REVIEW: Supergirl, S3E14 – Schott Through the Heart

Supergirl finally returned from its extended hiatus with “Schott Through the Heart,” an textbook filler episode which nevertheless provided the supporting cast with some much-needed family bonding time. While Winn (Jeremy Jordan) deals with the return of his mother (guest star Laurie Metcalf) in the wake of Toyman’s death, Alex (Chyler Leigh) discovers something about J’onn’s (David Harewood) father that is sure to break to his heart. But perhaps most important of all, the characters join in a delightful group Karaoke session (Kara-oke! Get it?) that is sure to put a smile on the face of any fan.

Groundhog Day, ex-boyfriend style.

Before we talk about the bonds between parent and child, though, let’s get the meager plot progression out of the way. Before Supergirl went on hiatus, Mon-El (Chris Wood) learned the real reason his wife crash landed on Earth and Lena (Katie McGrath) learned the real reason Sam (Odette Annable) kept losing time. Despite this, “Schott Through the Heart” spent a great deal of time on moving these pieces of information from point A to B at a snail’s pace. Mon-El has three or four versions of the same scene with Kara (Melissa Benoist) in order to finally inform her that the Legion of Superheroes is here to stop the final Worldkiller from turning into the future villain Blight. The best things to come out of this repetition are Kara standing up for herself by saying she can’t listen to her ex-boyfriend’s marriage troubles and Mon-El agreeing to teach her some ‘cape tricks’ he learned while being a hero. Otherwise this something that could have been resolved in a single line of dialogue, as well as something that should have been resolved weeks ago when Reign first appeared on the scene. Why would Imra and Brainiac, two intelligent heroes from the future, not inform their ally that they have the same goal she does or that the stakes are even higher than she thinks?

Meanwhile, James (Mehcad Brooks) spends all episode calling his kinda-sorta girlfriend Lena only for the audience to learn in the final scene that she’s been keeping Sam in a secret room to “fix” her. As creepy and cool as this moment was, it’s also common sense given where they left off and ultimately not needed in an hour that was clearly more interested in supporting character development. I couldn’t help but wonder why that time wasn’t instead spent on mining James and Kara’s friendships with Winn now that he needs a shoulder to lean on more than ever, or perhaps on Alex and Kara reminiscing about their family together since it was such a big theme this week.

Mother-son bonding over supervillain dad.

Speaking of family, “Schott Through the Heart” was really a showcase for Jeremy Jordan’s talent as an actor – and it came not a moment too soon. Winn hasn’t had a heavy or emotional story since he last had to deal with the Toymaker two seasons ago, so it’s only natural that his father’s death would once again put him in the spotlight. It was painful in the best way to watch him work through his grief, and a pleasure to see his friendship with James get a little bit more focus for the first time this season. Once Laurie Metcalf enters the story as his estranged mother and reveals an even darker truth about his father, the story starts to get a little bit bogged down. Their mother-son chemistry is excellent, and their complicated family history would be interesting enough to fill an episode. But it seems Supergirl feels obligated to include a villain of the week, and while she serves to prove that Mary was telling the truth her villainy still falls a bit flat.

That being said, all the heartfelt scenes that came out of Winn’s tragedy were gold. And the fact that Winn isn’t as good of a singer as Jordan himself was probably the biggest surprise of the night. It’s a shame that Metcalf probably won’t be available for more episodes, because I’d certainly like to know how his relationship with Mary blossoms after their reunion.

My family of choice.

But Carl Lumbly will still be around to play M’yrnn a little longer, which is a blessing because his story was the most compelling part of “Schott Through the Heart.” Not only is it touching to see how Alex is such a part of J’onn’s family that she has dinner with him and his dad, it’s also beautiful how much trust and respect has developed between these characters. It made me wish Kara could have been involved in this subplot, but what we got was still great. M’yrnn has slowly been showing more and more signs of memory loss that at first could just be attributed to absent-minded old age, such as when he buys a pizza because he forgets he was going to cook. But soon it’s clear to Alex that he’s forgetting much more meaningful things, like the fact that he has two granddaughters. He has the Martian version of dementia but refuses to tell J’onn even against Alex’s advice, and it’s heartbreaking to witness him pushing both Alex and his son away in the name of protecting what’s left of his family. The most poignant element for me, though, was the respect and love that Alex showed towards both men. She wanted to tell J’onn the truth yet respected M’yrnn’s wishes, and when the former confronted her she merely directed him to ask his father. And once the heavy truth is known, she offers her silent support in a bittersweet hug that reminds us that our family is the people who are there for us when everything seems lost.

While “Schott Through the Heart” was light on the season-long plot, it packed an emotional punch that will not be soon forgotten. And next week it seems like Reign’s antics are back in full force, so there’ll surely be more action Kara and her fellow superheroes.

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on the CW.