Lena Luthor: More Than Her Last Name

Lena Luthor has been under a microscope since she first appeared on our screens in season two. Why? Her last name. It’s easy to believe that someone who experienced trauma at a very young age, witnessing the death of her mother (which she most certainly didn’t enjoy), and was raised around toxic and psychotic family members, may have inherited some nefarious traits. But at what point will she have definitively proven herself to be not evil; will she ever?

Unlike actual villains on Supergirl, Lena has never exhibited any villainous desires – in fact, it seems like she is terrified of becoming like her family and distanced herself from her last name (hence the initial change from LuthorCorp to L-Corp). She has definitely made some pretty terrible decisions, especially in season five – but something to be addressed is the undeniable double standards when hyper-analyzing Lena’s actions versus other heroes/”good guys” on the show.

First, lets think back on some of the good/heroic things Lena has done, or tried to do:

  1. She set up/betrayed her mother and prevented the Medusa Virus from being released to kill aliens.
  2. She worked with Rhea on the transmatter portal because she thought she could help solve climate change and move food and water to famine-stricken areas.
  3. She helped save the world by quickly building a lead bomb to stop the Daxamite invasion.
  4. When Sam had no one else, Lena stepped up to try saving her from Reign.
  5. She bought Catco (for Kara…) to stop Edge from taking control of the company.
  6. Despite their ongoing tension, she gave Supergirl a kryptonite-proof suit and saved her.
  7. Even though her, Kara, and the Superfriends are on the outs – she immediately stepped up to the plate and attempted to help save Earth-38.

Again, none of this is to say that Lena hasn’t had her fair share of questionable behavior, but most of it (especially pre-season five) was coming from a place of good intentions and what she truly believed was in the best interests of humanity. She has always operated in a grey area, but this season we’ve seen her skirt a little closer to the line of “villainy” based on some of her decisions.

Lena tried to kill Lex because she really believed she HAD TO, to protect her friends and the world from him. Many believed that was an evil act, but Kara vaporized White Martians with the Staff of Kolar, so shouldn’t that evil-act logic be applied to Kara as well? J’onn also killed Manchester Black because he thought he needed to – was that also an evil act?

Why though have some of these actions not been equally scrutinized in others who have done equally terrible things? Lena is being crucified for “working with” Lex this season. To say she’s working with Lex is a stretch in itself – they’re equally using each other to achieve their own ends. Brainy has actively joined forces with Lex against Leviathan! Brainy nearly got people killed while working with Lex and releasing the Toyman. He concealed several things from Alex and the DEO in pursuit of this. He truly believes he is doing these things for the right reasons, as Lena does – why is no one discussing him as a villain this season like they are Lena?

The DEO discriminated against and targeted aliens for years. Mon-El was a toxic misogynist and a former slaveowner, but he’s essentially been fully redeemed and off being a “hero” now with the Legion. Lena has proven time and time again she will do what needs to be done for the good of society, why is she not afforded the same benefit of the doubt?

Lena is in pain and hurting because the person she loves and trusted most in this world betrayed her. It doesn’t justify the things she has done; she clearly needs some therapy (Kelly, where you at?) and some time to heal. If people are going to call out Lena’s bad decisions, they need to call out equally bad decisions from other characters with that same passion.

I think Kara calling Lena out in last week’s episode will serve as a wake up call and hopefully we will be seeing our girls reunited and on good terms ASAP. Kara hasn’t given up on Lena, and I don’t think we should either.

What are your thoughts? Let us know!

Post Author: Alice Balagia

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