Supergirl: Manhunter review Ep. 17

Supergirl followed up its best episode of the season with one of its worst. It was the bowling equivalent of a gutter ball after nailing a strike. There were so many rich plot threads to advance, but this episode focused on the most questionable series-altering move from last week.

While the episode briefly touched on last week’s other significant development of the National City populace afraid of Supergirl, the majority of the time was devoted to J’onn J’onzz’s infiltration of the DEO. Hank’s decision to out himself as Martian Manhunter made little sense as was his decision to get put into DEO custody.
Supergirl DC Comics Premium Format(TM) Figure

To assess how deeply the DEO was corrupted, the military sends in Col. Jim Harper (Eddie McClintock) and Lucy Lane. Harper conveniently enough was Hank Henshaw’s best friend and wants to know the real story behind his death. With nothing to lose now, J’onn retells the story of how he became the head of the DEO.

Hank Henshaw and the DEO tracked J’onn down to a South American jungle. I desperately was pulling for a Predator vision shot here to complete the homage. Henshaw has a mad on for J’onn and won’t let anyone, including pacifist Jeremiah Danvers (a returning Dean Cain) ruin his chances of taking Manhunter down. The Jeremiah/J’onn encounter was the episode highlight as they bonded over being the father of two girls even if their interaction was so abbreviated before Hank arrived. The Manhunter CGI looked better in this scene since his stilted body movements simply could be explained away as an alien

supergirl - manhunter review - J'onn Jonzz_1In hindsight, Manhunter would have been stronger had the flashback focus stuck to J’onn instead of pulling some unearned fan service by revealing glimpses of everyone back in the day. We saw young Kara adjusting to school life and heroically saving a mother and baby; club-hopping Alex getting bailed out of jail by Hank and recruited to join the DEO and Kara’s first meeting with Winn and Cat. None of these moments felt especially revelatory. We already knew Alex thought Kara was weird, her family scared Kara into hiding her powers and Cat is a self-esteem killing boss tyrant. The only news was Chyler Leigh’s wig being worse than Stephen Amell’s flashback blond wigs on Arrow.

Convinced J’onn and Alex were in cahoots, Harper and Lucy arrest them both and prepare to transport them to Cadmus. This was a nod to Harper’s comic book role with Cadmus, which cloned him and made him the superhero The Guardian. Apparently they took a detour as James has enough time to call Lucy so Kara can reveal she’s Supergirl and improbably convince Lucy to do a rapid 180 and agree to help. That was hard to swallow as there was all kinds of animosity on Lucy’s part with Kara and James and the Supergirl reveal shouldn’t have been the cure all. I’m not a huge fan of the superhero identity sharing being the cure all for the hero’s problems.

Supergirl and Lucy played Dom, Brian and Lettie on bikes to take out the Cadmus transport and J’onn altered Harper’s mind. J’onn offered a throwaway line about him learning to perfect it (on what? mice? DEO agent Vasquez?) without the same terrible side effects from earlier. J’onn’s mind probe somehow led to the discovery that Jeremiah Danvers is still alive and is at Cadmus. Armed with that information and carrying their new status as fugitives, J’onn and Alex decided to find Jeremiah and ditch the DEO. Why wouldn’t J’onn just use his powers to make everyone forget what happened? Wouldn’t tracking Danvers be easier with the DEO’s resources? And if going on the run was an option, why did J’onn agree to being captured in the first place? It felt like the writers kept backing themselves into logic gaps and figured blowing them off was the best course of action.

For a moment it appeared Harper’s witch hunt would finally remove the incompetent DEO off the board from the show and just allow Kara to have one support team in Winn and James. Instead, the episode took a more ridiculous route with Lucy being named the new head of the DEO. How a lawyer suddenly becomes the best qualified person to run this secret government special ops force is a question that can’t just be explained away by crediting J’onn mind warp on Harper.

supergirl - manhunter review - alex and kara_1And now, Lucy and Kara are buddy buddy again. This was endlessly frustrating as her real problem with Kara — that James is in love with her and vice versa — still hasn’t been addressed, but for convenience’s sake, it was quickly brushed aside.

Cat’s surprise that the media was so unwilling to forgive Supergirl felt pretty disingenuous considering she fanned the flames of distrusting National City’s hero in the first place. Siobhan’s plan for payback on Kara was idiotic. She went back to Catco — clearly security is overpaid — luckily finds Kara’s laptop still at her desk and unlocked and writes a nasty letter posing as Kara. This was too great a stretch to be remotely fun. Naturally, Cat calls Siobhan back to her office and reveals Winn was able to determine Siobhan wrote the e-mail thanks to a computer algorithm or you know, the security camera feed.

Drunk Siobhan started to chew out Winn for ratting her out, but fell off the rooftop. Luckily for Siobhan, her scream kept her from getting killed. And that’s not going to work out well for anyone. Next week, The Flash races in to National City to hopefully get the show back on track.

Rating: 5 out of 10


Photo Credit: CBS

DC Comics Supergirl DC Comics Premium Format(TM) Figure