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Recap / Supergirl (2015) S2E12 "Luthors"

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When Lillian Luthor and Metallo escape from their trial, suspicion falls to Lena, and the question of whether her loyalty to her family has corrupted her sense of justice arises, leaving Kara as her only ally. But is Lena's friendship with both Kara and Supergirl genuine?


Tropes in this episode include:

  • An Aesop: Everyone, no matter their connections or past, is innocent until proven guilty, never the other way around.
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  • Almost Kiss: Mon-El and Kara are about to finally kiss when Mr. Mxyzptlk shows up.
  • Antagonist Title: As it relates to Lillian as well as Lena's true parentage.
  • Artistic License – Law: Any competent lawyer would skewer Metallo on the stand when he says Lillian is justified in her actions. By saying she is justified, he is confirming she broke the law, turning the case into a slam dunk. Of course, he helps her escape moments later.
  • Asshole Victim: By trying to empower himself with unstable artificial Kryptonite, Metallo eventually explodes. He will not be missed.
  • Back for the Dead: Metallo returns, only to blow up by episode's end.
  • Bad Boss: Lillian has no problem leaving Metallo behind to die for her, despite his belief in her mission.
  • Big Damn Heroes: J'onn shows up in the nick of time to save Kara from Metallo.
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  • The Bus Came Back: Metallo and Henshaw both return.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Lena to Lillian, multiple times, particularly when it turns out Lillian broke Lena out of jail because she needs her Luthor DNA to open Lex's arsenal; Lena declares that her so-called mother cares for nobody but herself and that she'd rather take her chances with the authorities.
  • Child Prodigy: In the flashback, four-year-old Lena defeated Lex in a chess match.
  • Co-Dragons: Metallo and Hank Henshaw are this to Lillian, although the former dies by the episode's end.
  • Continuity Nod: A Black Mercy is among the weapons within Lex's bunker.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: Everyone besides Kara is quick to believe that Lena facilitated Lillian's escape from justice.
  • Culture Clash:
    • According to Mon-El, on Daxam it was standard practice to publicly shame criminals in stocks in the town square. "Really seemed to cut down on recidivism."
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    • He's more confused about everyone finding a lesbian relationship odd than the reveal that Alex is in one. Daxamite tradition is apparently "the more the merrier."
  • Family Title: Referring to Lena and Lillian, as well as to Lex and Lionel. Overlaps with Antagonist Title above.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: On Kara's advice, Lena visits her mother in prison to try and reconcile with her one more time before she is convicted. This allows Lillian and her cyborg underlings to frame her daughter for giving the artificial Kryptonite to Metallo.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Kara is faced with a Sadistic Choice of capturing Lillian Luthor, or saving innocent people from a falling crane. She conveniently forgets about her Super Speed, with which she could've saved the innocents, gently placed the crane down, captured Lilian, and brought her back to prison in seconds. Then again, she did just take a direct blast from Metallo's kryptonite heart, so she may have been weakened enough to not be able to catch Lillian.
  • Frame-Up: Henshaw hacks the footage of him stealing the synthetic Kryptonite so that it looks like Lena was the one stealing it.
  • Going Critical: The synthetic kryptonite in Metallo's chest grows more unstable as it's used, eventually going up in a giant green mushroom cloud.
  • Hypocrite: Everyone (except Mon-El) accuses Kara of letting her friendship with Lena cloud her judgment with confirmation bias of her innocence. They never even consider that their prejudice against her Luthor family name is heavily biasing their opinion as well, even before seemingly damning evidence comes up.
  • Internal Reveal: James and Winn learn that Alex is homosexual. It's not a surprise to J'onn, but he kept it to himself.
    Winn: I—I didn't know. [to J'onn] Did you know?
    J'onn: Of course I knew, I'm psychic.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: Kara gets through her Love Confession to Mon-El, but their Almost Kiss is disrupted by the sudden appearance of Mister Mxyzptlk, declaring his love for Kara.
