Monday, February 10, 2020

Supergirl Episode Guide: Season 5, Episode 11 - Back from the Future - Part One

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.



Plot

Winn Schott's doppelganger from another Earth is on the loose in National City. Unfortunately, he's from a world where Winn embraced his father's ideology and now this new Toyman has endangered the real Winn Schott's idyllic life in the 31st Century. The Super Friends must work to clear Winn's name in the eyes of the Time Police and bring this new Toyman to justice, not knowing that he's in the employ of Lex Luthor.... and Brainiac-5 is working with them both!


Influences

Back To The Future (title, plot of trying to avert crime in the past to preserve a family), The Terminator (Brainiac-5 quotes the movie as he breaks The Toyman out of prison), The Fugitive (the sequence with the bus is reminiscent of the escape scene involving a derailed train.)


Goofs

I can't believe that Alex would send SWAT officers carrying rifles into a toy convention if she were trying to avoid starting a panic.


Performances

There's something magical about the scene where Melissa Benoist and Jon Cryer play off of each other, needling one another as Supergirl and Lex play nice publicly.

Jeremy Jordan is a delightfully wicked villain as the new Toyman. But he also gets some great moments bonding with Nia and Brainiac-5 as Winn.


Artistry

The direction by David Harewood is quite good.

The sequence of the Super Friends fighting the robot tigers to Eye of the Tiger is rather nice all around. The music is well set. The blocking works well. The effects work is also good.


Super Trivia

The episode opens without a "Previously on Supergirl" stinger, instead opening on Brainiac-5 disabling the prison bus carrying the alternate universe Winn Schott.

This episode was directed by Martian Manhunter actor David Harewood.

Chester Dunholtz is the former business partner who stole the designs of Winslow Schott Sr. and inspired him to become the Toyman.  In the classic DC Comics universe, Chester Dunholtz was the name of the bully who picked on a young Toyman.

Winn reveals that he got married to a woman named Ayla. This might be Ayla Ranzz, the Legion of Super-Heroes member known as Lightning Lass, Light Lass and Spark. The twin-sister of Legion founder Garth Ranzz, she has the same power of electricity generation and manipulation, though at one point an accident left her with the ability to control gravity instead.

Winn makes reference to a group of Time Cops who monitor the 31st century for criminals who commit crime across time. This sounds somewhat like the Science Police - the official peace-keeping force protecting most United Planets worlds in the Legion of Super-Heroes comics.

Winn says that in the future the meeting places of superheroes are called Halls of Justice. This is a nod to the base of operations utilized by the Super-Friends in the 1970s animated series of the same name, which has since then been introduced into the modern DC Comics universe.

J'onn dubs the secret base he built into his office for the Super Friends "The Tower." This seems to be a nod to the Justice League Watchtower - a base which was built on the moon after the destruction of the Justice League satellite in the story JLA: New World Order.


Technobabble

The laws of physics in the new multiverse have changed the nature of Q-waves. This leaves Lena starting over at square one on her research.

The Legion jet is capable of changing size, appearing to be a toy jet when it intercepts the bullet meant for Chester Dunholtz before expanding into a full-size vehicle.

The Legion jet requires a DNA sample to enter it and access its computer. Brainac-5 informs Lex Luthor of this and how he can override it with a sample of Winn Schott's DNA placed on a panel in the right quadrant of the ship's control panel.

Winn altered his Legion flight ring so that it could generate dream energy, of the same sort created by Dreamer and her descendants.

The memory cube on the Legion ship is powered through a telepathic interface. Lex realizes it must run on Q-waves and steals it for Lena.


Dialogue Triumphs

Lex Luthor: You're welcome for the breakout, by the way.
Toyman: You know, I figured I would save my thanks until after I heard your proposition.
Lex Luthor: Hmm. That's a bold stance from a guy who got himself arrested, what, 16 hours after coming here from another Earth? So, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.
Toyman: (sarcastically) Aw, that's very kind of you. And since you know so much about me, why don't you tell me who the hell you are?
Lex Luthor: The name's Lex Luthor.
Toyman: (chuckling) That's a weird name.
Lex Luthor: No weirder than Toyman.

(Lex has taken Kara aside, after getting several tough questions from William Day)
Lex Luthor: This was supposed to be a puff piece. Why did I just get Frost/Nixoned by a Boy Scout? Since I have been on this Earth, I have done nothing but protect and serve. Judging me for the crimes of another Earth's Lex, well, that's not fair now, is it?
Kara: I'm gonna find out what you're doing at the DEO.
Lex Luthor: (laughing exaggeratedly) So much moxie! (quietly) Let me make myself clear. If young Woodward decides to proceed with his Lexpose, it will prove very, very dangerous for his health. Off the record.
(Lex grabs Kara's hand-held recorder and turns it on.)
Lex Luthor: Have a nice day. Kara Danvers is Supergirl.
Kara: Give me that!
(Kara snatches the recorder back and crushes it with her hand before sighing in annoyance.) 

