Supergirl: 2.12 Luthors
Flashback! Luthors opens with a scene showing us the moment Lena first came to live with her adopted family, we meet Lionel Luthor, who looks like classic, bald businessman Lex. This instantly got me wondering whether, if we ever see him, this universe’s Lex will look like Classic Lex? (this questions was kind of answered by a gag line later in the ep…). We also see young Lex in this scene, reaching out to Lena as her new brother.
The titles have barely rolled before we’re in that damn bar again. I know people have regular bars they hang out with friends but they all hang out in this one bar all the time now. Doesn’t Maggie have any cop bars she hangs out in with other cops? Or a gay bar even? Would it hurt to say “Hay, guys, why don’t we hang out in this great cop bar I know?”. I’m sure Jimmy or Winn must have some bars the other journos hang out in? I get, of course, why they all hang out there all the time but it’s becoming like alien Central Perk or Intergalactic Cheers.
Anyway, everyone has come to the one bar they all go to all the time, to meet the person Alex is dating. Winn and Jimmy don’t know about her sexuality and I really liked their reaction to finding out she was gay; they were simply surprised, as they didn't know. And that was it. As well, Mon-El's reacting was perfect, not being in the slightest bit shocked because of the advanced sexual culture on Daxem, even asking if it was a thing on Earth to be shocked. This was great for showing a positive side to his character - as well as gently highlighting how insane it is that sexuality is still sometimes a thing that shocks on Earth – and it lead to Kara making maybe he’s not that bad after all goo-goo eyes at Mon-El.
This episode, unsurprisingly, focuses on Lena Luthor and her mother, Lillian, as well as exploring the wider ties to the Luthor family, including the revelation that she was the result of an affair Lionel Luthor had. This episode is very much about Lena, coupled with Kara and Lena’s friendship as well as Kara’s possible distancing from her core friends. I like how this episode played out (more or less), the mix of tough/vulnerable/lonely that Katie McGrath is bringing to Lena is very strong and you really believe that her friendship with Kara is important to her and vice versa. I'll be genuinely disappointed if Lena goes bad, she's far more interesting not bad.
Into the bulk of this weeks plot and we have the truly useless Metallo back on the scene. He really isn't very good. More like Aluminiumllo… he is being let out of prison to testify at Lillian Luthor’s trial. This really makes little sense. I’m not sure at all that he would be allowed to testify under the circumstances and considering how dangerous he is? Inevitably, he goes mental in court – thanks to some artificial Kryptonite he was mysteriously sent to power himself – and breaks both himself and Lillian out. In order for Metallo and Lillian to escape, he blasts a construction crane to fall on innocent people and distract Supergirl. This is a really well realised sequence with some nice VFX. Lena is then accused of having provided the Kryptonite-lite and thrown in jail (its here that a couple of guards joke, wondering if she’ll go bald like her bother. So probably a pretty traditional Lex in this universe then).
I found Jimmy's dislike of Lena this week a tricky one. While narratively it works for her to have a friend with conflicting views about Lena and her innocence and as Superman’s besty, so having had previous dealings with Luthors, it works but his bad attitude makes it stick a little. There is a nice moment when Jaaames points out that Lex and Clark used to be best friends… unfortunately, this comes during a speech from Jimmy where he tells Kara who she should and shouldn’t be friends with, challenges her judgment and questions her loyalty to him as a friend. I know that I maybe need to get over Jimmy’s character flaws but there has been too little too late to redeem the character for me and I find all his reactions to situations and plot lines infected with this entitled, male attitude and dude, stop with the Guardian bull crap.
Metallo turns up to break Lena our of prison, though its more like a kidnapping and for some reason Guardian turns up? Never mind that he went there to make sure Lena didn’t get up to anything which is insanely outside even of a vigilantes remit; how did he just get access to a high security prison?
I found all the stuff this week of Kara sticking up for Lena really nice; because her friends have been moving away from her over the weeks, it's interesting to see her so desperately need her one friend outside the Team Supes to be innocent. Its important for Kara that Lena is good; if she can be good, anyone can. So Lillian and Metallo, also joined by Cyborg Superman, who its later proved framed Lena, take her to a secret Lex Luthor base filled with cool Lex Luthor stuff, including what seems to be Lex’s Battle Suit! Very exciting! Lillian tries to convince Lena to join her, Lena isn’t really interested, especially when she realises dear old mum just needed someone with Lex’s DNA to activate a weapon.
The finale, involving Metallo exploding thanks to his dodgy fake Kryptonite is a little cheesy, with Lillian and Cyborg Superman getting away while Supergirl saves Lena. What was really nice as the proverbial dust settles and the exonerated Lena chats with BFF Kara, is the fact that she is so adamant not to be defended by the actions of the Luthor men. Which is why when Lena is suddenly dressed all in black coupled with more flashback and a slightly on the nose chess metaphor suggesting she may be a villain playing a long game, it's all the more disappointing. Don’t go evil, Lena!
This was very strong episode in a wobbly season, with the key themes being friendship. As much as Jimmy annoys me, he and Kara reconciling their friendship at the end was genuinely a nice moment and needed for the progression of both characters. The villain of the week aspects, aka Metallo, were weak but it wasn’t really about him. This was about the Luthors, Lillian and Lena, as well as Kara and her faith in her different friends.
A side story of Mon-El dating, unsuccessfully, Eve Teschmacher was less engaging but not without its cute moments, including Kara referring to herself as the personification of the American way. I'll be interested to see if they go anywhere with Miss Tesmacher. It feels like she was introduced as a bit of a gag but has become a kind of go-to support character. This side tale culminates in the closing scene, in which Kara and Mon-El are honest about their feelings and move in for a kiss. Of course, this is an American prime time comic book based TV show, so they get interrupted seconds before the show ends as they are about to lock lips to create a cliffhanger… but I’ll let it slide since they’re interrupted by Mxyzptlk!