Supergirl Recap: Kara and Lena Practically Beg for Slash Fiction About Them in “Luthors”
"I don't need your protection. I need your trust." -James Olsen
An episode of The CW’s Supergirl featuring James Olsen/Guardian that I actually liked? Anything is possible! Also possible? A relationship between Kara and Lena. Well, not really, but I just have to say that I’ve seen some of you in the comments suggest such a thing, and I wasn’t feeling it before, but after this episode, I totally get it. Flowers? For your “friend” who helps you out? Uh-huh. Welcome to Episode 12 of the season, entitled “Luthors.”
**THIS IS A RECAP – SPOILERS ARE PART OF THE TERRITORY.**
S2, EP. 12 – THE RECAP
- FLASHBACK to 20 years ago when Lionel Luthor brought a 4-year-old Lena to live with the Luthor family. While Lex is welcoming and invites Lena to play chess, Lillian is more wary.
- In the present day, the Lillian Luthor trial is being covered on the TV news as Kara watches it at the alien dive bar. She and Mon-El have an awkward conversation, having not seen each other “in a while.” Kara asks him how things are going with Eve, and he says they’re going great. Flustered, she goes back to her table, where Winn, James, and J’onn sit. J’onn is still depressed after M’gann’s departure. Meanwhile, James and Winn ask about the “new guy” that Alex is going to be introducing them to. When she arrives with Maggie, they are surprised, but totally into the relationship. As Winn goes to play pool with Maggie, A.K.A. “Geometry with sticks,” James asks Kara if Maggie knows about Guardian. Kara, annoyed, assures him she does not. James proceeds to annoy Kara further by expressing suspicion of Lena Luthor in her mother’s case.
- Lena’s testimony at her mother’s trial is being picked apart by the press. Kara goes to visit her as a friend and arrives bearing doughnuts. They talk, and Lena reveals that her mother has reached out to her via her lawyers asking if Lena would come see her. Lena doesn’t want to go, and is completely prepared to put her mother behind her, but Kara guilt trips her into going to see her. Good going, Kara.
- Lena goes to see Lillian in jail. Lillian “forgives” her for turning her in. Their meeting gets hostile, and Lillian brings up Lionel. When Lena tries to defend him, Lillian tells Lena the truth: that she is the product of an affair Lionel had, and that Lionel brought her to the Luthor home after her mother died and they found out she was going into foster care. Despite her best efforts, Lena is a Luthor, and Lillian tells her that it was Lionel who kept the Luthor women apart. She says that, as the only two Luthors left (um … Lex isn’t dead, lady), she wants a second chance with Lena. Lena lets her mother take her hands.
- Meanwhile, in another cell, Mr. Corben, A.K.A. Metallo, gets a package from “mail call.” It’s kryptonite!
- The next day, at Lillian’s trial, Corben testifies on Lillian’s behalf. He’s clearly a Cadmus zealot and desperately wants to rid the planet of aliens, insisting that Lillian is going to save them all. When he starts getting amped, and the judge orders him to be treated as a “hostile witness,” Corbin goes full Metallo and zaps the prosecuting attorney. Everyone except Lillian, Alex, and Kara run out of the courtroom in fear. Metallo frees Lillian, and Kara turns into Supergirl to go after them.
- Supergirl reaches them outside and tries to stop them, but Metallo is distracting with his kryptonite heart beam, and when Supergirl is about to apprehend Lillian, Metallo shoots at a crane, causing the arm to swing around and come crashing down. Given the choice to stop Lillian or save a bunch of people, Supergirl obviously saves the crowd from the falling metal arm, but Lillian gets away.
- At the DEO, Supergirl and Alex are on the case, and Maggie arrives, letting them know that the only person who arrived at the jail in the time frame during which Metallo could’ve received the package … was Lena.
- Kara goes to Lena, and Lena insists that she didn’t do it. “I only went, because you told me to go!” she said, RIGHTFULLY SO. Maggie arrives with some other officers showing Lena some footage that they found of Lena removing a chunk of kryptonite from a safe. Lena insists that it isn’t her, but the footage is enough for Maggie to arrest her.