  • Jerkass Ball: Everyone, besides Kara, takes a grab at it in regards to Lena. All are quick to write off Lena as a villain because of the circumstantial evidence and without an official verdict, due to her family's infamous history.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Snapper once again is right in that Kara is biased in her investigation. While Kara is right in the end about Lena being innocent, the evidence did point the other way.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Lillian only attempts to get close to Lena so she can open Lex's secret base. And when she refuses, Henshaw forces her to open it.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Metallo assaults some security guards before he breaks Lena out of her prison cell. Said guards were mocking Lena and joking that she might end up bald like her brother outside her cell literally seconds before Metallo arrived.
  • Mentor Ship: Kara admits her feelings to Mon-El this episode.
  • Motive Rant: During the hearing, John Corben goes into one concerning his loyalty towards Lillian and her cause.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • James mentions that Clark and Lex had been best friends for years, before becoming one another's Arch-Enemy.
    • Lionel Luthor's name and extramarital affairs come from the Smallville version of the character, while his physical appearance is a dead ringer for Lex from the comics. Lena's jail guards also mention that Lex indeed went bald at some point while in prison.
    • The War Suit, a Black Mercy, and the Atomic Axe are among the weapons within Lex's bunker.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Kara pushes Lena to try and visit her mother in prison to reconcile with her, which allows CADMUS to frame Lena for handing the Kryptonite over to Metallo. Had Kara said nothing, Lena would have potentially dozens of eye-witnesses and video footage of herself at her building.
  • Not Hyperbole: About Metallo:
    Kara: He literally has no heart.
  • Not So Different: Lillian tries to pull this on Lena to sway her to her side.
  • Opposites Attract: When the two are debating having a relationship with one another, Kara and Mon-El mention all of their differences.
  • Prison Episode: Well, there are scenes of Lillian and Lena during their incarceration.
  • Reality Ensues: When Kara tries to convince Maggie to give Lena a chance to explain as she's being arrested, she is told to stay out of it. She might be a superhero, but she has to follow the laws like everyone else.
  • The Reveal: While Lena was indeed adopted, she is in fact Lex's half-sister, with Lionel being her father and thus Lillian being her stepmother.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Beyond her racism in general, Lillian wants to kill Kara because Superman put Lex behind bars.
  • Romantic False Lead: After their brief lunch date, Eve ended things with Mon-El, having picked up on his feelings for Kara.
  • Sequel Hook: Lillian makes off with some unidentified thing that Lex apparently finished before his capture.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Despite Eve's belief, both Kara and Mon-El assure her that the two of them never dated.
  • Smart People Play Chess: In the flashbacks, Lillian is seen playing chess with her son Lex, teaching him advanced strategies. When four-year-old Lena is brought into their home, she plays Lex, and defeats him.
  • Sore Loser: After Kara gloats of Lena's vindication, she's dismissed by Snapper, who says reporting Lena's apparent guilt was just the "news game" and not any impulsiveness on anyone else's part.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The flashbacks reveal that Lex and Lena look very much alike, sharing the same pale skin, dark hair and blue eyes. This is the first clue that they actually have the same father.
  • True Companions: Lena and Kara's friendship is heavily tested in this episode, and in the end the two secure it.
    Lena: I've never had friends like you before... I've never had family like you before.
  • Undying Loyalty: Metallo's testimony makes it clear he unflinchingly believes in Cadmus and Lillian's vision.
  • Unexpected Character: Mister Mxyzptlk makes his entrance with no warning or any foreshadowing that he had any connection whatsoever to Superman's cousin, let alone "love" for her.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Lillian claims her treatment of Lena as a child was enforced by Lionel, who didn't want her around Lena because Lena was the daughter of his mistress. This doesn't jive with the flashback, in which he introduces Lena to Lillian and sincerely thanks her for going along with something she's obviously uncomfortable with.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Lillian and Henshaw escape while Supergirl is distracted fighting Metallo.
  • We Can Rule Together: Lillian offers Lena the chance to join Cadmus and reshape the world the way they see fit. Lena rejects her, and Lillian ends up leaving her to die when Metallo is going critical.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: The video of Lena helping Metallo escape is considered damning evidence and gets her arrested. Winn checks out the footage and can find no evidence of forgery, until he gets direct access to the security system and finds that Hank Henshaw manipulated the feed.
  • Wicked Stepmother: The Reveal of Lena's true parentage has painted Lillian in this light in regards to her past treatment of her.

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