Supergirl: 5.11 Back from the Future - Part One
Winn is back! Yay! But he’s cool now? And a dad! What’s going on?
I’ve missed Winn; he was a weird character at first - basically OG Jimmy Olson but not and when the show first started I found him a bit much. But he grew on me massively and once he shifted to the DEO he became a favourite character. His friendship with Alex and ability to do the job, even his weird Man in Van role with Jaaaames, all evolved naturally and created a character I really liked. Brainy has become a solid replacement for him but he’s still a replacement.
The plot is a timey-wimey muddle where Winn has come back from the future to prevent himself being framed for a historical crime that would result in him being punished in the future, where he now has a wife and kid. Supergirl has gone full doppelganger mad since Crisis on Infinite Earths with the second story in a row to feature alternate versions of our heroes; last week it was multi-Brainiacs and this week its an evil Winn, escaped from the multiverse, causing havoc for our good Winn. I was kind of struck by the fact that, if it’s really that easy for him to pop back and say hi, why hasn’t he already? His life has changed a lot, would have been nice even just to send a few video updates back? Bit rude, Winn.
The episode has some good emotional beats but generally is a little all over the place. It’s nicely directed by David Harewood and he definitely gets good performances from his co-stars but the story is a little flat in places and feels like its doing some narrative catch up from Crisis.
Its great fun having Winn back and Jeremy Jordan is having fun, getting to play this week a crazy villain and a cool superhero. But by the end of the episode, I was a little underwhelmed. Another story where Supergirl herself is quite sidelined and fairly passive to the narrative. There is a well constructed emotional scene where Winn gives Dreamer a rooftop pep talk and the performances and emotions behind the scene are very strong but I still have so little interest in Dreamer and the break up with Brainy storyline was not only an inevitable plot beat, it was one the show has kind of half heartedly batted around since the characters got together. Despite valiant attempts by the actors I just don’t care about this plot or their relationship together.
It seems Lex was behind the Evil Winn being released as a ploy to get Good Winn to return so he could steal a device from Winn’s future ship so Lena could start on her brainwashing tech again. Simple. I feel like Lena has spent so much of this season brooding in her office and being unreasonable; its nice to see her have some kind of focus again but I’m worried in case the emotional integrity of her character suffers with Lex being on the scene. I’m just not interested in Lena being taken to the brink of evil, just to be redeemed. I also don’t like the idea of Lex being able to manipulate her so easily. It feels like a betrayal of the character as developed over the past few seasons. Maybe she’ll turn on him and we’ll see she’s been playing him all along… maybe?
The whole Brainy turning against his team and working with Lex malarkey is very weak. It’s a classic case of drama being generated by not telling the truth. Brainy thinks he’s serving the greater good by working secretly with Lex; this has lead to him breaking up with Nia and being an arse to everyone and while it’s nice to see him showing some conflict about it (and there is a great scene between him and Winn addressing it where you also feel a sense of closure in terms of the character swap out) its just another bland, generic plot development – one the show has kind of explored before.
Winn is back for a few episodes, which is cool and I’m looking forward to see what he gets up to but over all a disappointingly messy episode after last weeks strong, post-Crisis return.