Monday, January 18, 2016

REVIEW: 'Supergirl' - Winn is Forced to Express His Emotions When His Father Breaks Out of Prison in 'Childish Things'

CBS' Supergirl - Episode 1.10 "Childish Things"

Kara does her best to support Winn when his father, the supervillain Toyman, breaks out of prison and seeks out his son for unknown reasons. Cat offers Lucy a job at CatCo. Alex asks Hank to use his powers to help uncover Maxwell Lord's plans.

All season long, it has seemed inevitable that things were going to become emotionally devastating with Winn's feelings for Kara. The show has pretty aggressively pushed Winn's love for Kara and Kara's love for James. It's been a recipe for disaster since the start of the series. Everyone seems to be aware of how Winn and Kara feel - except Kara. She adamantly refuses that there is any kind of romantic pining for James. She also sees her bond with Winn as nothing more than a great friendship. She has been there for him and vice versa. She loves everything he has done for her as she has embraced her Supergirl identity. But these underlying issues of love were bound to explode sometime this season. And now, they have. They play out somewhat predictably too which does soften the emotional impact of this episode a little bit. Plus, the various subplots are a little disjointed as well.

However, this is Jeremy Jordan's best episode so far as Winn. That's entirely because he's at the center of the main story. It's a big one for Winn. His father has escaped from prison and has big plans for Winn. Winn doesn't want anything to do with his father. He is happy with his life right now - even though he is bottling up his emotions just like his father used to do. His father is the villainous Toyman. He has several crafty inventions that prove to be quite dangerous and lethal for federal agents as well as Supergirl. Years ago, he snapped when his boss stole his toy ideas and ended up killing a dozen innocent people. Now, he is attempting to reunite with his son so that they don't miss any more time with each other. Winn wants nothing to do with his father. But the Toyman doesn't give him a choice.

Winn feels helpless in this situation. He has lived in constant fear that one day he will break and become just like his father. That has kept him from embracing life fully. That's what has made him so cautious. He did open up to Kara about his father being in prison. But it takes the Toyman breaking out for Winn to provide all of the horrifying details. Kara is there for him just like Winn has been there countless times for her. She fully believes that she could not be Supergirl without Winn. She wants to believe that she is the hero she is because of the support and help from her friends. She wants to return the favor when this incredible and dangerous situation happens to Winn. She does her best to be supportive. She lifts Winn up. She makes him see that he is so much better than his father. He has done incredible amounts of good in this city. But that ultimately leads to Winn finally kissing Kara and the awkwardness that follows is very devastating to their relationship.

Kara is still there to protect Winn once the Toyman captures him and forces him to kill in the name of being reunited. He has to choose between killing one man or letting ten bombs kill a bunch of innocent people - including children. Winn is not a killer. He carries the weight of this monstrous action on his shoulders. But it's the only option he has. Fortunately, Kara saves the day. Winn doesn't have to kill and no one dies because Supergirl saves the crowd from the bomb. The Toyman is returned to prison where he belongs. But the fallout of the kiss is much more important for the final act of the episode. Kara wants to believe that it was just because of the high emotions of Winn's father being out and wreaking havoc. It's not though. Those feelings were real and genuine. Winn has felt them for a long time. That has been painfully obvious. They can't go back to the way things were now. Winn can't let that happen. It's heartbreaking but he needed to express himself. He needed to be open with Kara. She wouldn't have understood otherwise. It creates tension in their relationship now. Kara doesn't know how to react. This is such a surprise to her. It may not be to everyone else. But to her, it is. She doesn't know how to move forwad.

And Kara is going to need the support of Winn for whatever comes next this season. Maxwell Lord has figured out her secret identity and her connection to Alex and the DEO. That's a reveal that happens at the end of the hour solely to create a surprising moment. It ultimately makes Alex out as a bad agent for not realizing that Max put a camera on her bag. It's also suspicious when Kara is just hanging around her apartment in the Supergirl outfit. That especially draws attention to the reveal. It continues to suggest that Max is a threat that everyone should take seriously. It's just executed very weirdly in this episode. He got more out of the dinner date with Alex than she did - and it was her idea! This really is not a good episode for Alex being a smart agent at all.

But the operation that happens while Alex has Max distracted does a decent job at showing just how difficult it is for J'onn to embrace his true identity. He is comfortable being Hank Henshaw. It's an appearance that allows him to be successful in this world. He has these incredible abilities but he's choosing to hide out of fear of how humans will react. Alex and Kara know the truth. They embrace him for who he is. And yet, there is still a ton of pain dictating his actions. When he breaks into Lord Technologies and finds the secret room, he is forced to use one of his powers that he never wanted to use again. He completely wipes the memory of one of the security guards. It's a decision he felt he had to do. And now, he feels horrible that he had to do it - all just so he could bring a couple of photos back to the DEO. Alex asked a lot of him. Now, he is damaged once more by his actions. It's an interesting use of the character. But again, it largely showcases just how nefarious Max is and how no one should underestimate what he is capable of.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Childish Things" was directed by Jamie Babbit with story by Yahlin Chang and teleplay by Anna Musky-Goldwyn & James DeWille.
  • Henry Czerny had fun as the Toyman as he wreaked havoc throughout the city and tried to convince his son to kill just so they could be reunited in prison. It was more of a compelling premise than a character though.
  • Cat offers a job to Lucy as general counsel for CatCo. It's a great opportunity for Lucy. She even gets to comment about the amount of female owners in this business enterprise. But it also creates meaningless conflict in her relationship with James. It's one sided because the show never properly explains why James is so awkward about this job offer.
  • Apparently, James just wants to be out in the field with his camera again. That's honestly what he's been doing all season long. What does he even do at CatCo that's not that?
  • That FBI agent was horrible. She only wanted to look at things one way and served mainly as another entity to complicate the situation between Winn and his father.