BWW Recap: Lex Luthor Schemes While a Beloved Character Fights For His Life On SUPERGIRL's 'O Brother, Where Art Thou'
So far, Supergirl has mostly steered clear of Superman's major villains, but this week's episode begins with a bang as we put a face to the infamous name, Lex Luthor (played by Jon Cryer).
Cut to four years ago where Lex Luthor, has Lena hostage as he begins one of his villainous monologues we've all come to know and love through his various depictions in comics and entertainment. As usual, he's upset that Superman is more popular than him - citing his need to see him bleed as Lex attempts to evade the authorities with deadly force. Lena is shocked to learn what her brother is capable of "in the name of science" as he's carted away to prison. In the present time, we see Lex on a helicopter as Lena accuses him of faking a stroke to see her.
Meanwhile, Supergirl's SOS watch buzzes and she flies over to the news station to find James bleeding out on the floor. He's still alive.
Back at Lena's Lex pleads with Lena about his impending death, asking her for help. "I'm not used to needing help... It's pathetic, I'm pathetic." He suggests Lena test the SUPERHUMAN drug on Lex, which sounds like a super swell idea.
Eve runs into THE ROOM giving us our first glimpse at a Lex/Eve interaction. Given her dark descent in the comics, his creepy come-on to her likely won't be their last interaction, and we might just see Eve serving a more prominent role in the rest of the season.
Despite their falling out, Lena rushes to the hospital to check on James, whose spine was injured during the shooting. Alex suggests Lena use the serum on James, as his best case scenario is paralysis - if he survives at all. Lena is scandalized by the thought, as the effects of the untested drug are unknown.
Manchester shows up at J'onn's father's grave, pleading him to join his cause to "stop the hate" that ruined both of their lives.
Lena heads back to the mansion to enlist Lex's help separating the extranormal aspect of her serum with the healing properties, offering to use it on them both if it works. When Lex asks if Lena trusts him, she responds with, "would you TRUST me if I did?" And I thought my sibling dynamic was screwed up.
Nia and Brainy take turns blaming themselves for James' predicament when the doctor interrupts them to say that James is stable, but that he's never seen a normal bullet cause this much damage. Just in the nick of time, James' sister shows up to make the medical decisions no one else has the authority to do.
Lex tells Lena that he's proud of her for creating Kryptonite after he takes a moderate amount of credit for her success, following it with the sentiment that "this sentimentality is going to kill me faster than his cancer."
Lena takes off Lex's handcuffs as he helps her test the serum, meanwhile, James is bleeding internally and Alex can't convince his sister to suspend surgery to wait for the serum. Alex and Kara butt heads while Kara is absent from James' side, still helping J'onn. Alex can't fathom why Kara would be of any help as a reporter.
Lex convinces Lena to go to James' side, telling her to let the guard back in the room. Meanwhile, Manchester is in J'onn's head, feeding him hallucinations of a dead Kara and Alex.
Amidst the trauma and sadness, Nia kisses Brainy to shut him up during his ramble of self-deprecation. A power surge hits the city in the middle of James' surgery while SUPERGIRL and J'onn pay Manchester a visit - believing him to be the cause.
Alex pleads with James' sister to let Lena used the finished serum on him while he's bleeding out on the table. Lena instructs the hospital staff to leave THE ROOM so that they don't become accessories to the crime. Lena injects him with the serum as James codes on the table. His wound begins knitting itself back together while Manchester tricks J'onn into feeding into his dark side and killing him.
J'onn ignores SUPERGIRL when she asks where Manchester is, suggesting they go see James while he picks up Brainy's ring after Manchester disintegrates. James seems to be fine as the group gathers in his hospital room, but superhero serums always come with consequences, so we'll see how long that lasts.
J'onn questions his capability of being a man of peace in the aftermath of his killing. Brainy shuts down Nia again, insisting that choices made during severe circumstances never work out. She humors him, but it definitely won't be the last we see of this pairing.
Lena's not so convinced the power outage was the handy work of Manchester, accusing Lex of taking advantage of the situation for his own end - putting countless people in danger to test the serum. He doesn't even bother denying it and openly admits without provocation that he called out the hit on James.
After hearing his confession, Lena professes, "James is gonna live and you're gonna rot because I will never, ever give you the cure." In a totally shocking turn of events, Lex had a backup plan. The guard lets down his image inducer, revealing none other than a very alive Otis Graves.
Eve shows her cards earlier than expected, brandishing a gun at a shocked Lena as she helps Lex escape. She admits to being Lex's lackee from the start, but he prevents her from killing his sister. As usual, he has plans for Lena - ones that require her to be breathing.
As dramatic instrumental music plays, Lex activates the many lasers surrounding the property as he blows up every guard on the premises like a concerto conductor. It's delightfully dramatic in the way we've come to expect from our favorite homicidal scientist. The episode closes on SUPERGIRL flying toward Lex's helicopter escape, music still blaring.
This episode, while wild, is probably the best Supergirl episode we've seen all season (perhaps excluding 'Elseworlds'). It was nice to have an episode that was so character heavy and filled with plot twists.
I was hesitant about the inclusion of Lex Luthor, as he's one of my favorite Superman villains and his character is usually obliterated in movies. My favorite Lex incarnation has always been Smallville, and I wasn't expecting anything else to hold a candle to my favorite dramatically mad scientist. I'm happy to have been proven wrong, though while nothing will ever beat Michael Rosenbaum's interpretation of Lex Luthor for me, Jon Cryer's unique performance brought all of my favorite Lex elements to the screen in his own flourish. I'm excited to see where this arc goes next.
Moving forward, I would love to see more of a balance between episodes like this and the overarching political focus with the Agent of Liberty arc. The political components of the show have never been more important than they are now, but this episode was a bit of a reminder that the characters are what makes this show shine and more of a balance between the two would be beneficial for the flow and cohesion of the show.
Photo Credit: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW