Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Supergirl 3x14 Review: "Schott Through the Heart" (Parent Problems) [Contributor: Deborah MacArthur]

“Schott Through the Heart”
Original Airdate: April 16, 2018 

My initial, negative reaction to a Winn-centric episode was based on my long-standing dislike of the character, rooted in the gross way the show handled his crush on Kara. But then I decided, no — I’m going to give this an honest chance. It’s been a while since Supergirl did anything with Winn’s crush, and he’s been largely reduced to little more than comedic relief this season. Holding a grudge at this point seems petty, especially when this show has so many other things going wrong with it (and much blander, Mon-El-shaped characters I can focus my dislike on). At least as far as Winn’s storyline goes, I decided to face this week’s return from a long, long hiatus with an open mind.

So how’d it work out? Um... pretty good!


The episode starts off chipper indeed, as the entire extended team, including J’onn’s dad, is spending the night drinking and singing at a karaoke bar. I complain about a lot on Supergirl, but I can’t deny that they do these fun scenes well. This show and The Flash are similar in their ability keep lightness alive, which I really appreciate. Who wants their comic books shows to be miserable gloom-fests, am I right?

But just as Winn is about to get on the stage and sing, he catches a report on the news: his dad, the evil mastermind Toyman, is dead. That pretty much kills the joyful vibes for the evening, as Winn flees to the alley outside and is comforted by James, who patiently listens to Winn lie about how his dad’s death doesn’t matter. Things only get suckier for Winn when his absentee mother, Mary, shows up at his father’s funeral, saying that they’re finally safe now that Toyman’s dead. And then the guy’s casket explodes, which certainly implies that things are not nearly as safe as Mary thinks.

Back at the DEO, Winn’s mom gets a medical exam and Winn insists his dad is absolutely, without a doubt dead, which means that he must have rigged his casket to explode as a final “prank.” Winn assumes his father’s reign of terror is over for good, and the parent he must worry about now is his mother, who is hanging around, attempting to restore their relationship with sarcasm and apologies. I can’t complain about any of the moments between Winn and Mary. Maybe Winn is slightly too far into the realm of self-righteousness, and the performance could have been a bit more nuanced — but, yeah. This episode works for Winn as a character, and the writers add enough to Mary that all the scenes they have together are done well.

I don’t have a segue from that to robot flying monkeys attacking, so... robot flying monkeys attack! I can’t connect the dots between “psychopathic toymaker” and “Wizard of Oz references” but I guess it made sense to someone. Either way, the flying monkeys prove that the Toyman’s reign of thematic terror isn’t over, and he had apparently signed on an apprentice to carry out his life’s work, post-life. The new focus is Team Supergirl figuring out who, exactly, has decided to follow in Toyman’s footsteps.

While working on a flying monkey with the hopes of tracing it back to its creator, Mary asks Winn about a trip to Disneyland she took him on when he was nine. At first it seems like she’s trying to get him to remember some good times he had, but then Winn says they got into a car accident and never went to Disneyland. And then Mary says they were never going to Disneyland at all — they were going to a domestic abuse shelter, and it had been Winn’s father who had driven them off the road, then threatened to kill Winn just to hurt Mary. This is an important piece of information because, until now, Winn always just assumed his dad went randomly crazy, but the Disneyland story reveals that Winslow Schott, Sr.’s history of violence was long-standing, and Mary was the only one who truly comprehended her ex’s extremes.

When the two get back to work on the robot flying monkey, Mary discovers a panel in the monkey with a logo for Willard Walter Wiggins Game Company, figures that’s where their copycat is, and goes to confront her alone. You know, like idiots do. She’s almost immediately captured and used as bait for Winn, who (idiocy must be a genetic thing) falls for it. At least Winn has the sense to bring superpowered back-up, though, so that’s good.

I don’t care who the copycat Toyman (Toywoman?) is, frankly. She wants to kill Winn in front of Mary to fulfill Toyman’s orders. There’s a giant toy T. Rex and Mon-El uses his cape to stop it. Kara almost suffocates in a life-sized action figure case because the show keeps forgetting she can hold her breath for a long time. If it seems like I’m rushing through the climax of this storyline it’s because I am; the actual villain of the week held zero importance other than as a catalyst for Winn’s story.

Winn saves the day with a razor-bladed yo-yo.


It’s so rare for me to be able to single out a good B-plot in these reviews! To be honest, the storyline with Alex, J’onn, and J’onn’s dad, M’yrnn, isn’t hugely impactful, but it’s poignant and worthy of a paragraph or two of praise. Also, I wanted to take a little time to say how much I really like M’yrnn as a character, and I hope the revelation in this episode doesn’t mean our time with him is limited. He has value as a peripheral character, not quite part of Team Supergirl but still within the inner circle, and his interactions with Earth culture are charming without being overdone.

So, this episode reveals that M’yrnn is suffering from dementia. At first, it just seems like he’s full of quirky forgetfulness, calling pizza “tomato pie” and whatnot, but Alex catches onto the signs almost immediately. After she tells M’yrnn that she knows what’s wrong, and that he owes it to J’onn to be honest about it, the tension comes from M’yrnn not wanting to say anything to his son because he doesn’t want to cause him more pain. After all, he just got him back, and J’onn seems significantly happier about not being alone anymore, so the idea of making J’onn watch his own father fade away seems cruel.

Oh, hey, I just realized that there’s a theme of parental white lies in this episode! Mary kept the truth from Winn. M’yrnn wants to keep the truth from J’onn. Nicely done, show. And for what it’s worth, M’yrnn does explain the situation to J’onn, in contrast to Mary’s twenty-year-long lie of omission to Winn. So, the J’onzz clan will be able to handle their crisis together, while the Schotts rather failed in that regard.

Other Things:
  • Karaoke song choice significance: Kara, an alien, sang/rapped “Intergalactic” by the Beastie Boys. James sang “Tears Away” by the actor who plays James (paradox!) and it included lyrics that are basically the Kara/James sunken ‘ship theme song. Alex sang “I Drove All Night,” which is a sad, post-breakup song of desperation (and she was, fittingly, drinking while singing it). J’onn’s choice was pure irony as he sang Whitney Houston’s “So Emotional” with as little emotion as possible. M'yrnn J'onzz, the guy who was driven to paranoia by imprisonment, sang “Suspicious Minds.”
  • Winn says that he and his mother got into a car accident at “two a.m. in the morning.” You guys didn’t have another take to use for that scene, or...?
  • Mon-El and Kara are awkward together but like, not annoying awkward? This episode was really weird for me, guys. Anyway, turns out the Worldkiller Pestilence is responsible for the future-destroying Blight.
  • Ending karaoke song choice significance: Mon-El gets called out for “white boy rock” with his choice of “Carry on Wayward Son” by Kansas. A bland karaoke choice for a bland, bland man. Winn and Mary sing “Take On Me,” which includes lines about leaving, and about finding each other.


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