10:30 am EDT, March 14, 2019

‘Supergirl’ doesn’t need Lex Luthor

This tired Superman villain doesn't need an appearance on 'Supergirl'

National City is about to be shaken up when the devious, twisted, and supposedly incarcerated Lex Luthor arrives. However, given his history on Earth-38 and in the comics, does Supergirl need Lex to appear? No.

After years of alluding to Superman’s most infamous villain, Lex Luthor, and his history in this universe, he finally arrives to Supergirl on season 4 episode 15. While it’s unclear exactly what brings Lex to National City (though it’s probably Kara and the rise of the anti-alien movement), the trailer features Lena being held hostage by Lex as he attempts to cover the world with a red sun.

Watch the trailer below:

Lex Luthor is an overused villain

There’s a reason why Lex Luthor is Superman’s most infamous villain: He’s beyond overused. Lex is in practically every incarnation of Superman that you can think of and his villainous acts are always stopped by Clark in the end. Supergirl is no different as Clark has already succeeded and stopped Lex’s terrible plans to destroy him and the alien population on Earth.

It’s quite likely that the red sun Lex tries to cover the Earth with is a flashback, which is the cause of his being on trial. Exclaiming “Superman made me do it!” to the court is a move that literally anyone could have seen coming because Lex is a very one-dimensional character, unlike his sister.

Lex Luthor on Supergirl

In no reality could Lex be considered a hero with what he tries to do to aliens, particularly the Man of Steel, whom everyone on Earth seems to adore. (Even Cat Grant went weak at the knees for Clark.) If Clark were on Earth and not on Argo City, it would be much less pressing if Lex were to break out of jail, somehow, but the fact remains that he is. If Lex is free, Kara is the only one who can stop him, which is what I suspect will take place over the next few episodes (if not the rest of the season).

Additionally, the Children of Liberty will probably embrace Lex with open arms, introducing him to the season’s main villain: Ben Lockwood. Even though their partnership would be truly despicable, we don’t need Lex’s presence to push the anti-alien agenda; it’s happening quite well with the players the series has already established.

Instead of Lex Luthor, use and develop existing characters

You may hate me for this, but Lex Luthor offers nothing special to the series that it doesn’t already have.

Lena Luthor is a much more complex, multi-dimensional character that never gets the chance to truly show what she is capable of. Lena may even be smarter than Lex, but you wouldn’t know it because the writers constantly and consistently diminish her abilities to reinforce her relationships with Kara and James.

The battle between her identity versus being a Luthor was an enormous struggle for her on Supergirl season 2, and even a little through season 3, but it seems to have completely been washed away at the worst time. Given Lena’s government contract to create a serum that would turn soldiers super, this would be a fantastic time for this struggle, as people in National City haven’t seen enough of Lena to not expect her to go down the same path as her family.

While I don’t want Lena to turn evil and follow in her family’s footsteps, it would be far more interesting to see Lena go up against Kara rather than Lex.

Even if she doesn’t turn evil, Lena’s genius and skills could be used to assist Supergirl in saving the day and stopping the villains, like Ben Lockwood and the Worldkillers. Even when she has helped, she hasn’t received the same heroic glory that others have for saving the day.

Remember when Lena poisoned the air with healthy levels of lead so the Daxamites would have to leave Earth? Remember when Lena was vilified for it in season 3 episode 5 when multiple children got sick? That’s the nature of Lena’s existence, and it’s a shame that we aren’t able to see Lena fully engage with the world and embrace her intelligence to save it.

Too much of Lena’s story has revolved around her family and their infamous, anti-alien legacy. Bringing Lex in only further overshadows Lena, as I’m sure the writers will fail to make her the star of these upcoming episodes, and Lena will just have another family disaster to try to move forward from.

Lex Luthor on Supergirl

Additionally, Ben Lockwood’s entire story has been the purge of aliens from Earth, so where does this differ from Lex? It’s clear that Lex has been orchestrating events this season, particularly early on with Mercy and Otis Graves, but Ben Lockwood has gone off on his own path, as have the Children of Liberty. One anti-alien asshole is enough, especially when he’s been appointed to a seat in the President of the United States’ cabinet.

With Ben Lockwood, we don’t need Lex. They essentially serve the same purpose; Lex just happens to have a higher IQ than Lockwood.

And, last but not least, there’s already a huge threat to National City. The Children of Liberty are still at large and their movement is growing. Despite the hit they took in the last episode, this is not the end of the anti-alien story. We still have eight episodes left of Supergirl season 4 and the elephant in the room hasn’t even been addressed: There’s another Kara, AKA Red Daughter, training to (probably) destroy the world.

Red Daughter poses enough of a threat to National City that Lex’s idea to destroy the aliens and potentially the world isn’t necessary. Red Daughter is sure to stir up enough trouble with the Children of Liberty and the anti-alien sentiment around the world on her own.

Basically, Lex isn’t needed on Supergirl as a villain or otherwise. The other, established characters have just as much to offer the series as the overused, repeatedly defeated Superman villain. This is Kara’s story, which doesn’t need to mimic her cousin’s.

Supergirl continues airing Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

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