After giving up its time slot for the last few months so the Legends of Tomorrow could get up to a fuzzy blue emotional orgy within it, Supergirl has finally returned to the air. There were no giant-on-giant battles, but we did get a fleet of giant monkeys, including a huge gold one that shit lasers all over National City.
Also Laurie Metcalf, fresh off her Oscar nomination for Lady Bird, was around.
Metcalf was there to portray Winn’s mother and the Toymaker’s ex-wife. Her character, Rosie McGowan, had allegedly abandoned Winn when he was a child, leaving him to deal with his father’s eventual arrest for mass murder all alone.
Winn has a pretty big chip on his shoulder, both because his dad used to run around killing people with toys, and because his mom abandoned him. Yet the episode actually deep dives into what it would be like to be married to a mass murderer-in-the-making, and when Rosie tells her son she fled because her husband threatened to find and kill Winn, it becomes a bleak and all-too-real story about domestic abuse. Of course, this is also an episode where the Toymaker’s apprentice tries to kill Winn with a fleet of robot flying monkeys and Supergirl takes on a giant one that poops missiles, Mon-El battles a giant robot dinosaur, James takes on a fleet of fire-breathing toy tanks, and Supergirl spends the climax trapped in giant action figure packaging.
So the tone was definitely all over the place. Most of it was the kind of camp Supergirl does really really well, but Metcalf’s arc, shared with Jeremy Jordan, and a B-plot about J’onn’s dad having Martian dementia, brought in some heavy stuff! It’s a credit to the cast that the wild shifts in tone weren’t as disastrous as they should have been.
- There was also a choice Silence of the Lambs reference. At one point Rosie calls the Toymaker’s apprentice “Buffalo Bill.” The apprentice is played by Brooke Smith, who was the girl trapped in the well in Silence of the Lambs. Nicely done!
- Yes, J’onn’s dad has Martian dementia. It’s like human dementia, but will presumably involve his psychic powers at some point.
- Mon-El uses fabric-based martial arts to take out the robot dinosaur and promises to teach Kara how to do the same.
- Kara sang Beastie Boys and Alex made bad karaoke decisions when drunk.