Supergirl "S2E12 Luthors" - Review: L-excellent!
Luthors – After the events of Project Medusa, Lillian Luthor is facing trial for her involvement with Lena testifying against her. Yet when Lena becomes entangled in Metallo’s jailbreak, everyone sees her as true Luthor after all with only Kara believing her innocence.
I must confess I wondered if the season had changed its mind about The Luthors with no sign of them since Christmas. This week sees their centre stage return, and it’s a fascinating insight not only into the show’s Luthor ladies but in developing the idea of Kara and Lena having a classic Superman & Lex style relationship. In one of the episodes' scenes, James tells a defiant Kara of how Clark Kent and Lex Luthor were friends for many years, and Lex came out as a villain. It really creates a sense of grand purpose around Kara and Lena: that they could be building towards a similar long term villain turn. As for the Luthors themselves, right from the family flashback (all of them), we get a lot of great character developing material on the both Lena and their mother daughter relationship. While Lillian’s claims of affection to present as genuine, there’s great overriding theme over her turning Lena to the dark/bald side by leaving her feeling she has no other choice. This is echoed well by the Snapper/CatCo scenes showing everyone’s willingness to believe Lena a villain and later, she’s convinced that nobody would believe her innocence even if she tried.
This is a decent action and villains episode too. Not only do we have Metallo back and chest-blasting but (thankfully) the Hank Henshaw/Cyborg Superman is still in the game to complete the Cadmus all stars line up. However, the latter looses marks for presentation. It almost seems like having David Harewood go Cyborg again was a last minute decision because his costume looked terrible. Several perpendicular camera shots showed his supposedly exposed metal skull half as a very loose fitting over-the-top mask rather than doing a decent make-up job. He looked closer to black Maximus than a cyborg. Thankfully, the action was still great. Director Tawnia McKiernan uses Guardian well for a slug fest with Metallo while the visual effects of Supergirl’s swinging crane sequence looked particularly good. Then there was that joyous little cache of Easter Eggs in the Luthor facility. It's not just a collection of last season’s prop department. We even get a glimpse at Lex Luthor’s battle armour. The cache itself serves a good plot device, particularly in teasing evil Lena (that’s one for my fellow He-Man kids). Lillian mentions that Lex setup up many different stashes of artifacts and devices designed to level the playing field against Superman and currently Lena is the only person living an outside prison that can access them. Talk about being a Women-At-Arms.
Even the relationship material came off like a well-executed scheme this week. J’onn’s post M’gnn moping was confined to a single line before ditching that bad idea. Alex introducing Kara to the wider group produced some good laughs while the Kara and Mon-El material actually felt like it had a purpose this week. While I was a little bummed Mon-El and Miss Teschmacher (Monmacher?) failed to launch, it helped give purpose to Kara and Mon’s interactions in a journey towards finally both being open and honest about their mutual feelings. We know the Daxamites will catch up with Mon-El eventually the events of Supergirl Lives implied he’s secretly their prince rather than just a royal guard (the good old Padmé/Queen Amidala routine). It feels like we’ll keep seeing the pair almost getting together before something intervenes across the rest of the season. If built up correctly, that could make eventual connection a very rewarding journey but also runs significant risks of becoming annoying along the way. Let’s hope these two can keep flying in the right direction. On more of a friendship note, it almost felt too casual the way Kara and James put their Guardian differences behind them but at the same time felt coherent to the episode’s (like Kara previously forgiving Winn). Their animosity didn’t really have anywhere else to go and getting them back on good terms opens the doors for future awesome team ups so we’ll call that a win.
Overall, this was a really strong episode for the season and incredibly well-balanced in delivering a lot of Luthor character exposition without neglecting the rest of the cast of sacrificing on the action. Not to mention some of the comics fan servicing is top-notch. J’onn gets an early slam dunk for best line, “Of course I knew, I’m physic” the tease ending bodes well for next time. Keep it up National City.