Season One, Episode Ten – “Childish Things”
By Molly Jane Kremer. After what was an odd hiatus—a couple weeks off here, an episode there, then another week off—our beloved Supergirl has finally returned to us with “Childish Things”, an episode heavy on the character development, and light on the melodrama. It serves as a nice breather from all the Astra-choke slamming we’ve been sitting through lately, with Toyman causing troubles of a more psychological nature (especially for his estranged son, Winn). And it made time to focus on J’onn J’onzz, the show’s burgeoning new superhero. More capes flowing in a bright, blue sky? That, my friends, is never a bad thing.
WHAT WORKED: This was a very character focused episode, wisely-structured in letting all that good emotional stuff forward the action and story. Jeremy Jordan, as Winn Schott, had the biggest chance to shine, and, for the most part, made the most of it. (More on that in a bit; see WHAT DIDN’T.) Watching him work through his daddy issues and mental illness fears (hey, if your dad was a homicidal toy maker, you’d worry too) made for compelling television this week, and the fella playing proud papa Winslow Schott himself, Henry Czerny (who we remembered from that first Mission: Impossible movie) was incredibly well-cast. He was more menacing than I’d imagined the show would make him, and he was given a couple of truly creepy scenes in which to seethe.
All the different plotlines were given equal time this week, and all the main actors were given a good scene or three, and aside from a couple missteps (mentioned below) everything hummed along swimmingly. James and Lucy’s side plot seemed to be venturing towards irritatingly soapy territory but ended up being a much more interesting discussion about Jimmy feeling trapped by his desk job (instead of his relationship).
WHAT DIDN’T: If you thought the actor playing Agent Cameron Chase looked familiar, that was indeed the awesome Emma Caulfield. (You know, Anya, everyone’s favorite vengeance demon, from Buffy?) Which makes the underuse of her character doubly frustrating: for this part, they decided to use a character that had fan-servicey name-recognition but gave her nothing to do whatsoever. This particular Agent Chase was such a generic cutout character, the role could have been used as an appearance for any other DCU “agent” type. It’s sad it was wasted on the truly compelling Cameron Chase and on the talented Emma Caulfield.
Winn finally decides to make his move during an intimate friend-moment with Kara that he misreads as more. He attempts to smooch Kara. She politely pulls away. He storms out. But when retelling the story to her sister, Kara blames herself for Winn being upset. WHAT THE HECK, GUYS?? She should feel guilty for his crush… why? This feels just like more bullshit justification in using the term “friendzoning”, and the idiotic idea that women are vending machines that you can put friendship tokens into and wait for sex to come out. (I’m paraphrasing a meme here. Memorize it, ladies, and throw it at any dirtbag who wants to guilt you out of a “no”.) A woman should not ever feel bad or be made to feel bad for declining a man, friend or no—and Kara was so polite about it too! Alex should have told her younger sister this (and in so doing, the audience), being wiser in the ways of the world and (hopefully) more aware of all this ding-dang internalized misogyny crap. Grrr. MJ smash.
J’onn: “If Superman trusts him, that’s good enough for me.” Alex: “If Supergirl trusts him, that’s more than good enough.”
“But a woman with brains who gives everything up for love inevitably finds herself staring into an existential abyss that men, babies, and cardio bars simply cannot fill.” – Cat seems wary of Lucy’s decision to drop everything and move across the country to be with her boyf.
“So when can we set up the tv interview? He seems like a very sensitive boy. Do you think he can cry on cue?” – There was so little of Cat this week, but all her lines were so very A+.
Max’s Assistant: “As long as we’re being honest, she did strike me as a little humorless for you.” J’onn/Max: “She was actually a lovely woman. If anything it was my narcissism and ill-kempt facial hair that ruined any chances I had with her.”
“We both lost our worlds and now we’re trying to give back because of it.” – Kara. I’m not quite sure how or why Winn took that as flirtation, exactly.
BEST MOMENT: It’s an easy pick, but the opening sequence — where Kara and J’onn can be seen flying through the skies, side by side — was sweet and exhilarating all at once. (As this whole show tends to be.) The effects on J’onn in Martian form can be iffy at points, but the flying visuals are, as always, nigh perfect. And seeing the two flying together, capes snapping in the wind, well… it was quite a sight to see.
EPISODE’S MVP: Supergirl. As ever, Melissa Benoist is this show’s heart, soul, and raison d’etre. This week’s episode was simply more of the effervescent same. We’re seeing her start to creatively use her powers in strange and dangerous situations, like sucking up poisonous gas in the arcade and then exhaling it far up into the sky; or using heat vision to set off the emergency sprinklers at the toy convention, only to freeze it with her cold breath to cushion the attendees from Toyman’s bombs. (Although you’d think exploded ice shards wouldn’t feel so nice either.) We’re watching Supergirl grow and learn to better use her powers, and that makes for incredible television.
– Special Agent Cameron Chase has been a regular in DC Comics continuity for almost twenty years, most notably in her own sadly short-lived eponymous series Chase, written by Dan Curtis Johnson and with art by the incomparable J.H. Williams III, as inked by Mick Gray.
– The doll that Toyman sends to Winn is wearing the jester costume of the 70’s Toyman, Jack Nimball—who, in the comics, was later killed when Winslow Schott came out of crime-retirement.
– Really, Max? Alex’s name in your phone is “Mata Hari”? As in the famous World War I lady-spy? Ugh. I need to see Kara punch him in his dumb face sooner rather than later. (Or I guess I could just reread the Sacrifice storyline…)
– This week’s locations, specifically the ones tied to Toyman, were so perfectly done. The arcade they first meet at is a great spot, but the toy factory later in the show looks like it was taken directly out of the Superman or Batman Animated Series, it was that spot-on of a villain lair.
– But a vat of quicksand, to catch and hold a Kryptonian…? That was just silliness, and I can’t believe Kara was actually stuck in there for even as short a time as she was.
– The FBI seems reeeeeally trigger happy in this episode. If the first meeting with Toyman hadn’t been with a glass-hologram-thing instead of the actual dude, they would have shot him to pieces. And later, the same would have happened to Winn if Kara hadn’t stood between him and so many bullets. Just seemed a bit much.
– So if Lucy is gonna be CatCo’s general counsel, does that mean we don’t get to see her in her awesome army outfit anymore, with the cute little hat and everything, bein’ all no-nonsense? Aw, nuts.
– Ever since his Martian reveal, I love when J’onn/Hank is onscreen. And seeing him upset at having to mindwipe the Lord security guard was WRENCHING. I wanna give him a big ol’ hug and eat Oreos with him.
8.5 out of 10