‘Supergirl’ 3×14 Review: The Heart of Reconnecting

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They say that time heals all wounds. That eventually, after some time, things will magically fix themselves and everything will go back to the way it was. That those feelings of anger and sadness and pain will just disappear as if they’d never been there in the first place. But the fact of the matter is that time isn’t a magical fix-it. Rebuilding something requires action. Rebuilding relationships is something that requires work, communication, trust, and a desire to want to rekindle that flame.

Supergirl finally returned from its two-month hiatus with an episode that wasn’t focused on the major season arc. But then again, not every episode needs to be, nor will it be. Sometimes an episode like “Schott Through the Heart” is the very thing to remind you where Supergirl excels best — and that’s with heart.

There was a powerful message about reconnecting in Supergirl’s spring premiere, where Winn found himself confronted with his mother’s reappearance after 20 years of absence; where Jonn learned a shocking truth about his father’s struggle with dementia; and where Kara and Mon-El began to reconnect as friends, the first step before that inevitable romantic reunion.

While “Schott Through the Heart” wasn’t the greatest episode this season, it was still one of those episodes that I can appreciate for its intent and execution. This episode had a strong familial theme led by Winn and Jonn’s relationships with their parents. These are the kind of episodes that, as a fan of anything on television, I yearn for and devour. Because when it comes down to it, I’m here for these characters. I want to know them. I want to care about them like their my own friends. I want to be invested in a way that few stories manage to accomplish. With good character writing comes great storytelling. While the action is nice, it’s the subtle art of watching a character struggle through his/her most difficult times and coming out the other end of it stronger for it.

For me, all it takes is a really powerful message where we get to see new facets to these characters that makes an episode feel worth it. And “Schott Through the Heart” really felt “worth it” to me.

It was especially nice to see Winn get his moment in the sun as Jeremy Jordan exposed us to a side of his character that we hadn’t seen before. Where you could see that young boy sitting on the chair as his legs dangled below, not touching the ground, waiting for his mother to take him away from this nightmare; where you could see that young boy sitting in the police station waiting hour after hour until he realized that his mother wasn’t coming for him; where you saw the man standing in front of you that was still so very much impacted by that sense of abandonment and betrayal and fear and anger and sadness and confusion. Jordan did a phenomenal job of opening up another side to Winn, which was the emotional driving force behind this episode.

Let’s take a look at the three relationships that find themselves in a state of reconnecting and what their futures may hold:

Winn & His Mother

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Considering how and who raised him, it’s impressive that Winn has managed to not let his troubled childhood define his adulthood. While Winn is someone that tends to hide his feelings behind sarcasm and humor, it’s those moments of vulnerability where you see Winn open up about struggles in his past that feels gratifying as a viewer.

Winn had a rough childhood. He was raised by a crazed man that carried out devout acts of violence in a way that spread pain like wildfire. Never mind the own pain his son was feeling. Winn didn’t grow up in a nurturing environment. His parents weren’t there for him, albeit it in person or emotionally. But Winn Schott is someone that is so deeply caring and considerate and kind hearted to the point where there’s no resemblance between he and his father.

So even when Winn learns that his father is dead — even after everything he’s done to him with the emotional abuse — it’s impossible for Winn not to care. No matter how many times he tells himself, or James, that he doesn’t care. He cares. He wouldn’t be Winn if he didn’t. Despite all of the terrible things his father did, he’s still his dad. And no matter how much you might want to convince yourself that it’s just a word and it doesn’t matter, it’s a easier to say something than to actually believe it. The truth is written on your face. The truth was written on Winn’s face.

And just when you thought this episode was going to be about Winn dealing with his father’s death and where that man stood in his life, Winn’s mother shows up and exposes this incredibly vulnerable side of his character that provided a lot of context and reason for optimism moving forward.

