makes Alex worry that the Truth Seeker scrambled something in her mind. Feeling vulnerable, she asks J’onn to scan her to see if part of her mind is missing.

J’onn and Brainy agree to lie and tell Alex she’s fine, and J’onn suggests she might need a partner to play good cop to her bad cop. He means Supergirl, but she latches onto Brainy, sending him in undercover to speak bro with the two fellas in lockup. In under two minutes, Brainy extracts the names of the dealers who sold them their sweet, sweet rage candy.

Dealers Kev and Jerry, meanwhile, sense a money-making opportunity when a video of the rage-bro attack goes viral, and they fire up the RV to take the pills to the people clamoring for it. Unfortunately, Jerry’s sister Bobbi, who just wants to study for her chemistry test, gets dragged along with them when they’re summoned by a group offering to pay $10,000 in cash for the stash. This sends them on a collision course with Supergirl and the DEO, but before we get to that, let’s take a road trip with Kara and Nia.

They’re headed to Nia’s hometown of Parthas, a liberal, open-minded haven where humans and aliens have lived in harmony for decades. Kara’s at the wheel since Nia’s still a wee bit narcoleptic with her prophetic dreams.

In fact, she has one on the ride in which her mother Isabel (Kate Burton) sits on a cobweb-festooned vanity, drinks from a wine glass, and crumbles to dust. She doesn’t mention it to Kara, instead conversing about how supportive her family was when she went through her gender transition at a young age. Her one request is that Kara not mention her dreaming powers to her family.

The Nalls are delighted that Nia and Kara have come to Parthas for the annual Harvest Festival. (Watch your back, Pawnee!) Isabel was pregnant with Nia’s sister, Maeve, when she dreamt about her daughter inheriting her dreaming gift, which only one daughter in each generation receives. Now Maeve is not-so-patiently waiting for her powers to manifest so she can follow in her mother’s footsteps by painting her prophetic dreams. When Nia sees the wineglass from her vision, she breaks it, and Maeve chides her for spilling ink for her painting project.

Kara’s staying in Maeve’s old room, which is full of books on interpreting dreams, and she realizes why Nia hasn’t told anyone about her dreams yet. Kara encourages her to be honest, but Nia instead decides to ask her mother if it’s possible to transfer the powers to someone else.

To keep Maeve busy while Nia talks to Isabel, Kara interviews her for a story about living in Parthas. Maeve says their grandmother on Parthas was a superhero, and she wants to do that, too, when her dreaming powers kick in. Kara warns her that superheroing isn’t all great, but she’s distracted by a contingent of Children of Liberty roaming around with their alien-sniffing dog. Maeve explains that people always crash the Harvest Festival, looking to tear down something good. (Next page: Alex isn’t feeling the super-love)

At the Nall homestead, Nia oh-so-casually asks her mother if there’s a way to refuse the powers or direct them to somebody else, but Isabel tells her there’s no choice. The dreamer is destined through her blood.

Then her Isabel slumps, having been bitten by a spider, and she and Nia meet in her dream. Isabel explains that she’s dying, and Nia’s the new Dreamer. She apologizes for being so blind about which daughter would inherit and says that while her element was water, Nia’s is fire, which will make her far more powerful. “Life put you through many trials just to be who you are,” Isabel says. “It made you strong. That strength will serve you well as a hero.”

Kara and Maeve arrive at the house to find Isabel dead and Nia asleep on the floor, dreaming about sharing a charcuterie plate with Maeve that gets invaded by spiders and birds. Maeve blames herself for not coming into her powers in time to use her fluency in dream interpretation to warn Isabel of the danger.

When they’re alone, Nia admits to Kara that she did dream of her mother’s death, but she couldn’t decode all the symbolism because she hasn’t studied the way her sister has. Kara warns her that keeping this secret will only hurt Nia, who didn’t choose to be the one with powers.

With Isabel’s passing, the Harvest Festival is now an impromptu memorial, with everyone dressed in white to honor the light in each of them. (Side note: Why does Maeve own so many long white dresses?) The town has assembled in a barn, with Maeve at the podium speaking about her mother’s legacy.

