Supergirl gets a slightly diminished role in her own show so they can focus on “The Luthors.” The show opens with a flashback from twenty years ago as Lena is brought home to the Luthor mansion by Lionel. Mother Lillian doesn’t approve, but then, she pretty much disapproves of everything. The cold interactions give us a good idea of what the household was like, and could probably give Leonard Snart the chills.
In the modern time frame, the trial of Lillian Luthor, head of Cadmus, has begun. Mon-El, watching in the alien bar, comments that she’s bad news. This leads to more awkward conversation with Kara, who makes lame excuses for why she hasn’t seen him of late. I guess they aren’t training together anymore. Kara leaves Mon at the bar to join J’Onn, James, and Winn. They are waiting for Alex to show up and reveal her new love interest. James and Winn are surprised at Alex outing herself. J’Onn, via his mental powers, knew. And Mon-El is utterly indifferent, then wonders if that matters on Earth. Well, that’s one positive thing about Daxam at least.
Lena testifies against her mother, and gets slammed by the media basically for being a Luthor. Kara goes to reassure her, and they talk. Lena talks about all the calls she’s gotten from her mother’s lawyers, and debates going to see her. Kara gently suggests that Lena should go, and boy are both of them going to regret that later.
Lena goes, and it’s not exactly a comfortable scene at first. Lilian snipes at her, and Lena’s on the verge of leaving. Lilian finally tells a very soap operatic tale about how Lena came to be with the Luthors, and what Lena’s background actually is. They reach a sort of understanding before Lena goes.
Elsewhere, Corbin, AKA Metallo, gets a surprise package. He opens it, and there’s a very familiar green glow coming out of it. This makes his day in court very interesting the next morning. Corbin goes on a rampage, blasting the courtroom, as Lilian smiles and Kara just kind of sits there. You know that famous line of her cousin’s, that starts off with, “This looks like a job for…”? Apparently, Kara doesn’t. Eventually, Alex prods her into action. Lilian and Metallo get away with the old “endanger civilians” trick.
The investigation into Corbin’s escape takes an ugly turn. The only visitor in the entire jail that night was Lena going to see Lilian. Still think that was good advice, Kara? Slowly, more evidence emerges that makes things look really bad for Lena. Kara drops by again, but Maggie shows up and arrests Lena in the midst of their visit.
At CatCo, Kara learns that the new headline and cover are going to be about Lena’s apparent guilt. She fights with both Snapper and James about this. James is very biased against Lena, largely due to his and Superman’s interactions with Lex. On her way out, Kara has an interesting little scene with Eve Tessmacher, in which Kara learns something surprising about Mon-El.
In jail, the writers fall back on the cruel guards stereotype to illustrate how badly things are going for Lena. Well, things aren’t great for the guards, either. Metallo shows up to bust Lena out (whether or not she wants to go) and the guards are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Poor little redshirts. Guardian shows up, and does about as well as you’d expect for a still novice, non-powered hero who goes up against someone powerful enough to duke it out with Kryptonians.
James gets patched up at the DEO as Kara worries about him. James continues to rant about Lena being a Luthor, and therefore evil. He also demands Kara just blindly agree with him. James doesn’t come off well in this episode. His prejudice is a bit understandable in the context of Lex’s actions, but you’d think James would know better than to give in to that kind of bias so easily.
Kara vents her frustration by punching things at the DEO training area. Weirdly, she’s doing this as Kara, not Supergirl. Mon-El comes by and they have more awkward conversation, which is getting to be their speciality. Kara is not making a lot of sense in this chat, and Mon is understandably confused. I guess James isn’t the only irrational one this time out.
As Corbin drives the getaway vehicle like a good lackey, Lilian goes on another rant about how Superman turned everyone against her darling Lex. Lilian and reality aren’t on the best of terms, especially where Lex is concerned. Lilian veers back and forth between crazy parent and full on villain ranting. She winds up by trying to recruit Lena into Cadmus. Is any of Cadmus still around? They end up in one of Lex’s hidden bases, where they also meet up with Hank Henshaw, the Cyborg Superman. Lena figures out why Lilian brought her here, and it’s not exactly a Hallmark moment.
At the DEO, Winn finally tracks down the fleeing Luthors. He also starts finding evidence that Lena was framed, and reveals he’s been slacking on his gadget duties. The anti-Kryptonite vests from the Superman/Supergirl vs Metallos fight are still broken. Maybe if Winn was spending less time moonlighting with Guardian? At any rate, Supergirl takes off to save her friend.
The tour of Lex’s weapons vault has a lot of nice little Easter Eggs in it. Lena tells off Lilian and then Supergirl arrives. There’s a big fight with even more tension as Winn figures out that Corbin’s using synthetic Kryptonite and it’s going to blow, contaminating the area with green K radiation. That’s not going to be good for our heroine. J’Onn shows up at the last minute to help her, and they manage to save Lena and get clear of the blast.
Lena is vindicated, and Kara goes to gloat to her boss, Snapper. He’s unapologetic about printing the first story. James does manage an apology. Lena and Kara have a nice friendship scene. There’s a flashback to Lena beating Lex at chess the first time she ever played, which really made me want to see Lex’s reaction. Of course, they don’t show that, because this is Supergirl, so we only deal in female Luthors. The show ends with an interesting scene between Kara and Mon-El that gets interrupted by a lead in to next week’s show.
What I liked: It was good to see Supergirl standing by her friend. Loyalty like that isn’t as common as it should be, and seeing it in prime time is a nice change. Lena’s background makes her potentially a lot more interesting. J’Onn finally did something that wasn’t related to Miss Martian. The Mon-El reaction to Alex’s big announcement was great. Lex’s weapons vault was fun to see.
What I didn’t: James was acting kind of nuts, especially for Superman’s best friend/vigilante in his own right. I have no idea why Supergirl watched Corbin shooting up the courtroom. Lilian in general is just not likable, and she’s not charismatic enough to be one of those villains you’re drawn to. I desperately wanted to see Lex’s reaction to Lena beating him. It would have been a great character scene.
This was a wildly uneven episode. I’ll average it out at a 3 out of 5. There were a lot of things they could have done, just small changes, to make it better. Next week should be interesting.