This week is all about the rivalries, on camera and off, between friends, lovers, and family. Lillian Luthor, mommy from hell, set up a rivalry between Lex and Lena from the moment they met that reflected her rivalries with both her own husband and Lena’s mother, and she’s still all about competition. The Supergirl crowd’s rivalries are much more accidental or unconscious, but they are still there. James, in particular, needs to take a good look at his motivations. Lex was his rival for Clarke’s affections, and now Lena is his rival for Kara’s. That’s enough to make James dismissive of the idea that Lena could be any different from the rest of her family.
We open on Lillian teaching Lex Luthor the finer points of chess. Lionel Luthor brings 4 year old Lena into the room, having just adopted her. Llillian makes noises about not having been completely on board with the adoption, but comes around when she sees Lex and Lena interact. Nothing like a little sibling rivalry to sharpen the competitive instinct.
Back in the future, it’s time for Lillian’s trial. Kara watches news reports about the trial in the intergalactic bar. Mon El suggests public shaming for Lillian, which was popular and effective on Daxam. Kara tells him it’s unconstitutional here, in so many words. He accepts the news better than our current president. Then they fake a pleasant conversation while he takes her order. No one does a fake pleasant laugh like Melissa Benoist, and no one is fake charming like Chris Wood. Even their awkward fake chemistry is fun. Just be honest about your feelings, Kara!
Kara returns to her table, where J’onn, Winn, and James are waiting. J’onn is a bit down because it’s the first time he’s been back since M’gann left. Speaking of cruel and unusual punishment, show, this is not okay to do to J’onn or us. M’gann needs to realize her mistake or win her cause and return to Earth immediately.
James and Winn are excited to meet the new guy that Alex is dating?? What? They’ve never looked around when Alex and Maggie were at the DEO together? Or anywhere else? They’ve been in the DEO, standing shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, toe to toe, playing footsie. You’d have to be blind not to notice that those two are in love, with the heart eyes all over the place. I need a face palm emoji.
Alex brings in Maggie to meet everyone officially as her girlfriend. Reactions: J’onn knew, because he’s psychic and Alex is like a daughter to him. He pays attention to her. Winn: Surprised, and embarrassed that he was talking about guys, but totally cool. Mon El: On Daxam, anything goes. The more the merrier. James: Congratulates Alex, then asks Kara if “that cop” knows that he’s the Guardian. Because this is really about him.
Kara and James have a bit of an *sshole off over his feelings about Lena and hers over Guardian. Is he jealous of Kara and Lena’s chemistry?
Lena has to testify against her mother, Lillian. Kara can relate to Lena’s position after her experiences last year with Astra. She tells James that she thinks Lena was brave to testify. James says Lena is a Luthor, and you can never trust a Luthor. Lena will end up using Kara, according to James.
Kara goes to visit Lena, and brings donuts. Lillian wants Lena to visit her in prison. Kara advises her to go, because she is still Lena’s mother. This is the part that Kara and Lena don’t have in common. Kara doesn’t realize how toxic family relationships can continue from childhood into adulthood, and never end. You need to set up boundaries or the destructive behavior will continue to suck you in and drag you back down into a deep, dark hole over and over again. Lillian looks to me like the holes she digs are very deep and dark.
Oh yes, Lillian is a pro. She starts with apologies and expressions of love. Then she shares the truth of Lena’s birth, which she’s obviously been saving for just the right moment. Lena is actually Lionel’s daughter, the product of an affair. After Lena’s mother died, the Luthor’s adopted her, but had a hard time with her presence in the house, because it reminded them both of the affair. Now, Lillian tells Lena they are the only two Luthors left, so they need to band together as a family.
Corbin the Cadmus cyborg supersoldier is testifying. Lillian managed to get a Kryptonite laser slipped into his cell, so he uses it to attack the courtroom, and escape with Lillian and Lena. Maggie finds that the only visitor to the jail who could have brought in the Kryptonite was Lena, but that’s a set up. We saw the Kryptonite being delivered to Corbin with the mail by a guard.
Kara visits Lena to talk about the Kryptonite. They barely get started before Maggie arrives to arrest Lena, based on a surveillance video of Lena with Kryptonite that was sent to the police. Lena says she’s innocent, and Kara believes her, but Maggie still has to arrest her.
Back at CatCo, they’re changing the cover at the last minute to feature Lena. She’s the most famous person in National City, so her arrest is a huge story. Kara argues with Snapper and James that SHE knows Lena’s innocent, so the magazine shouldn’t drag Lena through the mud like this. Kara’s big heart is a wonderful thing, but she needs to learn some journalistic professionalism, too. Lena’s arrest is a fact. CatCo reports the facts as news.
James tells Kara that if Lena can turn her own mother in to the police, she can definitely pull a long con on Kara, and he’ll prove it to her. This had better just be his jealousy talking, and not a long term storyline the show is setting up.
