Supergirl: 4.15 O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Here it is, the episode we’ve all been waiting for... or have we?
That’s right, Lex Luthor finally shows up this week in a valiant but ultimately lacklustre adventure which, more than any other comics-inspired story or character featured on Supergirl, shows how little Supergirl has of her own (well known) mythology. That’s not an indictment of the character herself, who has a long and rich history in the comics and on screen; let’s not forget she got her own movie back in the 80’s when superhero films were in their infancy, let alone female lead superhero films. But this show leans very heavily into the Superman mythos as, even for the non-hard core comic fan, there are just so many more well known stories and characters; half the episode titles alone are riffs on famous Superman comics. Perhaps the show-runners should have focused less on re-interpreting existing Superman stories and more on creating new Supergirl stories?
So, Lex is dying from cancer and has been given compassionate leave from prison to join his sister and work on a cure - based on her super serum work. Lena is spurred on to complete a cure thanks to Jaaaaames being critical in hospital, so reluctantly agrees to work with Lex.
John Cryer was an interesting choice for Lex - not necessarily the best or anyone’s first - but an interesting choice. His Lex here (until the final moments) is a weak, sick old man feigning sibling compassion while still being a bit of a dick. He plays this fairly well so the real test will come when he has to go Full Lex. He maintains an expressionless, coldness in his eyes which is very effective, even if he doesn’t necessarily convince 100% of the time as the smartest, deadliest man alive. He lacks the imposing physicality which I quite like to see from a Luthor and I’ve never been a fan of Lex with a beard. I do wonder how much of his casting was based on the fact he was in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and has gone bald?
With Jimmy at the hospital, his sister who we’ve never seen before, turns up and starts being a dick to everyone. The story seems to be that Jimmy has some beef with his sister. This feels like we’re introducing yet another women into Jaaaames’s story to try and make him relevant? Alex does her slightly flustered crush thing when she meets her, so I suspect we’ll be seeing her finally get over Maggie.
In the middle of all this, J’onn finally breaks his vow and kills Manchester. This is all a bit sudden and a rather swift end to a character who has been an antagonist for most of the season – I don’t think Manchester is actually dead-dead but even so, it was a rather rushed end to his story which makes it a slightly weak bluff (if it is a bluff). Of course what it really does is give us fuel for J’onn’s story, so hopefully we can bring this narrative into focus in the next few episodes.
After the Luthors perfect the cure, Lena gives it to Jimbo and he is saved, I just hope he doesn’t get super powers from it. Before Lena can cart Lex back to prison, after vowing never to give him the cure, he reveals that he has already been given the cure by.... EVE! Yes, Eve was working with Lex all along. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I quite liked the casual redemption of Miss Teschmacher. It made for a pleasant reimagining and to see her revert back to hench-girlfriend is a bit disappointing.
The episode ends with Lex getting in a helicopter and being confronted by Supergirl, our first glimpse of Cryer as Full Lex. I’m yet to be convinced but let’s see how things go...