Supergirl: Childish Things

"The day he set off a toy bomb and killed six people is the day I stopped being his son."

A man breaks out of jail with a Yo-Yo of Death - while Hank Henshaw struggles mightily with what it means to have the powers and the ethics that he does.

This episode is really intended, I think, as a Winn vignette. As such, it needs to be judged by how much it solidified Winn as a character. In that sense I'm not sure how successful this episode was. I haven't been shy about my lack of love for Winn. Other shows have their eccentric geniusii, like Felicity or Cisco. Winn up till now has really taken a backseat compared to the prominence of those other genius-types. Here, we get his origin story: he's the son of a supervillain who kills with a ninja yo-yo, communicates through homemade dolls, and is apparently working out a revenge story on his boss. Winn is apparently working through this incredible amount of rage about his father. The parallels for me with Arrow, Felicity and her father were very clear, but I thought Felicity and her father added a touch of humanity to the storyline, while here with Winn and his father, it feels like Winn is frustrated to tears by his father's canned and cheesy villain lines and determination to turn Winn into a criminal like himself.

For me, the best part of this storyline was the way Kara had of connecting with Winn over the drama, but even this felt kind of forced, like the overexcited teacher on the first day of school (OMG! Your birthday is in October! So is mine! We're going to have so much fun studying spelling!) Despite that, Winn's kiss seemed genuine, if somewhat passive aggressive. On the emotional front, I feel this ep successfully developed Winn, and I want to find out whether he'll ever cross the divide with Kara: but I suspect the stars aren't in that one.

The part about the Toymaker itself left me cold. While there are some great visual moments between Winn and his father, or Kara and the Toymaker, these are usually marred by the over-the-top nature of how the Toymaker is played. I mean, let's consider:

-- The Toymaker owned a company and then his boss fired him. Or am I wrong? Initially it seemed like it was his company, but then it was just his ideas which were stolen? Confusing.

-- The Toymaker somehow gets specialized weapons made out of yo-yos which he uses to deceive and kill the guard.

-- In the short time the Toymaker is out, he apparently manages to get enough technological equipment to revamp factories and take over amusement fairs.

-- Further, in the even shorter time between realizing the existence of Supergirl and the fact that she's involved in apprehending him, he somehow manages to create specialized Supergirl doll death machines.

-- Supergirl creates a wall of ice which bursts into shards propelled at high speed into a crowd and nobody is cut or hurt.

There's a lot of other incomprehensible things in this episode, but I'll leave it there. On another note, I loved Hank/J'onn in this episode. It's clear that, between his Martian honor and his own grief, J'onn has a lot to work out. David Harewood really conveys the inner conflict: a man of honor and a fighter, an alien and the head of an organization that hunts for aliens. People he's loved have tried to kill him. Alex's take is kind of selfish; she doesn't realize yet the need for great responsibility to go with his great power. (Yeah, you see what I did there, Spiderman lovers.)

I become more terrified of Maxwell Lord every episode. He's a self-righteous prick who has had the unfortunate accident to be right several times. Being right isn't the same thing as being ethical, and his willingness to spy and do whatever he's doing to Blackeyed Susan down there puts him square in the bad hat camp for me. For Lord, the ends will always justify the means. So, every time Alex and he go on some date, I scream at the screen, because she's really just flirting with danger.

Bits and Pieces

This episode really stoked my geek flames by opening with that great shot of Kara and J'onn flying together.


The Lucy/James drama is just irritating me. Not sure about you. I want him to just begin exploring his relationship with Kara already. Cat's offering Lucy a job at CatCo, throwing an interesting wrench into the whole James-Lucy-Kara triangle. It's hard sometimes to tell whose side Cat is on. On the one hand Cat has the side of her that's generally totally-in-support-of-women, and giving talented Lucy a role at CatCo makes sense as a one-two punch. On the other, doesn't she support Kara? Maybe she just likes picking at things.

OTOH, 90% of CatCo companies are run by women. Kick ass. 

The dolls in this story look a lot like Toyman's comic book selves.

Pizza and GOT - it ends on the right geek note. But I also note they only eat one bite of the pizza each. How is that method acting?

Quotables

Secretary: As long as we're being honest, she did strike me as a little humorless for you.
Lord/J'onn: She's actually a lovely woman. If anything, it was my narcissism and ill-kempt facial hair that ruined any chances I had with her.
Secretary: I'm sure you weren't at fault, sir.
Lord/J'onn: Getting so soundly rejected has caused me to question many of my life choices. I need to be alone, if you don't mind.

Overall

This episode was saved from banality by some great stuff happening with Hank and Kara, but I'm still not totally convinced about Winn–although I'll give him this, the acting was done very well this episode. Three out of five MacGyvered Supergirl toys.

6 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Wow. Nail on the head, JRS.

I *want* to like Winn, but if this episode was supposed to make him more likable, it really didn't succeed. I have no interest in a Winn/Kara romance (what would be the portmanteau name for that? Kinn? Wara?). I had the same reaction to the pizza scene -- no one takes one bite and throws it back in the box, and both of them did it! Toyman was way too competent, and I had the same reaction to the ice shards hurting people. If they really wanted to make an impact, this should have been explored in two episodes.

The Hank/J'onn stuff was good, though. So, not a loss.

JRS said...

Winnara? Karinn? Zor-Schott?

Billie Doux said...

I like Zor-Schott. It has a ring to it.

Anonymous said...

Probably the last poor episode..As some one who hated Winn at the start i was surprised how much he grew on me by the end..But yeah this was not his finest hour. In general Cw shows handle there romance so badly(A few exceptions but not many)..I Remember Nikita was good at mixing action, drama and romance while the 100 has pulled it off with Clexa and Linctavia..
Whenever any of the shows especially the Superhero shows focus on the couples things just start to fail.
MM was a great addition.

sunbunny said...

Yeah sorry I hate Winn. A lot. He's just so toxically friendzoney. Like in the pilot when he thought Kara was going to come out and it was like OH *that's* why she doesn't want to be with me. And his constant possessiveness over her, objecting to a DAMN HUG between her and James and then the way he reacts here like I understand being disappointed someone you have feelings for isn't into you but you still get this amazing person in your life maybe you should be happy about that instead of being all bitchy about it. /end rant.

He does, if memory serves, get less annoying after this episode. So at least we have that.

Katie Hart - Freelance Writer said...

Thought the pilot was way too cheesy, and heard that continued, so I didn't watch the show last year, but since crossovers keep happening, I'm catching up now. This episode was so-so, but in general I'm enjoying Supergirl.

For me, the best part of this episode was Anya from Buffy as the lead FBI agent!