Supergirl: The House of L

Lex Luthor: People disappoint.

This episode, however, did not. Finally we have Melissa Benoist taking a central role – this time it’s mostly as Kaznia aka Red Daughter – but she’s a version of Supergirl, and I’ll take it.

The episode begins with a long but compelling teaser, with Lex Luthor’s backstory: his sentencing, his murder of the judge and the jury (I’d like more on how), and his life in prison. We also get to see the groupie Eve Teschmacher signing up to work for our villain. Something like seven minutes passed before the episode even showed the opening credits, which confused me, to see the names of the guest stars after the show had been going for a while.

Also engrossing was the story of the Siberian Supergirl, who seems to be a clone of the original Supergirl. Let’s call her Red Daughter (I’ve also seen "Snowbird" at IMDB but I don’t recall seeing or hearing that during the episode itself). Red Daughter remembers nothing, except for the word "Alex" – which of course is where her heart is, her core relationship with her adopted sister. The Russians (or rather the people of Kaznia, which is a fictional Balkan country that used to be part of the Soviet Union) find her and ask Lex Luthor for help in dealing with what is both an opportunity and a threat. Lex is in prison when he receives their appeal but that doesn’t seem to be a problem. Anyway he goes to help and the episode has a lucky break – they make great use of the fact that Alex and Lex essentially have the same name.

Red Daughter grows up some, and there’s not much to say about it – the episode doesn’t have the great depth or political relevance of the previous arc – but every moment is entertaining, and the entertainment is superb. Red Daughter learns to speak American English (so Melissa Benoist can use her real voice) and visits the apartment of the “real” Kara Danvers (apparently Lex knows Supergirl’s secret identity but has not shared this information with Lena). Kara is supposed to be visiting Smallville, but of course Alex shows up, having been asked to water Kara’s plants. Red Daughter pulls off the Kara imitation, and after getting Alex to leave, Lex tells her to fly back to Kaznia. However, Red Daughter now knows that there’s an Alex in Kara’s life as well. She also reads Kara’s diary and learns a lot about her. Red Daughter shares many traits with her original – kindness and good principles – and so it’s going to be hard for Lex Luthor to keep her in line with his own goals.

We also get the back story on Lex Luthor and the prior episode and how he managed to have cancer exactly when he needed it, which was a lot of fun (and rather painful for him). Finally we have a scene or two with the "real" Supergirl, who knows she’s going to have to fight Lex Luthor (but she doesn’t yet know she’ll be fighting herself).

Title musings: “The House of L” may seem, at first glance, to refer only to the Luthors. After all, Lena is currently running L-Corp and we do get a little of the relationship between Lena and Lex (last week’s episode explored their relationship more thoroughly). However, the supercousins' Kryptonian names are Kal-El and Kara Zor-El, and El sounds exactly like L. Of course this episode was all about Kara’s accidentally created clone – the youngest member of the House of El.

Bits and pieces

Loved the Supergirl title in what I assume was Cyrillic.

They let us know that Lex Luthor’s full name is Alexander Joseph Luthor. Besides an interesting bit of trivia, it was a plot point.

Interesting critique of The Great Gatsby.

Liked how Lex Luthor took advantage of the only moment he could in order to pierce Red Daughter’s ears.

I don’t speak Russian, so it is possible that I am misjudging, but I thought Benoist did a fair job with the Slavic accent, both in Russian and in English.

Nice how Otis saved the little boy.

It must be so much fun for Jon Cryer, after so many years of playing the warm-hearted, insecure Alan Harper on Two and a Half Men to playing the cold, manipulative, very confident Lex Luthor. Cryer was brilliant.

So, if Lex Luthor now has powers (and I don’t know how extensive his powers are), why exactly does he need his own version of Supergirl?

Quotes

James Olsen: He kidnapped me. And I have sixteen scars from the torture.

Lena Luthor: Enough smoking guns for an army.

Lex Luthor: For the rest of human history, there will only be before Superman – and after. I am protecting mankind from an extinction event.

Lex Luthor: I will always have my thumb on the scales.

Lex Luthor: Lobster is 18th century peasant food, only fit for the indentured and the incarcerated.

Lex Luthor: Prison’s the best alibi the world has yet devised, and I’m about to need a lot of alibis.

Red Daughter: Why does Kara have an Alex? Why is she friends with your sister?

Lex Luthor: You’re right. I have to give myself cancer.
Miss Teschmacher: That’s not what I was going to say!

Overall Rating

I enjoyed this episode tremendously. There’s little better for entertainment than a worthy villain, and Lex Luthor is worthy (hence nearly all the quotes above were his), as well as a Supergirl with a chance for emotional growth. In a way I missed seeing the other characters (especially Brainy) but the effort to squeeze every character into previous episodes has hurt some of them. Four out of four deflated soccer balls.

Victoria Grossack loves math, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.

2 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Total agreement. I was apprehensive about them bringing in Lex, but it worked, and so did Red Daughter. I especially like that she's a double, but she's not evil. She's very like Kara. That should make for some interesting future interactions.

Diogo said...

Isn't Jon Cryer like, roughly 149320 times better than Jesse Eisenberg as Luthor?