Winn's father - the mad killer known as The Toyman - breaks out of prison, determined to win back his son's love. Kara must work double duty to protect Winn from his father and from an FBI agent who seems determined to prove that Winn is somehow involved with his father's escape. At the same time Cat offers Lucy Lane a job as her lawyer and Alex tries to persuade a reluctant J'onn to use his powers to infiltrate Lord Technologies.
Superman: The Animated Series (The existence of a Winslow Schott Jr. and Sr.), The Sterling Gates run of Supergirl (Toyman having a son who uphold his father's legacy), Chase (the presence of Cameron Chase as a character), various Martian Manhunter comics and various Superman comics involving The Toyman.
It seems like Lucy Lane resigning her position as a JAG to take on a job working for CatCo is far easier than it should be. Doesn't she have to complete her current enlistment? And that's ignoring that Lucy - who has been portrayed as a total Daddy's Girl thus far - doesn't seem to consider how her father the General is going to react to losing his legal attache!
When Kara saves the crowd at the Toy Convention, there only seems to be one big explosion rather than 10 small ones and the explosions don't seem to do much damage to the hall apart from knocking down the ice wall Kara builds to protect the crowd.
Henry Czerny turns in a remarkable performance as The Toyman. Given how manic the character is usually portrayed in other media, Czerny's understated performance is surprisingly effective. He really seems like he could be nice, grandfatherly sort of man... right up he casually starts talking about how easy it is to kidnap a small child by offering them a toy and killing hundreds of people like it was the most normal thing in the world.
Jeremy Jordan has not been given much to do on the show as Winn, beyond being the comic relief. What few efforts have been made to give him a personality beyond hopelessly crushing on Kara have only served to make him look like a creepy stalker. With this episode however, some level of pathos kicks in and suddenly Winn becomes a much more sympathetic figure as he talks about how he sees the same cowardice and anger that drove his father to murder in himself and how he is trying very hard not to give into those same feelings. And his declaration of love for Kara near the episode's end comes off as truly sincere rather than the confused ramblings of a fanboy who doesn't understand boundaries.
The opening scene of Kara and J'onn flying together and Kara laughing is everything this show should be.
The cinematography and set design as Winn enters the abandoned arcade are top-notch.
Everything about the scene where Supergirl confronts Toyman. The acting and direction are brilliant but the best aspect of all is the writing. It shows The Toyman to be a clever and dangerous enemy who was able to contrive a surprisingly effective and logical trap for killing Supergirl sans Kryptonite with little time and resources to work with. It also shows Kara's own intelligence and compassion, as she uses her brains to escape the trap but also works to save an endangered child before acting to save herself.
The Toyman is one of Superman's oldest and most infamous enemies, first appearing in Action Comics #64. Originally Winslow Schott was one of many villainous madmen at DC Comics who used toys and games in his crimes, comparable to The Joker in the Batman comics and The Trickster in The Flash. As time went by, he became more unstable and more violent, even during the pre-Crisis age.
Following Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Toyman was revamped into a much darker character, being a kidnapper and possible pedophile. He went on to murder Cat Grant's son.
The Sterling Gates run on Supergirl introduced a new villain - The Dollmaker - who revealed himself to be Anton Schott, The Toyman's long-abandoned son. Abandoned by his mother after she left his infamous father, Anton became obsessed with Cat Grant and wanted her to be his new mommy, allowing him to replace the son his father had taken away from her.
In Superman: The Animated Series, the Toyman was a man named Winslow Schott Jr. His father, Winslow Schott Sr., had been a toy maker who was framed for a crime by Intergang leader Bruno Mannheim. Blaming Mannheim for his lost childhood, as Junior cycled through a series of abusive foster homes, The Toyman set about using toy-based weaponry to seek revenge on Manheim and Superman, after the later stopped his earliest attempts at assassination.
