Martin Carr reviews the tenth episode of Supergirl…
A few things have caused me to cast aside trivial preoccupations. The double departure of David Bowie and Alan Rickman has knocked me for six. Whilst the red band trailer for Deadpool and Hard R rated lip synch rendition of ‘Pony’ by one Jenna Dewan Tatum, has shredded my idea of Lucy Lane. Then there was Supergirl which took a decidedly dark turn with the arrival of ‘Toyman’.
With the twisted logic reserved only for comic book villains, we watched Henry Czerny’s Schott Snr. break out from a maximum security prison. Using creepy toys and a unique parental style to rekindle lost emotional bonds. Slowly revealing a father living in a past clouded by misplaced rivalry and bitter resentment.
Elsewhere Henshaw is going through a crisis of conscience. Neither willing to use his alter ego for ulterior motives, nor completely at ease with the alternative. Whereas Alex is more than happy to employ her feminine wiles for diversionary purposes. Allowing Henshaw to enter Lord Technologies, practice a little mind control and exit stage right. For my money though ‘Childish Things’ is not really about any one of these emotional entanglements. Whether you consider Kara and Winn, Kara and James, Cat and Lucy or Alex and Henshaw slash Max Lord. Each one is in denial and ‘Toyman’ is merely a smoke screen.
Put simply Cat’s empire is founded on a constant search for approval from an overbearing mother. James Olsen is torn between Lucy who represents commitment and Kara who is trapped in adolescent limbo. While Alex is another one in need of motherly validation, caught between a thirty something tech genius. And an overbearing father figure with identity issues and fear of responsibility. Throw Winn into the mix and our circle is complete. Emotionally barren and incapable of letting others in since his father was incarcerated. A sense of isolation which is only compounded when Kara rejects his advances late on in the episode.
However in my opinion these themes might be missed because everything goes by so quick. For ‘Toyman’ to have any sense of impact his influence needs to carry on beyond a single episode. His break out and capture felt too neat, that toy convention set piece clinically clear-cut and over in a flash. There needs to be a knock on effect, which feeds into the disintegrating relationship between Kara and Winn. Also ‘Toyman’ needs more time on the playing field.
They did something similar with Arkham Asylum inmates during Gotham’s first season. Which contributed to that initial run feeling slow and unengaging. Something which Supergirl can thankfully never be accused of. What it does need to do however is slow things down a touch. If all that emotional meat is up on-screen, but goes by so fast that people miss out what’s the point. Almost everything I picked up on was found in a second viewing. Anyone else would have seen only a multi-faceted plot and weak central villain. One overly elaborate set piece with a truncated pay off and sisters on a sofa eating popcorn. Thankfully this reviewer has put aside childish things and come to a more mature conclusion. About time I hear you cry.