TV Review: Supergirl Season 2, Episode 12 “Luthors”

Last Updated on October 5, 2021


SYNOPSIS: After Metallo (guest star Frederick Schmidt) breaks out of prison and frees Lillian Luthor (guest star Brenda Strong), the police blame Lena (guest star Katie McGrath) for his escape and arrest her. Despite overwhelming evidence, Kara (Melissa Benoist) refuses to believe her friend is guilty and fights to clear Lena’s name. Flashbacks reveal how Lena came to be a Luthor. Meanwhile, Alex (Chyler Leigh) introduces Maggie (Floriana Lima) to the gang. Tawnia McKiernan directed the episode written by Robert Rovner and Cindy Lichtman.


I’ll tell you, there’s nothing I like better than capping off a Monday evening with a rock solid episode of The CW’s SUPERGIRL. This show has been delivering all season long, and lately, it feels as if each installment is better than the last. In my estimation, we’re at the point in the program’s logevity where all of the core actors have really settled into their roles. It’s difficult to describe, I just, I can feel it in my bones as I watch the cast do their thing, you know? There’s an ease there, now, a comfortability, if you will.

To that end, this season has really taken the primary cast of SUPERGIRL and put them through the ringer. Be it Kara’s neverending mission to shine as a symbol of hope to the people of National City, Alex’s journey toward her true identity and happieness, Hank making peace with the demons of his past, James and Winn’s search for purpose, or Mon-El’s desire to simply fit in, each of these threads has served to bring me closer to the cast of SUPERGIRL. Genuine excitement; it’s a damn good feeling to have when your job is to share your thoughts on a show week in and week out. 

For me, “Luthors” is yet another stand-out episode in an already steller season of SUPERGIRL. Now that the “Invasion” bits are all wrapped up, we can finally get back to the shadowy dealings of Cadmus, and be reminded of just how integral Lena Luthor is to the overall story arc of Season 2. In fact, this episode was chock full of Luthors, as we got up close and personal with not just Lena and Lillian, but Lex and Lionel, too! That’s right, it’s a beginning of the episode flashback jambaroo! Heh, the “20 Years Earlier” sequence actually sets up a number of key elements concerning Lena’s narrative quite nicely. You see, it turns out that (spoilers) Lena is a Luthor by blood. I know, right? It’s okay, feel free to gasp along with me.

According to Lillian, shortly after Lex was born, Lionel started having an affair. As you can imagine, this changes things for Lena quite a bit. It’s one thing to think of yourself as the outlier in a family of criminals, but then to discover that built into the blood that courses through your veins? Some people would say, “Oh, but you’ve had years to become your own person. You’re nothing like them at all.” Only those people don’t have to go to sleep with the knowledge, that deep and abiding feeling that the blood has somehow changed. It doesn’t matter if tha crimson fluid has always been there, it’s now different in an emotional capacity – and that can eat away at even the hardest of individuals. What I’m trying to say is, a bomb like that still drops real hard. So you can imagine my delight in knowing the writers have taken these emotions to task.

“Luthors” was a big episode in other ways as well, particularly in bringing villains like Mettalo and Cyborg Superman into the mix, once more. There’s a part of me that wishes for more depth from the Cyborg Superman character, but I suppose that might be asking a bit much. At the moment, Cyborg Superman feels like we’re still holding on to that misguided and grizzled part of Hank’s personality, only we’ve dressed it up with a bit of face plate action. Despite his lack of gravitos, I do enjoy watching he and Frederick Schmidt’s Mettallo do their evil team-up routine. Sadly, this might be the last we’ve seen of Corben the faux-Kryptonite Carebear. But hey, this is comics territory afterall, and characters have been known to come back from far worse. With any luck, Metallo will emerge from that jade-colored death cloud like a knight who says “Ni!”, and shake it off like a Taylor Swift single.

Another thing I’d noticed about tonight’s episode, was that there were some very dramatic dialogue scenes going down. Seriously, there were several. There was the moment in which Kara consoled her friend, Lena, that deep-dive into the Luthor family tree during Lillian’s jail visit, and of course there were those little bits shared between James and Kara, too. I could spend time going through the details of each, but overall, these scenes gave me pause in a very positive way. It was as if the writers pumped the brakes on the action and intrigue just long enough so I could focus down, and really take note of the weight in the room. 

As someone who used to be all over James’ character for his brazen vigilante ways, I’ve really come around not just to Olsen being The Guardian, but I’ve also warmed to appaluding his sense of self-determination. I think it’s important (for comic book shows in general) that viewers be able to distribute their faith in characters beyond those who’ve been blessed with super powers. So for what it’s worth, I hope that The Guardian and Supergirl can find a way to work together from now on; comfortably, honestly, and without hesitation.

This episode also did wonders for me in regard to making some significant progress on the Mon-El and Kara romance kerfuffel. Because really, their cat and mouse routine has been grating on my sensitive nerves for a few episodes, now. However, by the close of tonight’s adventure, it’s nice to see that these two love birds are finally owning up to their mutal desires to become more than friends. This needed to happen. Chris Wood and Melisaa Benoist have entirely too much positive chemistry between them for such a stalemate to remain in place for much longer. I know that keeping them apart drives the drama, but please, don’t both characters have enough going on in their lives that we can allow them a taste of sweet romance? I think it’s worth a shot, though it will be interesting to see how a certain surprise guest character (Mr. Mxyzptlk) gets all up in that business. For now, I’m just glad to know that the truth is out there, and will be excited to see how Kara and Mon-El’s relationship blossoms in the coming weeks.

I’m not going to lie, regardless of having new content to feed off of each week, SUPERGIRL has been a real difficult show to nitpick, lately. As I’d stated in earlier reviews, the show has entered a sort of comfortable “cruise control” momentum, now that we’re back to our main-line affairs. The action, while peppered throughout a series of more emotionally charged moments, I thunk has been engaging and fun to watch. And the connectivity between characters I’m always talking about – even while they’re at odds with one another – has been getting stronger with each harrowing event that comes to pass. For my money, the cast of SUPERGIRL looks to be coming together as this well-oiled machine, who, by the close of this season, will hopefully be working together as a dedicated team toward the greater good.   


STINGER: MR. & MRS. MXYZPTLK – A magical imp named Mr. Mxyzptlk shows up on Earth and declares his love for Kara, who tries to let him down easy. However, he won’t take no for an answer and starts to wreak havoc on National City. 




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About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.