[Review] Supergirl Episode 5×11: “Back From the Future: Part One”

written by Cara Russell


With barely a rest from the epic crossover, we’re thrown straight into an epic time-traveling two-parter, and we hit the ground running. David Harewood (J’onn) directs, and I’m sure his skill is no small part of this. The writing is also stuffed full of references to classic time travel films, so it’s definitely worth a rewatch to catch ’em all.

Brainiac 5, at Lex Luthor’s behest, jailbreaks an evil universe-hopping version of Winn Schott. Lex offers this Toyman Junior an opportunity to get revenge on a public that didn’t know his Toyman Senior existed, but unstable evil doesn’t need reasons. It needs explosions! So Toyman Junior agrees to attack a toy fair so Lex can play victim when his action figure’s debut get interrupted by yet another super-powered villain.

Of course, it’s all a ruse to get a Legion ship from the future, when Earth-Prime’s Winn Schott returns from the 30th century to try and clear his name of the murders Toyman will soon commit. Brainy again diverts the ship under the guise of getting it out of the open, and provides Lex with a sample of Winn’s DNA so Lex can operate the ship. The prize is the memory cube inside the ship. With the earths merging, Lena’s formula for Q-Wave particles is no longer valid…for now. Lex delivers the cube – which contains a future formula for Q-Wave particles – to Lena, allowing her to resume her research.

Meanwhile, Toyman posts a manifesto to the internet, which gains instant fame and likes. Jeremy Jordan really knocks this one out of the park. It has shades of the terrible plots from Season Four, but the delivery has such a different tone that it feels like the caricature it should be, and not something that would be appropriated by a certain set of folks bent on similar revenge against imaginary foes.

The Super Friends try to piece together Toyman’s targets, discovering his evil mood board with a target around the Rojas’ pictures. Meanwhile, Andrea is demonstrating her new VR tech at a local school, and the gang shows up just in time to beat up the school’s mascot…or rather, Toyman in the school mascot’s fursuit. With most of the heroes occupied by robot tigers, Winn confronts Toyman. We get to see how Winn might’ve ended up without the influence of his friends, and it’s an absolute heartbreak. Toyman sets off an explosion, destroying himself, and Winn survives using his Legion ring’s phasing ability. It’s enough to save Winn’s future, but seeing himself disintegrate will surely haunt him.

With things back to relative normalcy, Kara hosts a game night, bringing William Day into the fold. Winn tries to coax Brainiac 5 into joining. While Brainy declines, he also finally uses his words and tearfully confesses his alliance with Lex, and the difficulty he’s having remaining logical and anticipating Lex’s moves. Winn’s naturally upset, but as everything worked out and gave Winn some much-needed closure, he manages to let that anger go. He forgives Brainy and even thanks him for saving Winn’s future, and family.

It’s looking like it’s only going to be a brief respite for the gang, though, as we close out with Toyman’s confiscated tech coming to life and ominously declaring “Let’s play to win!” – which is the last thing you want to hear a tech master’s ghost saying while it’s locked up in a DEO vault. I can’t express how much I’m looking forward to next week’s episode, and I hope we’ll see this momentum through the end of the season.


Supergirl airs Sunday nights at 9 Eastern/8 Central on the CW. Cara can be found on Twitter @virtualcara.

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