Supergirl Recap: “Childish Things”
"Either way, we'll be together."
This week’s episode of Supergirl, “Childish Things,” places Winn front and center as his father—the infamous Toyman (Henry Czerny)—has escaped from prison and is looking for him. Meanwhile, Cat has offered Lucy Lane a job which only slightly weirds out James and Kara. Welcome to Episode 10 of Supergirl, Season One!
**THIS IS A RECAP – SPOILERS ARE PART OF THE TERRITORY.**
S1, Episode 10 – The Basics
- Over at Van Krul Maximum Security Prison, the security apparently ain’t as “max” as all that, as a really horrific killer escapes using only a yo-yo. Granted, it’s a Yo-Yo of Death, but still. Why, hello Toyman!
- Meanwhile, Kara and Martian Manhunter, aka J’onn, aka Hank Henshaw (but seriously, what are we calling him now? H’onn? J’ank J’enshaw?) enjoy what Kara thinks is a freeing flight around the DEO training grounds together, but what Hank thinks of as “flight training.” Killjoy. Back on the ground, they confer with Alex about getting into Room 52, the room in which James’ intel has told them Maxwell Lord is keeping something bizzare … J’ank advises subtlety, rather than a red cape.
- Cat has summoned Lucy to CatCo to offer her a job! You may remember this moment from the exclusive clip we shared with you on Friday. Well, Lucy’s totally thinking about it, and James and Kara are more than just a little bit weirded out by the thought of Lucy being at their workplace every day.
- Mention of an escaped killer called “Toyman” on the news causes Winn to freak out and rush to mute the broadcast in the office. Just then, FBI agent Cameron Chase (Emma Caulfield) bursts into CatCo looking for Winslow Schott Jr.
- In a conference room Agent Chase is questioning Winn as to his father’s whereabouts—any possible contact made, known associates, etc—but Winn says he knows nothing. Once his father killed a bunch of people, Winn cut off ties. Later, however, out on the balcony with Kara, Winn reveals just how angry his is at his father—though maybe a little more in touch with him than he admitted at first. Toyman reached out to Winn by sending him a stuffed toy with a pull-string (that looks vaguely like a three-eared Batman?) asking him to meet at their “favorite spot.” At first, Winn wasn’t sure if he wanted to share this with Agent Chase—he just wants to forget his father exists—but Kara encourages him to help her, and so he does.
- At the DEO, Alex tries to convince J’ank J’enshaw to use his powers more, but he’s adamant about remaining Hank Henshaw. 1) Because he needs to stay head of the DEO, and 2) because he fears the way he was hunted and persecuted for 50 years the last time he tried to be himself. (Yeah, that’d put me off socializing, too.)
- Winn walks toward an arcade wired by the FBI as Agent Chase and Kara look on. Kara’s acting as though she’s on a DEO mission, and Chase be like “Um, you’re only here ’cause you’re Winn’s friend, now stay out of the way.”
- Lucy sits in James’ office at CatCo researching the company, and loving that it’s not only female-owned, but that 90% of CatCo companies are run by women. She asks if “it would be fun working together.” James is all “you should take the job if you want it.” Lucy is all “that’s not what I asked.” Awk-waaaaard.
- Alex calls Max and tells him that she wants to meet up and put everything on the table once and for all. Max is intrigued that she’s “going rogue,” and agrees to meet her. Of course, this is all a ruse so that J’ank and the rest of the DEO gang can get into Lord Technologies while she’s got him distracted.
- Winn enters the arcade looking for his father. After a creepy run-in with a doll, Winn finally stands across from his father, who tries to convince Winn that they are alike. Winn isn’t buying it, and he’s wearing his anger on his sleeve, but he tries to convince his father to turn himself in. When the FBI bursts in and threatens to shoot Toyman, Winn tries to keep his father alive by convincing him to surrender—but as it turns out, it’s for nothing. That wasn’t actually his dad. It was some kind of glass hologram projection doll thingy. Toyman attempts to gas the arcade and kill everyone in it, but Kara enters as Supergirl, and sucks up all the gas, dispelling it into the atmosphere in a mighty breath.
- While questioning Winn outside the arcade, Agent Chase seems convinced that Winn either knows more than he claims, or is withholding to thrwart her investigation, but he won’t cooperate. After she walks away, Kara asks Winn to let her help him bring his father in alive. He doesn’t want her to get involved, but she says she owes him for every time he’s helped her. Despite what he might think, she needs him. (Awww!)
- Alex meets up with Max looking way more hot than we’ve ever seen her look on this show. (Chyler Leigh must have been thrilled to be out of a polo shirt!) They drink champagne as they eye each other suspiciously.
- At CatCo, Cat calls Kara into her office, first to ask about getting an interview with Winn now that she knows he’s Toyman’s son. Kara tells her he’s not doing any interviews, which is fine by Cat as long as he doesn’t do Diane Sawyer instead. Then, Cat asks her to get a job offer packet together for Lucy Lane, which Kara hems and haws over. Cat Grant ain’t got no time for no millennial love drama. She be like, “Girl, you better just get me that packet!” Or something like that.
