Technically, Supergirl‘s Valentine’s Day episode doesn’t air until next week. But “Luthors” had plenty of relationship threads to follow, and I’d like to talk about some of them today.
Surprisingly, one of those threads won’t be Sanvers, as this episode didn’t have much to do with them at all. Alex (Chyler Leigh) came out to the rest of her friends and introduced Maggie (Floriana Lima) as her girlfriend, but that was their only real scene together last night. While it was sweet to see the rest of the cast be supportive of her, their lukewarm reactions begged the questions of why Supergirl needed to show her “reveal” at all. Regardless, it was a nice reminder that this group of people are friends outside of fighting aliens and pretending to work at Catco.
The woman at the center of the interpersonal drama was Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) herself. The episode centered around Lena Luthor (the excellent Katie McGrath, who needs to be upgraded from guest star to regular), but she also served as a catalyst to explore how Kara deals with the people in her life. In the last few weeks she’s been avoiding Mon-El (Chris Wood) so they can look past his confession of feelings and subsequent dating of Eve Teschmacher, as well as fighting a bit of a cold war with James (Mehcad Brooks) over his choice to be the vigilante Guardian. While she’s walking on eggshells around these men, however, she’s been reaching out to Lena consistently to express her support and sympathy during her mother’s trial.
This week’s Supergirl does an excellent job of sketching out Lena’s childhood with a single flashback – gracing us with a young Lex Luthor while at the same time contrasting her mother’s attitude towards Lena with her father’s. That simple scene, and Lillian Luthor’s (guest star Brenda Strong) later revelation which upends it entirely, tells us so much about Lena in so little time. It also explains why Lena and Kara have latched onto each other so easily, since they both know what it feels like to be an outcast in your own home. Even though Kara’s childhood was loving on both Krypton and on Earth, she still walks through life feeling like she doesn’t belong. And that sense of alienation bonds her with Lena, who is under fire during “Luthors” for potentially aiding her mother’s escape from prison by smuggling Kryptonite to her criminal ally Metallo.
Kara fights tooth and nail, and even does her a job a little to Snapper Carr’s (Ian Gomez) astonishment, in order to defend her implicit trust in Lena. Everyone around her thinks Lena must be guilty, and the audience falls for it too at times, but Kara almost never wavers. Her faith is rewarded – for now, but I don’t think Lena being a better chess player than Lex has to mean she’s evil – and Kara and Lena end “Luthors” even better friends than they were before. Each of their scenes together on Supergirl is heartwarming yet filled with tension, because the narrative is designed to make us wonder if Lena’s last name means they are fated to be enemies. Will Lena betray Kara the way Lex betrayed Clark? Or will Lena defy both her name and her bloodline to be the chess master that defeats her own family?
If I didn’t expect Supergirl to cap their LGBT relationships at one, I would say Kara and Lena have all the makings of an epic romance. Unfortunately, the current designated love interest is Mon-El. Kara changes her mind about him this episode, or else finally speaks what’s on her mind. It’s unclear which, because the audience haven’t been privy to her emotions regarding him so far. She calls him an “arrogant dudebro,” which about sums up his characterization for the first half of the season, but then says he proved her wrong. The speech she gives him feels out of place, though. Two weeks ago, we learned Mon-El was only training with Kara because he had feelings for her and not because he wanted to be a hero. This week, we find out he hasn’t been training since his rejection. The show excuses it by saying Kara’s been too busy to train him, but if Mon-El really wanted to be a hero there are other mentors he could find. So what exactly has he done to prove to Kara that he’s a man worth “having it all” with, aside from the act of telling her he wants to be with her?
If anything, a grand romantic speech about proving Kara wrong against all odds makes more sense if Lena is the recipient. And if not her, then the very man she tried to “have it all” with last year. Yes, James Olsen gets to play a major role in the episode for once, and not just when Metallo beats up Guardian. He’s insistent that Lena is bad news, and on that front he’s wrong. But he makes the excellent point that Kara is willing to put all her faith in Lena when there is evidence to the contrary, but she’s not willing to trust James to look after himself while fighting crime. They both want to protect each other but go about it the wrong way, and of course end this episode of Supergirl with a promise to trust each other as partners from now on. If not for the Word Of God veto on their romantic relationship, I would say this is the perfect time to segue back to their union.
But alas, it is not to be. Kara wants Mon-El now, even if the show has not provided much narrative reason why. Thankfully, Mr. Mxyzptlk dropped in to postpone the inevitable for at least one more episode.
Do you guys like Kara’s current romantic direction? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!