Supergirl: Manhunter

manhunter

An alien and a government agent walk into a bar…

After all the surprises last episode, the newest Supergirl is called “Manhunter,” filling in some backstory for a major supporting character. There are more plot twists this week, and they resist the temptation to do a quick and simple fix. Supergirl is definitely among the shows willing to change the norm for the sake of story development.

National City continues to not trust Supergirl in the wake of the Red Kryptonite incident, which makes a lot of sense. She did some pretty horrible things in a very public setting, and it would be a lot less then realistic if everyone just said, “Oh, ok, it’s all good.” Kara is feeling a bit sorry for herself on her couch, leaving Winn to man the phones… for two seconds until Siobhan pages him to Noonan’s (The Only Place to Eat In National City TM). A very uncertain James takes over phone duty as Cat smirks in the background.

This episode introduces Eddie McClintock, probably best known among geeks for Warehouse 13, as a new version of a classic DC character- Jim Harper. In the comics, Jim Harper is the real name of the Guardian, a World War II character who eventually ended up in the modern age with no powers, excellent fighting skills, and an unbreakable shield (sound familiar?). Now, he seems to be a Marine Colonel out for blood- J’Onn’s. McClintock also becomes one of the very few to do live action for both DC, in this episode, and Marvel, as a Kree warrior on Agents of SHIELD.

Much of the episode is Harper’s interrogation of J’Onn, who publicly “came out” last time to stop the temporarily insane Supergirl. Now, Harper is leading more an inquisition than a hearing, demanding to know what J’Onn’s evil plan is. This sets up for a lot of flashbacks showing the first meeting between the real Hank Henshaw, Jeremiah Danvers, and J’Onn. Henshaw was about as open-minded as Harper is in the present day settings. The old Hank was kind of a jerk, really. And Harper, usually a great guy in the comics, isn’t much better. Lucy Lane, back in uniform ridiculously quickly, is part of the proceedings. She keeps looking like she’s not quite buying in, but acting like she’s fully on board.

Hank/J’Onn is fully cooperative and friendly, which seems to make Harper even madder. We do find out what happened to Hank and Jeremiah, and how J’Onn ended up playing both Hank and watchdog for Alex and Kara Danvers. They even show us how Alex joined the DEO.

In the modern setting, the other plot creeping along is Siobhan. She has all the makings of a supervillian. She’s deceitful, ruthless, driven, and not worried about little things like rules. She tries to get back at Kara this episode, but her plot doesn’t go as well as she hoped. Winn gets put in a bad spot, but, to no surprise, makes the right choice. This makes Siobhan even madder, and leads to a reveal all the comic fans who recognized her name have been waiting for since she first popped up. Bad times are coming for Supergirl.

The episode ends with a desperate decision. Things are going to be different for a lot of the cast after this one. That’s a big cliche at this point, but it’s actually true. There are changes for the DEO, someone new learns Supergirl’s secret, and Winn is likely going to have a few bad things coming his way, too.

What I liked: While I find I don’t care that much about J’Onn’s history as Hank, it was nicely done. His decisions made sense. They even showed him eating Chocos this episode, a running joke from the 90’s comics. They are willing to change things up to take risks with the plot, and I like that.

What I didn’t: I don’t like this version of Jim Harper. He’s supposed to be a hero, not a closed-minded jerk. Siobhan almost makes me feel bad for her, but keeps losing that when she does something else dumb and bad.

I’ll give this one a high 3.5 out of 5. They did some good stuff. And next week, Flash guest stars!

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