Review: ‘Supergirl’ Episode 17 Manhunter, Flashback Fun

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In this week’s episode of Supergirl, the girl of steel has a problem; she needs to win back the trust of National City. After last week’s stellar episode Falling, the people are afraid Supergirl (Melissa Beinost) could turn on them again. For instance, she shows up at a bank robbery, and both the good guys and bad guys are scared of her. Seeing the thieves and the police cower in fear would make Kara’s aunt Astra proud, but it forces Kara to binge on donuts. (I like her style.) Kara’s problems take a back seat though to Hank’s Henshaw’s (David Harewood) really big problem. Lucy Lane (Jenna Dewan Tatum) is back as part of an investigation into how the DEO could be infiltrated by an alien. The investigation is led by the hard-nosed Colonel James Harper (Eddie McClintock playing a bit against character.) He has a fancy scrambling device, which prevents J’onn from using his powers. Harper has a chip on his shoulder and is determined to get to the bottom of this no matter what the cost.

During the “witch-hunt” there are some fun flashback scenes. We first see J’onn J’onzz meeting and rescuing Jeremiah Danvers (Dean Cain) ten years ago. Here we get to see how sympathetic Danvers is with this alien, quickly relating J’onn to Kara, how they are both refugees. We also learn what a jerk the original Henshaw was. Harewood sells it, making us despise this version of Henshaw. Henshaw is very leery of J’onn as Superman has declared this alien “the most powerful creature on Earth.” So Henshaw starts blasting away with a special gun – not sure how he gets it. When Jeremiah sees Henshaw being a stupid ass the two fight. Jeremiah gets stabbed, and Henshaw gets tossed off a “cliff”. Jeremiah dies but asks J’onn to look after his daughters. J’onn agrees and morphs into the Henshaw we know and love. It’s a touching story, but Harper isn’t buying it. It doesn’t help matters at all that Harper, and Henshaw were best friends.


When Harper and Lane interrogate Alex (Chyler Leigh) we learn through flashback how Henshaw (now MM) recruits the older Danvers girl, saving her from her more wild side. Leigh does an excellent job playing her younger self, one that still hasn’t quite totally found her place in this world. She loves her adopted sister, but can’t help but to feel a tad inadequate. Alex easily passes the lie detector test. (You would actually think the agency that has developed a device to block alien powers would have a better lie detector test.) But Lane uses her lawyer skills to deduce Alex was lying. Harper decides Alex will be joining J’onn in Cadmus.

Supergirl finds out and is rightly outraged only instead of going all Supergirl on them she enlists James (Mehcad Brooks) help. They confront Lucy in Kara’s apartment appealing to her human side. After all, Lucy may be angry, but she is a good person. Kara reveals to Lucy that she is Supergirl. And suddenly everything clicks for Lucy. Even though Lucy understands now why Kara and Jimmy spend so much time together, she still questions why Kara like J’onn had to hide all these years. We get a neat flashback of a young Kara, and we see how hard it was for her to control her powers just to fit in with regular Earth folks. Though even the young Kara is a hero saving a mother and her child from a burning car. Alex gets hurt in the process, making Kara feel guilty. We do get a sweet father-daughter moment when Jeremy reminds Kara, “Earth already has a Superman…” He also gives her lead lined glasses to help her control her x-ray vision. This scene goes a long way in showing why Kara hid her powers for so long. She just wanted to fit in. There is also a throwaway flashback about Kara getting her job at Catco. Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) stressed she didn’t want anybody special. Kara insisted she was just average.

With Lucy now on Supergirl’s side they set out to rescue J’onn and Alex. Truthfully it’s not all that hard for Supergirl to stop a truck and overpower the guards. During the melee, Harper loses his power scrambling device giving Hank the upper hand. He decides to erase Harper’s memory of these events. While mind melding with him, Hank learns the startling news that Jeremiah is alive and being held at Cadmus. Since Hank and Alex are now fugitives they decide they will find Cadmus and rescue Jeremiah. Alex and Kara have a tearful goodbye (for now). A touching moment and both Leigh and Benoist did an excellent job making us feel their love for each other. Both women excel in their roles. Supergirl and Lucy return to the DEO to learn Harper has named Lucy the new head of the DEO. So far Dewan Tatum has been vastly underused on the show. Now her role has been made more significant as she not only running the DEO, she is truly an ally of Supergirl. It was a nice bonding moment when Lucy asked Supergirl if she would help her do this. It was also a big moment when Lucy told Supergirl she won her over so Lucy knew Supergirl could get the people back on her side.

Through the episode Siobhan Smythe (Italia Ricci) had been ranting about how evil Kara was. To wrap the evening up Cat goes face to face with Siobhan, who tried and failed to set Kara up. Flockhart is excellent as always as Cat managing to be both humorous and strong as she tells Siobhan she only wishes she could fire her again. This leads to a scene with Winn (Jeremy Jordan) and Siobhan on the roof. Siobhan is upset that Winn chooses his best friend over her. Winn justifies his actions by telling her he’s sure she’s a good person and that she would have regretted doing what she did. Siobhan trips and falls over the roof, but instead of dying her sonic scream powers emerge. Which was very “X-Men mutant discovering their powers” like. Now Winn will get to see the kind of person Siobhan or now Silver Banshee is.

My complaints pretty much center around some choices the producers and writers made. Making Harper and the Henshaw best friends complicated their relationship making the two characters look a bit silly. Harper, a highly trained commander, didn’t notice the change in his best friend. After knowing this guy for ten years, J’onn also should have known they were BFFs, but this seems to have caught him off guard. Also, when the original Henshaw confronts Martian Manhunter he tells him, “Superman says you’re the most powerful being on Earth.” Not sure why Superman would tell a known crazy like Henshaw this. Also, why didn’t Superman himself handle making J’onn part of society? He obviously knew he’s a good guy and no threat. Was it Superman game all along to have Manhunter become head of the DEO? Finally, when Manhunter did his “mind meld” with Harper and learned about Jeremiah Danvers being alive and held in Cadmus, not sure why he couldn’t pick the location out of his brain also. Obviously, Harper and the drivers both know where Cadmus is.

While this episode didn’t exactly get the people of National City back on Supergirl’s side (yet) she is on the right track. Plus, a lot of the events in this episode will set the pace of the show for future episodes. Alex and Hank are gone, Lucy is in charge, and now Siobhan is super powered. You have to give kudos to the show runners. They certainly don’t mind shaking up the show.

Next week get ready for The Flash!

John Zakour
John Zakour
John Zakour is a humor / sf/ fantasy writer with a Master's degree in Human Behavior. He has written thousands of gags for syndicated comics, comedians and TV shows (including: Rugrats, The tonight show and, Joan River's old TV show.) John has written seven humorous SF novels for Daw books (the first The Plutonium Blonde was named the funniest SF book of 2001 by The Chronicle of Science Fiction). John has also written three YA books, four humorous self-help books and three books on HTML. John has also optioned two TV shows and three movies. John currently writes his own syndicated comics, Working Daze and Maria’s Day for Universal Press and has a regular following with over 100,000 readers. John currently writes Bart Simpsons comics for Bongo comics. Spacerun, a video game John wrote the story to recently passed 100,000 sales. In the 80s and 90s John was a computer programmer and web guru for Cornell University and was also an EMT and judo instructor.