I think we all knew, as soon as it was revealed that Winn’s dad was in prison, that his daddy issues were going to rear their ugly head at some point. “Childish Things” is that point. Surprisingly, though, especially considering how painfully boring Winn has been in the series so far, this episode mostly works really well.
My biggest complaint about Winn Schott, from day one, has been that he was a pretty straightforward Nice Guy™ who spent all his time creepily hanging around Kara and resenting her for not wanting to bang him, and “Childish Things” addresses all that stuff head-on. It’s a surprising and refreshing change of pace for a show that has so far been content to leave Winn be, utilizing a constellation of unpleasant tropes pretty much totally uncritically regarding his relationship with Kara. When Winn’s deranged father escapes from prison, though, things come to a head and Winn and Kara are forced to deal with whatever lies between them. Kind of.
The best decision the writers made this week was having Kara react negatively to Winn trying to kiss her while they were sharing a moment of bonding over their respective murderous relatives. I fully expected, and frankly was almost rooting for, them to share an actual confused-feelings-full kiss, but that wasn’t what happened. Instead, Kara pulled away, as one does when someone misreads signals and goes for a kiss when it’s very unwanted. Watching, I was genuinely surprised. Unfortunately, this isn’t fully dealt with by the end of the episode. Though Winn finally lays all his cards on the table and confesses his love to Kara, she’s not equally candid in response, and the future of their friendship is still unresolved when the credits roll.
Winslow Schott, the Toyman, is equal parts ridiculous and deeply disturbing, and letting the audience meet him definitely helps to give his son, Winn, a lot more depth. The problem is that he’s never really a particularly worthy opponent for Supergirl. Although we can see how much interacting with his father affects the younger Schott, and those interactions (and the subsequent talks with Kara about them) are pretty compelling, there’s never much sense of danger from the Toyman himself. Instead, it’s Winn’s behavior that’s most concerning, and his concern that “bottling up his emotions” will turn him evil is something very close to a veiled threat. I suppose, if Winn does turn out to be the same sort of psycho as his father, he can at least rest easy knowing that he’ll be handily defeated by Supergirl in the space of a day or so.
The secondary plots are also only partially successful.
Lucy Lane appears to be officially moving to town now, and she’s getting a job at CatCo. I love James Olsen as much as the next girl, but he was profoundly dull this week. His failure to communicate about his feelings is frustrating, and I suppose works as a contrast to Winn’s newfound openness, but I still don’t understand why he was being so weird with Lucy. I loved Lucy and Cat together, but the conflict between Lucy and James ended up being not a conflict at all and simply cemented them together as one very boring couple.
Meanwhile, Alex and Hank were investigating Maxwell Lord, who is still the absolute worst. Kara’s attempts to encourage Hank to “come out” as a super-powered alien were positively cringe-inducing. I hate the whole idea of using super powers as a metaphor for other oppressions, and this instance of it is especially frustrating. While I liked Hank’s stuff this week, and I can see that he has some very real misgivings about using his powers, which was interesting, the reality is that there are basically zero drawbacks to his being a Martian. I mean, sure, people could be mean to him, but he still has godlike superpowers.
In the end, though, “Childish Things” is more good than not. The character work for Winn and Hank was largely excellent, and it was definitely necessary. And the episode ends with Kara and Alex spending time together—more of this, please (and more of Lucy and Cat).
- “She’s so nice!” is the best thing Lucy could possibly have said when emerging from a meeting with Cat Grant.
- “I want to work for a cool, powerful, kickass woman instead of a bunch of old white men.” You and me both, Lucy.
- I always loved Emma Caulfield on Buffy, so it was cool to see her show up as an FBI agent.
- Speaking of childish things, if the snail eggs were delicious, why did Alex spit them out as soon as she found out what they were.
- “Max Lord is nothing more than a reformed nerd with a God complex.” ACCURATE.