[Review] Supergirl Episode 1×10: “Childish Things”

written by Dayna Abel, Jason Froikin and Cara Russell

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

Okay, I don’t know what happened here, but for a good 80% of this episode, I…oh man, I don’t know how to break it to you. I…I liked Winn. What can I say? It struck a nerve. Winn not only hates his father, the murderous Toyman, for being a coward and bottling up his anger (and also, you know, killing a bunch of people), but Winn is also terrified of becoming his father. “Childish Things” presents us with the question of free will – are we destined to repeat the mistakes of our family, or do we have the choice to rise above?

Kara, bless her, pointed out that it’s one’s inner character that decides how one reacts to an immense, world-shattering trauma. Toyman, Winn and Kara all had a defining moment in their lives which shaped how they related to the world: Kara with courage, Winn with fear, and Toyman with anger. Truthfully, the issue is far more complex than a one-hour drama can really get into, but Supergirl did all right with broaching the subject for further discussion. Mental illness is terrifying, and it can be genetic sometimes. We’re still learning about it. “How did this happen to you?” Winn asks his father in a genuinely moving moment. The answer: we don’t know. We have some answers, but not nearly all of them. Criminal and sociopathic behavior doesn’t have one singular cause or reason. It is truly frightening to see a relative or loved one give in to the dark side of human nature.

Personally, I empathized with Winn (how am I even typing that sentence, seriously) because both my father and I have struggled with depression and anger management for a good portion of our lives. It’s very easy and very tempting to just let yourself give in to rage sometimes. Mental illness runs in both sides of my family, and dear reader, there are some days I am truly frightened that someday I won’t be able to keep ahead of it anymore. I’m fortunate to have a fantastic support network, medication and therapy to help me out along the way. I give credit to Winn for actually moving away from “Creepy Nice Guy” to genuine courage in telling Kara his feelings, but so help me god if I hear the word “friendzone” once from that man’s mouth for the rest of the season I will disavow every single tentative bit of sympathy I felt for the character last night. Razzin’ frazzin’ entitlement culture.

-Dayna

* * *

Episode 10 is the first episode of Supergirl so far where the holes in the plot were simply too big to ignore. I pushed aside minor errors in previous episodes – such as attaching a spy device to a computer monitor which mysteriously had no screws holding the back panel on, rather than the PC itself – because they had no real impact on the plot itself. This time, it did, and it disturbed me more than usual because in a few places, it looked like these things were kind of wedged into the show to keep the plot moving forward.

Right at the top of the list was Winn, who pulled apart a toy and looked at the circuit inside to tell exactly where it was made, but then blindly followed his father’s assassination plan to the letter without even trying to think his way out of it – pulling the fire alarm, perhaps? I can see how maybe they did it to avoid underplaying Supergirl’s role in the show…but they’ve pulled surprises and done that before. I also understand part of the show’s theme was to make Winn more sympathetic and human, but then he crossed the line into severely damaged and a little bit “holy crap, this is too much to deal with,” and I was left hoping they get him some professional help. Even the kiss was in something of a manic fashion, like he was trying to check it off his list before he loses his mind.

Following right on his tail was Hank, a.k.a. Martian Manhunter, who’s full of excuses about swearing never to use his Martian powers again, except that he’s been doing it for the entire series run in secret. Either he’s a terrible liar, or he simply doesn’t want to use his powers to help anyone. And right behind that is Maxwell Lord, who seems to have created a time paradox where he spied on Kara’s sister to see Supergirl there, but he didn’t know they were sisters yet. Even Supergirl kind of fell into one, since lung capacity is an expression of volume, not strength, but at least I can kind of overlook that one since it doesn’t really affect the plot all that much. The winner of this week’s episode was Cat Grant, who didn’t fall into a single plot hole.

-Jason

* * *

There’s a lot to digest in this week’s Supergirl, back from yet another break and wasting absolutely no time in hitting the ground at top speed. Winn’s utterly creep-tastic father, a previously-alluded-to convict, breaks out of jail with a weaponized yo-yo and a trail of bodies in his wake, with just one goal in mind – reuniting with Winn, permanently.

This relationship dynamic is worthy of a whole review itself. Seeing Winslow in action tells us as much about Winn as it does the acts one can justify after having One Bad Day, and how obsession can twist a person. The two are very much alike, with the great difference being Winslow the Younger seeing the path he could follow and trying to resist, fearful that he may turn out to be just as evil as his father. Sadly, the object of his obsession happens to be Kara, who doesn’t reciprocate, creating an interesting parallel between the dynamics of Winn/Kara and Winn/Winslow. I can only hope that it doesn’t lead to teddy bear explosives this time, especially when Winn has become that much more tragically sympathetic (if still completely romantically incompatible with Kara).

The other bomb in this episode is in the B-Plot. Alex allows Max Lord to “wine and dine” her while she attempts to extract information regarding the Kryptonian attack on his facilities. While it’s fairly unrewarding for her, Hank Henshaw takes the opportunity to impersonate Max and infiltrate “Room 52”. Hank finds Max’s captive Jane Doe and gets caught on camera despite his precautions. Max also manages to place a camera on Alex’s handbag, which makes its way to Kara’s apartment for the Alex and Kara’s TV night. Max gets a full view of the close sisters with Kara in full Supergirl costume, as well as a tip-off that Hank isn’t all he seems to be. I’m left incredibly excited to see how this will go – right now, it looks like an impending train wreck. A delicious train wreck!

-Cara

Supergirl airs Monday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on CBS. Dayna can be reached on Twitter @queenanthai, Jason at @Mangacool, and Cara at @virtualcara.

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