‘Supergirl’ 1×17 Review: ‘Manhunter’

Supergirl has proven time and time again that it’ll shock me with the unexpected whether that’s storylines or bouts of emotion. So it should come as no surprise that I wasn’t prepared for the emotional onslaught of feels that overcame me with its latest episode “Manhunter,” which was more about the soul of J’Onn J’Onzz than the plot against him. Which had me feeling all the feels.

cries hysterically

Supergirl is always raising questions that leave me wondering on a deeper level. Like what defines humanity? Is humanity merely the classification of someone who is human or is it representative of someone or something that exhibits kindess and benevolence? The answer to that, at least to me, is the latter.

Supergirl is a show that thrives on the fact that its hero is an alien and yet she’s one of the most humane people in the world. Kara is loving, caring, and self-sacrificial as she does things that most others wouldn’t do. And in this episode we saw the same of J’Onn J’Onzz, who also happens to not be of this Earth.

“Manhunter” once again did what this show does best and focuses on the emotions behind the events rather than the events themselves. It’s what makes this show about a literal alien living among us so relatable. Kara is representative of everything that makes us human. And sometimes I forget that she’s not just a metahuman like Barry Allen who was given these powers as a human. But that’s just the beauty of this show.

The Crucifixion of J’Onn J’Onzz

Following the event’s of last week’s episode where the DEO captured J’Onn J’Onzz in his attempt to protect Kara and Alex, “Manhunter” dealt with the fallout from that episode and showed the dark side of the DEO. In a way it showed why J’Onn is as important as he is to the organization because he’s been able to lead it with a sense of decency and honor – something that completely disappeared the moment they locked him up.

For most of this episode, J’Onn was treated like one of the Fort Rozz prisoners despite never doing anything sinister that he was accused of. He was handled with the sort of disrespect that showed the darker side of humanity and showed that an alien could possess more humanity than some of these humans, namely one Colonel Harper, who was tasked with leading the investigation on the DEO.

Throughout this process, which involved J’Onn being grilled, telling the truth, and then getting dragged off because of it, we saw J’Onn being demeaned in a way that was alarming. Not to mention the name-dropping of Cadmus, which is an organization that specializes in dissecting alien species. That’s right, humans are using aliens as lab rats to help their own selfish military needs. It raises the question: what makes humans better than aliens? It’s not about your DNA rather your heart and soul that defines you as good or bad. And the only reason that J’Onn was treated the way he is is because we’re afraid of things that we don’t know. But it just goes to show you that you can’t judge someone without getting to know them. Because J’Onn has proven over the 10 years that he’s posed as Hank Henshaw that he’s a better man than most.

J’Onn J’Onzz and His Love for Kara and Alex

Without a doubt the element of this show that has captured my heart has been the relationship between Kara, Alex, and J’Onn. It’s something I never expected but also something I never knew I needed from this show. It’s a love story featuring two aliens and a human and stresses how it’s not DNA that makes a family but love. And these three have proven that there is virtually nothing that can hamper the bond between them – even a conspiracy from the DEO.

While from the very beginning Hank Henshaw struck me as a cold-mannered man with nothing good to bring to this world, it’s amazing how character development and the reveal his true identity has done for the character. More amazingly is how his relationship with Kara and Alex has given this character a purpose that runs deeper than keeping the world safe from sinister aliens.

In “Manhunter” we saw J’Onn’s love for these two sisters and how he was willing to risk anything and everything to ensure their safety. Hell, he asked Alex to abandon him, to betray him, to save herself.

But as much as J’Onn’s love for Kara and Alex runs deep, their love for him is what completes this relationship and makes it the strong foundation that it is. Because while we saw J’Onn tell Alex to abandon him, she refused with every fiber of her being because there was no way in hell that she was going to do that to him. And I’ll bet that Kara would’ve reacted the same way had he offered that to her.

Ultimately it was Kara’s love for Alex and J’Onn that forced her to come clean about who she really was to Lucy Lane (more about that below) and team up with the general to help save the two people that mean the most to her. “Love is the most powerful emotion,” to quote Oliver Queen. And the love between Kara, Alex, and J’Onn is something that only continues to strengthen and defines the best part about this show.

