When we last left Supergirl – actually, it’s been two weeks since the last new, post-winterbreak episode and you’d be forgiven for forgetting where episodes 1-9 have taken Supergirl and her cohorts – but it really doesn’t matter much, at least not this week. With the Kryptonian menace (no not Supergirl, but the escaped Kryptonians wreaking non-havoc in National City, Supergirl’s home and the series’ Metropolis stand-in) temporarily on the back burner, it’s time to give Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan) his spotlight moment. For Winn, it’s the equivalent of a game-changer that might see him turn toward the Dark Side of Super-Villainy, if not this season, then maybe in season 3 or 4 (assuming Supergirl gets that far, of course). It’s not the cliched, predictable, underwritten reveal of Winn’s lineage – like Luke Skywalker before him, he has a dark legacy of serial murdering to reject when his father, aka, the Toyman (Henry Cherny), breaks out of a maximum security prison with relative ease – that potentially portends his doom, but an ill-advised confession where he throws out the “L” word and a confused Kara/Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) makes a run for the elevator.
As usual, though, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Winn doesn’t drop the “L” word until the episode’s closing moments. Long before we get to that reveal (and another one with the potential to upend Supergirl’s increasingly tangled, complicated world), we get an all-too-brief shot of Supergirl and Hank Henshaw (David Harewood), aka the Martian Manhunter, in flight above the outskirts of National City (away presumably from inadvertent eyewitnesses). Whether the Martian Manhunter should drop the Henshaw disguise and out himself as an alien and superhero becomes the immediate topic of conversation between Supergirl, Hank, and Alex (Chyler Leigh), Kara’s adopted sister and Henshaw’s second-in-command at the Department of Extra-Normal Operations (DEO). A far more pressing matter, however, halts the discussion: Everyone wants to know what Maxwell “the Poor Man’s Lex Luthor” Lord (Peter Facinelli) has been cooking up in his super-secret laboratory (hint: It’s not meth).
The reveal that follows – Henshaw/Martian Manhunter disguised as Lord phasing through a locked door – doesn’t advance tonight’s narrative in any substantial way, but it’s there as a teaser for future episodes when the occupant of Lord’s super-secret laboratory decides to test the world outside the lab with potentially catastrophic consequences for everyone involved. If the clues and hints about Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice are true – and every indication suggests they are – then Lord’s fixation with Kryptonians in general and Supergirl in particular (i.e., he sees them as a danger to humanity that must be neutralized at a minimum) functions, at least in part, as a trial/test run for the ideas, concepts, and themes moviegoers will find when Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice arrives in multiplexes at the end of March. Whether viewers will buy what Supergirl’s creators are cooking with Lord and his plans is an entirely different matter,
Alex, however, errs by underestimating Lord. When Lord agrees to dinner, a ruse to give Henshaw unfettered access to Lord Technologies’ office, Alex sees only one side of the con (her of him) and not the other way around. Lord is well aware of Alex’s connections to the DEO (they met on the job, more or less), but what he doesn’t know at beginning of Episode 10 changes radically by the close of the episode. He plants a hidden camera in Alex’s apartment neither Alex nor Supergirl detect in time. He watches them (Supergirl in her costume) as they watch their favorite TV series, Game of Thrones. Apparently, neither the Flash nor Arrow exist in the Supergirl universe, at least for now. Give it time, though. The Flash has already introduced multiple earths existing in multiple universes. There’s no in-narrative reason again a mega-cross-over event (money and cross-study conflict suggests otherwise, at least for Supergirl’s inaugural season. More importantly for this season, of course, is what Lord plans on doing now that he knows Supergirl’s real identity and her relationship to Alex and the DEO.
Another, far less compelling plot thread (lets substitute “sleep-inducing” for “less than compelling” and we’d be on the same virtual page) involves whether Lucy Lane (permanent guest-star Jenna Dewan-Tatum) will take Cat Grant’s (Callista Flockhart) job offer as CatCo Worldwide Media’s general counsel. While Lucy and Cat hit it off, dishing over their mutual dislike of Lucy’s more famous sister, Lois, Lucy and James “Please Don’t Call Me Jimmy” Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) undergo one more challenge to the permanence of their renewed romantic relationship (not counting Olsen and Supergirl’s on-hold relationship): Whether they can work together, on the same floor, for the same employer. Olsen hesitates repeatedly in giving an okay that’s not really his to give (an observation voiced in their mid-episode mid-fight), but eventually comes around. It’s not about Lucy or their relationship, but his own desire to go back into the field as a photographer. In short, it’s typical male narcissism. It’s not a good look for Olsen or the series. As always, however, where there’s a new episode, there’s hope.