Supergirl Season 3, Episode 14: “Schott Through the Heart”
Sweet Rao, what month is it? What year is it? How long has it been since our favorite television show has been on hiatus? We can barely remember. Actually, that’s a lie: we were crossing off the days on the calendar until Supergirl’s return from its second mid-season hiatus. Official sources state that shooting issues and production problems caused the significant delay, but fortunately things are back on track now as Supergirl takes her time slot back from Captain Sara Lance of Legends of Tomorrow.
So, what did they have in store for us after such a long break? A pretty solid episode, if we (Kori and Elizabeth) do say so ourselves. In case your memory is a little fuzzy, you can review what happened last on Supergirl here. Take a quick detour if you need to, otherwise, let’s get right to the new episode with Kori on recaps and Elizabeth on analysis!
So I feel like we should throw in a trigger warning for people who haven’t yet watched the show and are sensitive to issues of abuse and domestic violence. “Schott Through the Heart” isn’t Game of Thrones levels of dark, but I have to admit some of it did bother me due to past experiences, so just know that going in if you haven’t already seen the episode.
Let’s cut to the meat of the matter, Daddy Asshole Schott, a.k.a, Toymaker has died. We last saw him in season one being truly monstrous to his son in the episode “Childish Things.” In this episode we learn he’s still a giant asshole because his coffin is rigged at his own damned funeral, ostensibly to take out his son and anyone else bothering to attend. Kara’s super hearing picks up that something isn’t right, and she’s able to get everyone out of harm’s way, but that isn’t the only revelation here. Winn’s mother (played by the terrific Laurie Metcalfe) has returned and wants to resume a relationship with her son now that she thinks it’s safe with the older Schott dead.
Winn isn’t particularly receptive, because to him, she left and never looked back. (I’m not going to do my usual jump around in episodic linear recap here, because of the weight of the topic.) Mary has returned, we find out because Winn’s father threatened to kill him if she ever, ever contacted him. Based on all of his actions, it’s not hard to see why she believed him and stayed away, but even if she did so to protect her son. Metcalfe nails her scene when she tells Winn that she’d tried to flee to a domestic violence shelter with him, only for Winslow to try and kill them by running them off the road. Basically, the Toymaker gave her every reason to believe he’d follow through on his threats to both Mary and Winn, and he left behind a legacy of pain and loss for two people who maybe can now, hopefully, start the long process of reconciliation.
Supergirl did a tremendous job here, detailing the complexities of abuse survivors, the heartbreaking choices some parents have to make to get themselves and their children to safety, and the all too real world dangers of an abuse victim trying to leave an abusive relationship. Jeremy Jordan and Metcalfe knocked all of this out of the park, and it’s a testament to the shows acting roster that they can carry this subject matter without it becoming trite.
Oh yeah, and Mary’s no slouch intellectually either. She helps Winn battle his father’s apprentice, Jacqueline (Brook Smith), and her army of exploding flying monkeys. A+ Buffalo Bill reference, writers. My only major quibble with Jacqueline as a villain is how she supposedly keeps Kara trapped in the giant toy wrapper. How? You can’t just keep Supergirl trapped like that and not tell me how it’s done. Why isn’t she punching her way out of that? Is there a red sun lamp nearby? What did she do that necessitated Mon-El having to help Kara out? (Bonus points for trying to prove the Incredibles wrong on why capes are useful, though.)
Speaking of Mon-El, we finally find out what the Legion of Super-heroes is doing in Kara’s time. Imra and Querl planned to hit that disruption and be sent back in time. That Blight they say they’re fighting? Turns out it’s actually the third Worldkiller we have yet to meet, Pestilence. In the Legion’s time, Pestilence has evolved to Blight, consuming entire worlds, including one that Mon-El’s fellow Legionnaires comes from. So, those are some stakes. Querl and Imra want to stop Pestilence from ever becoming Blight, and according to previous episodes, they apparently carry the key to stopping Pestilence with a key that’s embedded in their DNA.
Also, how is that going to work exactly? Are they all going to hold hands and stand in a circle and think of something pure and turn into a giant talking teddy bear that, oh, wait, wrong show.
Anyways, Mon-El relates this to Kara while trying to talk about his marriage. It was delightful to see Kara still working on moving on from him, and laying down her own boundaries about not being comfortable talking to him about his marriage. Progress! Though can we all agree Mon-El should never sing “Carry on My Wayward Son” again? If we can also decide if Mon-El and Kara are dunzo or going to work their way back together, that’d be great. Otherwise, this faux-progress is going to be very annoying, very quickly. Stop it with the freaking love triangles, already.
Then we come to Alex, J’onn, and M’yrnn, which was a tremendous subplot. While I’ve been thrilled that J’onn has his father back, I also realize that M’yrnn has lived for centuries at this point. That he’s developing what is essentially Martian dementia is both understandable, but so very sad now that he survived centuries of torture and imprisonment by the White Martians and has finally reunited with his son. It’s been a while since Carl Lumbly has had anything significant to do, so I’m looking forward to the show writers, Lumbly, and Harewood breaking my heart.