- Over dinner, Alex asks Max to tell her why the aliens were attacking his lab, and what they might have stolen. He counters with the fact that she talks about “aliens” and “Supergirl” as if they’re separate things. She insists that Supergirl helps people, while Max differentiates between her and Supergirl. He wonders why Supergirl doesn’t bother her, and Alex wonders why he’s so obsessed with taking her down. Max asks what the connection is between her and Supergirl, and she says “The agency I work for has …a professional arrangement with her.” Max toasts Alex, “a hero in her own right.”
- Meanwhile, Martian Manhunter is doing a hilarious Maxwell Lord impression over at Lord Technologies. That is, until after he sets off an alarm phasing into Room 52 and discovers the Jane Doe in there. The alarm has attracted security, whom Martian Manhunter eventually has to knock out and erase his memory. But he vows to come back for the Jane Doe.
- Back at CatCo, Winn takes apart the toy his father gave him, and it has a Slingshot Toys chip in it. Slingshot was Toyman’s old toy company, and Winn is sure that he must have gone to the old factory. Supergirl rushes off to face him …
- … and is greeted by a creepy doll of herself. As always, Supergirl tries to appeal to Toyman’s better nature—his love for his son, his loneliness—but sometimes, people just be mentally ill. Toyman ends up luring her to a block filled with quicksand. When she sinks into it, she gets stuck (???). He makes her think that he has a child trapped in a hanging steamer trunk before he escapes, but when she finally frees herself from the quicksand by freezing it and bursting out, she discovers that the voice in the steamer trunk is coming from another Supergirl doll. Ugh. These don’t even LOOK like me …
- Alex hates heels, but there are bigger problems at the DEO. Like, who’s Jane Doe in J’ank’s photos from Room 52? How is she alive with what Lord is pumping into her body through her IV? And why is he keeping her barely alive (Code Phoenix?)? Meanwhile, J’ank feels really guilty about needing to mind-wipe the security guard. He’d sworn he’d never do that again.
- At Kara’s place, Winn is freaking out about turning into his dad, but Kara is being a good friend and talking him down, reminding him that it’s unlikely that he’d snap like his father at this point, since the worst think that could happen to him has already happened, and his response is to do good and try to give back. In a moment of weakness, Winn leans in to kiss Kara, but she backs off. She says it’s okay, but he leaves embarrassed … and falls right into his dad’s loving arms, with the help of some chloroform.
- Winn, tied to a chair, is a captive audience for his dad’s lunatic plan. He wants to kill his old rival—the one “responsible” for him going to prison. Well, he doesn’t want to do it—he wants Winn to kill him for him. (Whaaaaaaaaaaat?!)
- Agent Chase and some other FBI drones are ransacking Winn’s desk now that he’s gone missing. Kara tries to stop her, but Chase is convinced that Winn and his father are “working together.” Well, she’s sort of right …
- Toyman reveals his plan: he’s created a special toy gun that will get past security, but still be lethal. He wants Winn to go up on stage during his rival Charles Dunholtz’s talk at the National City Toy Convention and kill him. As incentive, Toyman has placed ten bombs throughout the convention hall that will go off if Winn doesn’t do it. Way to encourage your son, Pops! And why is he doing this? Because whether they escape or go to prison, at least they’ll be together. Awwww …
- At the Toy Con, Winn—stuck between a rock and a hard place—goes up on stage and points the gun at Dunholtz. But Supergirl and the FBI arrive simultaneously. Supergirl shields Winn from the shower of FBI bullets as he tells her about the bombs his father planted. Using her X-ray vision, she spots Toyman on a floor below them. He’s set off the bombs. She doesn’t have time to ask everyone to move, so she calls everyone toward the stage—then freezes the opposite side of the convention hall to absorb the blasts. The bombs go off, but minimal damage is done. She then races downstairs just in time to keep Toyman from escaping.
- Back at CatCo, Lucy reveals to James that her new office is upstairs from his. He still doesn’t seem thrilled that she has this job, and she questions him. As it turns out, it’s not about her at all, but about the fact that seeing her so excited about this opportunity has made him realize how dissatisfied he is with his own job. He misses being a photojournalist, and being out on the street during the earthquake reminded him of “the old James.” He may have to have a chat with Cat about getting back to that line of work …
- Kara approaches Winn at his desk for a lunch order hoping things can go “back to normal,” but they can’t. Winn is now terrified of holding back his feelings about anything, because he sees what his father turned into after being a coward and keeping his feelings bottled up. Winn finally confesses his love for Kara and apologizes for kissing her, but he refuses to pretend that things can “go back to normal,” because it kills him that she doesn’t return his feelings, and he has to be honest about that. So he tells her that he doesn’t know where that leaves them, and she walks away.
