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Supergirl‘s “Schott Through the Heart” Shows That No One Suddenly Wakes Up a Monster

Supergirl -- "Schott Through the Heart" -- Image Number: SPG314a_0073.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Jeremy Jordan as Winn and Laurie Metcalf as Mary McGowan -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Supergirl is back after a (too long!) hiatus with “Schott Through the Heart,” a surprisingly dark and emotional episode that throws us full-force back into the emotional lives of our favorite characters. We also have a new character to start caring about in Winn’s mother Mary, played by Laurie Metcalf, who returns to reconnect with Winn after having left him when he was a child.

Here’s the official synopsis from The CW:

When Winn’s (Jeremy Jordan) father dies, his estranged mother, Mary (guest star Laurie Metcalf), reappears trying to reconnect and to explain why she abandoned him all those years ago. Winn is too embittered from his rough childhood to forgive her but when a copycat Toyman attacks, the two must work together to stop him. Mon-El (Chris Wood) tells Kara (Melissa Benoist) something important about the Worldkillers, and Alex (Chyler Leigh) becomes suspicious of Myr’nn’s (guest star Carl Lumbly) recent behavior.

This episode went deep into not only the emotional lives of Team Supergirl, but into their family relationships. When Winn’s father dies, his mother re-emerges trying to reconnect with her son after “abandoning him” all those years ago. Except that apparently, she didn’t abandon him.

Winn always knew his father was troubled, a murderer, etc, but to him, his father just “snapped” one day. His mother, however, has a different version of events, and gives him the full picture of how abusive and controlling his father was. He never saw it, because Mary shielded him from it. She reminds him of the time that their drive to Disneyland was derailed by getting into an accident, an evening that lived in his memory as a time when his mother screwed up, but his dad “saved them.”

However, in Mary’s version, they weren’t actually going to Disneyland at all. They were going to a domestic abuse shelter, but her husband found out, stole a car, chased after them, and ran them off the road. While Winn was unconscious, his parents had it out, and it was then that the future Toymaker told his wife that she needed to leave, and that if she ever saw her son again, he would kill Winn. She’d stayed away to protect him.

When Winn, shocked, says that he never saw this side of him, Mary tells him that it’s because she’d always shielded him from it. “He didn’t just go to bed one day, and wake up a monster,” she said, and that line really resonated with me. No one ever “snaps,” or “flips.” People change, for sure, but there’s usually a slow progression, rather than an instantaneous shift. There are many layers to both positive and negative behavior.

Supergirl -- "Schott Through the Heart" -- Image Number: SPG314b_0092.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl and Chyler Leigh as Alex -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

image: Dean Buscher/The CW

There’s more family drama over at the J’onzz household when J’onn invites Alex over to see their new apartment and have dinner with him and Myr’nn. Alex notices that Myr’nn is acting strangely: forgetting words, losing track of plans, forgetting he has granddaughters. He’s going through the Martian version of dementia.

Except when Alex talks to him about it in private, thinking she’s warning him of something that’s happening as she relates it to her own grandmother’s experience, he says that he already knows. He’s been experiencing it for a while, but hasn’t told J’onn. He doesn’t want to burden his son, or let him know that he’s slowly losing his father again after having just gotten him back. Alex, however, encourages him to tell J’onn, because eventually, he will need more and more help, and J’onn would be blindsided.

And then there’s Mon-El and James, each of whom have a woman in their life who’s been keeping something from them. In Mon-El’s case, he’s just been made aware of the Legion’s true mission in this time on Earth: to stop the Worldkiller Pestillence before she can become Blight and destroy the universe. Imra and Brainiac were both aware of this mission, but kept it from Mon-El, fearing that he wouldn’t want to come back to this time had he known.

While this lie of Imra’s will certainly test their relationship, Mon-El is also forced to take into account both the circumstances and the scope of their problem. Imra didn’t just become a lying harpy one day. There are mitigating circumstances.

The same goes for Lena, who has been dodging James’ calls as she cares for Sam and tries to figure out what’s wrong with her (um, SHE’S A WORLDKILLER). Lena has always been someone willing to withhold the truth if it means protecting what she sees as a greater good. I’d be curious to see what happens when this inevitably comes out into the open

Supergirl -- "Schott Through the Heart" -- Image Number: SPG314b_0286.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Jeremy Jordan as Winn and Laurie Metcalf as Mary McGowan -- © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

image: Dean Buscher/The CW

As these storylines unfolded, I couldn’t help but think of the problems we face in the real world; systemic problems like racism, sexism, and other forms of intolerance. It seems like there’s a sudden uptick, or like things have “gotten worse,” but the truth is that racist and sexist feelings have always been there. They permeate everything. Whether we were shielded from it in our lives, or whether it’s just easier for us to believe that it’s simply a matter of entitled, hateful people being “evil,” the reality is far more complex.

The same is true if you believe that the world has “suddenly” become more “politically correct.” Suddenly there’s all this “new” terminology you have to learn, all these “new” genders, these “new” rules to follow. Thing is, these are the same old rules and words and genders that have always existed. It’s just that something in your life or experience has kept you from seeing it.

Most problems are progressive and insidious, very often not becoming apparent until something drastic happens. However, rather than shutting down or pushing away, as Winn tries to do at the beginning of this episode, the better course of action is to get more information. Look at the entire picture. Take in someone else’s experience and look into why they feel the way they feel.

No one just suddenly has an illness. No one suddenly has a girlfriend willing to withhold the truth. No one suddenly wakes up a monster one day. While the realization of these problems might make one feel blindsided at first, stopping to learn and acknowledge that there were causes that started long before you came into the picture is the best place from which to come at solutions.

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8:00PM ET on The CW.

(featured image: Diyah Pera/The CW)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.