Spoilers ahead for "Luthors," the latest episode of The CW's Supergirl!
The short version: Lillian Luthor escapes and gets Lena wrapped up in the craziness; Metallo and Cyborg Superman are back; Metallo's synthetic Kryptonite goes nuclear; Kara almost kisses Mon-El; and Mr. Mxyzptlk arrives to set up next week.
The good: The Luthors, the super-villains, the Easter eggs
Trent: After getting a hefty introduction at the start of the season, the Luthor family had been sidelined for a while to make some narrative space for the introduction of Guardian and Maggie. But now, the classic DC family is right back in the limelight. Lillian Luthor's trial has come around, and of course she stages a jailbreak with the help of Metallo. Seeing Lena caught in the middle of her family's legacy and who she wants to be has been a recurring story this year, and this week's episode really pushed that narrative forward. It didn't exactly provide a ton of answers, but we can glean some things. The flashback scenes (which introduced us to a young Lex Luthor!) show that Lena certainly has a tactical mind after picking up chess in pretty much no time. So, despite appearances, it's certainly possible that she's playing some type of long game. They even call back to that when she awkwardly picks up a chess piece after meeting with Kara. Best guess? They're setting up the classic Superman/Lex friendship and betrayal story for later this year or even in Season 3.
Instead of rolling out a new Alien of the Week, "Luthors" just brought back Metallo and Cyborg Superman. Which was fine — they're formidable enough, and it set up a nice Guardian vs. Metallo brawl. Last but certainly not least were the Easter eggs. When Lillian finally busts into Lex's secret vault, there are a whole lot of goodies -- most notably Lex's battle-suit, which comic fans are certainly well aware of. Hey, you gotta get an edge when slugging it out with the Man of Steel, right? There's also the little-known DC Comics weapon the Atomic Axe and the Black Mercy (a plant that makes you live your perfect life in a dream). Great nods to the wider DC world.
Dany: People joke about Lena and Kara as a romantic thing, but whether or not you think that'll happen (it almost certainly won't), it's impossible to deny that their friendship is one of the best things to come out of Supergirl's second season. No matter how distrustful others are of the Luthor family, Kara's unwaivering dedication and faith in her friend isn't only in-character but is also the kind of admirable trait that's missing from a lot of modern superhero stories.
Yes, it's true that Lex and Clark have had similar friendships in certain timelines (including this one, apparently), but even that redundancy gets played as a strength. When James doubts Lena, his doubt is rooted in experience. He's watched one super friend have their faith betrayed by a Luthor before, and he's also felt the sting of not being trusted by a Kryptonian, too.
All in all, there's a stellar emotional journey here. And, of course, a little last-minute Mxyzptlk to prevent a boring make-out session between Mon-El and Kara was a hilarious relief.
The bad: The FX work, Kara's love life
Dany: I don't want Mon-El and Kara together. It's boring, it's predictable, it's ... kind of uncomfortable having her ditch the black guy she loved all last season because she has to be Supergirl only to turn around and say yes to this white dude? Plus, we all know that if it isn't James, then it's SuperCorp all the way. I mean come on now, show -- who do you think you're fooling here?
Trent: There was a decent bit of action packed into this episode, though it started to show its seams. Kara's first fight with Metallo during Lillian's jailbreak was laughably bad. It looked like something from the old Richard Donner films, and not in a good way. Yes, it's a TV budget, but c'mon. This is bordering on distracting. There's also Kara's contrived love life. Mon-El is an obvious love interest, and Kara had to beat around the bush for a few episodes to realize (surprise!) she really does have feelings for him. When the show gets into the soap-y stuff with Kara, it can really start painting by numbers. This is one of those times.
If you're not a comic reader, you were probably scratching your head when some weird dude calling himself Mister Mxyzptlk showed up in the final minute and declared his love for Kara. All will be explained next week! Mxyzptlk is a DC Comics villain dating back to the 1940s who's basically a trickster who can warp reality to his whims. He's typically terrorizing Superman, but it seems he's developed a bit of a crush on Clark's super-cousin. Next week's episode looks to be straight-up shenanigans.
Next week: Wackiness ensues.