SUPERGIRL 4.15 Review “O Brother, Where Art Thou”

Forever mad about that dam pun.

This post contains spoilers for Supergirl.
Check out our last review here.

Lex Luthor contracting cancer because of over exposure to kryptonite is one of the most poetic fates in comic book history. While it was tragically short-lived, I’m glad we got to see that arc acknowledged in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”. I’m both pleased and confused to report that Jon Cryer was actually pretty okay? That might sound backhanded, but there’s some stiff competition in the Lex Luthor department (not you, Eisenberg). Cryer’s Lex in conjunction with McGrath’s Lena provide the backbone for a very solid episode of Supergirl.

Last week I conceded to a commenter that it was likely going to be Ms. Tessmacher who shot James, but when I did so I never would have guessed her motives. Or, at least who those motives would be inspired by. Eve Tessmacher choosing to shoot James to help Lena finish the serum was obvious, no matter how much I didn’t want to see it. Even with that knowledge there was a sort of underlying assumption that it was a bad, bad decision done for the right reasons. Lena moves mountains under pressure, and the world ain’t just gonna wait around for her miracle cure to the human condition! But it turns out Ms. Tessmacher prefers her bosses to be maniacal and abusive. 

Who the hell looks between Lena and Lex Luthor and chooses to stay loyal to Lex? The answer to that question has an entire editorial about abusive relationships behind it, so for now we’ll just settle with the fact that sometimes agency isn’t as important as making sure that your party wins. A whole lot of straight white women voted for one very specific orange monster, so hopefully the show will take the opportunity to use Eve as a mirror to that demographic. In the meantime, we got Lex screaming “Ms. Tessmacher”, so there’s that!

When the episode isn’t dealing with Lex and Lena’s complex relationship, it spends time focusing on the identity crises going on with several of its characters. Manchester Black continues to toy with J’onn in order to get him to take action, but “torture” might be a better word. J’onn’s forced to watch his daughters fall victim to the genocide of his race and to see his adoptive daughters’ reanimated corpses blame him for their deaths when he saw the signs start to play out again on Earth. It’s the cruelty of a man lost in his own grief. Manchester’s mission stopped being to avenge Fiona almost immediately after her death, but he won't have the opportunity to come back from his deep departure in character (if he ever could). Killing Manchester in a fit of rage might have been deserved, but the ramifications for J’onn’s character will be deeply difficult.

On the more light-hearted side, Brainy and Nia smooch! Brainy’s “tiny boxes” plan finally starts to unravel at the idea that their friend may die. Brainy’s found himself unable to save Supergirl, to stop the alien hate, or to predict the attack on James after the success of the alien march. He’s one of the smartest creatures in the galaxy, and finds himself spiraling at the idea that so much bad has happened under his watch. Nia kisses him to snap him out of his spiral, capping off several weeks of sexual tension between the two.

Alas, Brainy envokes Keanu Reeves. Even the great Nia Nal can’t argue with the great Jack Traven. Even if Annie’s response was right there. 

It’s rarely the case, but Supergirl had the least interesting arc in this week’s episode. She tagged along with J’onn, and supported him when he needed. We saw some more splinters in her and Alex’s relationship due to the mind wipe, and we got a rare and blissful moment shared between Kara and Lena, no matter how sad the circumstance. She won’t be taking a back seat for long though.

As it happens, the Red Daughter Supergirl that’s been chilling out in Russia is tied to Lex. He’ll release his anti-Girl of Steel on the world next week. Hopefully the season-long build will have a solid payoff and give a little bit of balance for those who are excited to see the show tackle political issues, but also want to see Supergirl go head-to-head in action-packed battles.

You know what to do if you had thoughts on this week’s episode!