Ahead of the big Supergirl–Flash crossover, Supergirl slows things down and delivers a pretty even flashback episode that fills in a couple blanks and adds one more thing to the show’s to-do list as it starts wrapping up its first season.
Last week’s incredibly fun episode left a few things dangling: How will National City treat Supergirl after treating step to the bad side? What will happen to J’onn J’onzz after he revealed himself? And what’s next for Siobhan Smythe. Thankfully, “Manhunter” doesn’t spread itself too thin trying to address all of these questions in 42 minutes. It opts to focus on J’onn J’onzz and to let the others weave their way into the episode when there’s time.
In the wake of her Red Kryptonite-fueled rampage, National City has become afraid of Kara. “Manhunter” opens with Kara eating her feelings on the couch while she watches a news report about how people were scared of her when she tried to save them recently. Kara needed some me-time, so she took the day off, slightly inconveniencing Cat Grant, who orders Winn and James to man the phones in her absence.
However, Kara’s personal day is interrupted when Lucy Lane and Col. Jim Harper show up as part of a military task force to investigate the DEO. Jim is particularly upset by J’onn’s charade because the Hank Henshaw was his best friend and he hates the thought of J’onn having been in his home and around his daughter (he’s a bigot). So, Lucy and Jim decide to start by questioning J’onn. They take him to an interrogation room, and Jim is more than happy to show off the little toy that was built to jam J’onn’s powers. Unfortunately, Jim has also blocked Kara from being able to listen in with her super-hearing.
Lucy and Jim’s first question for J’onn is what happened to Hank Henshaw. So, we flash back to 10 years ago and we meet the real Hank Henshaw. David Harewood does a good job of distinguishing the real Hank from J’onn as Hank. The real Hank is more bloodthirsty, kind of ruthless, and very eager to take his DEO team down to the Peruvian Andes to capture Martian Manhunter, despite Jeremiah’s pleading with him to reconsider because they could learn a lot from an alien who has been alive for 300 years.
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The DEO team heads down to South America. Eventually, Jeremiah gets separated from the team and is almost killed by a snake, but Martian Manhunter saves him. During their time together, Jeremiah and J’onn start to trust each other and bond over their love of their families, though J’onn reveals he lost his on Mars. Unfortunately, Hank finds them and attacks J’onn. Jeremiah tries to stop him, but in the struggle, Hank stabs Jeremiah right before Jeremiah pushes him over a cliff. With his dying breath, he asks J’onn to look over his girls.
Back in the present, Lucy and Jim don’t believe a word of J’onn’s story and decide to take him away to a secret location. When Alex objects, Jim and Lucy decide to interrogate her next. During her interrogation, we flash back to three years ago and learn that Alex was a party girl, wasting her science-inclined brain before Hank recruited her. You remember that “what if” episode of Grey’s Anatomy where Lexi is bad girl and drug addict? It’s kind of like that. Anyway, she meets Hank/J’onn when he bails her out of jail after she was arrested for trying to drive drunk. In his recruitment pitch, he tells her that she’s just as special as her superpowered sister and that’s enough to convince her to join the DEO.
“[He] gave me a home, a purpose,” she defiantly tells Lucy and Jim as she lies and says she didn’t know he was an alien. However, they don’t care and decide to take her where they took J’onn: Project Cadmus.
NEXT: Siobhan gets her revenge