Have you picked your jaw up off the floor yet?! I’m still in shock over the Kara/Winn situation from “Childish Things.” And if you haven’t seen it yet . . . be forewarned! Spoilers are ahead. While the show was focused on the bigger issues of Maxwell Lord’s subterfuge and the appearance of Winslow Schott/Toyman I’m still caught up in the personal drama between our heroine and her secret admirer.
First things first: that kiss! We’ve waited patently all season for Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Winn (Jeremy Jordan) to address the underlying attraction they have for one another. The writers have kept Kara oblivious to the heated looks Winn passes her across the office, instead focusing her attention on James (Mehcad Brooks). But with James and Lucy (Jenna Dewan Tatum) back together, it would seem to me that Kara should at least start to pick up on Winn’s signals. Then we finally –finally- get a kiss between these two and Kara pulls away.
She pulls away?! Yes! I know, right?
I submit that there’s not a woman watching this show that would pull away from Winn. I’m too old for him and I’d lean in! But our heroine looked shocked and uncomfortable and Winn quickly realizes that what he thought was an intimate moment was completely one sided. Despite Kara’s declarations that they are connected, that Winn would not turn into his father and that she desperately needed him in her life, Kara’s naiveté about romantic relationships got the best of her. She spoke of friendship while Winn was chasing love. Winn makes a speedy departure and Kara struggles with what happened.
Since the title of this episode is “Childish Things” I think it’s a good idea to define what is childish . . . and what is childlike. In my opinion, childlike qualities are those that are innocent and naive where childish qualities are silly and immature. Since the theme of each show plays into the title, I think it is safe to say that there were many examples of the dichotomy between these two ideas.
Case in point, the episode begins with Supergirl and J’onn J’onzz/Martian Manhunter (David Harewood) flying through the air. Kara is the epitome of a happy excited heroine while J’onn is strictly business. When Kara reaches the ground she emplores the now transformed Hank Henshaw to spend more time as his alter ego. Hank remarks that it’s a bad idea for everyone for him to be anything but what he appears. It’s a moment where the hopeful childlike qualities that make Supergirl so loveable come up hard against the realistic and grounded personality of Hank.
The show continues to explore the issues with Hank’s doppleganger. As Hank and Alex (Chyler Leigh) plan their inflitration of Maxwell Lord’s (Peter Facinelli) compound, Alex convinces her boss that the only safe way to enter would be for Hank to assume Max’s appearance. She would then distract the secretive lothario while Hank figured out what they Kryptonians might have been after. Hank argues against the idea but eventually succumbs to the plan.
Once inside, Hank is forced to use his extraordinary powers to teleport through a locked door and, in a tense moment, to wipe the memory of a security guard. He captures images of Jane Doe lying in a bed, but his actions leave him conflicted. Alex tries to ask him what happened and Hank is evasive.
Alex and Kara’s encouragement of Hank to use his abilities was another example of the childish vs. childlike theme going on. Kara and Alex are oblivious to the dangers that Martian Manhunter feels his powers might cause. In their childlike nature, they are simply encouraging a friend and colleague to embrace his many talents. Hank, however, is acutely aware of the inherent dangers. Remember when Hank first met Supergirl and told her that not everyone liked the heroine? I think we can safely assume Hank was projecting his own issues onto her.
Alex: “…times have changed. Look at Supergirl. The world loves her.”
Hank: “Your sister looks like a pretty blonde cheerleader. J’onn J’onzz looks like a monster.”
We later discover that the memory wiping abilities J’onn J’onzz used permanently affected the memory of the security guard. The guard couldn’t remember his wife or child and had no idea what he’d done up until that point. This is a particularly frightening ability and would certainly cause the human population to take pause. What other powers does Martian Manhunter possess? Where Supergirl can use her abilities for good or for evil, there isn’t a good option for J’onn.
The villain for this episode was Winslow Schott Sr (Henry Czerny). He plays Winn’s father who has been in prison for reasons unknown. The FBI shows up to question Winn at the office and the real reason for his father’s incarceration is revealed. It seems that daddy dearest is also known as Toyman and was in prison for killing half a dozen people. He has the disturbing predilection for hiding bombs in children’s toys. Winn, Kara and the FBI try to set up a sting operation to recapture Winslow but underestimate his evasive capabilities.