- Later, Supergirl flies to clear her head, making her late for TV and Pizza Night with Alex (tonight it’s Game of Thrones). She tells Alex how bummed she is about Winn, and Alex tells her how bummed she is about J’ank. And despite the fact that Alex tells Kara that she has Max under control and will see anything he does coming a mile away, she apparently didn’t see that he put a camera in her purse. He watches as Kara and Alex watch TV—confirming that Alex is Supergirl’s sister.
The Review Bit, Wherein I Express OPINIONS:
I have to say that, after going so long having mixed feelings about Winn, I’m so glad he was given this episode. I think this is some of the best character development for a supporting role that’s been done on this show so far, along with Cat Grant. There’s a reason why Winn is so weird and off. There’s a reason you always feel a little unsettled around him. All this stuff is bubbling under the surface, and he is walking around petrified that it will come out. It’s heartbreaking, and so true-to-life. This is the best performance I think I’ve ever seen Jeremy Jordan give in anything, and Henry Czerny was a wonderfully disturbing presence as Toyman. I hope he returns.
I also hope that Emma Caulfield returns as Cameron Chase. She was fine in this episode, but wasted. If this is the only episode in which we’ll be seeing this character, I’d be very disappointed. However, if we’ll be seeing her again, this was an interesting introduction. She’s like a dog with a bone when she’s on a case, and I’ll be curious to see how she handles some of National City’s other Supergirl-sized goings-on.
On the whole, I thought this episode was solid, enjoyable, and well-plotted. The performances all-around were great, and there were even some quality moments of humor (Peter Facinelli doing an impression of David Harewood doing an impression of him was hilarious).
I thought this started a really interesting exploration of mental illness, and I think it could go a lot further. I appreciated the fact that both Winn and Kara talked about Toyman as if he were sick, rather than “evil” or a “villain,” and spoke about the fact that he wasn’t always like this. The fear of a mental illness being hereditary is a very real fear, and it’s a fascinating thing for Winn to explore. So—and this is less a criticism and more of a hope—I hope that they don’t just make this a one-episode, “After-School Special” thing. I hope Winn seeks professional help, rather than dealing with this on his own (now that he’ll presumably no longer be dumping on Kara). I hope we see him manage this and deal with it in his every day life from now on, claiming it as a part of himself. I was actually really impressed with the maturity he exhibited in confessing not only his feelings of love for Kara, but his complete honesty to preserve his mental and emotional well-being, even at the possible expense of their friendship. He’s realized he needs to take care of himself whether Kara “likes him” or not. That’s a huge deal. I hope this continues to be explored in a positive way. Because no, he doesn’t have to be like his father, but it’s going to take a lot of conscious work on his part, and I think that work and management would be amazing to see on television, and so important to representation. Too often, mental illness is portrayed as a story-of-the-week, and its sufferers are either criminals or victims. I would love to see Winn continue to evolve as simply, a person who happens to be dealing with the possibility of mental illness.
I also love that James being upset at the news of Lucy’s job has nothing to do with their relationship, or with her “cramping his style,” but instead has to do with his own job dissatisfaction. They’ve been doing that a lot with James, making us think that he’s feeling a feel because of Kara, or because of his love for Lucy, and it’s really just about—you know—normal, rational, adult concerns. I love how freaking sane and competent Lucy and James are.
It’s Kara who would drag them all into Soap Opera Town, poor thing. Right now—especially now that New Winn is taking care of himself—Kara’s the only one still feeling these schoolyard feels. But she’s also dealing with saving the world constantly, so I get that she might need more time to sort out her romantic life.
I’m getting really annoyed by people telling other people what to do with their powers. Cat kept bugging Kara to reveal her secret in the last episode, and now we have Alex badgering Martian Manhunter to use his powers all the time, having no idea what that might be like for him. People on this show need to stop pretending that knowing about someone’s powers gives them any say into how that person should use them. Get off his back, Alex. Geez.
I’ve gotta say, though, the biggest flaw in this episode (aside from Supergirl not just being strong enough to fly out of quicksand) was Max Lord being able to get a camera onto Alex’s purse. The way their dinner played, they weren’t trusting each other for a second. So WHY IN THE HELL WOULD SHE EVER GIVE HIM THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET ANYWHERE NEAR HER PURSE?! She is too smart for that, and I think this plot contrivance undermined Alex as a character in a way it didn’t have to. After all, if Alex used their “date” to get him away from Lord Technologies, couldn’t he have been doing the same thing to get her away from her apartment? That ending just really bugged me. There’s been a lot of undermining formerly cool characters going on lately, and I don’t like it!
What say you, Supergirl fans? What did you think of “Childish Things?” Tell me in the comments below!
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8PM ET/PT on CBS. For more Supergirl fun, check out The House of El—now MONTHLY on the last Thursday of the month—and subscribe to my podcast, Supergirl Radio!
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