REVIEW: Supergirl, S5E12 – Back From the Future, Part 2

supergirl 512 back from the future alex

Supergirl finishes up its “Back From The Future” two-parter after an extended absence, but the storyline that really didn’t need a back half. Winn’s (returning cast member Jeremy Jordan) vacation to the past was cut short when his doppelganger and villainous father returned in AI form, which meant all hands on deck to prevent some kind of robot takeover.

supergirl 512 back from the future winn

My face this episode.

Or I’m guessing anyway. Because even though the episode was bogged down in technical explanations of what Toyman and Toyman Jr. were doing, it went in one ear and out the other. The more interesting element of the storyline is that it was a mechanism by which Lex (Jon Cryer) meant to obtain immortality in his thus-far imaginary fight against Leviathan. He orders Brainy (Jesse Rath) to get Toyman’s code for that purpose, getting the beleaguered synthetic into some hot water with Alex (Chyler Leigh) and eventually leading to her resignation from the DEO. She’ll be leading the Tower instead with J’onn (David Harewood), while Brainy stays at the DEO to be the inside eyes and ears.

Brainy pulling double duty by working for Lex in order to stop Leviathan and spying on him to protect his friends is certain to blow up in his face by the end of the season, but it makes for compelling television in “Back From The Future.” Especially when the other options are watching Winn make up with an AI version of his evil dad and watching Kara not date William (Staz Nair)  because she’s still smarting from her friendship breakup with Lena (Katie McGrath).

Speaking of Lena, she proceeds to do Lex’s bidding by trying to rope Andrea (Julie Gonzalo) into a business partnership with Luthor Corp. Andrea rejects her offer at first, trying to work out the kinks in her virtual technology without interference from her frenemy, but Lex soon takes matters into his own hands. As soon as he reached out to an executive over Andrea’s head, it was clear she would actually be connected to Leviathan. While I am all for watching Lex fall flat on his face trying to run circles around an invisible organization, “Back From The Future” could have been more subtle in its execution.

supergirl 512 back from the future kelly

Fancy seeing you onscreen, Kelly.

At the same time, the Leviathan storyline has been dragging. As has Lena’s entire plan thus far, for that matter. Crisis on Infinite Earths appears to have reset all progress on both fronts, but it feels like an excuse to keep Lena from doing anything too wrong before her inevitable redemption. I want her and Kara to be reunited as much as the next viewer, but it’s unclear why we need to watch her abuse someone else’s friendship for that to eventually happen.

Back to the main plot of “Back From The Future,” though. Winn’s father appears to have had a change of heart in his digital afterlife, and at the very least thinks that Winn’s doppelganger is too far gone and must be stopped. However, Winn has been burned one too many times and doesn’t trust his father’s word until it’s nearly too late. In the end, though, the city is saved and Winn’s father saves him by sacrificing himself and deleting the other Toyman’s AI. This, along with Winslow Sr.’s tearful confession that he’s proud of the man his son has become, allows our Winn to return to the future with a peaceful heart.

But not before he tells Kara to go out with William and see where one date takes her before worrying about “starting a relationship with lies.” It’s solid advice, but Kara can’t take it because she already feels guilty for letting William think her grandmother is sick. So instead she lets him think she’s just not into him like that, which is fine with the majority of the Supergirl audience. They may circle back to the relationship in a few episodes, but judging by the way the show treats its romances – Kelly (Azie Tesfai) only had one scene this episode and Nia (Nicole Maines) was nowhere to be found – no one has time for that.

Supergirl airs Sundays at 9/8c on The CW, with the upcoming episode being the 100th celebration and the return of Mxyzptlk.