Lex Luthor’s manipulations go much deeper than we realized and Red Daughter finally arrives!!
WOW!! This is episode is, in my opinion, one of the best of the series let alone the season. Jon Cryer’s Lex Luthor, after only two episodes, is easily my favorite villain of the series. This action packed and revelatory episode also wiped away my main criticism of the season: Red Daughter Kara. Up until this point, I was growing a bit frustrated with the lack of this storyline only being teased here and there with her existence and training. Now, we are getting her in full and Lex is behind it all!
The episode opens with Supergirl fighting Lex Luthor in his exo suit!! Two battle and it is revealed that the harun-el has not only cured him, but given him abilities. He appears to have superhuman strength which he demonstrates by dragging and lifting the giant Daily Planet Globe and launching it at Kara! Seeing Lex suit up was a moment of pure joy! When his suit was seen back in Season 2, I never thought we would see him let alone him suit up!
Throughout the episode, we learn that Lex has been behind everything this season: the training of the Kasnian Kara and Lockwood’s Agents of Liberty. Three years ago, Lena and James both testify at Lex’s trial detailing his horrendous acts. His is declared guilty and receives thirty-one consecutive life sentences. When asked by the judge for his reaction, He proclaims, “Superman made me do it.” He warns them about the aliens saying that he is the only one who can stop the coming extinction level event. During his speech, the judge, jury and some attendees all begin to choke and pass out causing another life sentence to be added.
Eve Teschmacher visits Lex in jail (his cell fitted with his belongings and done up like his home ala Kingpin from Daredevil) saying she has always admired him. She is completely enamored by his “once in a lifetime mind” and says she’ll do anything for him. Luthor, still bitter that his sister and James testified at his trial, asks her to get the job of Cat Grant’s assistant at CatCo in order to be closer to Olsen. She complies and says she will await further instructions.
Jumping ahead two and half years (aka six months ago), the Kaznian government discovers the doppelganger of Kara created by the Harun-el during the battle with Reign. They attempt to turn her into a weapon, but she proves to be unstable. The head general calls Luthor, who bribes and threatens the warden to let him out of his cell for seventy-two hours. With Otis and Teschmacher, Lex goes to Kaznia to examine the new Kryptonian. They find her afraid, but protecting a small boy whom she had just saved from several armed thieves. Lex introduces himself and the Kryptonian says “Alex.” He accepts that as the name she will call him. This fateful meeting was the beginning of a twisted mentorship. He trains her, instructs her in history, art, novels, chess etc. all with the bent that America is evil.
Lex reveals his ultimate goal of setting up a war with Kaznia and America (taking advantage of Kasnia’s plan to attack the U.S.) with Supergirl and the Kaznian “Kara” at the center. His plan is to swoop in and save the day thus becoming a hero in the eyes of the world. Luthor orders Otis to get his sister Mercy and begin causing more discord between aliens and humans by recruiting a radical, but a charming voice of dissent. Otis suggests Ben Lockwood as the figurehead of the movement saying that he fits the bill.
When the Graves and Lockwood released Kryptonite into the air, Kaznian Kara was infected with it while training alerting Lex, who rushed there to help her. Following her recovery, he explains to her that she is from Krypton and that she has extraordinary abilities. Lex tells her that she will eventually face Supergirl, who is the face of America and their evil ways.
Four months ago, Lex takes “Kara” to National City, after she expresses her desire to see America. During their visit, Lex tries to further convince her of the selfish and greedy nature of the country. He takes her to Kara’s apartment to allow her to get a sense of her lifestyle. Alex shows up and “Kara” plays the part saying she came back from vacation to Smallville (as seen in the Elseworlds Crossover) for her journal. It works and Alex leaves. She then dives deeper into Kara’s journal finding that she is a good person and begins to realize that America is not that bad. She reads about Kara and Lena’s friendship and decides to go find the latter. She does and has an awkward meeting with her that is conveniently interrupted by Eve. Once Lena leaves, Eve confronts “Kara” warning her to not fall for this kindness and compassion. Teschmacher then informs Lex that she believes that their “pet” is getting soft. Lex, in order to draw back to him, has the young boy she saved taken. He has Otis make it look as though America had bombed his home and that he didn’t make it. “Kara” discovers this is devastated. However, she quickly realized that this was all due to Lex’s rivalry with Lena. She refuses to be a part of it, but Lex is insistent.
Three months ago, during a routine training exercise, “Kara” fell ill thus threatening to end all of Lex’s work. He meets with Eve and asks about using the harun-el on her. Eve says that it isn’t ready and that Lena will not let her use it. Lex realizes that he will not be able to ask his sister the old fashioned way as she does not trust him. So, as any crazy villain would do, he decides to give himself cancer thus setting into motion the events of last week’s episode.
Before that however, Lex appears to Lena in hologram form to tell her that he is dying and that they should work together on th harun-el cure. Cut to present day, Lex goes to Kasnia and gives “Kara” the cure. She thanks him and then pledges her loyalty to him. She says, “Supergirl acts on her emotions. It’s selfish, ugly. I will not be her. I will be me. I will follow you and destroy her.” A pleased Lex gifts her a new suit and christens her his “Red Daughter.”
The real Kara flies into James’s hospital room to find Alex there. She tells both of them that Lex Luthor is free and that she just fought him. Alex tells her to get J’onn and pursue Luthor while she goes to find Lena. Meanwhile, Red Daughter hovers and watches over the city.
As I said earlier, this is one of my favorite episodes of the entire series! Jon Cryer’s performance as Lex is top notch. I really enjoyed his chemistry with Melissa Benoist, who was incredible in this episode as well. Their mentor-mentee relationship was twisted and captivating. The writers did a fantastic job recontextualizing the series showing that Lex was behind a lot of the key events dating back to before the second season. This essentially makes him the true big bad of not only this season, but in some ways, the entire series which is fantastic!
Next week’s episode looks equally thrilling as Lex’s plan continues to unfold and Red Daughter is unleashed on our heroes!
Stay tuned for more recaps & reviews here on Earth 9 and come back next week for another Supergirl review!