Oct 10, 2019
Supergirl: Never Toy with a Nice Guy's Emotions (S1 E10 RECAP)
Previously on Supergirl: In the wake of an attack on Lord Technologies, Max Lord was planning a “countermove” against the Kryptonians, and when James Olsen came around to investigate, he got tied up and beaten for his trouble. There was much sexual tension between Alex and Max, while James figured out that Winn has feelings for Kara. And once again, this show’s version of Hank Henshaw is actually the Martian shape-shifter known as J’onn J’onnz.
To kick things off, we get the most bog-standard villain prison escape scenario in recent memory. First, we meet two guards who are on edge about bringing breakfast to one particular prisoner. Supposedly this guy gives them “nightmares”, but we’ll meet him in a minute, and Hannibal Lecter he is not. One guard goes to bring him his breakfast (while the other one stays behind, for no reason whatsoever) and the prisoner in question turns out to have a giant doll in his cell that talks, and it says creepy stuff like “I love you, do you love me?” Yep, this is totally something they would allow an inmate to have in a maximum security prison.
Oh, but wouldn’t you know it? The guard sees the prisoner lying unconscious on the floor of his cell, and not realizing this is in fact the oldest trick in the book, he immediately unlocks the door and walks into investigate. Alone. Without even calling the other guard for backup. Yadda yadda yadda, the prisoner immediately comes alive and attacks the guard with a very Phantasm-inspired yo-yo with razor-sharp blades. The prisoner then puts on the guard’s uniform, and kills a couple more guards with his yo-yo on the way out.
And between the creepy doll and the killer yo-yo, it should be clear to all that this prisoner is actually Superman arch-nemesis Toyman. He’s appeared numerous times on the DC shows, both in live-action and animated form, and let me tell you, the interpretation of the character we’re about to see is going to make you wistful for that time he was played by Sherman Hemsley.
Cut to Supergirl flying high up in the sky, and this time she’s accompanied by J’onn J’onnz, who’s taking this opportunity to train her “in proper flight technique”. And it should be noted that J’onn, as in all of his brief appearances so far, is an entirely CGI character. It’s a bit cheesy, though I guess I’d rather see this than the actor stuck in a chair for 12 hours a day to accomplish the same thing via makeup… which would probably end up looking just as cheesy, actually.
The two of them blast through the clouds for a while, and eventually they land near Alex, as J’onn changes back to Hank. The three discuss their intention to infiltrate Lord Technologies and find out what he’s hiding in “room 52”, which they learned about thanks to Jimmy Olsen’s “intel”. So Jimmy happily confessed to a government agency that he does a little breaking and entering in his free time. Smart.
Over at CatCo, Cat is having a private meeting with Lucy Lane, and dishing about her sister Lois. Cat tells her she’s the “smart one and the pretty one,” and is also impressed by her bona fides as a graduate of both West Point and Harvard, as well as her years as a JAG officer. Eventually, Cat says she wants to hire her.
Outside, James and Kara are watching them through the glass, and Kara is torn about whether she should eavesdrop on them with her super-hearing. But then there’s a TV news report that the “criminal known as the Toyman” has escaped from prison (specifically, the “Van Kull” prison, also seen in the comics), and Winn, who we’ve already figured out from previous episodes is the Toyman’s son, quickly grabs the remote and mutes the TV.
Lucy comes out and tells them Cat just offered her a position as CatCo’s general counsel, and everyone’s thrilled, until they realize this means she would not only be working in the same building as James and Kara, but also on the same floor.
This discussion is interrupted when FBI agents come marching in, and the lead agent yells out that she’s looking for “Winslow Schott, Jr”. Cut to the agent questioning Winn about his father, but he says Winslow Sr. hasn’t attempted to contact him since breaking out of prison. And this time, Kara has no qualms about super-eavesdropping on them. Out on the balcony, Winn tells her the whole story, which is that his father’s boss stole one of his toy designs and got rich off it, so instead of say, hiring a lawyer and suing him, Winslow Sr. decided to “put a bomb in a teddy bear” and mail it to him. Unfortunately, the boss’s assistant opened the package instead, which killed her and five other people.
