Supergirl Recap S1E17 ‘Manhunter’

The Martian Manhunter

Spoilers for ‘Manhunter’

I commented that it was nice to see that Supergirl’s experience with Red Kryptonite would most likely have long lasting effects. This episode has shown that to be the case. Still reeling from her actions, Kara is struggling to regain the public’s trust, as demonstrated by victim’s of a bank robbery being as afraid of her as their attackers. Cat appears disheartened that it’s taking too long for the people to trust in Supergirl again. Not surprisingly though, she doesn’t acknowledge her own role in their distrust (when she went on TV warning the City to be weary of her).

Still imprisoned, we finally get to cross something off the Easter Egg bucket list for fans of the Martian Manhunter – Chocos. An off-brand version of Oreos, Chocos have long been the Manhunter’s favorite snack, and his love for them has been shown numerous times over the years in various forms of media. Alex brought him a small package of the cookies, more or less saying that at times like these only a favorite food will do. Shortly after, we find out that Colonel James Harper and Lucy Lane have taken over the DEO. While I’m not overly familiar with Harper, I know that in the comics he goes on to become the hero The Guardian (wiki).

While interrogating J’onn, the story of how he came to impersonate Hank Henshaw is revealed. Ten years ago Hank and a team from the DEO were hunting down the Martian Manhunter. This team includes Jeremiah Danvers (Alex and Kara’s father). I’m not sure how, but Jeremiah found himself separated from the rest of the squad, and about to come under attack from a snake when the Manhunter steps in and saves him. It’s not clear how much time passes, (it’s enough that Jeremiah starts a fire for warmth) but the two get to know each other, and you can tell that they are beginning to trust each other when bonding over a discussion about their daughters. Notably, Jeremiah doesn’t think of J’onn has a dangerous alien, but rather a refugee in need of help. Later in the episode Alex will refer to him the say way; a nice touch showing Jeremiah’s values rubbing off on his eldest daughter. Still in the flashback, the real Hank Henshaw attacks J’onn, but is stopped by Jeremiah. The two struggle and Jeremiah was able to come out on top after pushing Henshaw over a cliff, but not before being stabbed and bleeding out (so we are lead to believe). Jeremiah asks J’onn to watch over his daughters, and the next thing we know J’onn has assumed Henshaw’s life. Notably, during the interrogation, Harper is using some type of device to suppress J’onn’s powers, so he couldn’t escape if he wanted to.

In the present, Colonel Harper and Lucy don’t believe J’onn’s story and goes on to interview Ale. She tells them about the night that she met J’onn (whom she believed to be Hank at the time). Arrested for drunk driving (or, stopped right before drunk driving) Hank introduces himself to her while she is in a holding cell, and brings her to the DEO headquarters. He doesn’t say anything about his interest in her stemming from his fondness for her father (and she wouldn’t find that out for a couple more years). Harper was convinced that Alex didn’t know who J’onn really was, but Lucy wasn’t, so they decide to take her, along with J’onn, to Project Cadmus.

Kara went to James (Olsen, not Harper) to find out if he knew anything about Cadmus. It turns out Cadmus is a genetic engineering facility (like it is in the comics) and is the reason that Superman won’t work for the government. In an attempt to appeal to her more rational side, Kara and James tell Lucy that she is really Supergirl. Kara tries to explain why, as an alien, she would lie about who she really is. We get another flashback, this time to when Kara is still young and struggling with her powers. She was able to aid a mother and baby who were in a car crash. While proud of her, Jeremiah tells Kara that the world already has Superman, and doesn’t need another hero; that she just needs to focus on being “Kara.” This really reminded me of “Man of Steel,” and the way that Jonathan Kent wanted Clark to hide his powers. Moving forward (but still in the flashback) we see the adult Kara at her first dat at Catco, suppressing her more heroic tendencies.

With Lucy’s aid, Kara rescues J’onn and Alex from Colonel Harper. During the rescue the power suppression device was damaged, giving J’onn his abilities back, which he uses to wipe Harper’s mind of everything that happened recently. Interestingly, while in Harper’s mind, he sees a vision of Jeremiah Danvers in Project Cadmus… Alive. As fugitives, Alex and J’onn head to Cadmus to try and rescue him.

At the DEO, J’onn had implanted the idea into Harper that he would resign, leaving Lucy as the new Director of the DEO (I’ve lost track of the number of times this year that someone was the new acting director.)

Siobhan spent the episode trying to get back at Kara for turning her in to Cat. Her master plan was simply to send an e-mail to Cat, from Kara’s account, bad mouthing her in an attempt to anger Cat and getting Kara fired. She was caught after Winn analyzed the typing patterns from the computer hard drive, finding they were a match for Siobhan, not Kara. No, I’m not making this up. That’s what happened. Often, comic book shows take their technology into absurd places for what appears to be no reason. Personally, I would have just looked at security cameras that are no doubt in place verify who used the computer to send the email. Perhaps if the computer had a password none of that would have happened.

At the end, Siobhan was upset over losing her job and failing to implicate Kara. While talking to Winn, she falls off a building (clearly an accident, this wasn’t a suicide attempt) and saves herself when her screams create what looks like a sonic wave cushion. This would be the second time Winn has discovered that his love interest has powers by them falling off a building.

Random Thoughts:

  • J’onn’s voice sounded different to me in the flashbacks, than when we have heard it in the present. It was harsher, with more of a rasp to it. I wonder if that’s something he does on purpose with his shape shifting, or if it’s just changed over time more naturally.
  • In the flashbacks, when the real Henshaw fell over the cliff, we never actually see his body. I have to wonder if he somehow survived.
  • I really enjoyed the flashback to young Kara, and while I wouldn’t want to see it every episode, I would like to see more of her time growing up.
Brent Clark

Brent Clark

I'm a lifelong comic fan with who loves comic book television. I also host a podcast called Comics on TV. Follow me @real_brentac