Supergirl: Manhunter Review
This week’s episode manages to provide backstory while also setting up future episodes with some shocking revelations.
This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Supergirl Season 1, Episode 17
If this week’s Supergirl had just had the backstories of J’onn and Jeremiah it would have been sufficient – a bit expository perhaps, but no one would have complained. In fact, seeing the real Hank Henshaw and the story behind how J’onn came to care for the Danvers girls made up for the somewhat predictable witch hunt perpetrated by Colonel James Harper with help from the sometimes insufferable Lucy Lane. Even with Supergirl being marginally involved in the storyline, there was plenty to appreciate about this episode.
Who could have predicted Lucy Lane taking over the DEO? And Kara being happy about it? It could be said that her conversion to the cause was a bit easy, but viewers could see that she was having doubts during Harper’s interrogations. Once Major Lane got on board with the rescue of J’onn and Alex, though, it was actually nice to have her along. Even the humility she displayed in asking Kara to help her with her new position as director was downright charming! What a refreshing change for the character of Lucy!
Likewise, it was nice to see the change that Alex went through upon being recruited to the DEO, a life event that Alex claims saved her, and perhaps it did. J’onn’s promise to care for Jeremiah’s children is nothing new for viewers of Supergirl, but the quick circumstances that brought about his bond with their father was. Was Jeremiah the first human to treat J’onn with anything more than suspicion and fear? Perhaps. At least viewers now have a clear picture of what happened to the first Agent Danvers.
One element that was a little hard to swallow had to do with Project Cadmus, supposedly a secret base where experiments are carried out on extra terrestrial threats. The idea that J’onn would be sent there because of the deceit he perpetrated on the DEO and his longtime friend, Harper, is not that surprising. But sending Alex there as well based solely on Lucy’s hunch that the polygraph test wasn’t accurately showing how much the elder Danvers sister knew about Henshaw’s real identity seems a little harsh, even for a witch hunt trope.
More understandable was the disdain Cat showed for Siobhan’s attempt to sabotage Kara, ironically using email in a way only slightly less scrupulous than evil-Kara’s tattling last week. It was nice to see that, as encouraging as Winn was at the beginning of the episode, he didn’t back down when he caught Siobhan in her deception. Cat gave her that final push into self-desctruction, removing whatever slim hope remained of a career in journalism.
And what a push it was! Many viewers likely already knew that Italia Ricci would eventually become Silver Banshee, if only because she already carried the alter-ego name of Siobhan Smythe, but the emergence of her hypersonic powers as she fell from the roof was both unexpected and baffling. As long as the writers come up with a satisfactory explanation, it doesn’t matter that the supernatural origins of the comics character were changed. It was just damn cool to see!
Again, if that were the only surprise, that would have put a nice cherry on top of the already satisfying backstories. Adding the bombshell of Jeremiah Danvers being alive as a part of Project Cadmus was a real jaw-dropper! The fact that J’onn could be surprised after centuries of life was a great way to shake up the already changed dynamics of the team, and the prospect of Alex being reunited with her father is an exciting possibility.
So how long will Kara and Alex and the rest of the team be separated? How will Lucy perform in her new role as head of the DEO (and will she be more likable)? And how will the emergence of Silver Banshee be addressed, both in how her powers sprung forth and how she will take on her new villainous personality? Incorporating both exposition to flesh out the past and a set-up for future episodes is no mean feat, and Supergirl executed it wonderfully this week.