Supergirl recap: 'Luthors'
The dysfunctional-as-hell Luthor family takes center stage in tonight’s episode, which sees the welcome return of Brenda Strong’s Lillian Luthor. Strong is clearly having so much fun playing the sinister matriarch, and we’re having a lot of fun watching her. Naturally, Lillian isn’t up to any good, and her latest round of evil shenanigans ends up testing Lena’s burgeoning friendship in Kara.
Like most episodes of Supergirl, tonight’s installment began at the Snakehole Lounge (a.k.a. the alien speakeasy). Kara and Mon-El are still super awkward around each other, because that’s how they roll now. Alex shows up at Spider’s with Maggie and comes out to the rest of Team Supergirl, which I didn’t realize hadn’t happened already. James and Winn do their best to play it cool, J’onn says he already knew since he’s a psychic, and Mon-El is surprised to learn that lesbians aren’t widely accepted on Earth. On Daxam, “it’s the more, the merrier,” he says.
While at the bar, Kara watches a news report about Lillian Luthor’s ongoing trial and decides to check in on Lena to see how she’s doing since she just testified against her mother in court. When Kara shows up at Lena’s office, she finds Lena struggling to decide whether or not she should feel guilty about not visiting her mother, who requested a visit shortly after her testimony. Speaking from experience, Kara tells Lena that she should go see her mother and get everything off her chest just in case she loses that chance.
So, Lena follows Kara’s advice and heads to the prison to see her mother. The ever-manipulative Lillian decides this is the right time to drop a bombshell on Lena, revealing that Lena is the result of one of Lionel Luthor’s affairs. According to Lillian, Lionel adopted her after her birth mother died but forbade Lillian from developing a relationship with her, which explains why Lillian ended up growing so close to Lex. In the moment, you can tell Lillian is manipulating Lena to get her involved in some evil nonsense, but alas, Lena, who has always wondered why her relationship with her mother was so fraught, is drawn in. While mother and daughter hold hands in the interrogation room, someone delivers a Kryptonite heart to John Corben’s, a.k.a. Metallo’s, cell.
The next day, Corben takes the stand in court and spews all of Lillian’s anti-alien garbage like the good parrot he is, while Lillian sits at the defense table with a smug grin across her face because she’s eagerly waiting for Corben to use his Kryptonite heart to start somethin’ — which he does. Supergirl tries to stop Lillian and Corben from escaping, but they pull the “save those civilians we just put in harm’s way or stop us” card, which allows them to escape.
Obviously, the question on everyone’s mind is: How the hell did Corben get his hands on Kryptonite? The police unearth a video that shows Lena retrieving Kryptonite from some hiding spot, which makes her look guilty. She pleads with Kara and the police to believe that she had nothing to do with it, but Maggie doesn’t listen and arrests her.
Because of the aforementioned video, everyone believes Lena actually helped her mother escape. And it doesn’t help matters that Metallo breaks Lena out of jail, too. (Guardian tries to stop him but fails). However, despite the growing evidence, Kara refuses to give up on Lena and continues to believe that she’s not in cahoots with her mother. James, on the other hand, thinks the evidence speaks for itself and keeps reminding Kara that Lena is a Luthor. Kara and James’ disagreement about Lena ends up adding fuel to the ongoing Guardian-related tension between them. Kara’s faith in Lena hurts James’ feelings because she doesn’t have the same faith in his ability as Guardian. Kara maintains that that’s because she’s worried about James’ safety, but that argument is actually getting old.
NEXT: A surprise visitor from the 5th dimension
Meanwhile, the Luthors continue to have some much-needed family time as they travel to one of Lex’s secret weapons vaults. It’s immediately clear that Lena had nothing to do with the escape and doesn’t want to be there. Lillian offers her a position at Cadmus since she really can’t return to the real world after that jailbreak; Lillian says this can be the chance for them to finally build a healthy relationship without any Luthor men getting in the way. But Lena quickly realizes her mother was manipulating her because she needed Luthor DNA to access Lex’s weapons vault, which allegedly holds enough gear to take out Supergirl or Superman.
After some more nudging from Kara, Winn examines the video of Lena and discovers that it was doctored, which means Lena is innocent. (Suck it, James and Snapper!) Winn also manages to locate the Luthors by searching for any traces of Kryptonite in the city; however, his search reveals that Metallo’s synthetic Kryptonite is very unstable and will blow very soon. Furthermore, Kara can’t be anywhere near it when it goes off because it’ll kill her. But Kara doesn’t care because she’s more concerned with saving her friend Lena.
Kara flies off to confront Lillian Luthor, along with Metallo and Cyborg Superman, who showed up because Lillian is a QUEEN and has an endless supply of super-powered lap dogs to do her bidding. Once Lillian notices that Metallo’s heart is about to explode, she and Cyborg Superman exit stage right with the weapons they picked up, leaving Supergirl to handle Metallo on her own. Thankfully, Martian Manhunter arrives to lend Supergirl a hand, and she, J’onn, and Lena fly out of there before Metallo goes boom.
The next day, James and Kara make up and agree to go back to being friends instead of trying to protect each other. Then Kara goes to see Lena, who really enjoyed the article she wrote about her and showed her gratitude for the article — and for sending Supergirl to save her — with a many bouquets of flowers (unintentionally setting off fanfic writers everywhere). Lena thanks Kara for being such a good friend. After Kara leaves, Disney villain music starts playing as Lena stares at a chess piece and (fondly?) remembers beating her brother Lex at chess when they were younger, which is the show’s way of telling us that she might be smarter than him. Did Lena step to the bad side after her recent encounter with her mother?
That night, Mon-El shows up at Kara’s apartment so they can clear the air on all of this awkwardness. Kara explains that she finally thinks she can have it all — i.e. be Supergirl and be in a relationship — and decides it’s time to go in for the kiss. But, alas, there’s an interruption: Mr. Mxyzptlk wafts into Kara’s apartment like a poorly formed Patronus and, after fully materializing, declares his love for Kara Zor-El.
“Luthors” saw the show continue to advance Kara and Lena’s friendship, which is a very interesting dynamic even though it does bear similarities to Clark and Lex’s friendship on Smallville. I’m genuinely interested in seeing how their friendship continues to develop; however, I’m dreading that the writers will make Lena actually go bad. Just because Lena is related to the Luthors, it shouldn’t doom her to a life of villainy. Let’s hope the show doesn’t fall for such fatalism and instead swerves towards a more hopeful outcome that sees Lena embrace her better angels.
Wall of Weird:
- Lex’s weapons vault includes: his power suit, a Black Mercy plant, and an atomic ax.
- Facts: This episode didn’t have enough of Maggie and Alex. Please give us more time with them and less time trying to make Kara and Mon-El a thing.
- “You’re an arrogant dudebro and I’m the personification of the American way”–Kara, explaining to Mon-El how they’re different
- Did anyone else laugh when Lillian Luthor said her bigotry would place her on the right side of history?
Kara (Melissa Benoist) steps out from her super-cousin’s shadow to become Supergirl and defend National City in the third Arrowverse show.