Sunday’s Supergirl turned the clock back three years — all the way to 2015, when this show was still on CBS — to explain how Lex Luthor enlisted his surprising sidekicks, including his “daughter.”
First came Eve Teschmacher, a Lex super fan with a genuine thirst for his specific flavor of Kool-Aid. She praised his “once-in-a-generation mind” and believed he was humanity’s last hope against alien invaders. And because flattery will get you everywhere with Lex, he asked Eve for a simple favor: land a job as Cat Grant’s assistant and await further commands. (It’s worth noting that both James and Lena testified at Lex’s trial, giving him two more reasons to seek revenge.)
We then jumped ahead two-and-a-half years to Red Daughter’s arrival in Kaznia. Naturally, the Kaznian government’s first instinct was to turn her into a weapon, but when she proved too much to handle, the military summoned Lex (with Otis and Eve in tow) to intervene. Thus began a disturbing mentorship, one of dramatic chess games, literary montages and vague European accents.
Part of that training brought Red Daughter to National City, where she toured Kara’s unreasonably large loft (“On a reporter’s salary!”), faked her way through a conversation with Alex, and did some serious digging into what makes the Girl of Steel tick. Unfortunately, Red Daughter came to the conclusion that neither Kara nor America were the enemies that Lex painted them out to be, leaving him with but one desperate move: pretend to kill Red Daughter’s favorite Kaznian child and blame it on those no-good Americans.
Red Daughter proved surprisingly perceptive, however, quickly deducing that Lex’s entire plan boiled down to his rivalry with Lena. This put a major strain on their relationship, but he wasn’t about to lose her, which became a real possibility after a routine training session left her in critical condition. So Lex did what any egomaniacal villain would do: he gave himself cancer, setting into motion the events we watched unfold last week.
Cut to the present day: The new-and-improved Lex returned to Kaznia, where he restored Red Daughter to full health (and restored her faith in him). “Supergirl acts on her emotions,” she concluded. “It’s selfish, ugly. I will not be her. I will be me. I will follow you… and destroy her.” Gulp.
Oh, one more thing: We also learned through flashbacks that Lex had a hand in Ben Lockwood’s rise to power, as he needed someone to sow additional seeds of discord between humans and aliens. At a recent screening attended by TVLine, executive producer Robert Rovner confirmed that “Lex Luthor is involved in everything that has happened this season.”
Are you grateful to Sunday’s Supergirl for filling in so many of this season’s blanks? Drop a comment with your thoughts on the episode below.