Hey there, Couch Clubbers! It’s been a while, but Supergirl is finally back, which means I’m back as well! And what a return episode! There’s so much to unpack here, so let’s just get right into it.
If you were thinking, "Wow, I haven't seen much of Winn lately. When is he going to get the spotlight?" Well, then this episode is for you! "Schott Through the Heart" (which is a FANTASTIC episode name—a girl loves her puns) delivers both big action and big feelings, anchored by a fantastic performance by Jeremy Jordan.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard much about Winn's dad, the infamous villain known as Toyman. So, the news of his death (which ruins karaoke night) brings up some tough feelings for Winn considering their rocky relationship, the shadow he's had to live under and the fact that this is the only parent that's been around the majority of his life.
Imagine his surprise when Mary McGowan, his long-lost mother, shows up at the funeral after 20 years declaring that they're "finally safe." From what, you may ask? From Winslow Schott, who threatened Mary to make her stay away from Winn.
But then Winslow's casket explodes, so maybe they're not as safe as she thought.
We learn that, as a kid, Winn was waiting for his mom at the police station after a raid and she never showed up—it’s a day he remembers clearly. We also learn that, prior to that, Mary tried to leave with Winn, telling him they were going to Disneyland, and they were run off the road by Winslow. Winslow then threatened to kill Winn if Mary ever came near him again. In an episode full of greatness, this scene was particularly exceptional. Jordan and Laurie Metcalf, who plays Mary, delivered the kind of performances you'd expect Emmy or Golden Globe nominations/wins for.
The writers and Jordan really came through with the conflicting, complicated emotions one would expect in this situation. As an adult, reconciling things you experienced as a child is a difficult process and gets exponentially harder depending on how many layers of trauma are wrapped around it. In Winn's case, he's a survivor of domestic abuse who's actually discovering the extent of it decades later. The events that made him look at the world and his mother in one way, the thoughts and conclusions he made to come to some kind of peace, are now all challenged, changed in an instant. There's also the aspect of Winslow's protege, Jacqueline Nimball, appearing to carry out his threat after Mary's return. Though the exchange between Jacqueline and Mary was brief, it highlighted how serial abusers operate and the terrible wake they leave.
I also need to acknowledge the good character building with Mary, as she showed herself to be technically and electronically proficient as well as handy with a pop culture reference (i.e. "Don't Luke Skywalker me."). This showed us that, despite Winn's longstanding fears about being like his dad, he's much more like his mom than he knew. And there weren't big, long expositions to tell you about her or how similar she was to Winn—we were shown, not told, which is a mark of good storytelling.
Meanwhile, another complicated parental situation was developing. J'onn and M'yrnn invited Alex over for dinner at their apartment, and, as J'onn is in the kitchen, Alex and M'yrnn talk and she confirms something she's been suspecting the last few days: M'yrnn is exhibiting early signs of the Martian equivalent of Alzheimer's. He doesn't want to tell J'onn so as not to worry him—they just reconnected—and gets very angry when Alex suggests otherwise. Concerned, the next day J'onn asks Alex what happened to upset them and she advises he talk to his father. They do and the truth comes out.
David Harewood and Carl Lumbly are always great together and are positively heartbreaking here. M'yrnn is well aware of what's happening and Lumbly played every part of this episode perfectly, as did J'onn during his discovery (though I believe J'onn may have noticed too, even if he was in denial). I don't think I've ever seen a superhero-based show acknowledging the struggles of dealing with aging parents and I applaud the choice...even if a big part of me wants M'yrnn to be protected at all costs and able to explore delightful Earth things and always be healthy and happy forever.
- Lena was missing the whole episode—she wasn't answering her phone and the last time we saw her, she said she knew what was wrong with Sam and she was going to help her. Welp...they've been in a secret Luthor Lab somewhere. It's not clear exactly what's been happening, but Sam is lying in a hospital bed and there's a lot of scientific and/or medical doohickies about. And she doesn't tell James anything about what's been going on, instead stating they've been in a lot of intense meetings.
- Karaoke! The show opens and ends with Karaoke Night and I'm endlessly delighted. They were not only fun sequences, they served as a good dose of lightness for an episode full of some heavy stuff. My notes included "EVERY PART OF THIS IS AMAZING" and "I just want to smush all their faces!" I really wouldn't be able to pick any specific highlight, but I definitely did appreciate Winn yelling, "Take your shirt off," while James was up. It's one of those small things that really further cements both character and relationship in a story—little asides you have with friends and playful teasing.
- Winn's song choice of "Take On Me" was fun, but also I can't help but think it had at least a little bit of significance based on the song’s lyrics and how they fit with Winn's relationship and reconciliation with his mom.
- With the title of this episode, we've got quite the growing list of Bon Jovi references going.
- I appreciate that Winn made extra sure his dad was dead. I mean, he was real thorough with that.
- During Alex's dinner with M'yrnn and J'onn, they briefly discussed why they chose to live as black men when they could look like anyone. J'onn acknowledge the struggles of being black, but stated that he shouldn't have to change the way he looked and I'm very appreciative of this exchange. Given the things that are happening in the world, every positive statement about equality and the reality of real-life issues is very needed.
- A subtheme, if you will, felt to me that no matter what happens with blood relations, you can still have a supportive, loving "found" family who will be there for you no matter what.
- "I am so happy I don't work here," said James during the flying monkey attack.
- Jacqueline Nimball, played by Brooke Smith, was a big old jerk and a very effective Toyman...er, Toywoman. All the toys and traps felt classic, but ramped up, which definitely fit. Packaging Supergirl in heat-vision reflecting, life-sized action figure plastic is a pretty brilliant way to try and kill her.
- Mon-El apologized for lying to Kara about literally everything about himself when they were together. He also really wanted to talk to her about something. Kara wisely put up boundaries, saying it's weird for him to talk to her about his relationship stuff, and he gets it (growth!). But he actually wanted to tell her that he and the other Legionnaires weren't here at this time on accident. He reveals their true mission: the third Worldkiller, Pestilence, evolves into future villain Blight (!!!), and they're here to stop them before that happens.
A lot happened this week! What are your thoughts? Were you surprised about Winn's mom? Are there other family members of any of the characters you'd like to see? Have any theories on the Legionaires’ mission or the identity of the last Worldkiller? And most important, what are your go-to karaoke jams? Let me know your thoughts to all of this in the comments below!