Finally, Lena. I feel like Lena is probably the most extra friend you will ever have. Car window not working? Here’s a new car! Feeling blue about your purpose in life? Here’s a giant statue in your honor! Having weird blackouts? I built an entire secret, ultra-modern hospital bunker for you so we can safely get to the bottom of what’s going on! Yeah, yeah, I know the show wants to keep toying that Lena is A LUTHOR, but all I’ve seen so far is that she’s going to be your slightly morally bendable ride or die friend. How she somehow figured out Sam must be Reign and doesn’t yet know Kara is Supergirl, however, is the height of shenanigans. Be better, show.
I’ll admit that the preview material for this episode had me worried I wasn’t going to like it, because the previews focused so heavily on the…thematic elements of the episode, for lack of a better word.
Basically, I was worried that we were going to get another cotton candy filler episode coming back from the break, and while this episode only moved the A plot forward a little bit, it also was far from simple filler. I definitely wasn’t expecting this range from a single episode, and I was surprised at how tightly the show managed to juggle each of these storylines without making them feel disconnected from one another.
I do want to throw out a quick criticism before I start getting into the gritty details of the emotional drama of this episode: except for the last scene and Kara’s conversations with Mon-El, most of the events of this episode could have happened much earlier in the episode order, and they arguably should have. While it comes together very nicely, this episode feels like a lot of ideas that weren’t big enough on their own got thrown together, rather than a singularly written story. Supergirl has had a consistent problem with pacing since its beginning, and this still seems to be a bad habit the show’s writers can’t shake. It’s not a deal breaker for me personally, but I can see why some people find it tiresome to deal with.
Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the things I liked. As I mentioned a few podcasts ago, I actually like Mon-El now. He’s not my favorite or anything, but I generally have positive feelings towards him. I liked that Kara felt confident enough to be direct with him and tell him she wasn’t comfortable with discussing his marriage issues. I also liked that Mon-El had actually thought of that this time, and instead wanted to discuss what Imra and Brainiac had hidden from him, not that it had been hidden from him. How very grown up of them.
I do mean that with all sincerity; this makes the angsty star-crossed thing easier to buy, even if it’s not really my thing. There’s a nice level of maturity to the conversations on this show, and I don’t feel like I’m watching something intended for someone about ten years younger than I am. It’s something that you don’t really believe until it happens to you, but the type of angst and drama you experience in relationships changes pretty drastically from 20 to 30. A lot of shows aimed at my demographic has late-twenty-somethings acting like they’re college freshmen, so I like that Supergirl’s characters actually feel like they have age-appropriate problems.
Speaking of; what a tragedy that M’yrnn is inflicted with Decay of the Mind, or as we earthlings call it, dementia. It’s not a topic I expected this show to cover, but I really like how they used it as a way to further cement Alex’s role in J’onn’s life. While this was only one of many support networks on display during this episode, it’s one I’m glad the show went out of its way to include. Chyler Leigh does a lot of very heavy lifting with her face acting in this episode, and it’s heartbreaking to behold.
Of course, the meat of the episode is Winn’s fractured relationship with his mother, and once again Supergirl shows itself to be a masterclass in how to discuss very serious topics in an adult show without taking a grimdark approach. It’s not often that Winn gets to be the center of an episode, but when he does, it’s some of the most memorable moments of the show. Watching Winn grapple with the reality of the events of his childhood, now that he knows the full story behind several events he only vaguely remembers as a child, is heartwrenching and difficult.
I’m very glad that it didn’t turn out that his mother was in on the plot; I feel like keeping her story about trying to escape to a domestic violence shelter sincere was true to the spirit of the show. To do otherwise would have cheapened the emotional impact of Winn’s mending relationship with his mother. That’s the great thing about Supergirl: you can be reasonably sure things are gonna work out okay at the end of the episode.
Now, obviously, I’ve saved the best for last: our favorite and most extra supergenius, Ms. Lena Luthor, has been a very busy girl over this hiatus. She’s been ghosting James, which I’m not thrilled about because he deserves better than that, but for good reason. There was a lot to take in during the last few moments of the episode, but Lena has really pulled out all the stops to help Sam. She’s got her own private hospital facility, and since Lena built it, we know it’s literally the best on planet earth.
I’ll admit to being slightly worried at how hard Lena is throwing herself into this project, and how she seems a bit… off. I get that she has a good reason to lie to James about what exactly she’s doing, assuming she has an idea of what Sam really is. However, we’re still not entirely sure that she does know what’s up with Sam, let alone what to do about it. I wasn’t expecting this episode to give me all the answers, but it’s definitely piqued my curiosity. We still have at least six entire episodes to go before the end of the season, so we’ve still got plenty of time to let this develop its angsty potential.
And that’s about it for this week, guys. While it was a solid, enjoyable episode, it was still filler. I didn’t have a whole lot I wanted to dig deeper into this week, despite liking Winn’s arc this episode. I suppose you could say this episode left me with more questions than answers, but I suppose I should be a little more patient. There’s still plenty of time to bring everything together with a nice, pretty bow on top, and I am very excited to see where they go next with the Worldkiller plot.
That’s it for now! We’ll see you next Tuesday for the next exciting recap of Supergirl!