As Supergirl approaches the end of its sophomore season, the show is finally honing in on a central villain for the season: Lillian Luthor, mother of the infamous Lex and head of menacing anti-alien organization Cadmus. Sandwiched between this Supergirl-Lillian conflict is Lena Luthor, who has become a close friend to Kara by renouncing Lillian and even thwarting one of her mother’s schemes. In a recent episode, “Luthors,” Kara decided to trust in Lena’s goodness despite mounting evidence to the contrary. And, while it’s still unclear whether our hero’s convictions will prove correct, that unwavering trust has many fans wondering — what exactly will happen to their relationship as the show progresses?
Though many have criticized the DC show’s writing since its move to The CW, one universally lauded move by Berlanti and co. was the decision to introduce Alex Danvers as a lesbian character. Since that revelation, Alex and her girlfriend Maggie have become one of the show’s most important couples. So, as the show continues to focus heavily on romantic relationships, many are looking to see if Kara will stick with recent admirer Mon-El, or if this season will see our protagonist join up with somebody else — perhaps even another woman. Given her past romantic failures with other leading men, Winn and James, it seems like the show will either have to keep Kara with Mon-El, introduce yet another male secondary character in the upcoming episodes/season, or… do something a lot more interesting.
Given Kara and Mon-El’s already rocky relationship and the expected longevity of the show (given that The CW’s original DCEU property, Arrow, is about to hit its sixth season), it seems unlikely that Mon-El will stick around. Not only are he and Kara constantly at odds, it’s only a matter of time before Kara finds out the truth about her Daxamite beau. So, who will pick up the pieces of Kara’s broken heart once that train wreck ends? I’m here to propose an unlikely contender as Supergirl‘s next lead heartthrob: Lena Luthor, the ambiguous villainess herself.
Because, let’s face it, the fans aren’t making up this relationship out of nowhere: there have definitely been sparks between Lena and Kara, whether platonic or not, since the mysterious CEO made her way onto our screens at the beginning of this season. The two established a fast and powerful bond, one that made Kara willing to go to bat for Lena despite criminal evidence against the latter woman in “Luthors.” That episode acted as a key turning point for the pair, as it saw Kara fight for Lena against the wishes of her ex-flame James, and wrapped up with a particularly flirty scene between the two women. The chemistry between the two characters is pretty obvious, and not just because Lena flooded Kara’s office with thank-you flowers just two episodes before Kara buys Mon-El a post-coital bouquet.
“Luthors” also calls Lena’s motives into question, implying — after a flattery-heavy exchange with Kara — that the L-Corp leader has been intentionally manipulating Kara onto her side. We already know actor Katie McGrath is awesome at playing good girls gone bad, given her role in Merlin, so a turncoat Lena Luthor seems inevitable. Still, showing Lena’s darker side would only increase her dramatic romantic potential. Maybe Lena was goaded into befriending Kara at the behest of her mother, but what became a dutiful mission has become something much more complicated. Maybe Lena is operating on her own, and Kara is in for a rude awakening when she discovers that Supergirl’s arch nemesis is none other than her new girlfriend. Take notes and thank me when your ratings spike, Supergirl writers.
That said, as awesome as it would be to exist in a utopian universe where The CW features a gay super-protagonist, we just might be stuck on Earth One. It would really be pushing boundaries to feature two LGBT leading ladies (Kara and Alex), and it’s unclear whether or not the network has the guts to risk losing more conservative viewers. Still, this is the network that also features Sarah Lance, Legends of Tomorrow‘s bisexual badass, as an ensemble lead. The show has also been mired in a relationship-heavy plot this season, so it might not be in its best interest, artistically, to keep circling back to Kara’s singledom as a storytelling device. If the writers could pen a Lena/Kara romance without reducing either of those characters to said relationship, they could easily produce some of the most compelling, original television in years.
After all, a Lena/Kara relationship would almost certainly ask the show to return to its thematic strengths from season one. Rather than becoming yet another barrier between Kara and her own character development, this relationship would be informed by plot-relevant conflict. Kara would have to work through said conflict and emerge hardened and less trusting, or stronger in her convictions and more confident in herself as a hero, depending on Lena’s ultimate level of badness. If the writers kept Lena and Kara as close friends, they would achieve similarly meaningful character development, but without the added bonus of finally cashing in on all of the eyebrow-raising moments between the two. Whether further down the road or before this season’s end, a Lena/Kara romance just makes sense. Because, seriously, when was the last time you spent hundreds of dollars on flowers for your favorite pal?
Trying something different is never easy, but if Supergirl can regularly feature multi-dimensional travel and extraterrestrials, one show depicting multiple gay couples probably won’t jump-start Armageddon. Lena and Kara have shared one of the only truly compelling dynamics this season, so further exploring that relationship could only mean good things for the show. That’s not to say that such a change would be completely apolitical, nor that it wouldn’t face opposition. I know some of you are thinking, “But she said she wasn’t gay in the pilot!” or, “Why are you trying to make every character gay?” My answers are, respectively: sometimes people change, and I don’t have that power, but thank you for your confidence.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.
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