Supergirl season 4, episode 16 review: The House of L


Lex Luthor is on the loose. What has he been up to all this while and how is he connected to the Red Daughter? We find out on the latest episode of Supergirl.

Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) came to his sister Lena (Katie McGrath) for help to cure him of Red Sun poisoning. When she did so, Lex revealed that he had called the hit on James Olsen (James Mehcad) and that Eve Teschmacher (Andrea Brooks) was working for Lex this whole time. With Lena incapacitated, Lex Luthor escaped, but he flew straight into Supergirl (Melissa Benoist). In ‘The House of L’, Lex and Supergirl face off, but this time, he has the upper hand.

But first, we must discover just how devious Lex really is, and why he has decided to break out of prison at this time.

The Lex Luthor We Know and Hate

Lex Luthor is known for his lack of a moral compass. We realized during episode 15 of this season of Supergirl just how conniving Lex can be, and that characterization continues in this episode. Lex’s ability to plan ahead gives him a serene calmness that belies the precarious situations he often finds himself in. He’s busy doing calculations during his own sentencing, because Lex already knows how he’s going to win at being a prisoner.

Lex sees every obstacle as an opportunity and is thereby at the root of all evils Supergirl and her team have faced this season. Could we have expected any less from him? Jon Cryer is relishing this role as Lex, without hamming it up. He is a revelation with his subtlety and nuance, but it’s the writers that are doing the character the real credit here. Just how persuasive Lex can be is evident in his interactions with the Red Daughter.

The Red Daughter Cometh

Supergirl’s doppelganger, the heretofore mute and unrestrained Red Daughter, finally has her day in the sun in this episode. She has been teased throughout this current season, but it’s only now that we learn how she is tied to the plot.

The Red Daughter is given her own personality, rather than just being a fond puppy easily swayed by Lex Luthor. She has a good heart, but just happens to have fallen in with the wrong people. The addition of her memory of the name ‘Alex’ is a genius move for her characterization. Hopefully, ‘Alex’ will play a part in the eventual confrontation between Supergirl and the Red Daughter.

While we once again see that Russia-adjacent country – this time, it’s the fictional nation of Kasnia – has an evil version of our favourite superhero, the subversion of Lex Luthor being the one to actually make her evil is great to see.

Supergirl — “The House of L” — Image Number: SPG416a_0326r.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl and Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor — Photo: Katie Yu/The CW — © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Where to Next for Lena?

Lena has been desperately working on her own Harun-El (Black Kryptonite) in an effort to create superbeings. With Lex’s help in the previous episode of Supergirl, she was able to eliminate its more lethal aspects, and used it as a cure for radiation poisoning, as well as to save James from dying. So, what will Lena do now that Lex has returned and Eve – her assistant during her research – has been outed as Lex’s partner?

Continuing her research will surely lead to an army that Lex will try to commandeer, but it’s almost a shame for Lena to have to give up her life’s work because her brother is pure evil. Despite all the good that Lena has tried to achieve in her life, it seems that the curse of being a Luthor just won’t leave her. But Lex isn’t done with Lena, he’s made that apparent. Does she have the courage to ask her friends for help?

Super Sentiments

  • It’s really unfortunate that the showrunners have seemingly abandoned the hard-hitting storyline about the impact of racism in the context of alien immigration in lieu of a more plot-driven final act for the season. It appears they are desperate to get audience numbers up, but it’s a huge loss for the important message of the show.
  • Lex’s petty rivalry with Lena would be amusing if he wasn’t so evil. Using his strained relationship with Lena to beguile the Red Daughter was a genius move, however.
  • James Olsen’s revelation about being captured by Lex was probably one of the more realistic depictions of what supervillains are like when not spewing bombastic monologues.

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Admittedly, it feels like the showrunners of Supergirl are attempting to find a way to pull together the sundry plot points as the season closes. At times it feels far-fetched, but none of it is necessarily outside the realm of possibility. There have been wins and losses along the way that have hampered many plans, which has meant that even the great Lex Luthor had to take a giant risk to see his plan come to fruition. What will the appearance of the Red Daughter mean for Team Supergirl and National City? One thing is certain – it will not be pretty.