Supergirl recap: The fantabulous emancipation of one Lena Luthor
Things come together and things fall apart in the penultimate episode of this pandemic-shortened season. Most importantly: Kara and Lena might just be on the road to talking again, but we have a great deal of upheaval to get through before that point.
First up is Brainy. His twelfth-level intellect has connected the dots that Lex released the sun eater, endangering Brainy's friends in the process.
Smooth-operator Lex reminds him that it’s all part of the process of getting Gemma to trust him. And the next step is presenting her with the weapon he stole from the Fortress of Solitude to score an invite onto the Leviathan ship.
Gemma’s pleased to receive it, and she brings it Rama Khan, who’s handcuffed in their old-timey gentlemen’s club lair. He mocks her “idiotic ringlets and noxious porcelain cheekbones” (way harsh, dude!), but she assures him they lull the humans into a false sense of security. Then she hands over the weapon, which was stolen from Leviathan years ago, and turns him loose to gather the supplies he’ll need to use it to destroy the supers. That sounds... bad.
Speaking of the supers, they're having trouble locating Leviathan. Kara’s pretty sure that Lex is working with them, but without DEO resources, they're going to have to turn to Kelly’s military buddy Pete to help locate Rama Khan.
Yes, dear reader, Pete’s the friend Malefic impersonated, but the real Pete is actually a U.S. Congressional Library archivist specializing in semiotics and iconography. And yes, he’d be delighted to help the Danvers sisters comb through the records in search of traces of Rama Khan.
They quickly turn up records on a certain pattern that appeared just before catastrophes in ancient Greece, Macedonia, and Bavaria. But searching for any modern traces would require a visit to the special collections room. Alas, the mere mention of Leviathan to Pete’s higher-ups not only gets him a hard no, but when he and Alex try to break in, they’re chased off by an assailant with a gun.
Worse, Pete’s family ends up under surveillance, so he makes plans to go off the grid. He also reminds Alex that she needs to adjust to not having the military at her back anymore. Ah, but Alex does have Kelly, who suggests that if Alex is going full vigilante, she might want to consider a mask. Yes, Alex! Do it, do it!
Kelly’s going a little vigilante herself, working with William again to uncover the late Margot’s connection to Obsidian North. It turns out to be Eve, whom Kelly recognizes right away. She's alarmed enough to alert Andrea, who threatens to fire her and William both if they don’t drop it and get on board with Obsidian’s worldwide unity festival.
Naturally William can’t leave this alone, and as he follows Eve down a sketchy alley, he’s black-bagged. Tune in next week to see what happens to the tall, accented man!
Meanwhile, Dreamer’s dreaming. At first she sees Brainy in the Leviathan headquarters, turning into his green alien self and laughing wildly. She orders him to get lost and is able to focus on the playing cards on the table, which feature Rama Khan’s face as the royalty and the logo the Oregon Geological Monitoring System on the back.
To Portland! Supergirl, Dreamer, J’onn, and M’Gann arrive in time to stop Rama Khan from unleashing an earthquake, but once they succeed, the DEO swoops in and whisks him away for questioning.
Kara and Nia are frustrated at being sidelined, and they watch Brainy question Rama Khan in a language neither of them recognizes, although they do pick up on the words “Lex Luthor.
In fact, Brainy’s telling Rama Khan that he’s working with Lex and knows everything, so why not just head to the Leviathan ship together? Rama Khan then effortlessly breaks free of his restraints and does what he allowed himself to be captured to do: pillage and plunder.
He rampages through the building in his quest for Kryponite, which is housed in the DEO on this Earth. Despite a valiant effort by our heroes, the DEO building collapses and Rama Khan escapes with the glowing green bars.
By now, Nia’s at the end of her rope with Brainy. She tells him she doesn’t like or trust the guy he’s become, and when he refuses to let her in on what he’s up to, she cuts him out of her life for good.
