‘Supergirl’ 1×17 Roundtable: Discussing ‘Manhunter’

Every week, Fangirlish writers will be discussing new episodes of Supergirl and sharing their thoughts, feelings, and speculation about the hour’s hot topics in a little something we like to call Fangirlish Roundtables.

Today, we’re breaking down episode 17 of Supergirl, “Manhunter” where we discuss the DEO and morality, our love for the Kara/Alex/J’Onn relationship, and the Jeremiah Danvers reveal.

What were your overall thoughts on “Manhunter?”

ALYSSA

This was another great episode that reminds us why we’re invested with this show in the first place: the characters and their relationships. While Supergirl exists as a means to tell Supergirl’s origin story, it thrives off the relationships that shape Kara into the person that is destined to be. But Supergirl isn’t just about Kara, and that’s important with all of these superhero shows on television that have a central hero as its title indicates. So it was nice to get an episode like “Manhunter” that focused on J’Onn J’Onzz and his backstory that also managed to link his story with the Danvers sisters. Once again the bond between Kara, Alex, and J’Onn stole the show and my heart. This was an emotionally charged episode for all. But it also managed to make you question what’s right and wrong, which is something that this show has been good at doing in its first season. And for the first time I didn’t actually hate Lucy Lane. So props there.

LIZZIE

Funny, this was supposed to be just “the episode before the crossover.” In fact, I even put off watching it, because despite being proved wrong time and time again, I had this notion that J’Onn’s backstory would be, well, boring. Was I ever wrong. J’Onn J’Onzz is, by far, my favorite male character in this show, and is quickly becoming one of my overall faves. I didn’t like him at first, didn’t expect to ever like him, and now here I am, waxing poetic about what was, without a doubt, one of my favorite episodes of the season.




It probably helped that we got the whole story about Jeremiah Danvers at last – and that, as I expected, it wasn’t as cut and dry as we thought. I’d suspected as such since I saw the casting – Dean Cain, as we all know, played Superman for many years. He didn’t have the look of someone who was only around for a cameo.

Mostly, I think this episode delivered on what Supegirl does best – family. Kara, Alex and J’Onn J’Onzz are like a family, and this episode played off on those dynamics to perfection, while, surprisingly enough, doing a decent job with Kara’s “work” family as well, even if (or maybe because) Kara wasn’t around.

LYRA

It was the start of a new chapter for Supergirl. Changes in management at the DEO will change the scope of what happens next. Also splitting the team in half after giving us all those family feelz will test Supergirl’s ability to try something new. It wasn’t without it’s disappointing moments. The reveal of Papa Danvers still being alive was lacklustre. I’m too in love with the Hank/Kara/Alex dynamic. They’re going to have to step it up if they want me to care about him. Sorry, not sorry.

In this episode we saw J’Onn J’Onzz subjected to unjust treatment because he’s an alien. What were your thoughts on how the DEO handled the situation?

ALYSSA

This really showed the DEO’s true colors, and how perhaps their first goal isn’t protecting humans but rather experimenting and taking down aliens without so much as a second thought. We saw that in the flashbacks when the real Hank Henshaw’s first instinct was to kill J’Onn J’Onzz no questions asked. We saw it again when the DEO was interrogating J’Onn and not really even considering him as something not evil. It was really disturbing. When there are sinister human beings in the world they get looked over better than an alien with good intentions. But this whole situation also showed me that the DEO can be either good or bad. When J’Onn was in control it was a good entity. But once the Colonel took over it became something sinister. This whole human vs. alien issue is something that continues to push the moral, prejudice line. What is really right? What is really wrong? Why are we still judging people by how they look?

LIZZIE

Isn’t it ironic that a show like Supergirl can still give us lessons on the ways people can react when they don’t understand something? It’s happened time and time again in history – if you’re different, then you’re probably going to be ridiculed, prosecuted and maybe even hated by most of the world. The show is just using that and applying it to, well, aliens. And, at this point, if aliens came and they didn’t wipe us out, but instead were friendly, I don’t even know that most people wouldn’t behave like the DEO did.

