[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Director: Glen Winter
Writers: Caitlin Parrish & Derek Simon
Starring: Melissa Benoist, Mehcad Brooks, Chyler Leigh, Laurie Metcalf
After the death of Toyman, Winn’s mother tries to reconnect while a copycat Toyman attempts to kill them.
It’s nice to finally have this story element back in play. Winn’s relationship with his parents was a strong element of that first season and I loved seeing it continue. Jeremy Jordan is wonderful in his performance giving a very strong monologue about the night his father was arrested.
Family is complicated. One feels an innate love for them but everyone makes mistakes. It is difficult to deal with the natural love one has for a family member as well as having to face that relative’s demons. No matter what his parents did, they still are Winn’s parents and some part of him still has that affection even if his father doesn’t deserve it. It’s hard and the episode showcases that well in a compelling narrative about family.
I love how much screen time James Olsen gets. He has felt so separated from everyone since season two and it was nice to see him so involved. Everyone is hanging out singing karaoke together; James is integral to the main story. And Mehcad Brooks has a couple of really nice moments with Jordan as well as getting to kick some ass.
M’yrnn is developing dementia unbeknownst to J’onn. It’s a heartbreaking subplot with some terrific acting from Carl Lumbly, David Harewood and Chyler Leigh. It’s nice to finally reconnect with M’yrnn after being absent for so long as well.
The episode is well directed by Glen Winter. While the special effects aren’t great, Winter gives the action scenes a lot of style and flair that genuinely helps keep me from being too distracted by the bad CGI. The last bit of the flying monkey scene in which Supergirl takes the remaining ones out with the pole is incredible. I love the framing of the different shots and the choreography for Melissa Benoist and/or her stunt double is great.
The action scenes themselves are also a lot of fun. The writers clearly had a blast coming up with the most creative stuff they could including a giant toy T-Rex. The episode has a lot of heavy moments and these scenes help balance the mood without being intrusive.
The CGI is pretty bad even by this show’s standards. Shiny metal is a very tough to convey through digital effects even with a large film budget so I understand the difficulty. But these effects are underwhelming especially the robot monkeys. It looks like Benoist is swinging at nothing.
While I like all of the time spent on the supporting cast, there is a cost. Supergirl barely does anything through the episode. Even in the final battle, she does nothing. She gets captured and Mon-El has to save her. I like the supporting characters but Kara is our protagonist. They could have at least had her take out the T-Rex instead of Mon-El.
The villain is generic and dull. There is nothing to her at all. Her motivations are barely explained if they even exist. She is a plot device more than a character.
Like seemingly every superhero show on right now, the show is clearly still struggling to balance its cast of characters because there are just too many. I loved how much focus Winn, James and M’yrnn get but Kara is practically useless. However, this is a wonderful character piece for Winn and Jordan knocks it out of the park. There is a lot of maturity and heart to the writing and it’s a welcome return for the show.