- At CatCo, Lena’s arrest is “crashing the cover,” making everyone work overtime. Kara doesn’t want this to happen, as she fears that, no matter what comes after this, Lena will always be thought guilty in the Court of Public Opinion. James, however, sides with Snapper and Lena’s cover goes to press. Kara is furious about James’ “betrayal” of her better judgement. As she storms out of her conversation with James and Snapper, she bumps into Eve (who mentions Cat Grant! They do remember she exists!) and not-to-slyly tries to get information out of her about her deal with Mon-El. As it turns out, Eve and “Mike’s” one date was their last … because he couldn’t stop talking about Kara.
- Lena is now in jail, and the guards talk shit about her. However, she’s not in jail for long, as Metallo arrives to bust her out. While he easily takes out the guards, a Guardian appears to stop him (see what I did there?). They fight, and while the Guardian keeps Metallo on his toes, he’s eventually overpowered and shot with a kryptonite beam. Metallo escapes with Lena.
- At the DEO, Alex treats James’ wounded shoulder as he reveals that Metallo’s kryptonite heart seems to be on the fritz and flickering in and out. Everyone at the DEO thinks that Lena supplied him with the kryptonite except Kara, who insists that Lena is innocent. When she storms away upset, James follows her, trying to convince her to see things his way. After all, Clark and Lex Luthor used to be besties, too, and Clark swore up and down that Lex would never do anything evil. But he was wrong, and perhaps Kara is, too. When she insists that James should have faith in her, he asks why she doesn’t have faith in him, either with this, or re: Guardian. She says that’s different. In the case of Guardian, she’s only trying to protect him. James: “I don’t need your protection. I need your trust.”
- Kara retires to her training room, where she can pissed-offedly punch stuff with abandon. Mon-El joins her, and tries to make her feel better. She apologizes for being so weird around him, and is subsequently INFURIATING about not being honest about her feelings.
- Lena is riding in a van with Lillian as Metallo drives. Lillian tries to convince Lena to join her efforts, because the city already thinks she’s guilty, and that will never change, because she’s a Luthor. She then tries to play the Mom card and says that they will work together to do great things. The little girl in Lena believes her for a moment. Meanwhile, Metallo is in the drivers seat fritzing.
- They arrive at one of Lex’s old facilities, where there’s not only a satellite that’s tracking the comings and goings of aliens, but there’s also a vault filled with anti-alien weapons. The trouble with the vault? It can only be opened with a handprint on a biometric scanner … by someone with Luthor DNA. So, it seems that Lillian’s real purpose for freeing Lena is clear, and when Lena refuses to help, Cyborg Superman emerges to force her to place her hand on the scanner. The vault opens.
- At the DEO, Kara watches as Winn attempts to detect any fakery in the footage of Lena and the kryptonite. He eventually discovers that the footage was faked by the real Hank Henshaw, A.K.A. Cyborg Superman, and that it was he who actually handled the kryptonite in the video. Supergirl goes to save Lena, despite the fact that Winn also discovers that Metallo’s kryptonite heart is set to go nuclear and explode very soon.
- Lillian examines all of Lex’s “toys.” Supergirl arrives to save Lena, but Lillian uses some of the “toys” against her. Metallo then fights her, and with the DEO screaming into her earpiece, Supergirl tries to warn Lillian and everyone else about Metallo’s heart. At first, she thinks Supergirl is lying, but then she high-tails it out of there with Cyborg Superman (and without her daughter, for the record!). Supergirl and Metallo duke it out. Suddenly, Martian Manhunter shows up to help, and as he deals with Metallo, Supergirl goes after Lena.
- EXPLOSION! And yet, we see two blurry figures fly out of the facility just in the nick of time.
- At CatCo, they are working on the story that Lena has been vindicated. Snapper can’t admit that he’s wrong (though he tells Kara to get a Lena Luthor exclusive), but James can. He apologizes to Kara for not trusting her, and Kara apologizes for trying to protect him so much and can’t they just go back to being friends. They hug. Awww.