The DCTVU version of Toyman combines little elements of all of these versions, primarily the animated series version. Indeed, he references seeking revenge for causing his son to lose his childhood and plots to make Winn into a killer, just like him - one way or another.
Toyman is held in the Van Kell Maximum Security Facility. In the DC Comics universe, the Van Kell Maxium Security Facility is a prison for meta-humans outside of Metropolis.
The FBI Special Agent in charge of bringing Toyman back into custody is named Cameron Chase. In the DC Comics Universe, Cameron Chase was a former private investigator turned DEO Agent.
The DCTVU version of Cameron Chase has little in common with her comics counterpart thus far, apart from being judgmental and quick to assume the worst of people. The comics version was the daughter of a superhero and had an ill-explored power that allowed her to negate the powers of other metahumans. It is worth noting, however, that the comics version of Cameron Chase did have an odd relationship with the Martian Manhunter, having apparently been saved by him as a child. This may be built upon in future episodes.
In the pre-Crisis Superman comics, Chester Dunholtz was the childhood bully who stole a young Winslow Schott's favorite toy - a red and blue balsawood plane that he designed from scratch. This taught a young Schott the advantages of theft coupled with the pain of being bullied - two things that would fuel him to become the Toyman.
In the DCTVU, Chester Dunholtz was Winslow Schott Sr.'s corrupt boss, who stole Schott's toy designs to make a fortune. Schott attempted to kill Dunholtz with a bomb inside a teddy bear that he mailed to Dunholtz's office. Unfortunately, Dunholtz's assistant opened the package instead, dying along with five other people. It was this crime that sent Schott to prison when his son was eleven.
The doll which Toyman sends to Winn is modeled on the jester-style costume worn by the 1970s Toyman. This Toyman, oddly enough, was a man named Jack Nimball who did not last long in the comics and was killed by Winslow Schott during the pre-Crisis age of Superman. Today, the Jack Nimball Toyman is primarily remembered as the incarnation depicted in the Superfriends cartoon.
The doll with the big forced grin that Winn finds in the abandoned arcade somewhat resembles the costume worn by the Superman: The Animated Series version of Toyman.
Maxwell Lord lists Alex Danvers as MATA HARI on his phone. Mata Hari was a French courtesan and exotic dancer who was employed as a spy during the first World War. She was later convicted on charges of being a double agent working for the German government and executed. Since that time, her name has become synonymous with female spies who seduce targets for information.
A Superman toy rocket ride is seen outside the arcade where Toyman asks to meet Winn.
Supergirl inhales the poison gas to save the FBI agents from Toyman's trap at the arcade - a feat frequently accomplished in the comics.
J'onn phases through the wall to enter Room 52 when his shape-shifting does not allow him to use the bio-metric scanner locking the doors. Phasing through solid objects is another power Martians have in the comics.
Toyman makes use of a bladed yo-yo which he throws like a shuriken on a string to escape from prison.
Slingschott Brand Quicksand contains thermite, making it explosive if heated.
The Jane Doe in Room 52 was being fed an IV of sodium sulfite (Na2-S-O3) and sodium iodate (Na-I-O3. According to Alex, the end product of this mixture (combined with the salt water in a standard IV - Na-Cl and H2-O) is hydrochloric acid (H-Cl), which is lethal to humans.
Toyman makes a special plastic gun that won't set off the metal detectors for Winn to use to kill Chester Dunholtz at the National City Toy Convention.
Alex: You saw what Max Lord did to James! You know he's after my sister!
J'onn: I have been J'onn J'onzz on Earth! I have tried it! I was hunted for fifty years! People I've loved tried to kill me once they discovered who I really was!
Alex: I'm sorry. But times have changed. Looked at Supergirl. The world loves her!
J'onn: Your sister looks like a pretty blonde cheerleader. J'onn J'onzz looks like a monster. I'll never be tolerated here on Earth. The more time I spend as Hank Henshaw, the less I have to face what I've lost. (pauses) When I change my state - shapeshift into someone new? Call upon new powers? I get one step closer to becoming the Martian Manhunter forever. And he creates panic and hysteria. I know. I've seen it. It's not only that I'm better off as human. Everyone is.
