Lena Luthor becoming a witch felt weird, and it still kind of does. But in devoting an episode to her, the writers have made a case for why this is a natural evolution for this character. Spoilers follow for Supergirl Season 6, Episode 14, “Magical thinking.”
LENA MUST ACCEPT HER NEWFOUND POWERS IN ORDER TO HELP THE SUPER FRIENDS — Lena (Katie McGrath) is uncertain about using her magical abilities to help Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) retrieve the second totem from Nyxly (Peta Sergeant). William (Staz Nair) struggles to write a story on the Super Friends that makes both the heroes and Andrea (Julie Gonzalo) happy. Meanwhile, Kelly (Azie Tesfai) is thrilled Esme (guest star Mila Jones) has found a new home, but things go awry and the little girl’s future is put in danger.
Lena Luthor is a woman of science–it’s an idea that has held fast since her introduction. Revealing her lineage as a witch felt like it came out of left field. But now, I think I get it. I’m not sure I agree with it, but I get it.
Lena’s Magical Mystery Tour
This week, the focus is squarely on Lena Luthor. As the Superfriends try to fight the magical imp Nyxly, it’s becoming more and more clear that science and strength aren’t working. And so Kara looks to Lena, whose newfound magical ability has not yet been crossed off the board.
Lena’s shift from science to magic is a continuation of the journey she’s been on since her introduction. Lena is a Luthor by name, but her brother Lex’s dominant influence left her a consistent outsider, constantly trying to play catch-up to her super-genius brother. That competition turned Lena into a genius-level inventor in her own right, but Season 5 showed us that her work as an inventor is always in Lex’s shadow.
Hiding behind that is Lena’s heritage. We know her father was Lionel Luthor, just like Lex, but her mother was someone else altogether. Lena’s trip to Newfoundland brought her mother into focus, and connected Lena to a very different part of her history.
In embracing her magical powers, Lena is finding herself. Science is part of who she is, but it’s the Luthor part. Her magical powers give her a kind of independence from Lex’s influence–something he can’t outdo her in, something where he doesn’t even matter.
This episode also does some good work with William, who has begun to come into his own as a character–something the show always struggled with when it came to potential romantic pairings for Kara. They always wanted to make the guy look like an ideal romantic pairing, and the actual result was just that it made him look boring.
William without Kara is starting to get interesting. Now embedded with Supergirl and her team, William is stuck between two sets of demands. On the one hand, Andrea wants a hit story to get Catco a ratings boost. On the other, the Superfriends need to protect their base’s location, their secret identities, and the identities of those close to them. It puts him in a place of conflict as he tries to thread the needle of all these demands until he, like Lena, figures out that he needs to carve his own path.
These stories help forward the main plot, too; Lena’s desire to help clashes against Supergirl’s desperation for a win, forcing them to have a tough conversation. William’s coverage looks like a burden at first, but becomes a powerful tool for the team.
It really feels like Supergirl has found some footing after a rough fifth season and a slow start to the sixth. With the show coming up to a true finale, though, the writers have found places for almost the entire cast. While we still don’t know the endgame for Supergirl, everyone has a place on the team that feels natural and valuable to the story.