- Later, at L Corp, Kara visits Lena, who is looking at Kara’s exclusive in CatCo magazine and was hugely flattered by it, though Kara said she was “only writing the truth.” Lena is really, really grateful for Kara’s friendship, having gone so far as to send Kara a bunch of flowers in gratitude. She says that “Supegirl may have saved me, but Kara Danvers, you are my hero.”
- FLASHBACK: Lena beats Lex at chess, and Lillian says that she “might be a Luthor after all.”
- Mon-El arrives at Kara’s apartment after she calls him. She apologizes (again) to him, then stammers and stutters around her feelings saying “I don’t like being vulnerable.” But then she gets all close to him and says “Maybe I can have it all,” and he smiles, and she smiles, and they lean in for a kiss …
- … but before they can kiss, Mr. Mxyzptlk appears in her living room on a blue beam of light and professes his love for Kara. What?!
S2, Ep. 12 – THE REVIEW
Thankfully, Supergirl seems to be back on an upswing, both from a storytelling standpoint and an actor performance standpoint. The story of this week’s episode was fairly simple, but character-focused, and thankfully both the regulars and the guest stars were up to it.
I was glad to see Lena Luthor back on the show, as she’s one of the most interesting characters on it, and I love the way the show deals with her relationship with Lillian. Katie McGrath is a wonderful actress, and she’s great at conveying the clinging, childish hope for her mother’s affection, despite repeated evidence to the contrary. Her Lena is a real, nuanced character: competent and confident while also being strong enough to be openly vulnerable and unsure. She generally ends up needing saving by Supergirl, but that never makes her appear weak. I really want them to find more to do with her, and bring her onto the show more regularly, because she’s captivating whenever she’s on screen.
I adore Kara and Lena’s friendship. And the chemistry between her and Melissa Benoist as Kara is off the chain. And yes, I know, they’re just becoming close friends … but when they were sitting on the couch together and Lena was thanking her profusely for believing in her … tell me you didn’t think Lena was going to lean in for a kiss. Was it just me? Maybe it was the leather top Lena was wearing, I dunno.
ANYway, I also loved Brenda Strong’s performance as Lillian Luthor, though I have to say she’s written a bit more like a cookie-cutter villain. However, Strong plays the preference of Lex (and therefore, a preference for Lex’s ideas, like ridding the world of aliens) very well, and just subtly enough that you buy that maybe this time, she’s gonna change her ways. And I totally bought Metallo as her fanatical stooge.
As I said in the opening of this recap, this was an episode featuring Guardian that didn’t annoy the hell out of me, and this was for three reasons. 1) Guardian’s dialogue wasn’t cheesy/horrific when he came to deal with a villain, 2) Screen time as Guardian was limited, and wasn’t bogged down by a Winn fuck-up scene, and 3) Mehcad Brooks’ performance was measured and real. The entire Guardian storyline up until now has felt over-the-top and like they were trying too hard with it. Now that we know Guardian is a thing, however, it seems that they’ve taken their foot off the gas a bit, and that element of Supegirl is finding it’s cruising speed. (Was that an adequate car metaphor? I don’t know. It’s finding it’s footing? It’s finding its perfect Serta sleep number?)
One nit-pick: how have Winn and James gone this long without knowing that Alex and Maggie are dating? Seriously? Wasn’t she going on and on at the office about going to see Barenaked Ladies with Maggie? Aren’t they always hanging out, like an extraordinary amount? Isn’t Alex always worried about calling her to make sure Maggie knows where she is? That just seemed weird.
And finally, there’s Kara and Mon-El. I’ve always dug them as a couple, and I’m SO GLAD Kara is finally in a place where she can admit her feelings, because this was literally the last episode in which she was allowed to be infuriating. There can only be so much forgiveness for a constant romantic run-around. Shit, or get off the pot, Kara. Thankfully, she’s decided to shit. (Eew.)
But then Mr. Mxyzptlk shows up and professes his love for her? OK, I’m back to being infuriated. This interruption of a long-awaited kiss had better be good.
“Luthors” was a solid episode, and a nice departure from the usual featuring more insight into an intriguing supporting character. More Lena Luthor, please! What did you all think of Supergirl this week? Let’s chat about it in the comments below!
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8PM ET/PT on The CW.
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