Alex: Except Kara. She needs your help.
(Alex enters the room wearing a little black dress. Max Lord takes a long look at her.)
Alex: You're staring.
Max: Just wondering where you're hiding your gun under that dress.
Alex: Behave and you won't have to find out.
(J'onn is exploring the Lord Technologies building, disguised as Max Lord)
Paulina: Mr. Lord? Aren't you supposed to be out with Agent Danvers?
"Max": I ended the evening early. To be honest, it was a little disappointing.
Paulina: As long as we're being honest, she did strike me as a little humorless for you.
"Max": She's actually a lovely woman.
(Paulina's jaw drops in astonishment)
"Max": If anything, it was my narcissism and ill-kept facial hair that ruined any chance I had with her.
Paulina: I'm sure you weren't at fault, sir.
"Max": Getting so soundly rejected has caused me to question many of my life choices. I need to be alone, if you don't mind.
(Paulina leaves and "Max" walks off, smirking slightly as his eyes flash red)
(Supergirl is stuck in quicksand and hears a child inside a box that his heading towards a large industrial shredder on a conveyor belt)
Toyman: It's so easy to lure a child if you offer them a toy. Oh, you're drowning in quicksand, by the way. The more you struggle, the deeper you sink.
Child: I'm scared!
Toyman: I understand even you need oxygen. Soon you won't be able to breathe.
Child: It's dark in here and I can't get out!
(Supergirl's eyes begin to glow red as she looks down at the quicksand)
Toyman: Oh, I wouldn't do that. Slingschott Quicksand is laced with thermite. Add heat... this whole place will blow.
Child: Help me! Please! Help me!
Toyman: (walking to the door, playing with a yo-yo) Game over.
Child: Help me!
Supergirl: I'm going to save you!
Child: Help me! Please! Help me! I'm trapped in here!
(Desperately, Supergirl looks around. She spies a large truck and tries to blow it toward the shredder with her super-breath but it goes off course and she begins sinking. With one last breath, she freezes the sand around her and flies up, just barely catching the box before it goes into the shredder. Supergirl opens the box to find... a talking Supergirl doll.)
Winn: You know, my father and I were inseparable. Like, we looked the same. We talked the same. We were good at the same things. And now he says we're linked. Like, what if he's right?
Kara: He isn't.
Winn: His genes are like... ticking time-bombs. Just waiting to go off inside of me. Turn me into him.
Kara: That's not going to happen! You're a good person...
Winn: That's what people said about him. And then he cracked. And now every time I start to get angry, I think "Could this be it? Could this be the day I lose everything?"
Kara: The day your father killed those six people was like, for me, the day my planet exploded. The course of our lives changed in that single moment. You... are not going to turn into your father. Because the day your world was destroyed, you didn't give into rage and hate like your father. Like my aunt.We both lost our worlds and now we're trying to give back because of it. And you and your father aren't the only ones that are linked. We are too. And I'm not going to let anyone mess with that.
Winn: That's why you broke out of jail? So you could get revenge for him, what? Stealing your dumb toy designs?
Toyman: No. No, this isn't about him stealing a toy. This is about him stealing your childhood. Stealing my chance to watch you grow up. I went to prison because of him. Winn, I almost lost you because of him. But I have a plan on how we can make it right.
Winn: You're going to kill him.
Toyman: No, I'm not going to kill him. You're going to kill him. For me.
Winn: How did this happen to you?
Toyman: Do you know... that even with all the amazing toys I built, you're the best thing I ever made? You're just like me.
Winn: I am nothing like you!
Toyman: Don't underestimate yourself.
Winn: I shouldn't have kissed you. Kara... I'm really sorry.
Kara: It's fine. It doesn't matter.
