[Review] Supergirl Episode 2×12: “Luthors”

written by Jason Froikin and Cara Russell

SPOILER WARNINGS ARE IN EFFECT

It is indeed frustrating when you know you’re right and no one believes you. It’s even more frustrating when you are Supergirl, and the only power you don’t have is the ability to change people’s minds. That was the overriding thought of this week’s episode, and while it’s relatable, it turned out to be a little forced in execution. Characters who previously would stick by Kara no matter how crazy things looked suddenly refused to believe her. That felt a little disappointing to me.

I liked the dive into Lena Luthor’s past. It was just enough so you get the idea that although Lena is part of the family, she’s perhaps separated from them through rivalry. It was the chess game theme – a hint that she pitted herself against Lex and the rest of the family from the start, and was smart and strong enough to survive and beat them. Lena continues that chess game into adulthood.

As I mentioned last week, I still feel like the whole cat-and-mouse game with Mon-El looks a little forced at this time. It feels like it’s taking place solely because Kara already blew her shot with everyone else, and he’s the only one left. Storyline-wise, it only looks like she feels sorry for Mon-El for being so inept at everything. Then again, from a writing perspective, maybe it’s just another stressful challenge for her to face, and comic relief for us to watch. But at the same time, it also feels like they’re looking for reasons to keep him around, even though he never really found a niche.

Since I have an extra paragraph this week, I’m going to bring up something new. There are two kinds of subplots this series has been missing. We’ve never really seen much of National City, besides it being essentially a “painted backdrop” for the story to take place. In nearly two full seasons, it’s never really been explored. Also unexplored is that Supergirl, for the most part, has been sequestered in one city, which both isn’t fair for the rest of the in-story world, and…maybe some of the viewers might want to occasionally see her as more of a world-wide phenomenon. Superman can’t have it all to himself. I do understand that part of the story is that National City is the center of everything weird, and because Supergirl is part of a team, it’s hard for them to move from city to city with her. Still, a brief venue change might be refreshing.

-Jason

* * *

This week on Supergirl, it’s like we’re watching a completely different show – one which ramped up its pace and tightened its storytelling. Y’know, like it used to on CBS. I really do wonder what happened to make such a drastic change in the last two weeks, although I am definitely not complaining.

The Luthors are back with their dysfunctional family drama. Lilian’s trial is taking place, and so are her further machinations manipulating Lena into a trap in order to bring them together – on the run together, that is. Meanwhile, Kara shows she has the ability to give the benefit of the doubt to someone being stereotyped and painted as a villain, even if she’s incapable of the self-reflection needed to realize she does this pretty selectively. In the end, Kara’s proven right as she is able to show that Lena was framed, forcing Lilian and Cyborg-Hank into hiding after Metallo combusts. There is also a touching scene where James and Kara make up and agree to be friends again, as the strain of being not-friends (while still being co-workers and drinking buddies) wasn’t worth it.

But who cares, because Mon-El is bisexual, and it’s revealed in the most “that’s not the way on Earth? Okay” way possible. It’s a delight, especially after the struggles Alex has faced this season, to arrive at coming out to her social circle tonight. Equally wonderful is J’onn’s “I’m psychic, of course I knew,” and shrug. The culture clash (or complete lack of dramatic conflict) from our resident aliens is a breath of much-needed fresh air. That the acceptance we struggle with in our world is a reality in theirs, and it’s No Big Deal. We need more of this – characters and situations where a better world is not only possible, but has been achieved and is normal to them.

Even the awkward Mon-El/Kara romance progression has a payoff at the very end of the episode when Mister Mxyzptlk makes a glorious, strikingly handsome, ill-timed and English-accented arrival to profess his love for Kara. I am genuinely excited for next week, and I can’t remember the last time I felt this way. I still hope this will go about as well as Kara’s last “first kiss” with James, but I’m sure with our friend (and critically-acclaimed Supergirl comic scribe) Sterling Gates involved, I’ll be entertained no matter which way it goes.

-Cara

Supergirl airs Monday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central on the CW. Jason can be reached on Twitter @Mangacool and Cara at @virtualcara.

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