Winn is despondent after the failed operation and reveals that isn’t as devoid of affection toward his father as he wants everyone to believe. I think the writers accurately captured this internal struggle that many people face when a parent compromises that sense of trust many of us take for granted. Family ties are hard to break. Winn has certainly kept his distance from his father by not visiting him in prison, but the memories of the good times compete with the bad ones.
After the kissing failure with Kara, Winn is captured by his father and the two Schotts are finally able to have a good old fashioned heart-to-heart. Schott senior blames his old boss Chester Dunholtz (Scott Alan Smith) for putting him in prison and taking him away from Winn at such a young age. Winslow’s selfishness makes him completely incapable of accepting responsibility for his actions. Then Winslow reveals his master plan: he will force Winn into shooting Chester at a toy convention by threatening to blow up 10 hidden bombs. Winn is at an impasse: does he shoot one man to save hundreds? Or will he refuse to follow along? It’s Winslow’s twisted belief that this plan will reunite the Schott family either as wanted criminals on the run, or as inmates in prison.
Winn struggles throughout the episode with his deep seated fears over becoming like his father. These fears are reinforced early on by the accusatory attitude of the FBI agent that is chasing Toyman. Winn talks about being nothing like his parent, but he lacks the conviction of belief that would release him from those fears. I felt that it wasn’t until Winn realized his father would use him as a tool of destruction that he finally felt the truth in their dissimilarity. It was again that contrast between childlike actions and childish ones that helped Winn break free.
Winslow’s selfishness finally gets him captured. Supergirl shows up to the toy convention and protects both Winn and the attendees from the impending bomb explosions. I’m not sure her wall of ice was the safest option (nothing like shards of ice flying about) but her options were limited. With his father headed back to prison, Winn and Kara are forced to address the kiss and how their relationship will change. Winn overcomes his fears and finally tells Kara that he’s in love with her and has been since before her transformation into Supergirl. Kara is concerned about losing the friendship she has with Winn and the two are left at an impasse.
Alex: “You’re staring.”
Max: “Just wondering where you’re hiding your gun under that dress.”
Alex: “Behave and you won’t have to find out.”
The award for best dialogue this week has to go to Alex and Maxwell Lord. Alex calls Max under the guise of breaking ranks and sharing information about the Kryptonians. She’s pushy and dominant during the phone conversation and, despite Max’s claims about them having no further contact, he can’t help but accept her offer. Max organizes a private and very romantic dinner for two. Granted, he feeds her fancy snail eggs, but I wasn’t sure if it was a subliminal dig toward Alex, or if he really thought the expensive appetizer would impress his date. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something about the dynamic between the secretive and predatory Maxwell Lord and the confident but reserved Alex that is oh so delicious.
Alex: “Max Lord is nothing more than a reformed nerd with a god complex . . . just like every guy I dated in college. He’s not going to do anything that I won’t see a mile away.”
The final scene of “Childish Things” threw us a plot twist. Max planted a camera in Alex’s purse and has now discovered that Supergirl and Alex are sisters. He hasn’t made the connection between Kara and Supergirl yet, but that revelation won’t be far behind. Max just has to figure out that Kara’s last name is Danvers. He’s a smart guy; I have confidence in his investigative abilities.
I hope that next week we’ll get to see Jane Doe, the rumored Bizzaro Girl, outside of Max’s lab. She’s been patiently waiting for her screen time and the DEO has gone to great lengths to learn of her existence. What kind of trouble will she cause for Supergirl? Hank has also found himself in a precarious place; Maxwell Lord knows there is a shape shifting character around who can wipe the memory of unwitting participants. That’s the kind of mystery Max loves and Hank better check his alter ego if he wants to remain hidden. Will Hank continue to keep his actions hidden? Or will Alex and Kara discover the extent of his powers?
Kara and Winn will certainly spend the next few episodes working out a new normal for themselves. Winn has opened up about his feelings and Kara will have to decide how to respond. Even though he’s waited patiently for a long time, I get the sense that Winn won’t wait around for Kara forever at this point. Will Kara sort out her feelings for Winn before another woman steals him away? Will Winn be able to keep working at CatCo if she doesn’t?
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