Sunday, May 3, 2020

REVIEW: 'Supergirl' - Lex Crafts an Elaborate Scheme to Get Everything He Has Always Wanted in 'Deus Lex Machina'

The CW's Supergirl - Episode 5.17 "Deus Lex Machina"

Lex proceeds to lay an intricate plan to bring Lena closer to him, defeat Leviathan's latest attack, and pit Supergirl and team against Leviathan. It is also revealed how Lex came into power after Crisis.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of The CW's Supergirl.

"Deus Lex Machina" was directed by Melissa Benoist with story by Lindsay Sturman and teleplay by Katie Rose Rogers & Brooke Pohl

Lex Luthor was given power from the creation of Earth-Prime. That's the position he started from. It wasn't something he had to work to achieve. He didn't have to return to the top after being convicted for an attempt at mass genocide. He views himself as a savior. This new world offers him the chance at reinvention. He made mistakes in the prior one. He was imprisoned. He was defeated by his sister and a Kryptonian. He feels the urgency to learn from the past to ensure he comes out on top this time. He faces a new threat in Leviathan. He realized that he was never the one pulling the strings. He had so many elaborate schemes across the world. But he was still just a pawn in someone else's game. Now, that reveal could have been incredibly crazy. There is no reasonable way a person can think with such grandiosity and pull off success over and over again. Lex's secret to success has always been his ability to turn any situation into something benefitting his end goal. He wants to defeat Leviathan and eliminate Kryptonians from Earth altogether. It's not good enough that he is revered in society. He has to eliminate any competition to his standing of influencing the fate of all humanity. He can talk elegantly about how he forges relationships and gets people to understand his way of thinking. But he is still a monster who manipulates people. He is just as devious as Leviathan is. Gemma may be the one with God-like abilities. However, she is the one reacting to whatever Lex is doing. He is the one spinning the narrative. He comes out looking like a hero for saving the people abused by Leviathan. He does so by ensuring that nothing ultimately traces back to him or Obsidian Platinum. He is doing all of this in some grand attempt to eliminate the deities who have ruled over Earth for centuries. He sees that as a direct attack on his ability to accomplish anything. He alienates people. Some understand that they have to work with him. They don't trust him. They are aggravated by his callous attitude towards the world and the potential loss of life. However, he knows how to craft any situation so that Supergirl is distracted. He can make people think one thing is important while he is doing something else completely. Now, he has presented an offer to Lena to be a partner with him. He wants to improve that sibling relationship. He doesn't want Lena to turn against the Luthor family name. He wants this family to be stronger than ever before. He can help her achieve her grand goals after failing earlier this season. And yet, he is still essentially using her. He causes chaos by using her emotions. She is upset that Kara continues to come across as a hypocrite. Kara can use Myriad to save lives but it was too dangerous for Lena to try to do the same thing. That ensures the complexity of the Kara-Lena dynamic remains at the forefront of the narrative. But it's also something forced into happening at this point because Lex is desperate for his sister to instinctively hate all Kryptonians as much as he does. He can't stand the thought that she would be sympathetic to one. He has Jeremiah Danvers killed. He sent Supergirl's family into mourning. But he's focused on how his sister reacts. He accomplishes so much here. He presents as the person everyone should trust. His instincts are right. At the end of the day though, Team Supergirl still knows who he is. He hasn't changed in this new world. He is simply given the opportunities over and over again to play into the hero narrative and have it be believed. He loves that angle. It's easy for him to accomplish. It's difficult to fool Leviathan. But he has succeeded in that. That is impressive. Of course, it also calls attention to the fact that there are too many narrative threads this season that are conflicting and not really adding to something much greater. That is a significant problem despite this hour's strong focus on one character and what he hopes to achieve. It's a lot of information for the audience to track and find engaging. It doesn't always succeed because many of those moments are fleeting at best. But Jon Cryer's performance as Lex Luthor sells so much of it. That conviction is all it takes to entertain in the end.