In Supergirl’s tenth episode (“Childish Things”), we learn a few interesting tidbits. One thing is, certainly, never tick off an evil, toymaker mastermind who is one part Riddler and one part Trickster. This episode gives us Winn’s tragic backstory, brought to the forefront by his dad, Winslow Schott (aka Toyman, played by Henry Czerny, who is an excellent character actor), murdering two guards and escaping from prison.
Meanwhile, Hank and Alex decide they need to infiltrate Lord Tech (wasn’t it called Labs previously?) to find out what Maxwell is up to. They disagree on how to go about it, squabbling a bit throughout the episode.
The next day at CatCo, Cat offers Lucy as job as her general counsel. It is interesting that these two get along so well. (It doesn’t hurt that Lucy dislikes her sister and vocalizes that to Cat.) Of course, Jimmy just about swallows his own tongue when he hears about the job offer. By the end of the episode, it looks like his misgivings are a blend of feeling bored in his current position and possibly feeling awkward about his office crush with Kara.
Before everyone can properly gape at Lucy exclaiming how nice Cat is, the FBI swarms in (led by Anya from Buffy, aka Emma Caulfield, as Agent Chase) and interrogates Winn, who swears he’s heard nothing from Daddy Dearest. This turns out to be untrue. After a touching conversation between Kara and Winn, he pulls a creepy doll (one of many in the episode!) out of his messenger bag. Turns out, his dad wants to meet him.
Back at the DEO, Hank has words with Alex, who wants him to Martian up, sneak into Maxwell’s facility, and figure out what’s going on in there. For someone with excellent observational training, Alex doesn’t stop to consider what effect this might have on Hank, who goes to great lengths to discuss his difficulties with transformation and his worries about his identity ever coming out. When Kara is herself, she “looks like a pretty blonde cheerleader.” Hank does not, and he’s been hunted in the past. Definitely would be enough to give pause. Eventually, Alex sets up a date with Lord so that Hank can infiltrate Lord Tech.
At CatCo, Lucy and Jimmy have one of those awkward couple conversations about whether or not she should take the job. There’s no right answer, and Jimmy does everything he can not to answer. After a bit of maneuvering, he tells her to take the job, only to have her shoot back: “I’m not asking your permission.” Lucy storms off, looking utterly fabulous (bless Jenna Dewan Tatum, y’all).
Winn, shadowed by the FBI and Kara, goes to meet his dad at…an arcade near the docks. Because of course. It is the creepiest arcade in history, and I never want to see a stuffed panda bear again. But long story short, it’s also a test that Winn fails: when the FBI swoops in and shoots his Dad, it turns out that it was a facsimile toy. A voice from the creepy toy on the floor warns Winn to run as gas is released into the room, but Kara flies in and, well, inhales.
Afterward, Agent Chase tears into Winn, who swears he doesn’t know where his dad is. This leads into Kara and Winn having a halting conversation about their relationship—without coming out and saying it. This is a scene in which I adored Kara’s earnestness. There’s no question that she supports and values her friend. She’s so willing and ready to believe that Winn’s Dad truly misses him: “When your dad says he’s missing you, I believe him. Because if you weren’t in my life, I’d miss you too.” In this moment, it’s exactly what Winn needs to here. He’s feeling low and awful, which makes sense given that his dad is a murderer.
Kara gets a text from Cat and heads to CatCo, where another uncomfortable conversation occurs. Kara kindly pokes around about why Cat hired Lucy, and Cat casually mentions knowing about Jimmy and Kara’s Googly eyes for each other: “As much as I love watching you Millennials deny your feelings, I pay you not to have them.” That made me laugh, guys.
Elsewhere, Alex and Max have a date involving snail eggs (ew), while Hank (in the guise of Maxwell) sneaks into Lord Tech (there’s a hilarious scene between him and Maxwell’s head of security; at least that’s who I think the character is. We are never really told who Paulina is), gets caught by a security guard, and ends up having to wipe his memory. Not in a casual, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for way.” No, in a “can’t remember his wife way.” Oops. No wonder Hank was so hesitant about using his powers.
Winn and Kara figure out that Winslow is at the old toy factory he used to work for. Supergirl shows up, gets trapped in quicksand, and barely escapes to rescue a doll that she thought was a child in mortal peril. Later, at Kara’s apartment, Winn spirals into something deeply relatable—the fear he’s about to become his worst nightmare, his Dad: “His genes are like ticking time bombs.” Kara kindly, sweetly, and earnestly assures Winn he’s a good person and that won’t happen. In the throes of this, Winn kisses Kara (when I was watching the episode, I wrote down, “CUE CAPTAIN AWKWARD,” because holy gods, dude. Noooope.). She is flustered, and he flees.
…leading him to be chloroformed and kidnapped by his dad. Turns out, he’s still after his old boss, Chester Dunholtz, and has developed the perfect (read: crazypants) revenge scheme involving a toy convention, what looks like a water pistol (but isn’t), and Winn as the forced assassin. You see, Toyman planted bombs at the convention, so unless Winn shoots Dunholtz, innocent people will die. Textbook evil villain.
Winn can’t bring himself to shoot Dunholtz, the FBI storms in, Kara protects Winn from getting shot, and Winslow sets off the bombs. Kara manages to save everyone by setting of the building’s sprinklers and freezing the water, creating a wall of ice that shields everyone from the blast. One thing I’ve enjoyed this season is watching Kara learn to think on her feet. She’s gotten progressively better at it.
Back at CatCo, Jimmy and Lucy make up. He claims his hesitation was about his dissatisfaction with his job. They kiss, and we see Kara standing sadly in the background like the proverbial cheese. She goes to talk to Winn, friendly as ever, and we see that he’s reached his emotional breaking point. He doesn’t know what to do with their relationship, because he’s in love with her. He can’t go back, and he can’t keep hiding his feelings. It was hard to watch, honestly, but not for the reason you may think. The thing is, I’m tired of this trope, where the Nice Guy punishes the girl for not returning his affections. Winn does the grownup version of a child taking his dinosaurs and going home, because Kara doesn’t fancy him. He essentially dissolves their relationship, simply because she doesn’t want to shag him. This plot point bothers the frak out of me. Kara doesn’t owe Winn anything. And yet, especially coupled with the next scene with her sister, Kara acts like she has done something wrong. That she has hurt Winn by…what? Not wanting to be with him? What the fresh hell is that about?
Kara, to Alex in the next scene blames herself: “I screwed up with Winn. I might’ve ruined something, and I don’t know if I can fix it.” And, darlings, as much as I love the show, this makes me want to take a flamethrower to things. It’s abundantly clear that she doesn’t return Winn’s romantic affections. So, beating herself up about that is heinous. It also sends the wrong message to little girls who are definitely watching. So, guys? Please do better. To quote Into the Woods, “Careful the things you say. Children will listen.”
Pizza night with Alex isn’t entirely a wash, and they do this lovely sister night/Game of Thrones bonding ritual. I really love the rapport between these two, as they lament about their respective problems. Alex amusingly quips, “Here’s to the Danvers’ sisters. We should come with a warning.”
Unfortunately, the scene is spoiled by God Complex, having planted a hidden camera on Alex’s purse. He’s watching them, and now we know two things: he knows Kara’s identity, and he probably just went full-on villain.
But only time will tell.