Superman on Television

Supergirl: Episode Reviews

Season 1 - Episode 17: "Manhunter"

Reviewed by: T.A. Ewart (aka liheibao)

Manhunter Originally Aired: March 21, 2016
STORY BY: Derek Simon
TELEPLAY BY: Cindy Lichtman and Rachel Shukert
DIRECTED BY: Chris Fisher

Melissa Benoist (Kara Danvers/Supergirl)
Calista Flockhart (Cat Grant)
Chyler Leigh (Alex Danvers)
Mehcad Brooks (James Olsen)
David Harewood (Hank Henshaw)
Jeremy Jordan (Winslow "Winn" Schott)

Jenna Dewan-Tatum (Lucy Lane)
Dean Cain (Dr. Jeremiah Danvers)
Italia Ricci (Siobhan Smythe)
Briana Venskus (Agent Vasquez)
Jay Jackson (News Anchor)
Malina Weissman (Young Kara)
Jordan Mazarati (Young Alex)

Eddie McClintock (Col. James Harper)
Daniel Josev (DEO Agent #2)
Vincent Giovanni (Police Officer)
Maisie Klompus (Cat's Assistant)
Angela Martinez (Field News Reporter)
Zayne Emory (Rick Malverne)
Mackenzie Brooke Smith (Female Student #1)
Jaiden Jiron (Female Student #2)

3Rating - 3 (out of 5): There are four storylines going on this outing, and packing so much into the limited space Supergirl has to work with, doesn't make for a great episode, after the excellent offering viewers had last week. Supergirl has to deal with the ramifications of her Red Kryptonite induced rampage. Martian Manhunter has to deal with the ramifications of revealing his secret. Alex has to deal with the ramifications of hiding J'onn's secret. Siobhan has to deal with the ramifications of her actions. Add to that the list the flashbacks and additional character action, and it's just too much. Last episode demonstrated what is best about Supergirl, and the appeal of the character. To follow-up with a show that seems almost like it was designed to create backdoor pilots for every other character around here, is a wasted opportunity. Decisions like this make it seem that Supergirl is very much a work in progress, has yet to settle down, and is pressed for time. Even if that is the case, there's little excuse for allowing the aforesaid into the creative process, rather than working through them. The development that should take place for Supergirl is placed on hold for Martian Manhunter, which would be fine, but the story doesn't quite focus on him either. It's a kaleidoscope effort and a needless one.

Martian Manhunter's sacrifice of the previous episode places the whole DEO set-up into flux. Hank Henshaw being revealed to be an alien, is both ironic and inconvenient, but the problem with it, for the most part, isn't the conflict of interest. No, the problem is with Manhunter's deception, something Lucy Lane chastises Supergirl about as well. Viewers are barely given anything of weight to deal with regarding Manhunter, before being treated to a flashback that doesn't serve this story. Earlier episodes would have benefited from the analepsis, but here it is unnecessary blockage and keeps the story from flowing. Manhunter's flashback is followed by one for Alex, which is riddled with clich, as we a luxuriously long-haired Alex, dancing and drinking aimlessly, with little understanding of why she's fallen so "low". Alex's flashback does help to establish the relationship between her and J'onn, but it's more a means to drag her into the story, which has been too many times already. The episode concludes with Alex and J'onn on the run, along with the new information that Jeremiah Danvers is alive. Danvers being alive is a curveball Supergirl may not be able to hit, as he has served a greater purpose with his death for the series, than the moments he's been alive have displayed.

There's flashback that resonated and it was Kara's. Her experience as a young girl hits home, and it was excellent to see her predisposed to helping someone in danger without a second thought. Then Jeremiah Danvers does his best MOS Jon Kent impersonation and ruins it. It seems that heroism is now governed by helicopter parenting, and you can't expect to do anything heroic before you're legally able to drink. No wonder kids don't dig comic books anymore; at every turn they're reminded that this isn't for them. Where we once had Superboy, Robin, Kid Flash, Speedy, etc., we now have Damian Wayne, a test-tube assassin. That's the only way a child can be part of the world of super-heroes: as a freak of nature. It's a shame that wanting to help people and follow a positive nature has to come with an age requirement i.e. you must be "his high" before you can save the world.

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