“The House of L” starts off with a rooftop battle royale between Supergirl and a super-powered Lex before time jumping three years in the past to provide some back story on the deeds that lead to his imprisonment. While Lex is being sentenced, he kills a few more people in the courtroom and as he exits the courtroom to the trope validating cliche anthem, “My Way” we see how he met and recruited Eve.
We see Lex doing intricate etchings on his prison wall and substituting lobster and courtside tickets, as his ode to letting the peasants eat cake, in gifts to curry favor with his other inmates and the warden. After receiving a call from some mysterious Russian general, he playfully threatens the wardens’ mother to get a 72-hour release to meet a Supergirl clone. As Lex exits the prison he walks past the cells of other inmates and calls out chess moves to them, to show us that he is simultaneously playing several games at the same time.
At the ten minute mark of episode 16, of the 4th season of Supergirl, it hits me I’ve been watching this show for 11 minutes and the title character has been on screen for exactly 13 seconds. The writers, however, found time to reiterate that Lex is a genius, through an unnecessary chess scene that lasted longer than Supergirl was on screen and, having Eve meet up with Lex, list all of her amazing academic achievements and then undercut her brilliance with a cliched, “I’m not like other girls” statement about her looks.
We got to find out more about the Kara doppelganger, we see her acclimate to her new surroundings, learn the language, figure out her powers and try and control them. We learn she has amnesia and the only word she seems to have a grip on is “Alex”. She hears a boy calling for help in Russian and speeds to save him and that is where she meets Lex, whom she comes to call Alex because he said so. Even in this montage about Kara Too, she is reduced to a secondary figure in her own story, the version of events is told completely through the gaze and understanding of the male general & his soldiers and, Lex’s manipulation of events and insertion into what should have been her narrative.
Lex strikes a deal with the Kaznian general to gaslight Kara Too so they can control her. Eve seems complicit in all of Lex’s bad decisions including his plan to use Kara Too thereby falling into the previous assessment by Lex that she was a slightly smarter Manson Girl to his Manson. Kara Too seems very eager to please Lex, who has her convinced that they were best friends and he is, in fact, the Alex she seeks. He gives her sweets because ya know, ladies love chocolate and, feeds her lies because ladies are gullible.
We find out that Lex was behind, pretty much everything that has plagued Supergirl this entire season and has been manipulating both Kara’s. Eve seems to be perfectly okay with this and continues her own personal side manipulation of Lena. Lex and Kara Too play chess and he teaches her history and lays down his underhanded plan to take over the world. In a typical toxic male fashion, Lex shows Kara Too compassion and then immediately turns on her when she says something, or in the initial case likes something she doesn’t. He even goes as far as hurting her so he can save her so he can use a machine similar to the one used on Alex in Clockwork Orange, minus the eye-openers, to show her “the truth”.
At the almost two-thirds mark, Lex comes to visit and convinces Kara Too that she is not ready for America, employing another toxic relationship trick, so that when he finally takes her she will feel “worthy” and indebted to him. He also tells her that Supergirl is her sister and has taken her rightful position, so he can manipulate her further and use her. We then get to time jump to four months before the present time, Lex and Kara Too are sporting horrible dark colored wigs in National City while lackluster hip pop plays. In Lex’s field play, he exploits half-truths in an attempt to make Supergirl seem like she is complicit in the weapons dealing and evil that powerful men do so that he can use Kara Too to correct these wrongs. He also violates Supergirl’s privacy by breaking into her place and not only snooping through her things but, allowing Kara Too to do the same.
Eve helps Lex set into motion a plan to kill Kara Too’s little friend and blame it on America in an attempt to keep her on track with Lex’s plan after she reads Supergirl’s diary and realize that everything Lex says about her might not be entirely on the level. Lex’s plan backfires when Kara Too reacts by destroying a ship containing the weapons that killed her friend, of course, we also learn that the boy is safe and his rescuer tells him to hide or play dead if he ever sees a bald man. Kara Too ends up stricken with Kryptonian cancer so Lex gives himself cancer which sets in motion the plan that led up to last weeks episode.
Overall: The only thing that made this episode bearable and redeemable was the conversation that Lex and Kara Too had on the warship, where she calls him out for using her. Until that pivotal moment where she realies his motives aren’t pure, their interactions had been kind of cringeworthy. The writing in this episode was sloppy, predictable, and lazy. Not only was Supergirl AND Kara Too’s combined screen time less than 13 minutes, giving us another episode of Supergirl that was not about Supergirl but, by adding Kara Too to the mix, we got to see her become another side story in not only her own life but, another token piece in a male lead toxic melodrama. I really hope that the writers can pull themselves out of this slump, even the pseudo-pop feminist leanings of season 3 were more relatable and entertaining than what season four has been giving us. The male lead DC comic shows that have been on the air for longer than Supergirl, still seem to center themselves around their male leads, it is very sad that the CW has given up so easily on Supergirl when it could have been great. Watching this season play out it is tearing down all of my high hopes for the upcoming Batwoman spin-off.
I give this episode a hard 5.2