Not for nothing, but Brainy calls her “Nia” in public while she’s in her suit, which I’m going to take as a nod from the writers that he's so distressed, he forgot all about secret identities as he tried to reach out to his ex. Jesse Rath's growing rage and helplessness has been a thing to behold in the back half of the season.
And where’s Lex for all this drama? With Lena at Stryker’s Island Penitentiary, where Non Nocere glitched in one of the inmates she helped, turning him violent again.
They set to work fixing the inmate’s Q-waves and are joined by Steve Lomeli, who’s been enjoying the camaraderie of the peaceful prison thanks to Lena’s programming.
As they work, all the inmate’s Non Nocere programming goes haywire, and the Luthors and Lomeli end up in the middle of a riot. It helps the Luthors intuit that their bodies are adapting to the programming, fighting it off like a virus (unfortunate choice of words in May 2020!) as their violent survival instincts kick in.
Lena’s sure she can fix it all if she can just reach her equipment on the other side of the prison, so she, Lex, and Lomeli wade into what has to be the most polite, bloodless prison riot ever filmed. When Lomeli’s attacked by the rioters, Lex wades in and — get this! — actually engages in fisticuffs. Who knew he had it in him?
Lena does a full Q-wave reset while Lex distracts everyone with portal watch antics. But she’s seen enough and destroys her equipment, declaring her project a failure and herself delusional to think she could fix humanity.
Lex has been waiting for this moment, and he jumps in with his pitch: humanity needs a firm human hand to lead it. His hand. When Lena realizes Lex has been playing her all along, Lex absolutely loses it, screaming that he supported her doomed project so she could see for herself the depravity of humanity and come around to doing things his way.
Honestly? This is the most frightening version of Lex Luthor that I’ve seen on film and screen, friends. Jon Cryer’s unleashed rage is absolutely visceral.
Lena’s not afraid, though, and coolly calls him a monster. “But that doesn’t mean I have to be one too.” Yesss, Lena!
Although he lost the support of his sister, Lex is still in command of the situation. He gets the coveted invite from Gemma to meet her associates, and to celebrate, he orders a guard to blow up the penitentiary (RIP Steve Lomeli!)
When Brainy joins Lex in his limo, Lex gloats about his successes and blows off the destruction of the DEO as a tax write-off. But Brainy looks positively ill about everything that's happened, including Leviathan now having a weapon that’ll make Supergirl’s life miserable. Still, he and Lex are off to meet Leviathan the following day and, ostensibly, save the world.
By the end of the episode, Kara’s at a loss. No Brainy, no DEO, no Lena to build her a kryptonite suit. Everything looks dark.
But not so fast! A knock on her apartment door turns out to be Lena, and Kara wordlessly lets her in. An emotional Lena apologizes for letting her hurt over Kara’s secret lead her down a dark path in her quest to fix the world. “You were right. This whole time I became a villain”
She doesn’t expect Kara to forgive her, but she begs Kara to work with her to stop Lex and Leviathan from using her project for true evil.
Kara listens in silence, then stonily invites Lena to sit down as we go to credits.
Snaps of the cape
- Welcome back, Sean Astin! It’s always a delight to see his friendly face. And tonight was extra fun when his linguist’s ear picked up on Kara’s use of syntax and imagery, indicating a deeper understanding than a Midvale-born woman should possess.
- Can you believe J’onn and M’Gann found time in this busy episode for a little kissy-kissy? And good for them. Between Mars heading toward peace and J’onn's newfound place in the world, it’s nice to see those two grab a little slice of happiness.
- My GOD, Katie McGrath can deliver a tearful apology. I immediately forgave her for everything this season, plus for things she hasn’t even thought about doing yet. And dare we hope that these two will finally make amends? Please oh please, show?
- Best guess for the weapon that’s tucked inside that briefcase like Marcellus Wallace’s soul? Gotta be Myriad, right?
Kara (Melissa Benoist) steps out from her super-cousin’s shadow to become Supergirl and defend National City in the third Arrowverse show.