Supergirl: “Manhunter” has a lot going on, leaving me with a lot of mixed feelings

“Manhunter” picks up more or less where last week’s episode ended and deals primarily with the fallout from the revelation that Hank Henshaw has been an alien in disguise for the last ten years. It’s good to see that the events of “Falling” aren’t going to be dealt with quickly, and at this rate it seems likely that we won’t be seeing a proper resolution to things until the season finale. Unfortunately, “Manhunter” falls apart a bit at the end, with some weird shuffling around of things and a couple of revelations, all of which I have some mixed feelings about.

While the episode is ostensibly dealing with the immediate consequences of last week’s episode, most of the hour is actually spent in flashbacks, with mixed results. The Martian Manhunter flashbacks weren’t actually that interesting and don’t tell us anything in particular that wasn’t already shown in previous flashbacks or couldn’t have been summed up in a line or two of dialogue. It also didn’t help that the interrogator, Colonel Harper, is supposed to have some kind of personal connection to Hank Henshaw—they’re best friends, apparently—but we’ve literally never seen him before, so there’s no context for his feelings of hatred and betrayal. This might have worked better if these things were intended to add some nuance or gray areas to the situation, but Harper is just a cardboard villain who ends up fairly easily defeated in the end.

The Alex flashback—where we learn that she was basically an unmotivated party girl (with a doctorate, I guess) before being recruited to the DEO—was good in theory, but the execution wasn’t great. I really appreciate that Hank didn’t rescue her from a date rape or mugging or something like that, but rescuing her from being busted for public intoxication doesn’t quite make the case for how adrift and struggling we’re supposed to believe Alex was during that time, either. It’s just mildly humiliating, not a total crisis.

The final flashback belongs to Kara, as she finally tells Lucy Lane about her identity. I like the material shared in this flashback best, as it actually gives us new insights into Kara and her childhood as an alien trying to fit in on Earth, her relationship with Alex, and her relationship with her adoptive father, Jeremiah Danvers. Unfortunately, the thematic connections between this little saga, J’onn J’onnz’s decision to impersonate Hank Henshaw, and Lucy’s own desire to fit in just don’t work. These are all very different situations, and the extremely superficial similarities aren’t enough to tie things together in a satisfactory way.

This thematic dissonance is further complicated this week by Siobhan’s storyline, which just keeps happening for some reason. While Kara is out of the office, Siobhan sneaks in and sends a nasty email to Cat Grant from Kara’s computer, but Cat—with Winn’s help—sees right through it. Winn tries to comfort a distraught Siobhan, but she breaks a heel and falls off a roof, screaming, only to have the power of her screams stop her fall. WHAT. After doing some reading about it this afternoon, apparently, this is because Siobhan is the Silver Banshee, a comic book villain I know nothing about, but who is apparently a pretty significant player in the Supergirl story. Siobhan makes a lot more sense now, and I figure we can expect her to show up as a villain of the week sometime before the season finale, but still. Her whole storyline seems like an awful lot of work for another villain of the week, and I don’t think there’s enough substance to her—especially to her interactions with Kara—to carry more than an episode.

The biggest real development in “Manhunter,” though, is the change in leadership at the DEO. While I’m not totally happy with the way they got there, I’m thrilled to see Lucy Lane take it over, mostly because I see this going one of a couple different directions. Either Lucy takes over the DEO and we see much less of it because of Jenna Dewan Tatum’s guest star status, which could be a good thing since the multiple disparate settings of the show have always been to its detriment OR Lucy takes over the DEO and she and Kara work together to protect the planet and become best friends, which would be excellent, since this episode just proved that they can work really well together—even if the stealth bikes were kind of silly. Either way, I think I’d be pleased.

It’s hard to believe there are only three episodes left in the season, to be honest. There are an awful lot of stories going on—Lucy at the DEO, Kara and James’s romance, Siobhan and Winn, Alex and Hank going after Project Cadmus and Jeremiah Danvers, whatever Non is up to these days, plus that much-hyped crossover with The Flash—that need to be at least partially sorted out by the end of the season, and I’m curious to see which ones the show does justice. We’ll see!

Miscellaneous thoughts:

  • I also have mixed feelings about how kind of sexy chubby Dean Cain is.
  • That poor boa. Just minding its own business when some dude thinks he needs to manhandle it.
  • When did Hank get better at wiping memories? Who has he been practicing on? And what happened to his ethical concerns about doing it at all?
  • I can’t be the only person who gets more of a romance vibe than a father-daughter vibe from the relationship between Alex and Hank, right?
  • Lucy’s face when she learns that Kara is Supergirl is priceless. Because of course. Poor Lucy.
  • Jeremiah Danvers is still alive, supposedly trapped at this Project Cadmus thing, but I’d give even odds that he’s actually the mastermind behind it. I guess we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks, with Hank and Alex going after him.
  • Also even odds on Siobhan somehow corrupting Winn and turning him into Toyman 2.0 or something.
  • Lucy stepping into her place at the DEO was #ICONIC.

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