Martin Carr reviews the twelfth episode of Supergirl season 2…
If Supergirl is about anything this week you would say groundwork. Lillian and Lena Luthor are front and centre dominating things with a back and forth mother daughter double team. Everyone else is present and correct and we get burgeoning relationships, introductions of couples which had been below the radar, as well as a seam of melancholy for those who had chosen to leave. But that aside the remaining running time is all about them.
Starting in flashback and employing a moment towards the conclusion to underline their point, we get an idea that here are a conniving family never willing to show their true colours. Until now Katie McGrath’s Lena has seemed the black sheep in this equation, going against genetic disposition for creating havoc. But certain facts brought to light here blow such assumptions out of the water. Uncovered first as one thing and then another, McGrath plays a subtle game with the audience leaving us decidedly unsure come episode twelve’s conclusion.
Similarly, Brenda Story’s Lillian Luthor comes across in the first instance as a copybook villain looking to thwart Kara at every turn. But what becomes apparent, especially in ‘Luthors’, is the fact that she is far from clear cut. High class, highly educated and seemingly superior, Lillian is the Grande Dame of double cross with a smile. Even so her belief that she has no choice, raises the question of whether personal perceptions have had any impact on her decision making.
By employing chessboard metaphors subtlety is discarded in favour of conflict creation, struggle and resolution neatly wrapped up in forty five minutes with additional cliff hangers. Having said that the use of Metallo in the episode as a Luthor sidekick and reminder of CADMUS, feels like the levering in of villainy for the sake of it. Frederick Schmidt although effective never felt like a match for our heroine or in fact Olsen’s Guardian. The fact that moments from a previous episode were run for refresher purposes, also made me think writers knew their villain was forgettable.
As I said the remainder of our crew are all here from Maggie and Alex to Kara and Mon-El, but the fluctuating relationship pieces are mere light relief and feel suitably insubstantial as a result. I understand that this is the point, but nonetheless all of this felt like padding rather than plot progression. While the elephant in the room which is CADMUS is hyping itself out of proportion, as we get within seven episodes of an end game. As to whether ‘Luthors’ entertained is never a question, but to what extent certain things were sacrificed in the name of back story is open to debate.