This week’s Supergirl was a breath of fresh air, finally focusing on the show’s women again. Except they forgot one. And she seems to keep getting forgotten.
Since it premiered five years ago, one thing has been proven about Supergirl over and over again: It’s at its best when it lets the women shine.
That might seem like a given, considering the show is called Supergirl, but alas, it has failed the Bechdel Test many times over. Thankfully, this week was different. This week’s episode called back to earlier days, when it was all about the ladies teaming up and having each other’s backs.
“Reality Bytes” was especially poignant, as it highlighted the issues that trans women face every single day. It was heartbreaking and beautiful and much needed.
Unfortunately, the rest of the season hasn’t quite reached the same bar. In fact, it’s sidelined some of the most important female characters in the show. And it’s largely because there’s been an evil, bald elephant in the room. So let’s finally address it.
It’s time for Lexit on Supergirl. (Like Brexit, but … for Lex. You get it.)
Don’t get me wrong, Jon Cryer is playing the character beautifully. It’s hard to believe that the same guy played wimpy Alan Harper on Two and a Half Men. His take on the iconic villain is every bit as slimy and sinister as it is charming, and it makes for a truly fun watch.
Lex finding a way to replace Brandon Routh’s Superman in Crisis On Infinite Earths was one of the best twists of the entire five-hour crossover event.
But, in true Lex Luthor fashion, he’s now sucking the air out of the room and taking the spotlight off the Luthor who truly deserves it: Lena. And, by extension, he’s taking deserved screen time away from Kelly and Nia, too.
This season of Supergirl was widely billed as “the fight for Lena’s soul.” Having found out her best friend is actually Supergirl from her megalomaniac brother — as he was dying from the gunshot wound Lena gave him herself, mind you — was not great.
It broke Lena in ways that she didn’t think she could be broken anymore – or rather, ways that she couldn’t bear being broken anymore. As a result, we got one of Katie McGrath and Melissa Benoist’s best performances of the series.
From here, it would have been a deeply satisfying conflict to watch Lena battle against her own mind and emotions to find herself and her love for Kara again.
Even better would’ve been having Lena actually head to Metropolis to see Sam and Ruby. Obviously the timeline Mxyzptlk showed us wasn’t ideal, but it indicated that Sam would help. The timing was just off. Give me all the love and support of female friendship.
Instead, we’ve primarily watched Lex bathe in the post-Crisis glory of having rewritten himself in history as a hero and philanthropist — two descriptors Lena actually earned during her time in National City.
As of late, Lena’s been pushed to the sideline, in favor of Lex’s arc. The bulk of her screen time has been focused on how Lena “needs” Lex’s help to get Non Nocere operational.
Admittedly, there’s some fun in that. The banter between the two siblings gives us a clear look at why Lena so admired her brother, and how well they got on during their younger years. But it’s hard to fully enjoy it, considering it’s just part of Lex’s emotional manipulation of his sister.
It’s been said outright that he’s only working with Lena because he doesn’t want to be alone, not because he believes in her mission. His actual endgame with her is still a bit unclear though. Right now, his focus is on Leviathan.
Despite this “dark path” that is Lena working with her brother, the battle for Lena’s soul hasn’t been won; it’s barely been fought.
Kara has made it clear that Lena is now accountable for her own actions, and that was a good step, however poorly phrased it may have felt. But between dealing with Andrea, this deeply forced love story with William (a tirade for another day, my friends), and trying to help Lex stop Leviathan while also trying to figure out Lex’s self-serving goals too, Kara has barely had the attention span to focus on Lena.
Leviathan was a real threat before Lex died. He didn’t need to return to drive that home. And now that he has, the season’s big bad is pretty undefined. Is it Leviathan? Is it Lex himself? Is it both?
While we’re sorting through it, Lena’s been relegated to a lab — or, in last week’s case, a prison — as no more than a side character. Sadly, Kelly and Nia have been given a similar fate.
Kelly literally works for Obsidian North, and this week’s episode showed just how instrumental she is in the coding of Leviathan’s core weapon. And yet, she’s not being used as a mole for the Super Friends when it comes to monitoring Leviathan, because she has no concrete connection to Lex and his purposes?
Nia is just starting to fully hone her powers, and she’s become a “sister superhero” for the DEO? Come on Lex, you’re smarter than this.
Personally, I’d much rather watch these ladies, along with the younger Luthor, work to stop the organization that, unbeknownst to Lena, pulled her brother’s strings the first time around. With Andrea in the picture as well, Lena has more of a tie to Leviathan anyway.
Plus, something tells me that with the threat of the entire world slipping into chaos, Lena and Kara would find their way back to each other much quicker.
The problem is this: How can Lexit happen without killing him off? We saw what that did to Lena once; she doesn’t deserve to go through it again. Plus, it’d be nice to see him again in Supergirl down the road. But at the end of the day, Supergirl doesn’t need a legacy character like Lex hanging around permanently.
Lex was fun for a few episodes, but National City is only big enough for one Luthor — and her badass friends.
Do you think it’s about time Lex Luthor took a backseat on Supergirl? Tell us why or why not in the comments below!