J'onn: In the wake of Crisis, Kara, Kal-El, Barry, Kate, we established a headquarters from which to fight crime.
Winn: Oh, in the future they call it a Hall of Justice.
Kara: (smiling) I like that.
J'onn: I thought since Luthor Corp now owns the DEO, National City could use its own collective. A headquarters to keep this city safe. To work outside of corporate and government oversight, whose interests might not always side with justice.
Alex: So, like STAR Labs?
Kara: Or the Arrow bunker.
J'onn: (smiling) A place for my super friends to work, whenever they should need it.
Winn: What are you gonna call this?
J'onn: I was thinking The Tower.

Toyman: Hello, National City! (laughs) Well, by now you might've heard that my splashy show at ToyCon caused, well, a little bit of ruckus. (laughing manically)  And I have got a bigger bang in mind. Now, tell me; have you ever been so unfairly wronged that it just made you wanna burn it all down? Well, I have. And I'm angry. Someone hurt my family and they destroyed my father's good name! So, I have the target, I have the method. And what I need now is you. Give me the will. Like me, subscribe, share, follow me, and once I reach... (impersonates Dr. Evil) one million followers.... you will see a fireworks display like never before. So, let's play to win! Huh? (inhales deeply) Until next time. I am Hashtag Toyman.

Winn: You know, I can't tell you a whole lot about the future, but I can tell you that you, Nia, are a powerful woman. (holds up his hand) You see this? So, I'm the only human Legionnaire, so when I got my Legion ring, they had to soup it up with, like, some cool powers.
(Winn flexes his hand. It begins to glow blue with the same energy Dreamer generates.)
Nia: Is that dream energy?
Winn: Yeah. So, Nura and I, we fashioned the ring's abilities after her and your powers. Never let anyone make you question your own worth. Okay?  And that is patented Nura Nal advice. She would kill me if I didn't give her credit.

Brainiac-5: I have lied to everyone because I'd... I've had to work with Lex Luthor. I helped Lex bring you back for the sake of the future.
Winn: (coldly) That was you? You...
Brainiac-5: Winn-
Winn: No, no, you risked my life!
Brainiac-5: I -
Winn: Brainy, my family!
Brainiac-5:(frantic) I had to! I It was imperative that Lex get information from the memory cube on your ship! I did the calculations! I knew no one would die! That we would catch Toyman...the The one thing I didn't account for was Lex himself. He's, he's chaos incarnate. He's completely unpredictable, and I... I don't know if I can control him.
(Winn just looks at Brainaic-5, like he's on the verge of punching him.)
Brainiac-5: Winn, I... I'm so sorry. Another Brainiac told me that it was absolutely critical that I help Lex in complete secrecy. But I hate it. I hurt Nia. And all I want is to be close with her again! But... I have to be cold. And I'm... I'm terrified that I'm becoming the bad guy. You must hate me.
Winn: (softly) You're right. I should hate you. But... everything worked out, so... I guess I don't.  In fact (sighs) In a way, you kinda helped me. Growing up, I was constantly burdened by my father's crimes. You know, son of a madman. Pretty sure everybody judged me for it. Everything I've done in my life has been in defiance of that. Joining the Super Friends, running out to the future with Legionnaires to fight your cousin and stop him. (sighs deeply) But all that kinda pales in comparison to saving my own future. Plus, I got to see some old friends.
Brainiac-5: You still consider me a an old friend?
Winn: Yes, Brainy. I do.
(Brainiac-5 looks on the verge of tears.)


Dialogue Disasters

Alex (leading a group of black-clad SWAT officers carrying rifles onto the convention floor) We need this place evacuated and locked down. We do not wanna cause a panic. (Then maybe don't send SWAT people carrying guns into a convention center!)

Winn's throwing up after having his memories restored is a little too silly, even for this show.


Continuity

Brainiac-5 facilitates Toyman's escape from the prison bus transporting him.

Nia says that she is glad that she and Brainiac-5 have broken up, since he clearly has some emotional things he needs to work out on his own.

DEO employees now get stock options and four weeks paid vacation each year under Lex Luthor's management.

Lex points Toyman in the direction of an upcoming Toy Convention and points out that his father's old business partner (who stole his designs on his Earth) will be there.

Lena learns that Brainiac-5 is working with Lex. He assures her he is now operating from a position of pure logic and his friendship with Supergirl will not get in the way of their work.

Brainiac-5 promises Lena that he will make sure no one is harmed by their work.

Lex suggest that Lena approach Andrea Rojas and see if what she knows about Leviathan has changed in the new reality. In exchange, he promises a new source of Q-waves by the end of the day tomorrow.

Lex Luthor has his own action figure premiering at the National City Toy Convention. He is disappointed it isn't a limited edition collector's figure.

William asks Lex about his plans to develop Shelley Island as an energy source.  Shelley Island was a site used for naturalizing alien immigrants to America in the pre-Criiss timeline.

Winn got married in the 31st century to a woman named Ayla and has a daughter named Mary who is almost two years old.