Kara is of course overwhelmed at hearing that her coworker’s father is a mass murderer. But that’s not all: Winn reveals that his father actually has been in touch with him, because he found a toy on his desk this morning (a jester-like doll, in a reference to the 1970s version of Toyman, which we all know from Challenge of the Super Friends). He pulls the string and mini-Toyman tells him to meet full-size Toyman at their “favorite place”. Kara says he shouldn’t have lied to the feds about this, and when the lady agent checks in one last time, he finally tells her the truth.
At the DEO, Alex and Henshaw are trying to come up with a way to sneak into Lord Technologies. Alex wants him to use his Martian powers to do it, but Hank says it’s too much of a “risk”, and he can’t blow his Hank Henshaw cover. He’s now got this whole elaborate justification for why he keeps his identity secret, because he once tried to live on Earth as J’onn J’onnz, but was “hunted for 50 years”, and he knows the public would never accept him in his Martian form because he “looks like a monster”, and his presence would only create “panic and hysteria”. Umm. Okay. Let’s go with that.
Cut to Winn down at the docks, going to meet his father, and the FBI has put a wire on him, which he very obviously speaks into as he walks along. The FBI agents are keeping watch and Kara is also hanging around with them because reasons. Winn heads into an abandoned arcade, which even has an old-timey Superman kiddie ride outside.
Over at CatCo, we learn that James is less than thrilled about Lucy taking that job working for Cat. She gets annoyed, end scene. And I’m only mentioning this part at all because otherwise you’ll completely forget this subplot by the time the episode comes back to it.
Over at Lord Technologies, Max gets a call from Alex, and it turns out he has her listed in his phone as “Mata Hari”, as some sort of weird joke about Alex being a secret agent. Alex wants to meet up for dinner, and she tells him it’ll be off the record, and she’s going rogue, and her boss doesn’t know about it. But when she hangs up, we see Hank’s standing right there, and this “date” is really a distraction ploy to allow him to get his infiltration on.
Back at the arcade, Winn wanders around and sees that creepy talking doll. Finally, he finds his dad standing near the Skee Ball machines, and their conversation is a big storm of clichés, where Winslow Sr. actually says, “We’re the same, you and I,” and Winn Jr. replies, “We are not the same,” and mostly I can’t believe someone actually got paid to write this stock, by-the-numbers “join me and together we can rule the galaxy” dialogue.
Soon, the FBI decides to move in. Winslow Sr. refuses to put his hands up, so all the FBI guys open fire on him. And weirdly, they don’t seem terribly concerned about Winn getting caught in the crossfire. Regardless, Winslow Sr. is hit, but his body shatters like glass, and then he collapses into a big pile of glass shards. So, he’s not really here, and that was some sort of… hologram, I guess? Or a robot? Or was that supposed to be a projection on a mirror? I have no freaking idea.
But Winslow Sr. has another trick up his sleeve. The creepy doll tells Winn to run, while a row of stuffed elephants starts blowing out poison gas. It looks like the end for Winn and all the agents (did Winslow really think Winn would be able to outrun this?) until Supergirl comes crashing down through the roof and inhales all the poison gas, and then flies outside and breathes it out into the open air.
Afterwards, Winn gets some harsh questioning from Lady FBI Agent, then he checks in on Kara, who’s a bit winded. “I don’t normally inhale,” she says. I’m tempted to think that’s some kind of subtle drug reference, but it’s probably just clumsy writing.
Winn is terrified that the FBI is going to kill his father, so Kara promises to find him first. She says that Winn’s problems are her problems because of how much he’s done for her, and “if you weren’t in my life, I’d be lost!” And I don’t know what she’s thinking with this heartfelt, quasi-romantic speech about what he means to her, especially after that Thanksgiving kiss and his general weirdness around her.
And now it’s time for Alex’s dinner date with Max, and at long last, this show gives us Chyler Leigh wearing something other than a black t-shirt and black cargo pants. She’s got on a sexy cocktail dress with cleavage on full display, and Max’s jaw drops.
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