8:15am PT by Sydney Bucksbaum
DC TV Watch: 'Supergirl' Tackles Important (and Relatable) Emotional Issue
Welcome back to The Hollywood Reporter's weekly DC TV Watch, a rundown of all things DC Comics on the small screen. Every Saturday, we round up the major twists, epic fights, new mysteries and anything else that goes down on The CW's Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Black Lightning, and Fox's Gotham. Note: Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning and Gotham did not air new episodes this week.
Surprisingly heartfelt | Despite Supergirl nearing the end of the season, which means the action is just starting to ramp up, the series took the time to explore not a comic book issue but rather something that almost all viewers can relate to in the real world. This week's episode took a deep look at what it means when a child has to become the caretaker of his/her parent, and it was a shockingly realistic and touching exploration of how that can affect a person. The spotlight of the storyline was focused on J'onn (David Harewood) and his father, M'yrnn (Carl Lumbly), when M'yrnn started to suffer from a Martian version of dementia, but Supergirl made sure to touch on other characters' experiences with it as well. The standout moment came when Alex (Chyler Leigh) confided in J'onn about how her grandmother had to have her keys taken away after a nasty car accident, and both Leigh and Harewood nail the important emotional resonance here. While not necessarily something usually explored in the comic book genre, the fact that Supergirl took the time to represent such a heartbreaking and realistic experience most will go through at some point in their lives is impressive. And the show didn't pull any punches when it came to J'onn despairing over being forced to confront M'yrnn, possibly hurting his dignity and taking away his independence, but the "son becomes the father and the father becomes the son." In the end, J'onn truly did become the caretaker for his father, and while their dynamic is forever shifted, it didn't damage the love shared between father and son. Of course, Supergirl gave the real-world emotional issue some comic book weight by making M'yrnn's dementia take form in powerful psychic bleeds causing everyone to get aggressive and fight, but the relatable beats were all the same. This is where Supergirl constantly shines above the other Arrow-verse series: in the way it can take real-world issues and fit them into the superhero world without losing any of the emotional weight.
Speak to your HR representative | During one of M'yrnn's psychic bleeds, easygoing, wisecracking Winn (Jeremy Jordan) was attacked by his HR representative, but viewers never learn why she was so primed to take out her anger on him. What kind of grudge does Pam from HR possibly have against Winn?! We may never know, but now interest is certainly piqued.
Inner demon | One of the cliffhangers left over from the spring hiatus was Lena (Katie McGrath) agreeing to help figure out what was going wrong with Sam (Odette Annable). Much to the surprise of viewers, she actually figured it out pretty quickly and diagnosed that Sam was becoming Reign during her blackouts. At first, Sam refused to believe that, but Lena smartly provoked Sam's anger so she would turn into Reign on camera. Faced with actual video footage, Sam finally accepted her fate. But Lena's assurance that she can find a cure is definitely premature, and the fact that she hasn't reached out for any kind of help is surprising. Lena may be a Luthor and an intelligent scientist in her own right, but one person is not enough to take on a problem that already was too much for Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), and Lena's hubris may be her downfall in the coming episodes. When Reign does take over Sam's body, what makes Lena think that containment cell will hold her?
Harsh light of day | Thanks to M'yrnn's psychic bleeds, Kara finally got to unleash her real thoughts and feelings about Mon-El's (Chris Wood) return and reform into the hero she always wanted him to be. And frankly, it was exactly what needed to be said by both Kara and the Supergirl writers. Mon-El was not the rosy perfect boyfriend his memory was making him out to be, and having Kara realize that his tragic exit had her romanticizing their history was the perfect way for her to finally (hopefully) move on. If Supergirl can avoid the inevitable romantic reunion and allow Kara to find happiness without Mon-El, that would be a creative win for the show.
The Thinker's downfall | As THR has predicted multiple times throughout this season of The Flash, The Thinker's (Neil Sandilands) downfall is going to be his abusive and hurtful treatment of his loving and loyal wife, Marlize (Kim Engelbrecht). Not only has he been drugging her to make her compliant and quell any misgivings she's had about their relationship, but now she's realized that her spouse has no interest in their love anymore. He claims to have pushed aside all "primitive cognitive entanglements" like emotion, and has no time nor desire for anything as trivial as feelings. The heartbreak was clear on Marlize's face that she's realized she's lost the man she loved, and Clifford is no more; there is now only The Thinker. This is going to be the key to Team Flash's inevitable takedown of DeVoe, as he stopped drugging Marlize when he saw how much happier she was when he was back in his own body. With a clear head and broken heart, she's now finally able to break free of The Thinker. The only question is: How long will it take her to do it, and will she be able to stay out from under The Thinker's spell long enough to help Team Flash?
Miracle save | After Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo) successfully took over Star City, one of the first items on his to-do list was revoke Oliver's (Stephen Amell) bail and move up his trial ... to next week's episode. On the one hand, this continued dance with Oliver's trial has gotten a bit too repetitive, but on the other hand, cutting short the wait on Oliver's fate is truly a blessing. Finally paying off this seasons-long story about his public guilt or innocence is what Arrow needs right now. And based on Amell's social media activity and the promo for next week's episode, Tommy Merlyn (Colin Donnell) is somehow returning to Star City to save Oliver from spending his life in prison. The hail Mary in Oliver's trial seems to be Tommy breaking into the courtroom wearing the Green Arrow hoodie and unmasking himself, proving Oliver's innocence. But what version of Tommy is this? Logically, it can't be Earth-1/original Tommy, since he very clearly died onscreen in Arrow's season one finale ... unless someone took Tommy's body to a Lazarus Pit some time ago and kept his resurrection a secret all these years. That was actually the popular fan theory back when Prometheus' identity was still a secret, but that reveal ended up being Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra). This Tommy could be another Earth's doppelganger like viewers got to see in the Earth-X crossover, but the biggest emotional payoff would be to bring the original Tommy back from the dead for the most impactful reunion yet. And making the resurrected Tommy a hero working to save Oliver from prison would be even more of a beautiful return than making him a big bad.
Gotham airs Thursdays on Fox. Supergirl airs Mondays; The Flash airs Tuesdays; Arrow on Thursdays; Legends of Tomorrow will return for season four and Black Lightning will return for season two, all on The CW.