Supergirl: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Lena Luthor: How can you pay your debt to society if you’re already dead?

An enjoyable episode, back to the basics of the comics – but not much depth for Kara.

The episode follows several storylines. Lex Luthor has been let out of prison (but with lots of guards) because he’s dying of cancer. He visits his sister Lena to seek a cure for his cancer, especially as he knows she’s been working on a drug based on the magic stone from Krypton that just might do the trick. It’s interesting to watch the half-siblings interact. Lex doesn’t seem like all that bad a guy and he doesn’t seem that dangerous. He eggs Lena on, but also tells her some truths.

The B story is concerned with James, who was shot at the end of the prior episode. He gets rescued immediately, by using the watch that I remember given to him in one of the Superman comics which I read many decades ago. The watch has to be activated to send out a distress signal, so I spent the whole episode wondering who activated it. James couldn’t and a killer wouldn’t, so what was going on? Turns out the shooter wasn’t trying to kill James, but it wasn’t a loose plot thread either. Anyway, the friends of James (including ex-girlfriend Lena) gather in the hospital, and are joined by Kelly, James’s sister. James is alive, but in bad shape, and the question is – operate on him (probably paralyze him but save his life) or give him Lena’s drug (perfect health but possibly kills him)? Kelly, as next-of-kin, has to make the decision. She doesn’t trust the Luthors. She opts for surgery, quite reasonably pointing out that Lex Luthor has been trying to kill her brother over and over. Then the power at the hospital fails while James is in surgery and Lena rushes in with the improved-but-untested drug, which is now James's only option. And saves her ex-boyfriend. Whew!

The C story – not very interesting – are J’onn and Supergirl following Manchester Black – who they assume (incorrectly) shot J’onn. Manchester Black is managing to infiltrate J’onn’s thoughts and visions, and provokes J’onn into attacking him and apparently killing him. I say “apparently” because, you know, how often do characters really die in these series? Anyway, the ring that Black stole from Brainy falls to the ground and it gets returned to Brainy, while J’onn realizes/decides that he’s not a man of peace after all. Honestly, I didn’t really care, although the action scene does give Supergirl the chance to say: “Dam it,” on TV. We seem to have finished with Agent Liberty in the last episode; does this mean that we’re done with Manchester Black as well? I wouldn’t mind.

I was actually a little relieved not to be having to follow too many storylines. The end, where we learn that Lex took advantage of the threat on the dam to engineer a power outage that compelled Lena to test her drug on James before he tried it on himself, was just convoluted enough to be pleasantly surprising without being confusing (and his henchman, the one who shot James Olsen to turn him into a test bunny, was the guy who summoned Supergirl with his watch). But the sweetest reveal was when Eve Teschmacher pulled a gun on Lena Luthor. “How long have you been working for him?” Lena asks, and Eve replies, “Always.” Of course, she was his sidekick/love interest before, so that was perfectly reasonable.

The episode ends with Lex Luthor – after murdering a whole bunch of people – flying away in a helicopter and seeing Supergirl hovering outside.

Title musings: “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is also name of a movie that I have not seen, which was apparently based on Homer’s The Odyssey, which I have read. I can’t see any similarities between the episode and The Odyssey. We can take a literal interpretation as the helicopter flies off with Lex and so Lena doesn’t know where her brother is. It also applies to Kelly, who probably often wonders where James is.

Bits and pieces

Lex Luthor quotes Epicurus and says the Greek philosopher lived 230 years ago. But it’s more like 2300 years ago. Big mistake.

Fun to see Jon Cryer as a very sick Lex Luthor, a role so different from his role as sidekick and a whiny, younger brother in Two and a Half Men.

Now we know why Katie McGrath had so little to do as Lena in the last episode. Because of all her work in this episode.

The make-up folks did a great job of making Kara and Alex look absolutely horrible for J’onn’s hallucination.

Nice to have Nia kiss Brainy. However, there was not enough Brainy in the episode. They weren’t offering much support, just hanging around the vending machine.

Quotes

Lex Luthor: I am the man of tomorrow. Not him! Not him!

Lex Luthor: If the Latin fits.

Lex Luthor: I want you to know with certainty, that while I came from poison, you came from love. And if the rest of this family stands steadily in darkness, you will always fall into the light.

Kelly: Jell-O really is the best hospital food.

Brainy (after pounding with futility on vending machine): I usually get along so well with machines.

Kara/Supergirl: Dam it. (Closest she gets to being able to say damn it, but there was a literal dam breaking. Noticed they had no closed captioning, at least on my screen, at that moment.)

Overall Rating

The episode was enjoyable and Lex Luthor was great. The problem, however, is that they’re not giving Supergirl anything emotional to do; she hardly ever has any quotable quotes. Even her tension with Alex’s not knowing her secret identity was lame. Two and a half out of four bowls of Jell-O.

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

1 comment:

Billie Doux said...

I thought that Jon Cryer did a surprisingly good job as Lex. I wouldn't have cast him, but it was a good choice. I also really loved the coming together of Lex, Otis and Miss Tessmacher at the end because it was such a fun little tribute to the Christopher Reeve movie.

But you're right -- not much of this was about Kara. The Kara stuff was nearly all about how she has to keep her true self from her sister now. Alex was giving her such a hard time about not being in the hospital waiting room. O Sister, Where Art Thou? :)