Winn: Of course it matters. My dad kept his feelings bottled up for years, and then he exploded. Because he was a coward... like me. Look, I know I dropped this huge bomb on our friendship when I kissed you. And I should have told you how I felt a long time ago. But I was too scared to say anything. I was too scared to stand up for myself. Kara, let me tell you the truth now. I love you. I have been in love with you for a long time, since before you were Supergirl.
Kara: ... I don't want things to change.
Winn: Before this thing with my dad, I probably would have gone along with that. God, I just would have pretended that kiss never happened. But I don't know if I can sit and smile and eat pot stickers and pretend likr it is not killing me. Kara, I cannot keep bottling things up. I am too afraid of what could happen.
Kara: So... what does that mean for us?
Winn: ... I don't know.
Alex and Kara both refer to the events of 109, where Maxwell Lord beat up James and James discovered Lord was hiding something in Room 52 of his building in National City.
Lois Lane's biography is called 'A Time To Soar'.
Lucy Lane is not close to her sister.
Lucy Lane graduated from the United States Military Academy At West Point. She later earned a JD-MBA from Harvard.
Winslow Schott Sr. was convicted of six counts of murder.
90% of CatCo companies are run by women.
Max Lord has Alex Danvers' phone number listed as MATA-HARI on his phone.
Winn was 11 when his father was arrested for murder.
Max claims that the Kryptonian criminals who invaded his lab in 108 didn't steal anything.
J'onn has the ability to walk through solid objects - i.e. phasing.
J'onn discovers the Jane Done in Room 52 and takes pictures of her and the room.
The security guard tells J'onn that she's classified as Code Phoenix when J'onn asks (as Max) for her to be moved to a hospital. The guard then asks J'onn to tell him what Code Phoenix means. It is not explained if this means that the patient is not meant to be moved or if the guard was testing to see if Max really was Max by quoting a phony code.
J'onn can use his telepathy to erase memories, though he cannot do this with precision and can cause permanent brain damage in the process. Indeed, the process even causes physical scarring to the frontal and temporal lobes.
Apparently J'onn promised he would never use his telepathy in this manner ever again after some incident in his past.
Winslow Schott's toy company was SlingSchott toys. He marked his toys' circuitry with a Y-shaped etching, meant to resemble a slingshot.
Kryptonians breathe oxygen and can apparently drown.
Maxwell Lord set up secret back-up security cameras for all top-priority areas of his laboratory. This is how he has footage of a man who looks like him walking through the door to Room 52, despite J'onn deactivating the known security systems earlier.
Winn kisses Kara and immediately apologizes for it. The status of their friendship at the end of the episode is unclear, though Winn has said he's done being a coward who hides his feelings and bottles everything up like his father did. He confesses that he's loved Kara since before she became Supergirl.
Lucy takes the job as Cat Grant's lawyer as James considers quitting his art director job to become a photographer again.
It is revealed that Max Lord planted a camera on Alex's purse and now knows that Kara Danvers is Supergirl.
The Kryptonite Factor
It's hard to say who is more foolish - Kara and Winn talking about Kara's secret identity within ear-shot of a group of police officers and FBI agents who area already suspicious of Winn being a terrorist or Alex and "Hank" discussing J'onn's secret identity in the middle of the DEO HQ.
One wonders what kind of organization the DEO is that they don't check their agents and their belongings for bugs following a secret meeting with a technical genius they know to be extremely paranoid about the government.
The Bottom Line
Probably the best episode of the series to date and not just because Cat is only in two scenes. Winn is finally given some sorely needed definition and Toyman is easily the best villain yet, being presented as an intelligent and credible threat despite his silly gimmick. All the subplots play out well, despite the Lucy/James scenes feeling rushed and tacked-on. That being said, is it too much to hope for a Martian Manhunter spin-off after "Hank" inevitably has his cover blown and is forced out of his job as head of the DEO?