Supergirl, Season 2, Episode 12, “Luthors”
Like most of its CW superhero brethren, Superigrl has felt like it’s been stuck in a holding pattern of side stories and meaningless detours since returning from mid-season break.
There have been a few noteworthy individual moments in these episodes, but as a whole the series has just been off its game. While “Luthors” checked most of the same boxes as the other recent episodes – focus on third tier characters, boy trouble, Kara actually going to work – this episode, however had one key difference: It actually wrapped some of this stuff up.
The focus of the episode was on third-stringer, Lena Luthor, who gets falsely accused of helping break Metallo and her mother, Lilian, out of police custody. Everyone but Kara believes that Lena is just following the family tradition of being evil as all hell, when a video of Lena stealing Kryptonite (which fuels Metallo’s powers) surfaces. Her innocence is further challenged when Metallo busts Lena out of jail.
Along the way, Lena’s backstory is laid out by Lilian. Lena and Lex share a father, but Lena was the product of an adulterous affair between her dad and another woman, who would die when Lena was young. Instead of going into foster care, Lena was brought into the Luthor household to be raised with her half-brother.
Lilian nearly has Lena convinced to join Cadmus and the family evil business. However, she tips her hand when they arrive at one of the many stash houses Lex set up, because access to Lex’s vault is keyed to Luthor DNA, which is the only reason why Lena is there.
To add some drama to the proceedings, that Kryptonite powering Metallo is synthetic, unstable and about to go boom. Lena is vindicated when Winn cracks the encoding to reveal that Lilian’s other lackey, Hank Hawkins (Cyborg Superman), is really the one who is on that tape.
Kara risks life, limb and certain explode-y death to dash in, stop Lilian and rescue Lena. Thanks to a last-minute assist from Hank, Kara rescues Lena and of course, Lilian gets away.
The show spends the last segment moving more plot than it had in the previous three episodes. Kara, the reporter, pledges her undying support and friendship to Lena, who in turn appears to be playing some kind of long game of evil, after she creepily strokes a white knight chess piece once her living White Knight, Kara left the room. That idea is further reinforced in the final flashback where Lena displays a natural affinity for chess that piques Lilian’s intellect.
With a friendship secure and a cover story in her pocket, Kara goes on to mend fences with Jimmy before turing her attention to Mon-El, who turns out to not be such a dirty dog after all, because while one his one and only date with Miss Tessmacher, he couldn’t shut up about Kara.
Kara and Mon-El share an intimate moment where Kara says she now realizes she doesn’t have to sacrifice love to be a hero. Just as they are about to seal their relationship with a kiss – the series takes a turn for the interesting. Hello Mr. Mxyzptlk, impish trickster from the 5th Dimension. If there is anyone who can bring rainbows and unicorns back to Supergirl, it’s you.
That last cascade of resolution really redeemed the episode, because it buried the Kara’s Creek melodrama of the last few, and promises a return of the relentless optimism and freewheeling adventure that has become the calling card for this series.