In Sunday’s episode “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?” Manchester breaks out of prison with the help of his new team, the Elite, which includes Menagerie (Jessica Meraz), whom we met in the last episode, and Hat (Louis Ozawa Changchien), who can teleport to different dimensions. Like Manchester, the rest of the Elite aren’t afraid to use lethal force against the Children of Liberty, which, in case you’ve forgotten, goes against everything Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and her team stand for.
“The Elite is a fun counterpoint to both Supergirl and to the Children of Liberty,” Supergirl executive producer/co-showrunner Robert Rovner tells EW. “Manchster is kind of a larger than life character and the people he has teamed up with have very strong personalities as well. So, they come into our storytelling to quash the Children of Liberty in a much more violent way. Supergirl doesn’t believe in killing, which is something they have no problems with. Put them both in conflict with Supergirl and our team and it also kind of creates much more chaos and violence because they go out at it in a way that Supergirl would never want to go at it.”
Adds David Harewood, who plays J’onn J’onzz: “The Elite are very powerful. They’re very clever. They have a character with them called Hat, who can kind of transport them to a whole different dimension, so they’re very difficult to catch.”
In Harewood’s mind, the Elite are such formidable opponents because Supergirl, J’onn, Dreamer (Nicole Maines), and Brainy (Jesse Rath) are very limited in how they can deal with them since they are, for the most part, human.
“We’re used to fighting superheroes, people we can punch, and people we can physically get the better of. But because these guys are human, it’s very difficult to face off against them. We’re fighting a force that we’re not normally used to fighting,” says Harewood. “Our strength is almost negated by their sort of popularity and popular appeal, as well as their witty banter. They’re just a very difficult adversary to face off against.”
The conflict in this week’s episode is especially trying for J’onn, who has been trying to maintain a non-violent lifestyle all season long.
“Manchester keeps goading J’onn and keeps trying to push him into violence, and I think J’onn is just trying to maintain that peaceful way. It’s like somebody is trying to meditate and somebody is constantly smacking them across the face with a tennis racket. It’s like I’m trying to live this peaceful life, but the world around me is forcing me to look at the world in a different way,” says Harewood. “A passive J’onn is simply not something that I’ve been used to playing these last five years, and it’s been very interesting to see how he gets himself into and out of some of these situations that he finds himself in.”
Looking beyond Sunday’s episode, “there’s some great transformations [for J’onn] and the stunt and visual effects teams have really raised the bar this year,” says Harewood. “There’s there’s some really excellent coming up in this midseason arc. I think everybody’s going to be very excited about it.”
Supergirl airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on The CW.