Supergirl delivered another eventful episode this week with a much needed emphasis on the personal relationships of the various cast members leading to yet another set of major revelations.
The biggest complaint this week was the showrunners are breezing through so much weekly superhero drama material in a matter of weeks instead of letting these various subplots develop. Winn declaring his love for Kara as well as Max Lord learning Supergirl and Alex are sisters in one episode felt like plot advancement overkill.
Some of these subplots could have been nurtured over multiple seasons let alone the series’ first 24 episodes. I’m leery that tackling so many conventional story arcs in one season will lead to the writers constantly revisiting them as the show goes on for another three to four seasons.
On the other hand, it’s hard not to admire the writers’ confidence in getting these standard superhero drama boxes checked off so early in the series. Hopefully this strategy doesn’t backfire on them.
For the action segment of the show, Winn’s father Winslow Schott (Henry Czerny, Mission: Impossible) aka The Toyman decides to escape prison and get payback on the man who stole his toy designs. Winn is understandably ashamed of his father and wants little to do with his attempts at reconciliation. Winn’s been the odd man out for most of the interesting storylines this season so it was good to see him get the spotlight beyond being know-all-things-computer tech guy.
The show worked in some fun nods to the previous incarnations of the character with the toy like the Super Friends version DC Universe Classics Toyman Collectible Figure – Wave 18 and the emphasis on the big glasses like the comics version. Toyman proved a more imposing foe than I imagined considering the character’s gimmick and Czerny helped make him more of a threat than a joke. This was the first villain Supergirl faced that made up for a lack of powers and ability with creativity. Not so oddly switching up the super powered format led to some of the series’ better moments like Supergirl inhaling Toyman’s poison gas trap and creating an ice wall with her super breath.
Besides dealing with his daddy issues, Winn finally decided to reveal what everyone but Kara already knew. Kara tries to gently place him firmly in the friend zone, but poor Winn was crushed and embarrassed after innocently kissing her. The best friend pining over the hero typically plays out over numerous seasons so it was a gutsy move to start tackling it now. I’m hoping this wasn’t brought up now just so the writers can rush into a Kara/James relationship sooner. On the James’ front, his work-life balance took an interesting twist as Cat offered Lucy a job as legal counsel. It’s a forced way to keep Lucy in the mix every week, but since National City only seems to have three viable employment options, this was the best one. At least now there’s another character Kara constantly has to worry about learning her secret identity.
Taking advantage of Supergirl being let in on Hank’s secret, Kara and Martian Manhunter fly so J’onn can teach Kara flight strategies. J’onn finally provided more insight into why he’s undercover — mankind feared the monstrous looking Martian Manhunter — and he can accomplish more as Hank Henshaw. The writers haven’t shied away from discussing race before and I’m curious if they’ll broach that subject with Hank’s race, which in modern times might actually be more frightening and prone to random acts of ignorance than an alien.
As both units of Team Supergirl are focused on Max Lord, this week is was time for Team Supergirl DEO Branch to do some digging into the secretive millionaire. Alex agrees to a date with Max while J’onn goes undercover as Max to learn what’s in the mysterious Room 52. I’d love someone to compile all the various times a DC show uses a number beyond 52. I doubt it’d take all that long. J’onn finds the semi-comatose girl with the black pupils revealed last week, but gets interrupted by one of Max’s security guards. Instead of simply using his telepathic abilities to get the secret code to manipulate the guard, J’onn knocks him out and mind wipes him, which he’d vowed never to do again.
Back at the homestead, Kara and Alex settle in for a night of Game of Thrones over pizza. These moments continue to be the best part of the show for me. It feels so normal for a hero to plunk down on the sofa in costume, draped in a blanket and watching some TV. Alex updates Kara on the DEO’s investigation and blows off her concerns that Max is dangerous. Maybe he’s more formidable than she thought as Max placed a surveillance camera on her purse and now knows Supergirl is her sister.
That came across like another perfectly coincidental move for the sake of a plot line. What were the odds that an operative for an ultra secret government agency would be traipsing around the office with her purse while anything of importance is discussed? That’d be more credible if it was Cat as her purse is like another appendage, but this may have been the first time all year Alex has carried a purse. I’m not the biggest fan of Astra and the Fort Razz prisoners due to their unclear purpose, but at least we can get good fight scenes out of them. Peter Facinelli isn’t doing enough with the character to make Max seem anything more than generic, omnipresent billionaire villain and I’m not nearly so optimistic anything will change this season in that regard. Seeing how he’s being positioned as the major threat for this season, that’s not exactly encouraging.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Despite a lesser villain in the Superman Rogue’s Gallery, this was a strong episode bolstered by some meaningful personal moments for the characters and an assurance that things definitely won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
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