1190px × 552px – Peter May ReTales(31)

Backstory and Becoming on SUPERGIRL

Supergirl’s 16th episode (“The House of L”) was largely backstory, filling in gaps and answering some outstanding questions. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I enjoyed learning more about Lex—how far his manipulation spread and how much he’s wounded those around him without a thought (Lena’s “He used to say we were burdened with excellence. … I was blind enough to think he wanted a partner.” was powerful. The word choice was very…Loki.). It was extremely telling that he gave himself cancer (I haaaaate that is a plotline for personal reasons though. Hate. Loathe. Deeply resent. Right, moving on…). His hyperfocus would be admiral if he weren’t so delightfully deranged.

But I do have questions. Like, how did he have access to all the money? Before dealing with the Kaznians, he had enough capital to supply the prison with lobsters. He had enough connections to install Ben Lockwood in the Children of Liberty Iron Mask. But the money thing struck me as puzzling.

This pieced together Eve’s involvement, too, which may be a retcon (possibly), but it works (“You’re literate—for a Manson girl.” made me snort laugh). I loved Lex playing chess with all the inmates. That was a nice touch, having him checkmate three people—even more interesting seeing him and Fake Supergirl (Linda Lee) play. His single-minded pursuit of what he believes in right leaves no quarter for kindness. Lex constantly berates those around him (Eve/Fake Supergirl, aka Snowbird) when he’s not busy threatening them (too many to list). Jon Cryer infuses charm where he can, but you never forget for a single moment that Lex Luthor is Lex Goddamn Luthor.

I absolutely have to give a shoutout to Melissa Benoist for her riveting, nuanced, emotion-filled portrayal of the Fake Kara (I know, technically Snowbird). So many little details (a look, a nervousness) made that character come alive, arriving layer by layer, with lesson after lesson. Sure, some of those lessons were actual books. But I was most interested when she deviated from Lex’s carefully curated path, showing initiative and curiosity, like when she read Kara’s diary. Her defiance flared, too, when Eve confronted her, and that was a truly brilliant moment. Benoist brings a softness to the part, a hungry pursuit of goodness and knowledge. Of course, this gets corrupted and exploited by Lex. But the performance was utterly stellar. Side note: I hate Otis less for sparing the soccer-playing kid, Mikhail (a lovely Gabriel Gurevich). The conversation warning him against all bald men was sweet and hilarious.

Obviously, Fake Kara was saved by Lex and thought someone she cared for was killed by Americans, so she drank the Evil Kool-Aid. Not ideal! But I wager she’ll find some kind of connection with the real Alex. I think she’ll end up sacrificing herself somehow, in service of the greater good. And I already know it’s going to break my heart. Because there’s such goodness in Fake Kara, even though Lex has set her down a dark path.

I mean, there’s also an intriguing symbolism in a hero literally fighting a part of herself. A rather well-illustrated internal struggle. I, for one, am looking forward to this fight.

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Welcoming the Future, Treasuring the Past.