So, it was poignant, and even a tad uncomfortable to see human behavior reflected like this. When you see it on TV it’s easy to go YOU’RE SO WRONG, OMG. I just hope everyone watching got the very obvious message – now that would make a difference.

LYRA

It showed the viewer that protecting Earth isn’t the DEO’s first priority. They’re more concerned with capturing aliens and making weapons out of them. It’s selfish, small minded, and shameful. I just want to bundle up Kara and tell the DEO to hit the road. She doesn’t need them. But the crazy thing is that the DEO needs her. They need her to be there and straighten them out, show them that their views on aliens are skewed. Sure there are bad guys out there but there are good aliens like Kara and Clark trying to protect their home. The DEO needs to stop seeing everything in black and white. There are grays people! With Kara and Lucy at the helm I think they’ve got a chance to do something different at the DEO, something worthwhile.

One of the defining relationships of this show continues to be the one between Kara, Alex, and Hank. In this episode we saw the depths to which that love runs. What are your thoughts on the love here and how it’s significant to the show?

ALYSSA

I sound like a broken record every week, but this is the heart of the show for me. It’s something that I never knew that I needed, but it’s also something that I couldn’t imagine the show without. And I just love how it came out of nowhere to steal my heart. This week was especially significant as we saw the sense of sacrifice that J’Onn carries with these girls. He literally told Alex for them to turn their backs on him and save themselves. He was willing to take whatever consequences – deserved or not – in order to ensure their safety. But one of the things that this episode showcased was that this love goes both ways. We saw Alex take a stand in order to protect J’Onn, as well as Kara tracking them down and saving them when they were headed to a place that sounded anything but good. At the end of the day the superhero in the superhero show means nothing if you don’t give a damn about them. And this relationship is central in Kara’s hero journey and what keeps us coming back week after week.

LIZZIE

How did this even happen? I look back to my first thoughts on Hank, and they weren’t favorable. I always liked the Kara/Alex dynamic, but Hank wasn’t doing it for me before his reveal as J’Onn J’Onzz. But things changed dramatically when we found out not only who he was, but what had happened to his family. It not only gave the character depth, it explained his behavior towards both Danvers girls. And then I was hooked, because J’Onn J’Onzz lost his kids and Alex and Kara lost their dad, and it’s all so sad and I didn’t know how to deal with them getting attached, because it’s human nature, we form new connections, and it’s just …it gives me feels, all right? FEELS.

Alex and Kara seeing J’Onn J’Onzz as somewhat of a surrogate dad in no way shape of form diminishes Jeremiah Danvers’s role in their life, no. Love is not a well that runs out, and even if they do find Jeremiah Danvers, I have to say the relationship between these three people have been one of the highlights of this season for me and I really hope we get to explore it more.

LYRA

It’s the father/daughter(s) relationship that I didn’t know I wanted but now will defend to the end of time! They have become a family despite the challenges they face everyday. When push comes to shove, aka some crazy coming around trying to send them to a secret jail, they chose each other. Their love runs deep and with every season that passes I know my heart is going to be overcome with the feelz. This dynamic is what’s going to keep people coming back, what’s going to keep ME coming back, because it’s so easy to relate to. People can understand being taken in by someone who cares when there’s nothing else left in your life. They can also relate to making their own family like Kara, Alex, and Hank have done. Hell, If they can do it so can we. So can I.

So Jeremiah Danvers isn’t exactly dead as we were all led to believe. What are your thoughts on the reveal?