The first thing we learn about Mary Schott is that she abandoned her son 20 years ago. The abruptness of that statement and the hurt that painted Winn’s face was enough to get me to start throwing obscenities Mary’s way. Then Winn delved into a recount of the night that he lost both of his parents. The night where his father finally lost it, and the night his mother left him without a word or explanation. All she left with him was pain and inevitable emotional abuse that would come his way at his father’s watch. Watching Winn break down and carry his words through tears was so viscerally raw that it caught me off guard.

That was the moment we not only saw why but felt why Winn harbored such feeling of aggression and distaste towards the woman that’s supposed to be his mother. In his greatest moment of need, she wasn’t there. Throughout those next 20 years, she wasn’t there. There’s no doubt in my mind that Winn should’ve reacted any other way in that moment. But then again, that was based on context, both as an audience member and Winn as a character in his own life story.

Getting that conversation between Winn and Mary in which she opened up about things that she’d wanted to keep from Winn to protect him was the perfect example of the importance of communication in any relationship. A lot of the times we withhold information because we want to protect someone we care about. But typically, we end up hurting them because of that withholding of information. Kind of ironic.

So this time when Mary tells Winn that she was trying to protect him from his father, he believes her. He sees the truth on her face. As she comes clean about her determination to break free from her husband and the threat he posed to Winn. His dad threatened to have him killed just to punish Mary. But Winn “didn’t see it” because “(Mary) didn’t want (Winn) to.” And that right there shows you the difference between these two parental figures. Mary was doing what any mom would do — protect her child. No matter the pain, no matter the sacrifice, a mother will protect her child.

Winn didn’t see that at first. All he saw was the woman he calls Mom, the woman that abandoned him 20 years ago; the woman that had had no contact with him at all during most of his life. And she was just back. As if those previous 20 years had never happened. As if he’d welcome her into his arms singing praises of forgiveness. Winn had every right to be angry at spiteful towards his mother. During his darkest moment, she wasn’t there for him. The one person that’s supposed to protect you against any evil. She wasn’t there. He was left alone. Worse, he was left alone with that man.

But Winn eventually saw it. The more he listened to his mother’s words, the more he was open to hearing what she actually had to say, he began to understand. Now, that doesn’t erase these past 20 years. But Winn began to understand why his mother did what she did. And he began to notice, most importantly, that there’s a fundamental difference between his mother and his father. One caused him pain to protect him. The other caused him pain to make him suffer. Mary acted to protect her son. Winslow Sr. acted to protect himself.

Because it’s not just enough to communicate. You have to listen. It’s not enough to open your ears, you really have to listen to the person that’s speaking. Listen to their point of view, to their beliefs, and their desires. Open yourself up to the possibility of understanding. And Winn eventually did that. He came to a place where there wasn’t necessarily forgiveness but the beginning of rebuilding their relationship.

Winn wants to get to know his mother, and his mother wants to get to know him. Everything isn’t fixed. Time hasn’t healed these wounds. But time and perspective have led them to a place where they can begin rebuilding their relationship, where they can begin reconnecting in a way that he hadn’t been allowed to before. While I doubt this is something we’ll get to see on screen, I’d love to see or hear about their getting to know each other and reconnecting without ever having connected like this before.

 

J’onn & His Father

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One thing that really irks me with television shows is when they act on a storyline but fail to pay it off in a timely manner or at all. I don’t know if it’s the hiatus or the storytelling or a combination of the two, but I’ve waiting an incredibly long time to get some development with J’onn and his father. Well, it was certainly worth the wait in a “douse me with Fireball because I can’t take this pain and heartache” kind of way.

Like I’ve said before, will say now, and will say a billion times in the future, the heart of any and all television shows or stories are the characters. I’m more interested in character relationships than badass sequences killing flying toy monkeys. J’onn J’onzz, like Winn, is a character that can often be underutilized. It’s unfortunate, really, because there’s so many different ways Supergirl can take this character. But luckily, J’onn got some of the spotlight as he bonded with his father and begin that reconnecting after years and years — centuries, I guess — separation. It’s about re-acclimating not only to a world that’s not their own, but to each other.

