In this week’s installment of Heroic Actor of The Week, we take a look at how Supergirl’s Katie McGrath blew us all away with her incredible performance as Lena Luthor.
The CW’s Arrowverse has been in the process of wrapping up a little earlier than expected due to the fact that its shows were unable to complete production of their respective seasons. This has paved the way for a number of impromptu finales. With The Flash having ended its run last week, Supergirl and Batwoman will do the same tonight, and with the end of the weekly superhero programming almost upon us, that means that the end of our Heroic Actor of The Week column may be in sight (well, at least for now).
But it isn’t over until it’s over, and with that in mind, let’s take a look back at the best performance from superhero television over the past week.
While there were a number of contenders from The Flash‘s finale, including Grant Gustin’s powerful leading performance and Efrat Dor’s chilling offering as Mirror Master, it was hard to forget about the absolute powerhouse performance we saw from this week’s installment of Supergirl.
Katie McGrath – Supergirl
Katie McGrath has been quietly impressing audiences with her performances for years without ever receiving the attention she deserved. In fact, this writer clearly remembers being disgusted by the unforgivably grim hand her character in Jurassic World was dealt. However, when the talented performer came on-board Supergirl as Lena Luthor during its second season, she was finally given the chance to shine that she had long deserved.
The allure of Lena Luthor stems from the question as to whether or not she could ever really stray down that predictably dark path that her family name suggests she’s capable of. And yet, it often feels like the show relies on that a little too often (when the character has proven herself more than enough times already)… so when it made a whole season-long narrative out of it this year – as Lena worked with her brother Lex in response to discovering Kara’s dishonesty – it was questionable to say the least.
However, the penultimate episode of the season, “The Missing Link”, made it all worthwhile as Lena finally realized the error of her ways. No, that’s not right: Katie McGrath made it all worthwhile as it was her performance that truly convinced us.
With her powerful emotional turn in the closing moments of the episode, McGrath delivered her moving monologue so eloquently that it had shades of Melissa Benoist’s equally-powerful offering in the premiere back when the Lena/Lex/Kara saga all began. Whether that reflection was deliberate or not, it doesn’t matter because McGrath was every bit as captivating.
She personified Lena’s hubris and, in that moment, made us feel sympathy for a character that had inadvertently played with our emotions all season. And yes, she proved beyond any shadow of doubt that Lena isn’t a villain… she’s just a flawed woman trying her best to do some good in the world.
Just one of many examples as to why she is one of the most consistently strong performers on any screen, Katie McGrath was nothing short of sublime.
Supergirl airs its season 5 finale on The CW tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET. Come back next week to find out who the next Heroic Actor of The Week will be. You can check out previous winners here.