When Supergirl first introduced us to Winn Schott in the first episode of the series, it was difficult to get a read on how, exactly, Winn was going to factor into the show. That didn’t change much over the first season, as Winn went from brief, quasi love interest to friend, confidante, and #hackerman from his post at CatCo. It seemed like the writers were struggling to get a handle on Winn and how he should be used, which was true of most of the characters in Supergirl’s first season.
But in Season 2, Winn moved to the fancy new DEO office (with windows!) to lend his talents to Supergirl’s efforts in a more official capacity, and so far, that move’s been doing great things for the show. It took care of the problem of Kara having two support teams (one in James and Winn and the other in the DEO), something that was bound to become obsolete soon after Kara went legit with the DEO. It also gives Winn the freedom to do a bit more than monitoring police radio channels and digging up intel on the Baddie of the Week.
Winn’s always had the potential to be a great character for levity. Jeremy Jordan has great comedic timing and delivery, but last season never saw Winn hit his stride, perhaps in large part because he was never given much to do outside of Kara and, later, Siobhan. In giving Winn a job that plays to his strengths with superiors who actually know his name, Supergirl’s given him more power as a character. He’s funnier, he has a purpose, he no longer feels the third wheel in any room that James and Kara managed to turn into a chemistry desert.
Winn’s scenes with Superman are endearing and amusing, and he brings some degree of self-awareness and fun to scenes with Hank/J’onn (who makes a great straight man for Winn), but perhaps one of the most surprising things that’s come from Winn’s move so far is the dynamic we saw between Winn and Alex in last night’s episode.
Alex has long needed a friend outside of Kara, and the newly purposeful and good-natured Winn 2.0 is a pretty good fit. They talk about dating and family and Alex’s frustration with Kara’s apparent willingness to leave Alex and National City behind to follow Clark to Metropolis. Then they do some covert locker room searching together with a Geiger counter and Cadmus’s inside man. The scenes they’ve shared thus far have been short, but they’ve felt like a natural fit for the show.
Winn’s move has introduced some much-needed lightness to the DEO, which has always felt somewhat humorless and diametrically opposed to the rest of Supergirl. It’s allowed Alex to inhabit a more natural role, no longer solely responsible for making the DEO seem less cave-like and like something that actually belonged in a show with SuperPuppy Kara Danvers. In using Winn to give the DEO a little more life, Supergirl’s tied together two aspects of the show that were once at odds, and it’s doing wonders for the show as a whole.
This season, Supergirl feels bigger, more cohesive, and more aware of what it wants to say. Every move the show makes feels more polished and intentioned, but it hasn’t lost the giddy, optimistic quality that made it magnetic in Season 1.
There’s still work to do, of course. It would be nice to see Supergirl moving further and further away from the procedural backbone that was all too visible in its time at CBS, and we need to see Winn get out of the DEO office at some point, lest he be allowed to revert back to the one-dimensional plot devices we saw in the first season. Beyond that, he still needs a storyline that consists of more than sitting behind a computer, building fancy anti-kryptonite suit components, and being the occasional audience lens for acknowledging that aliens and superpowers are pretty dope.
For now, though, things are looking pretty good in National City, and moving Winn was a big part of why the show’s dynamics feel more organic across the board. We’ve got plenty to look forward to next week with introductions to the President and Maggie Sawyer, but knowing that Supergirl seems to be dialing in its characters and the spaces they inhabit within National City is a good indication that the new characters joining the show won’t be squandered.
Supergirl airs on Monday nights on the CW at 8 p.m. ET.