ALYSSA

Not to say, I told you so, but I told you so. From the moment we were told about what happened to Jeremiah Danvers – that he had died on a mission with the real Hank Henshaw – I never believed that he was actually dead. I never believe someone is dead unless they show me a body. And then even then I have my reservations. I find the timing of the reveal to be intriguing with only three episodes left this season. We are now learning about Cadmus and the type of organization it is, and clearly Jeremiah has been subjected to some kind of treatment there. So what will Alex and J’Onn find when they find Jeremiah? Will he be the same man he was before he “died?” I think we all know the answer to that question. And it’s obviously not “yes.” This should make for a nice emotional storyline as we close out this first season.

LIZZIE

I already responded this, because I have a hard time stopping the FEELS sometimes, but yeah, I figured. Dean Cain was too big an actor for a cameo, or so I thought. I started to doubt myself for a while there, but the story always felt incomplete, so I figured they had an ace up their sleeve for if the show was successful and they had a chance to follow up on the bread crumbs they were leaving. And I’m glad I was right. This gives a whole new dimension to….well, everything. Supergirl is a mostly optimistic show, and Kara is a wholesome girl, and though they’ve tried to explain her darker side, they’ve never really had a good reason (other than red kryptonite) for her to lose it.

Enter good reason.

Kara is not the only one who’s going to lose it if/when they find Jeremiah, though. I’m pretty certain that J’Onn J’Onzz and Alex will be right there with her. And, can you imagine his reunion with Alex? Can you? I’m drowning in feels already and I’m only just imagining it.

LYRA

I know I should be emotionally devastated but…I’m ehhh about it. I haven’t seen enough about Jeremiah Danvers to care about him. Even the flashbacks made me just sympathise more with J’Onn and for the lose he’s experienced. I do like that it’s brought something different to Supergirl. Now we have the core team separated and on two different missions. I’m excited for the back and forth between both stories until they reunite. There are mysteries surrounding Kara & Co. just waiting to come out. That’s what will drive them into Season 2.

So Lucy Lane appears to have actually gained a purpose that doesn’t involve being a romantic foil for Kara and James. What are your thoughts on Lucy’s new appointment as the head of the DEO and her relationship with Kara?

ALYSSA

The fact that women are most of the time subjected as merely a “love interest” continues to anger and baffle me. That’s what happened with Lucy Lane this season. But this episode might be just the thing to finally get her on track and serve a purpose that isn’t that of merely a romantic foil for Kara and James. I loved how they related Lucy to Kara in this episode in terms of them sharing that feeling of wanting to belong so desperately that all you want to do is fit in. That’s something we all can relate to, and it’s something that for the first time opened my eyes to who Lucy Lane is. Having Kara come clean to Lucy about her identity as Supergirl was smart and made for a great story. At the start of the episode Lucy hated any mention of Supergirl, but by the hour’s end she was relying on Supergirl for support. It’s great to finally see these ladies supporting each other, which was something we were promised early on in the season but never actually got. With Lucy’s development I’m excited to see where Lucy’s appointment as the head of DEO – whether it’s temporary or long-term – will go. But I feel like she’s finally found her place on this show – and she’ll be someone who will be able to execute the position not as well as J’Onn J’Onzz but pretty close as all signs point to her working with Kara.

LIZZIE

Hurrah! Lucy desperate needed something to do other than be mad at Kara and James. In fact, she needed something to do other than be with James, in general. Part of the reason why I didn’t particularly care for Lucy is that, so far, the show has treated her as just another romantic foil – no real depth. But it sure looks like all of that is about to change. And I can’t wait.

Since superhero shows these days are not really geared toward “keeping” the secret identity, well, secret, I figured Kara would come clean to Lucy sooner or later. If I had to make a list of all the people who know Barry and Oliver’s secret, I’d run out of paper, so this is per the norm in these shows. What I didn’t expect was for Lucy to get over her anger so quickly and become, not just useful, but someone I could root for. I’m beyond excited that the show gave a young woman like Lucy such an important position, and I can’t wait to see what this means for her relationship with Kara. I think that the more time Lucy spends with Kara the more she’ll understand that Kara is not who she thinks she is, and that Kara really meant no harm with the whole James business. Kara is who she is, and if there’s someone to blame there, it’s James. He was the one who lied to Lucy about his feelings.