Turns out there’s been a lot of offscreen development as father and son have decided to move in with each other in order to start reconnecting after so many lost years. When Alex stops by for a housewarming dinner of sorts, we learn a shocking truth about J’onn’s father that’s equally heartbreaking as it is tragic because it’s something that happens to people in our world.

When J’onn’s father tells Alex he’d always wanted a granddaughter like her — at which point I squealed because emotionally I couldn’t handle that statement — soon after Alex echoes my thoughts: You had two granddaughters. Turns out J’onn’s father has the human equivalent of dementia, in which his memories are starting to fade and his mind starting to get away from him.

When Alex tells him that he has to tell J’onn, there’s an immediate sense of fear that overtakes his face.

“He just got me back.”

And in that moment you feel it. You feel this man’s pain. The pain of spending centuries away from his son. The pain of having a second chance only to learn that it’s a limited time offer. The pain of having to tell his son that his father is slipping away from him. J’onn’s already lost so much, after all.

When Alex suggests telling J’onn, his father flips out at her. That pain becomes fear and that fear becomes anger. He doesn’t want to burden his son with this. He doesn’t want to be the source of more pain for a man that has endured years and years of grief and loss. But when you keep something so big and so important from those you love, you only serve to hurt them even more in the long run.

And eventually, he does. He comes clean. We don’t get to see the moment in its entirety, but we see it. And as J’onn goes to Alex for comfort and support, he collapses in her arms and lets the emotion out. And you feel for this man. This man that has lost nearly everyone he loves. This man that can’t seem to shake the curse that haunts him. This man that is not invincible.

Getting that moment between J’onn and Alex again serves to prove that the heart of Supergirl rests with its characters and their relationships. Their emotion makes them real. Their reactions make them relatable. Their existence makes it worth it.

Kara & Mon-El

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While the heart of this hour rested with the familial relationships with Winn & his mother and J’onn & his father, we were treated to some Karamel moments that if anyone can find something to take away from them, it would be me.

In keeping with the theme of reconnecting, I took a moment after this episode to stop and think about where Kara and Mon-El are at right now. Clearly, we know that Kara is still hurting over losing the love of her life and having to see him on a daily basis. And we know that Mon-El’s feelings for Kara are as strong as ever, as he admitted in the previous episode, which is why he’s been distant from her. Why he believed he needed to continue to be distant from her.

But he hasn’t been able to stay away. In fact, he almost sort of gravitates towards her and the way that she makes him feel. It’s a feeling that he hasn’t had in seven years. It’s a feeling that is familiar and loving and lifts him up in a way that nothing else has. While Mon-El might want to stay away to avoid hurting Imra and this entire situation, he simply cannot. Because he still loves Kara.

Which brings me to where Kara and Mon-El are at right now. Kara and Mon-El have each been separated from the other for a given amount of time — Kara for six months and Mon-El for seven years. But they were separated. Things have changed. And when that happens there needs to be communication and honesty about feelings and where things stand at. But I don’t feel like they’re at that point yet. But I do believe they will get there later this season.

I’d love to tell you why Mon-El continues to hide his true feelings about Kara, but these writers have me at a loss. It was never a doubt whether Mon-El still loved Kara as he did seven years prior when he was forced to leave. I know that Kara is Mon-El’s endgame. I just don’t know how they’re going to get there. But hopefully that’s something that becomes clearer in time. We still have eight episodes left this season, which is plenty of time for self-reflection and decisions. I truly believe that Mon-El loves Imra. But he doesn’t love her the way he’s loved and loves Kara.

Kara is finally starting to be honest about her feelings towards this mess of a situation. (Not a fan of this unnecessary love triangle.) Where she flat out tells Mon-El that she’s not comfortable discussing his and Imra’s relationship and reveals, through words, how she’s feeling. How this situation continues to hurt her. And the thing is, she’s not blaming Mon-El in that moment. She’s finally beginning to be open with her feelings, which is something that Mon-El needs to be able to do. He’s not there yet.