Is Jeremiah Danvers Still Alive?

Not to say I told you so, but I so told you so. I called this from the moment we learned that Jeremiah Danvers was dead and Hank Henshaw’s connection to him – how J’Onn J’Onzz was the only one to come back. I’m someone who doesn’t believe someone is dead unless I see a body. And we never saw a body. Until this episode.

During one of J’Onn’s flashbacks we saw what really happened with Hank Henshaw and Jeremiah Danvers. Turns out the real Henshaw was as big of a dick as we thought this version of him was at first – only worse. He was a disgrace of a human being, which showed when he confronted J’Onn in his true form and tortured and threatened to kill him without being provoked. We saw Jeremiah try to reason with him – considering that J’Onn had just opened up to Jeremiah and Jeremiah to him about his daughters, including Kara who was also an alien.

So Jeremiah did what we’d expect him to do: defend J’Onn who was coming under attack by Henshaw. So the two partners of the DEO fought and eventually Jeremiah rolled Henshaw right off a cliff – but not before Henshaw had stabbed him, which killed him seconds later. Or so we thought.

I really should stop being surprised with plot twists, but I’m really not. Especially when it’s a twist that I’ve believed from the very beginning. Back in the present after Kara and Lucy helped save J’Onn and Alex, J’Onn went to wipe the Colonel Harper’s memory clean – the right way. When he did he saw into his mind – and saw that Jeremiah Danvers is still alive.

Turns out Jeremiah wasn’t as dead as we all thought. He was brought to Cadmus where apparently they revived him. So naturally J’Onn tells Alex and Kara this, and he accompanies Alex to Cadmus as an attempt to find Jeremiah and bring him home. I want to believe that this will all end well, but happiness never comes easy on television. Even on Supergirl.

Lucy Learns the Truth…Then Gets a New Job

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Lucy Lane as I’ve felt her purpose to be useless and nothing other than a romantic foil in the Kara-James slowburn. But I think this episode marked the tide turning.

The Lucy that we saw in this episode was initially dark and determined to do her duty – to immediately disregard aliens as a threat and means for study. She seemed unable to come back from that – until Kara came clean about the truth. That she’s Supergirl. Lucy wasn’t too shocked – I think she always knew deep down inside. It all made sense. But it took more than Kara coming clean about her identity. It was also Kara connecting with Lucy on an emotional level; about feeling like an alien and all you want to do is fit in.

Hell, we’ve all experienced that at least once in our lives. It’s very relatable. And I think Lucy being able to connect with that was key in halting her attempts to satisfy and instigated her need to do what’s right. So Lucy took a leap of faith when it came to trusting Kara and helping orchestrate Alex and J’Onzz’s breakout from Colonel Harper and Cadmus.

With Colonel Harper resigning as head of the DEO, he appointed Lucy Lane as his successor, which proves to be uber convenient for our team of heroes, as well as the start to what might be the redemption of Lucy Lane.

The Origin of Silver Banshee

You have to hand it to Siobhan Smythe because girl is determined to get what she wants – at any cost. After she went behind Cat Grant’s back with an exclusive about Supergirl – and was outted by Kara and subsequently fired – Siobhan returned this episode with a vengeance as she had one thing in mind: destroy Kara’s life.

Siobhan managed to sneak into CatCo afterhours and draft a nasty email to Cat from Kara in order to get her fired. But despite her confidence and determination Siobhan was found out – with a little help from her maybe-boyfriend but definite friends-with-benefits.

So Siobhan chose to drink her sorrows away on the top of CatCo roof as Winn went to her. No she has too much self-respect to off herself, but that didn’t stop fate from intervening when she tripped and fell off the side of the building screaming all the way down. And wouldn’t you know it something happened. Her scream became supersonic and it stopped her fall. Yeah. That happened.

I can’t say this comes as a big surprise considering that photos of Siobhan decked out as Silver Banshee in next week’s episode surfaced. But I find myself wondering about her origin story. How did Siobhan develop this supersonic scream? Was it something always within her? Or was it something that she developed instantaneously with the fall? All will be revealed. Eventually.

Supergirl airs Monday at 8/7c on CBS.

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