LYRA

Part of me is really excited. We’ve got a woman in charge! Wooo! Inspiring little girls everywhere. Also female friendships. *grabby hands* With a lack of female Bffs in the DCTV verse I’ll take this and hope for the best. Kara managed to change Lucy’s mind about her being an alien. It’s bound to bond the two women together. And lastly, it’s always a welcome surprise to have a character who is an ex stay behind. Lucy’s going to weave herself into the Supergirl storyline because she wants too and not because her relationship with James forced her too.

Now here comes the cynical part of me. What if this is just a way to show Lucy how great Kara and James work together? That maybe she was wrong about them and James is a good man who fell in love with an amazing woman? What if this is all a setup so we forgive James and empathize with him? Let’s hope it’s not the latter. It’s a cheap writing trick that fans will see right through.

At the end of the episode we saw Siobhan develop some sort of supersonic scream. What are your thoughts on the origin of Silver Banshee? And how do you think Siobhan came to acquire it?

ALYSSA

Well it appears as if this is something Siobhan’s had for a while because there wasn’t anything really that caused it – that we’ve seen happen on screen – it was really just an obvious high-stress situation that sort of awakened her power. I’m curious about how she came to have this power – if she’s an alien or if they have metahumans like The Flash. From the other villains that we’ve seen this season come to acquire metahuman abilities – like Livewire – that was something that happened to them that we saw. We didn’t really see something happened to Siobhan so obviously there is something that happened to Siobhan in the past or she is more like Kara than she might like to admit. But as far as this whole thing with Kara being her origin as a supervillain I have to admit I’m disappointed. I was expecting something bigger. Plus, we’ve already done this with Livewire, who coincidentally will be teaming up with Silver Banshee next week.

LIZZIE

Is she another alien? She can’t be, right? Unless one of the prisoners was secretly pregnant, and then ….wait, that’s crazy. Or, well, the show HAS pulled crazier things, but still, I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. Instead I think Siobhan is going to be the first attempt this show takes at explaining other ways people can get powers – think particle accelerator in The Flash. And that’s good. Not everyone has to be an alien.

However, as far as origin stories go, this was disappointing. I know Siobhan was a career woman, but I just don’t think this is devastating enough. I know I was supposed to believe she’d hit rock bottom after Winn sort of turned on her, but I never thought she cared much for Winn, or for anything other than her career, really. I really like the actress, and I think she has done a great job with Siobhan, but in this case, I think the writing has failed a bit. I’m just not invested in Silver Banshee. I can’t relate – I don’t really care. And, considering I was there for her origin story, that’s not a good thing.

LYRA

I think she’s had it for a while. Maybe she’s an alien as well. Wouldn’t be surprised at this point honestly. Her ability to sneak into Cat Co. was sly and no regular human would try to pull one on her twice. Hell, she just might be a normal girl who developed these abilities because of chemicals unknown and was treated differently from that point on because of a tragic accident. (It’s always the tragic ones.) That’s why she’s always been on edge. Why shes always felt like she needed to prove that she was better than everyone else. To prove wrong whoever hurt her with their words.

The build up that led to her reveal was kind of ridiculous. Siobhan made the mistakes. She crossed the line. So why does she exclude herself when it comes to the blame on her losing her job. She made her bed. Now she has to lay in it no matter how much she hates it. And no amount of blaming Winn is going to help.

What are your thoughts on “Manhunter?” Sound off in the comments to keep the discussion going!

Join us for another Supergirl roundtable next Sunday.

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.




Alyssa Barbieri

Senior Managing Editor

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment. Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes. Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters. TV Editor and Sports Editor. I write about DCTV, This Is Us and so much more. Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.

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