This Supergirl review contains spoilers.
Supergirl Season 5 Episode 11
National City’s hottest new trend is: Doppelgangers! Now that the multiverse has thoroughly shaken up thanks to Crisis on Infinite Earths, it seems as though Supergirl is throwing as many versions of its characters at us as it can, just to see what happens.
Last week, we got a multitude of multiverse Brainys. This time, it’s a pair of competing Winns, as fan favorite Jeremy Jordan returns in a dual role, playing both the version of the character we know and a multiverse counterpart who followed in his father’s villainous Toyman footsteps.
It’s a great treat for Jordan, whose three-episode return arc looks as though it’s going to be an absolute blast for him as an actor. In this installment, he gets to do everything from build toy explosives while laughing maniacally to providing supportive pep talks to the great-great-great-x-7 grandmother of one of his closest friends in the future.
This show sounds so weird when you write out its plots like this.
Honestly, it’s lovely to have Winn back for a little bit. His bright attitude and supportive tone certainly feels needed in National City these days, what with Brainy’s sudden heel-turn (sort-of), the Luthor siblings’ overly complicated scheming and Nia’s post-breakup sadness. And it’s nice to know that he’s found happiness in the future with the rest of the Legion and the new family he’s made there. The revelation of his wife’s identity as Ayla/Lightning Lass, as well as Winn’s Legion ring and snazzy new dream powers was just the icing on the cake.
But, as an episode, “Back From the Future – Part One” leaves a lot to be desired. It feels like the bulk of the hour is treading water, narratively speaking, while Brainy lurks around in the background acting strangely and everyone does their darnedest not to notice.
The idea of a Dark Winn from another corner of the multiverse is an intriguing one, but the episode doesn’t really do much with it, and even though he leaves explosives and robot tigers all over the place, it’s hard to really say he felt like that much of a threat. (Maybe it was the white tiger onesie?) Perhaps his computerized robot self will be a more dedicated opponent?
As so often happens with Supergirl, this week’s best moments are all specific character beats. Alex, Kara and Winn’s reunion is wonderful, as is the sequence in which the gang tries to catch him up on everything he’s missed, from Crisis to Lex and Lena to Red Daughter. And the entire concept of Dad Winn is everything we could have ever wanted it to be.
But the most moving and memorable moment has to be Winn’s rooftop heart to heart with a despondent Dreamer, upset about allowing her break-up angst to impact her dreams. Nicole Maines hasn’t had a ton to do this season on her own, but she knocks it out of the park here, giving us everything from self-recrimination to sadness to regret and more. Plus, the joy on her face – at the realization that her legacy has not only gone on (and on and on) into the future? Honestly wonderful.
Winn’s got to be breaking some rules about time travel and preserving the integrity of future timelines by telling Nia so much about the existence of Nura Nal, but the scene is so good – and Nura sounds so awesome – that it’s hard to really mind. How long do we think it’ll take for some version of Nura to show up on Supergirl? Season finale at the latest, I say.
“Back from the Future – Part One” does try and tie Winn’s return into season’s larger plot, revealing that the release of Toyman, Jr. was orchestrated by Lex in order to summon Winn back to present day National City, all so that he could steal a cube from the Legion ship he traveled in. Viola, Lena’s got her Q-waves, which I guess means her plan for brainwashed world domination can finally start going somewhere (Which, thank goodness. I’m not sure how much more of her brooding in her office I can stand right now).
By the end of the hour, the episode also provides a bit more depth and context to Brainy’s sudden decision to turn double agent and work with Lex, and illustrates how truly heart wrenching the decision to do so has been for him. Though Jesse Rath does his best to sell it, Brainy’s pain over losing Nia and lying to his friends is a poor balm for the fact that this is just yet another Arrowverse plot that could be vastly improved by the application of some honesty.
One day, one of these shows will bother to tell that story, instead of another version of this one, where people keep secrets for no reason, simply because the plot says they have to.
– Team Supergirl finally building their own take on the Arrow cave/S.T.A.R. Labs after five years is awesome, and I cannot stress how welcome it is to finally see what I assume is a new regular set.
– If we could have a fight scene set to a pop song I love in every episode going forward, that’d be great. Also, robot tigers are seriously cool as heck.
– Elsewhere, the Leviathan plot limps along with the revelation that Andrea Rojas was never activated in the post-Crisis timeline, and thus never got her wild shadow powers or killed a bunch of people. I wish I thought this was all going to go somewhere better or more interesting than the first time around, but I don’t have a ton of faith in it. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve stopped caring? It could probably go either way.
– The inclusion of William in the patented Danvers family game night is just….ugh. Really? Supergirl has been heavily telegraphing his status as a new love interest for Kara for a while now, and yet that didn’t make the pair’s “awkward realization that they’re standing too close together” moment any easier to take. William seems to be slightly less of an overt jerk in the post-Crisis universe, but that’s not the same thing as having a personality. Plus, he and Kara have the chemistry equivalent of a blank stare.
– Is anybody ever going to tell us what became of Hope post-Crisis? Or Eve?