Supergirl – Season 1 Episode 10
Supergirl shakes up the status quo a bit when Winn’s father, Winslow Schott Sr. (Henry Czerny) escapes from prison and attempts a reconciliation with his son.
Ever since Winn was introduced in the first episode there has been speculation from fans that he might be destined to go down a dark path and emerge as Kara’s enemy sometime in the future. The whole unrequited love aspect of their relationship seemed to be a solid motivator for him to be driven to hate her. This episode shows that they’re taking Winn in another direction entirely which makes me happy as I wasn’t looking forward to a spurned jealous version of Toyman.
It was mentioned earlier in the season that Winn’s father was in prison and that is something he is fine with since he is “a very bad person”. Until now we don’t really know anything about that but it turns out that his father resembles a traditional version of Toyman which makes Winn a bit of a blank slate when it comes to his future development. This can only be a good thing as it allows Supergirl to have a character that can go pretty much anywhere.
This episode belongs to Winn in almost every way and gives Jeremy Jordan more to do than he has had in every episode prior to this combined. He actually proves that he is more than up to the challenge and delivers a varied performance that adds some much needed depth to the character. Winn’s feelings on his father’s escape are complicated as he has pretty much disowned him but doesn’t want to see him dead. He’s torn by a sense of familial obligation which contrasts with the hatred that he feels. It’s interesting because Winn feels as if he should hate his father but can’t quite bring himself to.
Winn is under the impression that he has a genetic disposition towards turning evil like his father did and really wants to fight that. The rationale for that is that his father was once a good man who snapped and went after his greedy boss so as far as Winn’s concerned that potential exists within him and could happen at any time. It could be seen as paranoid but at the same time it’s a very human reaction that makes a lot of sense on a personal level.
This provides a good opportunity to enhance his connection with Kara as she can understand where he’s coming from. She also has family who turned out to be bad people and she worries about what that means for her but Kara is able to approach this from the point of view of having made her peace with the idea. Kara knows what she stands for and is confident that she won’t go down the same path her aunt did. That confidence extends to her perception of Winn who she feels that she knows well enough. As far as Kara is concerned Winn is a good person and nothing will change that because she won’t give up on him. Their friendship is defined in ways that it previously hasn’t by their interactions in this episode.
Winn is keeping his feelings for Kara a secret for her and that’s the main cause of his concern that he might snap so he finally admits them to her. It comes from his misinterpretation of an intimate moment between the two of them which leads to him kissing her. It’s a great scene that shows how much Kara cares about Winn with no real romantic connection. I like that her reaction to the kiss isn’t a positive one. She doesn’t feel the same way about him but also doesn’t want to be responsible for hurting him.
The scene where Winn confesses his feelings is great as well. Jeremy Jordan and Melissa Benoist both perform excellently in this episode generally but this scene is the strongest from both of them. Kara looks as if she almost wishes she felt the same as it would prevent her from having to reject him. At the same time she can’t lead him on so has to be honest with him. It’s heart-breaking for Winn to hear but he does need to hear it. It all brings in the whole “nice guys finish last” idea but it’s played slightly differently. I find it encouraging that Winn has been honest with Kara this early as it removes the whole nonsense of him hiding his feelings and lets their relationship progress differently. There’s a degree of uncertainty to their friendship now that this is out in the open and it should be interesting to see what that means for them.
Toyman is a pretty good villain but suffers from a lack of screen-time. Henry Czerny plays him with an understated menace and there’s a degree of twisted compassion for his son in there too. He’s clearly insane but definitely cares about Winn above all else but has a really unconventional way of showing it. The fact that he wants them to be together in some way even if that means they’ll be in prison together is especially twisted.
As a challenge for Supergirl he isn’t the most believable. The quicksand trap is really silly but Kara’s superspeed should more than compensate for any of his tricks. His idea of planting 10 bombs in random places is a good one as Kara isn’t fast enough to find them all. Her solution of activating the sprinkler and freezing the water was a really cool visual. There’s also something really creepy about using toys as weapons and the episode takes advantage of how unnerving that can be.
Speaking of cool visuals, seeing Supergirl fly alongside the Martian Manhunter was all kinds of awesome. It didn’t last long but it was such a great visual that ties into Hank/J’onn’s theme for the episode. Kara is trying to encourage him to embrace his abilities and come out as the hero she feels that he is. J’onn is reluctant to use his powers as he knows what problems they can cause as he has comparatively little experience using them. This pays off in the episode when he wipes the security guard’s memory. He erases pretty much everything instead of just the memory of having seen him. I’m impressed that the show went there and it gives a different interpretation of the Martian Manhunter. Any other version I’ve seen or read is in complete control of his powers and can do pretty much anything so it’s interesting to see him afraid of what his abilities can do since he is isn’t all that skilled with them. He has been so concerned with hiding that he is unable to control them properly.