Kara runs into Eve, Mon El’s date from last week. Turns out that they haven’t had a second date, because Mon El spent the first one talking about Kara.
James stakes out the prison as Guardian. Corbin shows up to free Lena, and he and Guardian fight. Corbin takes Lena with him against her will. After that, no one in the DEO but Kara believes that Lena is innocent.Kara asks Winn to take a closer look at the Kryptonite video.
James makes a long speech to Kara where he somehow equates Lena’s innocence with him being Guardian. He’s sure Lena has to be exactly like the rest of her family. Those of us who managed to escape the dysfunctional cycles of our families, whether it’s addiction, abuse, or crime, would like to shout a big F YOU in his face right here. James has got some kind of giant complicated underlying issues of his own going on this season. He’s jealous of anyone who’s closer to Clarke or Kara than him, but he also wants to be Clarke and Kara, and he has an unhealthy need for Kara’s approval. I don’t know where the heck they intend to go with this, but that speech was practically gaslighting. Kara’s opinion of Lena and her opinion of James have nothing to do with each other. Lena earned the trust Kara has in her. James has earned Kara’s trust in many ways, but not as Guardian. How about he goes out and proves himself? She may not come around as fast as he wants, but she’ll come around faster if he stops forcing the issue.
Kara goes to a training room to beat things up after her argument with James. Mon El shows up and just his presence jollies her out of her anger almost immediately. She asks him why he said he was still dating Eve. He asks why she cares if she doesn’t like him? She asks how he could date someone else, if he was serious about her? He asks again, if she doesn’t like him, why does she care? She makes a run for it without ever answering a question honestly.
Lillian tries to convince Lena that she loves her and rescued her because she wants them to be a real family now, yada, yada, yada. Then they arrive at one of Lex’s supersecret facilities full of food, weapons, and satellite monitors. All behind a biometric lock that can only be opened with Luthor DNA. Mommy Dearest stops acting so warm and loving and has her goon force Lena to open it.
Meanwhile, Winn figures out that the incriminating video was faked by the real Hank Henshaw, and they locate the facility that the Luthors are using. Winn’s scanners determine that Corbin’s implanted Kryptonite is rapidly deteriorating, and will explode before long.
Kara takes off for the facility. The Kryptonite has become dangerously unstable. She arrives at the mountain facility. Lillian uses one of Lex’s anti-Superman weapons on her. Kara fights Corbin as Hank and Lillian leave. J’onn comes to help Kara. They grab Lena and take off just in time.
The headlines all say Lena’s innocent the next day. Kara gloats. Snapper tells her that it’s just the way the news works. Now go get an exclusive interview. James admits that he was wrong about Lena. He was just trying to protect Kara. They agree to stop trying to protect each other.
Kara and Lena bond for a few minutes in Lena’s office. Lena says she’s never had anyone stick up for her like Kara, never had anyone be her family like that. Kara tells Lena that now she has someone. After Kara leaves, Lena picks up the white knight from the chess board in her office. She remembers back to the match she played with Lex tha day she was adopted. She beat Lex, using the white knight for the checkmate. Lillian told her that maybe she was a Luthor, after all.
Mon El arrives at Kara’s house. He says he’s surprised that she called him over. She tells him that she used to think she had to choose between being Supergirl and having a relationship, but then he came along and was a jerk, and then wasn’t such a jerk, and now maybe it’s worth a try, and let’s kiss already, before the next friggin’ interruption. Too late. Next week’s show is already intruding, in the form of Mr Mxyzptlk, who tells Kara he loves her. Supergirl gets around, apparently.
What is Lena’s game? Is she actually playing a long game for Lillian, or Lex? I don’t think so. She remembers her first game with Lex, where she beat him using the white knight. She was better, smarter than Lex from their first game. The white knight is a symbol of good, and of heroism. Is she thinking of Kara, or is Lena the symbolic hero? It will be disappointing as hell if James turns out to be right and they are just rewriting the Clarke/Lex story here with Kara/Lena.
Who is Lena’s bio mother? Could Lillian have had something done to her mother? Could Lena’s mother still be alive? Could it be Astra? Lena said family to Kara in a very pointed way. It’s conceivable that they are related in some way.
I hope Chris Wood wasn’t lent out to that other show that he used to be on for too many episodes. I miss having him woven through the plotline.
Kara: She knows Lillian is evil. She’s doing the right thing, even though she still loves her mother. What she did was brave.
Winn: No way Alex dates anyone who doesn’t own a firearm.
J’onn: I’m psychic, of course I knew.
Mon El: Is that, like, a problem, here on Earth? Alex: Well, on Earth, not everyone supports ladies lovin’ ladies. Mon El: Well, on Daxam, it’s the more the merrier. [There are times when Daxam sounds like the better planet, compared to Krypton, minus the whole slavery and cruel and unusual punishment things. On the flip side, Daxam didn’t destroy their own planet and take out Krypton, too, so that race might be a tie, or go to Daxam in the end.]