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Welcome back to the Maid of Steel Podcast! We are here discussing Season 1 Episode 10 of Supergirl, entitled “Childish Things”, which originally aired on January 18, 2016. This episode featured the DC Supervillain Toyman, portrayed by Henry Czerny, known for films Clear and Present Danger, Mission Impossible, and most recently the television series Revenge. Winslow Schott, Sr breaks out of prison, using nothing but a deadly yo-yo, and seeks to reunite with his son and, hopefully, bring him over to the Dark Side.
The Spawn of Toyman
The A story in this week’s episode was undoubtedly the rising drama between Winslow Schott, Sr and his son, the Spawn of Toyman, Winslow Schott, Jr… whom we know best as our good, ‘ol buddy Winn. And good, ‘ol buddy he is! There are not many more ways a guy can be rejected over the course of a single episode than what Winn experienced this week.
But, as Star Wars taught us long ago, the apple can fall far from the tree when it exercises free will and discernment. Whether that means Luke risking death, rather than succumb to the dark side of the force, or Kylo Ren turning on his mentor and family, it seems like we usually want what we don’t have.
I know that the comic world likes to put their characters on the tip of a needle and show how easy it is for them to fall into one lifestyle or another, based on experiences and relationships, but I still think it is possible for a few characters, inheriting archetypes, to be immune to this. Oddly enough, in Supergirl there seems, to me, to be two such characters: James “Don’t Call Me Jimmy” Olsen and Winn Schott, Jr. Both men seem almost too frightened by the potential consequences of breaking bad in order to cross that line.
Several comments about the new episode in our Facebook group have suggested that the final conversation between Kara and Winn, in which Winn lays it all out in the open, is the “love me, or I’ll become a supervillain” conversation. At this stage of the show, I disagree. He didn’t express his feelings in such a way that would coerce Kara into reciprocating, he wasn’t guilting her into reciprocating, and his desperation for her to understand wasn’t an ultimatum on his goodness, just on the status of their relationship. His references to bottling up emotions and the worry about what might become of him if he doesn’t let it all out is a comparative analysis to his father, proportional in cause and effect. He witnessed his father suppress anger, from a series of unattributed achievements resulting in success for the person who stole those attributions; but Winn is experiencing suppressed love. I don’t think he honestly thinks he’ll turn into a killer-psychopath like his father, but he is afraid of what will happen when the dam breaks.
By acknowledging, and voicing, his fears, he’s already different from his father, which in itself doesn’t qualify this as a “love me, or I’ll become a supervillain” conversation. The approach to dealing with the bottled emotion is fundamentally different, which would lead to a completely different outcome.
Going back to what I said above, about James and Winn being two characters who seem immune to the Needlepoint Effect, the fragile state between civilized and mad, the information we’ve been given leading to a conceptualization of Winn does not lead me to believe he’s at risk of popping the next fella who looks at Kara with affection.
I suppose this theory will be tested next week, with the introduction of Adam Foster! But otherwise, am I making sense?
The caveat to television psychology, in whatever case, is that we never truly know what is inside a person’s mind or heart. Television drama has taught us not to trust anyone, that anyone could be a double agent or concealing a double life, and it quite nearly negates any sort of character analysis we might possibly be able to do. Characters are the shadow puppets of a writer’s imagination, fueled by the flow rate of a network’s wallet. Aside from that very cynical outlook, the job of a television writer isn’t to cater to the expectation of a viewer, I understand that, but at the end of the day, I want the resulting story to have enough roots that can help explain choices a character makes. Storyline development that panders to drama instead of to a consistent character paradigm drives me nuts, as you will know if you listen to Arrow Squad.
If Winn is going to eventually turn evil, I’m OK with that, but give me the character development that shows me that transformation.
Season 1 Episode 11 “Strange Visitor From Another Planet”.
Cougar’s Comic Corner
The Scarlet Cougar recommends JLA (1997-2006) Vol. 1 by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter! From the mouth of the Cougar herself:
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