It turns out that J’onn is afraid to reveal himself as he knows how superficial human beings are. Superman and Supergirl are accepted as aliens because they look like attractive humans where J’onn looks like what some might perceive as a monster so he is reluctant to make himself known to the human race out of fear of being hunted again. It’s a solid motivation and easy to understand. I hope that the lack of skill with his abilities is developed further as I really liked the angle. It was cool to see him use his abilities differently when breaking into Lord’s facility. A particular highlight was seeing him disguised as Lord and explaining that his date with Alex was messed up because of “my narcissism and unkempt facial hair.”
Maxwell Lord is still up to no good but is still missing something that would make him an engaging villain. J’onn and Alex now know about the girl he’s experimenting on but Lord also now knows that Supergirl is Alex’s sister. It definitely dials up that threat level but I don’t quite feel that he’s a burning problem for her. His spying method is a little obvious to the point that I feel Alex should have figured it out. Lord’ surveillance will also clue him in on the fact that there is some connection between Hank Henshaw and someone called J’onn J’onzz but there’s little in the way of context from this one conversation to go on. It’s dangerous information to have hints of whatever way you look at it.
As a side note I really like the moments where Kara and Alex sit down to watch TV, eat takeout and act like sisters. There’s a real chemistry between them in these scenes that is largely absent elsewhere in the show. I feel that there should be more of these as it enhances their relationship.
Much of the rest of the episode is spent manoeuvring characters into certain roles. Lucy now has a job with CatCo and gets along really well with Cat. We are given some insight into her with the reveal that she isn’t all that close to Lois which obviously interests Cat since it is well established that they don’t get along. In theory it is supposed to create friction between James and Lucy as she is now working with him as well as being his girlfriend. James says all the altruistic things around wanting her to be happy and any implied dishonesty is explained away as James preferring being out in the field taking photos rather than being behind a desk. This is all pretty standard stuff but it’s good to have characters do things that don’t involve them interacting with Kara, it makes the show feel bigger and the characters have more agency when they have lives outside of her.
A really good episode that gives Winn some overdue character development and lets Jeremy Jordan loose with some more complicated emotional beats for his character.
Ever since Winn was introduced there has been speculation that he will become Toyman due to his age. Revealing that his father is in prison and is already a fairly traditional representation of Toyman opens up this character to go pretty much anywhere the producers want him to.
This episode is focused on Winn and gives Jeremy Jordan more to do than he ever has. He delivers a varied performance that adds a lot of well needed depth. Winn’s feelings on his father’s escape are complex as he has disowned him but doesn’t want to see him dead. He’s torn by an obligation to him contrasting with the hatred that he feels. Winn feels that he should hate his father but can’t bring himself to.
Winn is under the impression that he is destined to become evil because his father was once a good person and snapped to go after his greedy boss. This could be seen as paranoid but it’s also a very human reaction that makes a lot of sense.
This enhances his connection to Kara as she knows how it feels to have doubts because of family. Kara approaches this from the perspective of having made peace with the idea. She knows what she stands for and is confident that she won’t go down that path. Her perception of Winn is the same who she feels is a good person and won’t give up on him.
Winn’s concern comes from the fact that he is keeping his feelings for Kara bottled up. He chooses to admit how he feels after misinterpreting an intimate moment between them which leads to him kissing her. It’s a great scene that shows how much Kara cares for him with no real romantic connection. Her reaction to the kiss isn’t a positive one as she doesn’t feel the same way but also doesn’t want to be responsible for hurting him.
Winn’s confession is a great scene that is well acted by both Jeremy Jordan and Melissa Benoist. Kara looks as if she almost wishes that she felt the same so that she wouldn’t have to reject him. She can’t lead him on and has to be honest with him. It’s heart-breaking for Winn to hear but he has to hear it. It brings in the “nice guys finish last” idea but it’s played slightly differently. I find it encouraging that Winn has been honest this early as it allows the relationship to develop without the secret being kept. There’s a degree of uncertainty to their friendship now and it’ll be interesting to see what this means.
Toyman is a pretty good villain but suffers from a lack of screen-time. He is played with an understated menace but there’s a degree of compassion for his son. He’s clearly insane but cares for Winn above all else and has an unconventional way of showing it. The fact that he wants them to be together even if that is in prison is especially twisted.
As a challenge for Supergirl he doesn’t really work. Her superspeed should render him defeated really quickly and some of his tricks were really silly. I liked the 10 bomb idea as that provides difficulties for Kara. Her solution of activating the sprinklers and freezing the water is a cool visual. There’s something creepy about using toys as weapons and the episode does a good job of playing that up.
Seeing Supergirl alongside the Martian Manhunter was really cool and I like that J’onn is reluctant to show himself to the world as his default appearance is what humans would perceive to be monstrous. I also like that he is afraid to use his powers as he isn’t all that practiced in using them. This pays off when he erases a guard’s entire memory rather than only the memory of seeing him.
Maxwell Lord still has ways to go before he becomes an engaging villain. Having him know that Supergirl and Alex are sisters dials up his threat level but I still don’t get the impression that he is a significant threat.
Lucy getting a job with CatCo gives some insight into her character around her relationship with her sister. It also tests her relationship with James and reveals that he would rather be out in the field rather than sitting behind a desk. It’s pretty standard stuff but it’s good to see the characters have lives outside Kara.