“I’m sorry you’re hurting but I can’t be the one you talk to about this…It doesn’t feel great for me.” -Kara

I’ve warned you from the season premiere, this is a journey. A long and arduous journey — that I didn’t foresee with an exhaustive hiatus, but it happened. We’re still relatively early on in this journey, but I feel like the stage is being set for that reconnecting between Kara and Mon-El.

It’s been a lot of side stepping to this point, but now it’s more of an active effort to be there for each other. Even if that is just as friends for right now. And that’s okay. The thing is the timing isn’t always right. Sometimes you have to wait for the right moment. Sometimes time gives you clarity. True love is worth waiting for, after all.

Other Thoughts

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  • I’m going to need a Supergirl Karaoke Web Series or something. You can’t do this to me and not expect me to demand it.
  • Drunken karaoke is the only way to go, honestly. Speaking from experience.
  • Mon-El can’t keep his eyes off Kara. And I’m mesmerized.
  • “To working on it.” Hmm, do I smell foreshadowing?
  • Jeremy Jordan is too good of an actor to be wasted the way he can be wasted on this show.
  • I’m here for the Winn/James bromance. No, really, I’m here. I’d like more, please.
  • “He always wanted to go out with a bang.” HAH. It’s cheesy, but I still laughed.
  • I love how time and perspective have helped Mon-El grow as a man. You see that when he apologizes to Kara for having lied to her about who he was.
  • The way Mon-El smiles when he looks at Kara…the intensity is enough to power a city block. Like any moment spent with her brightens his entire world.
  • Because I can’t stop talking about it, the way Jeremy Jordan delivers that heartbreaking story about the night he lost both of his parents — when his dad finally snapped and when his mom didn’t come for him. That was powerful. Jeremy Jordan slaughtered me emotionally.
  • “On a scale of 1 to 10 flying monkeys are a 2.” Where is the lie?
  • THIS MOMENT WAS SO IMPORTANT:
    • Alex: “You’ve chosen to live as a black man in America which is a harder existence in of itself. Why?”
    • J’onn: “You know I was forced to become Hank Henshaw out of desperation, but now I choose this face. I like it. And I wouldn’t want to live in a world where I need to change the color of my skin to feel safe, to feel seen, to feel like I;m not a target. I’d rather change the world.”
  • Jonn’s father wanting Alex to be his granddaughter hit me in a place emotionally I wasn’t prepared for.
  • Which was soon followed by his reveal that he has the human equivalent of dementia.
  • “He just got me back.” KILL ME.
  • Winn’s parents met in Ivy Town! Hah! Oliver and Felicity stayed there. You know, back when Arrow was good.
  • “Kara I’ve got you.” PTERODACTYL NOISES.
  • THE WAY THE MUSIC CHANGES WHEN KARA AND MON-EL HAVE A MOMENT.
  • AND THE SMILES.
  • DEAD DEAD DEAD DEAD
  • “Don’t Luke Skywalker me.” I will always appreciate a nice Star Wars reference.
  • WINN ALMOST DIED BY A YO YO. YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS SHIT UP.
  • “When was your last tetanus shot?” “Mom, recently, I’m very cautious.”
  • “CARRY ON MY WAYWARD SON.” THEY’LL BE PEACE WHEN YOU ARE DONE. THERE WILL BE MON-EL. IT’S COMING, MY SON.
  • Mon-El’s suit IS COMING.
  • The way Jonn embraces Alex after learning about his father’s dementia kicked my emotional ass. THERE ARE NO WORDS.
  • Lena and Sam/Reign, huh? Okay, let’s do this.
  • Damn, I forgot how long these Supergirl reviews can get.
  • Give yourself a cookie if you made it all the way to the end.

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on the CW.


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