TV Review: Supergirl - Season 1 Episode 17 "Manhunter"
EPISODE 17: "Manhunter"
SYNOPSIS: Supergirl tries to win back National City's trust after last week's run in with red Kryptonite. Meanwhile, Kara and Alex attempt to release J'onn J'onzz from DEO custody and discover his relationship with their father.
In comparison to last week's episode, which was the best of the season, tonight was more a time for rebuilding as we gear up for THE FLASH crossover next week and the upcoming season finale. Although this episode was on the slower side and full of flashbacks, we had some interesting developments: J'onn J'onzz and Alex are now fugitives, Jeremiah Danvers is still alive (no surprise there), Lucy knows Kara's alter-ego, and we have the makings of a new supervillain in Siobhan. With only three episodes left in season 1, it's clear the main purpose of the action tonight was to set the stage for major things to come.
Building off of the events of last week and her run in with the personality-altering red Kryptonite, Kara has to win back National City's trust. Crime is up by 40% because the city's criminals aren't as threatened by Supergirl, and even when she saves the day, the citizens and media outlet won't let Kara forget her past indiscretions. But, as Cat says, if Mel Gibson can present at the Golden Globes, Supergirl can win back National City's trust. Apparently Gibson's meltdown exists everywhere, including the DC universe.
Another holdover from last week's episode was the DEO's discovery and capture of J'onn J'onzz, who was posing as Hank Henshaw. Now imprisoned, J'onzz wants Alex to save her reputation and not bring unnecessary attention on herself by supporting him. He worries there will be a severe reckoning over the fact that he, an alien, impersonated a government official and doesn't want Alex caught in the crosshairs. But we all know Alex is more loyal than that. After all, this man (alien or not) believed in her when she didn't believe in herself. He helped her see her life has purpose.
Flashback: Alex is a party girl, and her career as a scientist is suffering because of it. When she is arrested for attempting to drive drunk, J'onzz (as Henshaw) shows up at the jail to ask her to work for the DEO. He tells her she is special like her sister and takes her under his wing, training her to be a DEO agent. As we later find out, Jeremiah Danvers' dying wish was that J'onzz would watch over Kara and Alex. Giving Alex a place in the DEO was his way of ensuring she had a place to use her talents and protect Kara.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon sends Colonel James Harper and Lucy Lane to lead a task force that will figure out if anyone at the DEO knew J'onzz's true identity. They bring J'onzz in for questioning and use a stasis device to prevent him from using his powers against them... how convenient. Of course, their first questioning revolves around what happened to the real Hank Henshaw. Was he murdered?
Flashback: Ten years ago, the real Hank Henshaw and Jeremiah Danvers lead a DEO mission to the Peruvian Andes to capture an alien, who we later find out is J'onzz. This Henshaw is a brutal man and has no interest in capturing the "Manhunter" or even talking to him. The sole objective of the team is an execution, much to the dismay of Danvers who understands not all aliens are bad... just look at his daughter. Once on the ground, the group splits up and Danvers meets J'onzz face to face after the alien saves him from being attacked by a boa constrictor. The two start to bond - Danvers tells the alien about his family, including the fact that Kara is also an alien, and J'onzz talks about being the last survivor of Mars. He had daughters too, but unfortunately they didn't survive.
Just as Danvers finishes telling J'onzz he will protect him, Henshaw shows up and attacks the alien. Danvers tries to convince his boss that J'onzz isn't dangerous, but it's no use. Danvers rushes to J'onzz aid and fights Henshaw himself. Eventually, Danvers gains the upper hand, pushing Henshaw over the edge of a cliff, but was critically stabbed in the process. He asks J'onzz to look after his girls and then he dies.... or does he? Back at the DEO, J'onzz assumes the likeness of Henshaw and begins his new life as the head of the DEO.
Colonel Harper and Lucy don't believe J'onzz recollection of events, especially since Harper was the real Henshaw's best friend. They take him away and bring Alex in next for questioning. She uses her training to pass the polygraph, but Lucy doesn't believe her and has her arrested anyway. Next stop for J'onzz and Alex? Project Cadmus. Also seen in other parts of the DC Universe, Project Cadmus is a genetic engineering facility that treats aliens like test subjects. It's basically a glorified dissection and experimentation lab that is a major reason Superman won't work with the government.
To save Alex and J'onzz, Kara tells Lucy she is Supergirl. Apparently this was a way to appeal to Lucy's sensitive side? Anyway, Kara tries to show Lucy that the reason she and J'onzz lied about their identities was to fit in with the people of Earth.
Flashback: Shortly after coming to Earth, a young Kara is struggling with her newfound powers. She especially struggles with controlling her X-ray vision and super hearing (similar to the scene of a young Clark Kent in MAN OF STEEL). Kara also grapples with the effects of saving a woman and child from a burning car. Like Jonathan Kent, Jeremiah Danvers tells Kara that it's not safe to go around saving people because that puts her secret in danger. He gives her glasses lined with lead that suppresses her vision and hopefully makes fitting in a little easier.
This scene wasn't my favorite, and I don't believe Lucy would have come around that easily... especially since she just basically sentenced a human woman and alien to a life of torture a few hours prior. Would hearing from Kara, who just broke up her relationship with her boyfriend AND admitted to being Supergirl, really change that? Regardless, Kara's sob story makes Lucy rethink her decision and the two, disguised as motorcycle thugs, set out to save Alex and J'onzz. They quickly find the DEO transport vehicle and free the captives. But when J'onzz uses his powers to erase Colonel Harper's memory of the event, he discovers Jeremiah Danvers is still alive. Dun dun dun. Now that they are fugitives, Alex and J'onzz decide to go off on their own to find Jeremiah, while Kara stays behind to protect National City. All this is for the best because I can't imagine Alex's reaction to the news that Lucy Lane is now head of the DEO. How Lucy went from a lawyer to the head of a covert military organization is beyond me.
Meanwhile, the recently fired Siobhan started to move closer to her ultimate role as the supervillain, Silver Banshee. Things started off tame enough. Siobhan, who hates Kara for getting her fired from CatCo during the whole red Kryptonite saga, confides in Winn that she can't get a job anywhere in National City. Apparently Cat had her blacklisted from a job with any other media company. For payback, and in the hopes she will be able to get her old job back, Siobhan breaks into CatCo to send a nasty e-mail to Cat from Kara's account. But of course, Cat sees through it and with an assist from Winn, ties the e-mail back to Siobhan. The always delicate Cat, brings Siobhan in for a meeting, not to offer her a job but to chastise her for her silly plan.
But that's not the end of Siobhan, Winn finds her drunk and upset on the roof of the building. She's not suicidal, but drunkenly stumbles and accidentally falls over the side. However, as she is falling, her screams bounce off of the ground, and cushion her fall. A new supervillain, the Silver Banshee, is born. And if promotional images from next week are any indication, she is going to make some serious trouble for Kara and Barry Allen.