Now to get this story out, Supergirl has to overcome some rather mundane threats from the Toyman. In fact, she should have easily handled these threats. But I need to look over these action scene quibbles because I felt the character bits of this episode were really strong.
I'll concentrate on the Winn/Kara plot and touch on the Hank/Alex/Max stuff here as well. There is a Lucy/James plot I'll touch on at the end.
This horror scene was countered nicely with the publicized scene of Kara and J'onn flying. We learn that J'onn is reluctant to show who he is or openly use his powers. Earth won't accept him because he is a monster. Kara's response resonates far beyond commenting on J'onn and his powers. She talks about how after she 'came out' and 'embraced who she was meant to be' that she has never been happier. That can be an empowering statement about anyone who feels they are hiding a part of themselves out of fear.
The FBI and agent Cameron Chase come to CatCo to question Winn about his father. It is only then that the staff, including Kara, learn that Winn's father is the Toyman. (You would think that Cat would know given background checks. I mean, here he is Winn Schott Jr.!)
Winn lets it be known how much he hates his father. Winn loved his dad, a person similar in personality, until his life changed when his father murdered 6 people. Toyman wanted to kill his old boss Dunnholtz, who stole Schott's toy designs. (This mirrors the John Byrne origin.) Unfortunately, the Toyman bomb killed Dunnholz assistant and some co-workers. Jordan plays Winn's emotions well, showing the hate he has while trying to keep it controlled.
I have to say, I love the Toyman Easter Eggs, riffing on both the Super Friends version and the Superman:The Animated Series one.
The FBI storms the arcade and open fires on Winn Sr. Unfortunately, this isn't the real Toyman but some simulacrum which triggers a counterattack of poison gas. This seemed like a pretty quick use of force.
Kara flies in as Supergirl and takes in all the gas with vacuum breath and disperses it in the sky. Hey, any time a new power is used, I'm happy.
This scene ends with Kara telling Winn how much she needs him in her life. She can see how Winn's past could make him feel isolated and alone (much as she sometimes feels), but they can help each other move beyond that.
Lord is pure Lex here, talking about how Alex has accomplished all she has through hard work and grit, not because of alien physiology.
Inside room 52 Hank sees BizarroGirl, basically braindead and being infused with some chemical concoction.
Unfortunately, a security guard comes in, questions Hank/Lord about 'Codename Phoenix' forcing J'onn to mindwipe the guard. He robs the guard of years of memory. Later, Hank is curt with Alex, saying she made him do something he vowed he would never do again. I am calling it now, he mindwiped the real Hank who is still alive in South America.
This seems like a simple trap for Supergirl to have avoided let alone escape. Using her super-breath for the second time this episode, she freezes the sand and shatters it.
The 'child' in the trunk is a Supergirl doll. In fact, Toyman used creepy Supergirl toys in this scene twice. I said it before, Czerny's understated acting, playing this as if he is perfectly normal to feel the way he does, is chilling.
I like Kara's response, saying that Winn's dad killing those people is similar to her losing all of Krypton. Both of their lives ended that day. But rather than giving in to rage and hate, they both strive to give back.
Kara didn't let Krypton's destruction make her wallow in hate and rage. DO YOU HEAR THAT JEPH LOEB, JOE KELLY, and SCOTT LOBDELL???!!!!
Unfortunately, Winn thinks is the right moment to lean in and try to kiss Kara, a kiss she recoils from.
Perhaps more chilling is that Toyman says that this murder by Winn will bring them closer together. In fact, throughout the episode Toyman talks about how Winn is 'the best thing he ever made'. Could Winn be a robot???
Winn refuses to kill Dunnholtz. Toyman activates the bombs, a move which would kill Winn as well. But Supergirl girl arrives. She activates the sprinklers in the convention center and uses her super-breath (again) to freeze an ice wall between the crowd and the bombs. That's using her brains!
Just like that the Toyman is captured.
He finally confesses his love for her (how could she not know??). And he can't be with her when it hurts him to bottle up his feelings. It was his father bottling up his feelings that turned him into the Toyman.
Is it a little immature of Winn? Yeah. But this is the first time he is dealing with this stuff openly. I suspect he'll come back a wiser and more mature friend after.
Alex and Kara share TV night where they talk about how the Danvers sisters should 'come with a warning'. Kara has hurt Winn and she can't live with herself. Alex pressured Hank into doing something terrible. At least they have each other.
They also have Maxwell Lord who planted a camera on Alex's purse. Now Max knows Supergirl is Alex sister. Brilliant turn.
Also, Cat and Lucy continue to be catty about Lois. Cat says Lucy is too smart to pine away for James without an identity. Lucy is hired as Cat's lawyer. And James initially seems cool to the whole thing but it has nothing to do with not wanting Lucy around and everything about him wanting to be Mr. Action and not an art director behind a desk.
There are a lot of nice little moments in this episode. But this is really Jeremy Jordan's show. His scenes with Henry Czerny are tense and gut-wrenching. His scenes with Melissa Benoist are compelling and tear-inducing. I don't have words to convey how I thought those scenes shined. They were the highlight, surpassing super-breath and creepy dolls.
I don't think this was any where near the best episode of this series. But it made Winn something more and did keep things moving forward. Plus, Toyman Easter Eggs!! And two new Anj theories. The real Hank is mindwiped and alive in South America. And Winn could be an automaton.