Okay, let’s circle back to the other storylines to explain how they all collide. Kev and Jerry’s big-money buyers are none other than the Children of Liberty, wanting a rage-boost to “harvest roaches” at the festival. But they don’t pay up, instead beating on the dealers and leaving them trussed to a light pole. Poor Bobbi, who lost her mother and gets bullied at home and at school and just wants to study for chemistry, has had enough and takes off in the RV after them, downing a pill to give herself a rage boost, too.

They’re all headed toward the Harvest Festival, with the DEO in pursuit, when Nia has a vision of destruction and pushes Maeve out of the way just as one of the Children of Liberty crashes through the wall with an ax. It’s pandemonium, as raged-out Children set fire to the barn and assault the aliens in the town. Supergirl arrives to put out the flames, and Maeve realizes that Nia dreamed the danger and runs off, leaving Nia to try to evacuate the townspeople.

Rage-Bobbi arrives next and starts to attack the Children, but the frightened townspeople don’t know who the enemy is, and one jumps on her back. Unfortunately, that’s when the DEO arrive, and Alex draws her gun on the alien grappling with rage-Bobbi.

Supergirl sees what’s happening and laser-eyes the gun from Alex’s hand, explaining that the townsperson was provoked when the Children attacked a peaceful memorial. But all Alex saw was an alien attacking an innocent, if raged-out, girl. She tells Supergirl, “Your word no longer works for us,” and says she understands what would drive someone like Bobbi to take a drug like that. “When you feel powerless enough, you’ll do anything it takes to feel strong.”

Alex accuses Supergirl of not knowing what it means to be vulnerable and threatens to arrest her, and she’s so mean here, it’s like she had a complete personality overhaul. I hate it.

Once order is restored, Nia and Kara prepare to head back to National City, but Maeve stops them to give her sister an earful. She’s humiliated that Nia let her go on and on for months about waiting for her powers to arrive, and she’s furious that Nia ended up with them. “You’re not even a real woman,” she spits.

On the drive home, Nia’s crushed that her biggest supporter said something so cruel, and when Kara tries to comfort her, Nia tells Kara that she can never understand what it’s like to have alien powers when your sister doesn’t.

Kara exhales hard and pulls the car over to show Nia how very wrong she is, launching herself into flight before announcing, “I am Supergirl.” More than anybody else, she knows what it’s like for your sister to struggle with not having powers, but she still believes in the strength of those sisterly bonds. She tells Nia that she’s a hero, too, and she’s not alone. Kara Danvers, A+ mentor!

Back at home, Nia opens a box her father gave to her after Isabel appeared to him in a dream and asked him to make sure Nia got it. It’s a superhero costume, and y’all, we’re so close to a new super friend suiting up.

Kara, meanwhile, is trying to absorb the new status quo between Supergirl and Alex. J’onn reminds her that Alex’s relationship with Kara during her formative years cemented her views on aliens, and without those memories, Alex would be a different person. In light of that, her behavior in the field makes a bit more sense.

Then Alex comes bouncing into Kara’s apartment, ready to kick back with her two favorite people and a Terminator movie.

And we close in Russia, where Red Daughter’s still unconscious, prompting her handler to make a call to someone in America. But who? Who??

Snaps of the Cape

  • Poor Kara. Now both Lena and her own sister treat her with kindness while barely tolerating her superhero alter ego. It’s enough to give a girl a complex.
  • Name me a better meet-cute than a woman on Naltor dreaming about the coordinates to a farmhouse on Earth, then piloting her spacecraft to that location to meet and marry the boy who lives there.
  • Of all the sins of the Children of Liberty, perhaps their worse offense is making me suspicious of the dogs on Supergirl. Not cool!
  • For the record, Kara’s favorite movie isn’t Center Stage, but Wizard of Oz, about a young girl lost in a strange land. No wonder Alex couldn’t remember.
  • Looks like Papa Nall cooks up a mean batch of paella. Save me a seat at that table!

Episode Recaps


Kara (Melissa Benoist) steps out from her super-cousin’s shadow to become Supergirl and defend National City in the third Arrowverse show.

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