Features TV

REVIEW: Supergirl 1×17 “Manhunter”

Written by Alex Reale

 

If you couldn’t tell from the title, this episode of Supergirl revolves mostly around J’onn J’onzz, aka the Martian Manhunter. Even though the show is mainly about the famous Woman of Steel, it’s great to see an episode dedicated to our favorite Martian. “Manhunter” showed us a little more about J’onn’s history on Earth and how exactly it intertwined with Kara and Alex’s past. (spoilers ahead!)

J’onn is currently being detained by the military for being a potential alien threat and possibly being connected with the murder of the real Hank Henshaw. Through the ample use of flashbacks, we learn about how, 10 years prior, the real Hank Henshaw was in charge of a DEO mission to find and possibly eliminate a hidden alien in the Peruvian Andes. One of the DEO team members, Jeremiah Danvers, is almost attacked by a venomous snake when he’s saved at the last moment by the mysterious Martian, J’onn J’onzz. Am I the only one who thinks it’s a little funny how, of all people to encounter the Martian Manhunter, it just happens to be a Kryptonian’s foster father? What are the odds?

The two strike up a quick friendship and discuss their families, leading Jeremiah to realize that J’onn is a refugee and not an invader. Before they can continue their bonding session, Henshaw appears and attacks the Martian. Jeremiah comes in to save the day and accidentally tosses Henshaw over a cliff, but not before Henshaw fatally stabs him in the gut. Before he dies, he tells J’onn to look after his girls. Um, so you’re just going to tell a random alien you found to look after your children? You two barely know each other. But luckily, J’onn is empathetic enough to follow through with the request, and over the next few years, he keeps an eye on the young Danvers children.

Another flashback shows Kara right after she first arrived on Earth and how she coped with the new environment. After she saves a woman and her baby from a burning car (the true test of a superhero nowadays, apparently), she has a talk with Jeremiah, who gives her special glasses to help suppress her powers and to hide her identity. Then we get a flashback about the first time Kara meets Cat Grant and Winn and acquires her job at CatCo.

Normally, I’m very critical about flashbacks, but I was happy with the way Supergirl pulled it off this episode. I only wish we got to see more J’onn-centric flashbacks since the episode was meant to revolve around him. At least he made a cameo in Alex’s flashbacks. See, Alex used to be a big party girl with a knack for debauchery, until she’s visited by “Henshaw”, who decides to recruit her to the DEO. For the next few months, he trains her to become the bad-ass we know from the present day. I guess this was J’onn’s way of protecting Alex, right? You’d think he would’ve tried to keep Alex away from the whole alien-hunting shtick, but it looks like he wanted to bring her into the world of the DEO to avoid anything like Jeremiah’s death from ever happening again.

In the present, Alex is arrested along with J’onn and the two are taken to the mysterious Project Cadmus. Kara and James decide to tell Lucy Lane about Kara’s real identity and how J’onn deserves to be free. The three hatch a plan that involves breaking J’onn and Alex out of military custody, and then helping J’onn go into hiding. When the group returns to the DEO base, they find out that Lucy has been made head of the entire department. I personally wanted Alex to take the position, but maybe Lucy can prove to be a valuable asset as leader of the DEO. Either way, as long as the department continues to cooperate with Supergirl, it looks like they shouldn’t have any problems. However, I wish they would let J’onn work with them instead, but I’m guessing they won’t be too trusting of him after his posing as Henshaw for 10 years.

The episode also revealed that Jeremiah Danvers is apparently still alive and involved with Project Cadmus. We don’t know much about Project Cadmus just yet (except for its mention in Arrow, which is a separate “Earth”), but if it’s anything like what we’ve seen in the comics or in Young Justice, then we’re in for a hell of a season finale and/or second season. Personally, I’m predicting an appearance by Superboy in the near future.

“Manhunter” wasn’t as good as last week’s phenomenal episode, but it provided a great background for several of the characters. The only major problem with this episode was that it downplayed everything going on at CatCo. There’s a minor subplot involving Siobhan trying to get Kara fired, which backfires and causes her to nearly get arrested. In the final moments of the episode, Siobhan reveals her super-screaming powers, hinting at her return as a certain super-villain. This little subplot felt overshadowed by everything going on with J’onn, Kara, and Alex’s flashbacks, and it’s a shame it didn’t get the attention it deserved. But it looks like the next episode might remedy that issue.

Final Grade: B

+ Great use of flashbacks to flesh out J’onn, Kara, and Alex’s backstories.

+ Excellent performance by David Harewood.

+ Loved the big reveal about Siobhan at the end.

– Jeremiah’s “death” was a little too predictable.

– Alex’s backstory felt very generic.

– I’m not thrilled with the lack of closure on J’onn’s story.

Extra Thoughts:

– Project Cadmus – need I say more?

What did you think of this episode of Supergirl? What will happen with J’onn? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!