Winn was accused of murdering Chester Dunholtz on a certain day and time in the 21st century by the Time Police. He went back in time to prevent the murder from happening, having deduced that a doppelganger of himself was responsible for committing the crime.

Alex pulls up footage of someone lurking around Chester Dunholtz and asks Brainiac-5 to identify them. The disguised figure is Brainiac-5 in disguise, aiding Toyman's plan at Lex's request.

Lena discovers that in the new post-Crisis timeline Andrea Rojas was never activated by Leviathan. She promises to contact Lena if they do ever get in touch with her, however.

J'onn has built a secret lair into his detective's office, which he has named The Tower. It is meant to act as a private gathering place for National City's superheroes and any other vigilantes that can be free of the DEO's influence.

Alex has the Legion ship relocated to a secret government black site three miles south of National City. Brainiac-5 tells Lex where to find it and how to access it. 

Winn has his memories of the pre-Crisis timeline restored by J'onn. He is also clued in about the events he was not present for, such as the battle with the Red Daughter.

According to Winn, anti-trolling legislation is passed on a global scale in 2126 and is credited with averting World War III.

J'onn has contact buttons set up in The Tower to automatically contact Supergirl, Dreamer, Brainiac-5, The Flash, Batwoman and himself.

The Tower also has a balcony that allows flying heroes to leave the tower by flying.

William Day tells Kara he thinks there is a connection between Lex Luthor and Toyman. Kara begs for him to be careful investigating Lex.

Andrea assigns William to cover her family receiving an award. She asks Kara to write about Winn Schott going crazy and becoming the new Toyman. Kara refuses, saying she knows that isn't the man she knew but Andrea doesn't care.

Toyman says, while talking to himself, that he will accomplish his father's goal of living forever.

Winn confirms that Dreamer's descendant Nura Nal is a member of the Legion and a good friend of his.

Dreamer tries to use her powers to get a premonition regarding Toyman. Instead she sees Brainiac-5, who transforms into a tiger and attacks her. This upsets her.

Nia's nickname for Brainiac-5 was Wildcat.

Winn learned the art of dream interpretation from Nura Nal and became the Watson to her Sherlock Holmes, in his words.

Winn is the only human member of the Legion of Super Heroes.

Winn says being a dad is the hardest thing he's ever done but also the most rewarding.

Winn says that he named his daughter after his mother, Mary.

Winn says he almost named his daughter Kara, but his wife talked him out of it is an incredibly common name in the 31st century thanks to all the people who name their daughter after Kara Zor-El.

Winn guesses that Toyman might be working out of his father's old factory.  Sure enough, they find Toyman's lab there along with notes indicating he's going to attack Andrea Rojas at the awards ceremony she's attending that day at National City University.

Kara guesses that the Rojas family had something to do with Winslow Schott Sr. falling from grace in the other Earth.

The mascot of National City University is the Tiger.

Lex downloads all the Legion's records on Leviathan. He recognizes Gamemnae from a painting of her and Rama Khan together, but doesn't realize why he knows her until he tracks her image to a picture of the board of directors for Obsidian North.

Toyman attacks Andrea's presentation with two robot tigers.

Winn is able to use his dream energy to create a force-field that temporarily restrains one of the robot tigers. 

Toyman sets of a bomb and seems to kill himself after facing off against Winn.  Winn is able to protect himself with his flight ring dream-energy force-field.

The wanted poster from the future with Winn's name on it has changed.  Apparently his name has been cleared in the wake of Toyman's death.

William missed Andrea's presentation because he was spying on Lex Luthor and followed him to Fort Harrison, where he caught him bribing the guards to get inside.

Kara invites William to join her and her friends for game night.

Brainac-5 skips game night, claiming that J'onn asked him to keep running diagnostics on the systems in the Tower. When Winn calls him on the lie, he confesses to Winn that he is working with Lex Luthor in secret and that he set up the chain of events with Toyman so that Winn would have to come back to the past, giving Lex access to future information about Leviathan.

Despite his manipulative behavior, Winn agrees to keep Brainiac-5's secret and forgives him for putting him through hell for the sake of the future.

Lex gives Lena the memory cube from the Legion ship.

Winn wears glasses and uses the name Marty as a disguise while at game night so as not to get William's attention.

Kara and her friends play a Jenga variant where whoever knocks the tower over has to do a shot.

The episode ends to reveal that Toyman's laptop has his face upon it after it mysteriously powers on.  The suggestion is that Toyman found a way to cheat death and became a computer program.


Location

Fort Harrison, three miles south of National City.


Untelevised Adventures


Winn has become a valued part of the Legion of Super-Heroes, gotten married and had a daughter.


The Fridge Factor


Kara and Alex wind up standing around like idiots during the Toyman's assassination attempt, so that Winn can get a dramatic entrance.


The Bottom Line

A solid episode that brings Winn back in style and makes the best use of the Toyman concept of any DC Comics show ever. Some parts of it are a little goofy, even by Supergirl standards. Still, Jeremy Jordan's performance makes up for a  lot.

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