Supergirl: Manhunter

"What was once a symbol of hope is now a symbol of fear."

The army breaks apart our team for questioning after Kara's Red Kryptonite experience continues to cause repercussions. It might be up to Lucy to save them all.

As a writer, kudos to the Supergirl writing team. This episode dealt with complex story arcs, multiple flashback vignettes and somehow managed to keep the pace, tone, and emotional structure together. "Manhunter" might be my favorite episode so far in the first season.

Additional kudos to David Harewood. It's his turn to be multiple people and he's portraying very different times and characters in this episode – the real Hank Henshaw, who is indeed a bit of an ass; the current, imprisoned and revealed Martian Manhunter, trapped in Hank's form; and the Hank/J'onn that met Alex Danvers and rescued her from clubbing.

Both J'onn and Supergirl are on redemption arcs in this episode, and Siobhan is on a negative redemption arc which makes this story work and makes the flashbacks illuminating and entertaining. J'onn is trying to convince the military that despite his deception he's served America faithfully. He's just not a nationalized American citizen and hasn't given his real name or identity or age for years. He tells the truth in total here, and I have to admit being touched by and smitten with Jeremiah Danvers' openness, insight and ability to connect. Go Dean Cain!

Supergirl is also on a redemption arc, and in the process we also learn how she was made. She has to regain the trust of the world, and in this episode, that's represented in the body and form of the woman who competes for the heart of the man she loves. I couldn't believe how terrible the children in her school were, how absolutely snotty. I loved Dean Cain again as father to Kara, and the lead-lined glasses - which figure so prominently in Kara's initial interview with Cat Grant. When Supergirl reveals herself to Lucy, and this in turn leads Lucy to admit Supergirl and Kara have regained her trust, it creates a powerful core for this episode showing the promise of what's possible with the mutual honesty Supergirl's struggling to embrace where she can.

Even Alex has a redemption arc, which I found kind of funny, if only because it seemed so out of left field. Bad fashion and shots lead her to licentious dancing and men with gigolo shirts. Then she drops her keys and is arrested for being drunk.


So far, humor, but this loses its flavor for me when she meets Hank; it becomes clear that Alex's admission last episode, about the feelings of envy and competition with Kara, is accurate and cuts deeply, and when she talks about Hank saving her life she means by giving her purpose and connection that enable Alex to move beyond those feelings to a new place.

Siobhan's "negative redemption" struck me as equally ridiculous early on. Oooh, how high school! Sign into her email and send a message to the big bad boss! I wonder if Winn feels like a failure; he certainly doesn't succeed at reforming Siobhan. And his point about fraud made the whole thing truly sober. Winn does, however, succeed at seeming to push Siobhan into some form of power; when Siobhan falls drunkenly off the roof and nearly kills herself (see how smart the writers are? The echoes among the stories keep them tied together) it pushes her into some form of power.

The real cliffhanger ending of this episode, though, for me, isn't Siobhan Smythe floating above the ground on a bed of her own screams; it's the knowledge that Jeremiah Danvers isn't just a flashback anymore, but present, and at the finally-introduced Project Cadmus–and that Alex Danvers and Hank Henshaw are heading out to save him.

Bits and Pieces

Is it irony that it's now Kara's team who's being detained unfairly by the military, instead of Maxwell Lord? 

Cat giving baby-shower presents to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, and wanting to be given Damehood. George is indeed cute.

Lucy being slightly catty when she finds James in Kara's apartment. Um!

Quotables

Alex: You don't look so dangerous shoving Chocos in your face.

Cat: So, tell me, my 10:15, why you're so special
Kara: I'm not, special. There is absolutely nothing special about me. I am totally, completely, 100% normal.
Cat: Yes. You are.
Kara: Absolutely. And I am nothing if not average. Average strength, average hearing, less than average vision (chuckles and points to her glasses) There's nothing extraordinary about me. Except - except - that I am extremely committed. I care. I'm a hard worker. I just wanna help.

Overall 

Five out of five lead-lined glasses.

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

Yes, this is a good one. I've grown to like Hank a lot, they finally gave Lucy a plot and it was a good one, and we finally found out what happened to Jeremiah. The only thing that didn't work for me, and clearly it didn't work for you either, was Alex pity partying because she's envious of her super sister. It made her motivations look bad. And I think she'd need applicable work experience to get a job at the DEO, even if Hank did pull strings to get her in.