Supergirl – Season 5 Episode 6
Supergirl delivers a Lena centric episode that chronicles the rise and fall of her friendship with Andrea while delivering insight into Andrea’s history.
I’ve mentioned in prior reviews that scenes between Andrea and Lena are interesting because they are peers who challenge each other equally. Katie McGrath and Julie Gonzalo also convey their history in the way they interact which creates a relationship that feels lived in as well as challenging for both of them.
This episode uses flashbacks to dig into the backstory of these characters from their first meeting up until the present day. Supergirl has always had issues with episodes like this as they tend to cover too long a period which prevents the story from having the necessary depth. In this case the end result is mixed as there’s a lot of interesting content but the rapidity of the storytelling means that the episode moves away from it far too quickly.
The scenes centred around young Andrea (Alexa Najera) and young Lena (Lucy Loken) show what made them friends in the first place with them bonding over Titanic and being drawn to one another because they are both from powerful families and lonely because of the isolation that comes from that. This commonality makes them feel a natural connection to one another because they both understand what it means to be the child of such a family. It’s not something that everyone can understand due to how rare it is so it’s easy to see why a friendship would blossom from this. The scene in the bar where Andrea talks about having the confidence to behave as if you already have something allows that to come true such as being served alcohol when under 21. It’s an important lesson for Lena and the genesis of her similar attitude. This is also where they talk about Rose making the most of every moment in her life after surviving the sinking of the Titanic in the movie. “You jump, I Jump, right!” is quoted a number of times to reinforce the bond of friendship that persists into adulthood.
More time spent on the younger versions of these characters would likely have greatly enhanced the episode because the dynamic was so watchable. Lucy Loken and Alexa Najera played really well off one another so it would have been great to explore the beginnings of that friendship in more detail especially with the episode partly being about how their relationship deteriorated. There was definitely a story to be told around two isolated young women navigating boarding school together that the episode glosses over.
Andrea’s connection to Leviathan is explained in a lot more detail as well as her motivation for being involved with them. She is approached by them after learning that her company is heading straight for failure and her father (Steven Bauer) is contemplating suicide in order to protect her future. Losing her father in this way isn’t something she can deal with so when a mysterious stranger offering her the opportunity to shift things in her favour she jumps at the chance. Naturally it comes with the notable catch of Leviathan asking something of Andrea at an undetermined later date. After accepting the deal Andrea notices that the inevitable failure of her company is stopped by a significant flaw in the design of her main rival’s smartphone chip. She also meets the love of her life shortly after so it seems to be a positive decision on the surface. This doesn’t entirely absolve her of the crime of killing a Governor when ordered to by Leviathan but at least it makes that action understandable and allows some possibility of redemption on her part. It also makes for an intriguing contrast as Andrea is forced into the actions that she has been taking where Lena has chosen her path.
Lena factors into Andrea’s decision because Leviathan approaches Andrea when she happens upon a mystical medallion that Lena believes is the key to stopping Lex from carrying out his plan to seed the atmosphere with Kryptonite. Leviathan’s bargain is contingent on Andrea keeping the amulet hidden which means that she has to lie to Lena pretty much immediately. The episode makes it clear that Lena was pinning all of her hopes on finding that medallion and that she trusted Andrea to accompany her on the expedition to find it. This is an example of Lena truly putting her trust in someone only to be betrayed.
Friendship is something that Lena hasn’t had a lot of luck with at least from her perception of how things play out. Andrea’s betrayal leads her to close herself off even more than before to the point that she rejects the offer of friendship from Kara at first before being won over by her charming sincerity. Kara seemed to be the real deal as far as Lena was concerned so finding out that she’s another person in her life that lied to her is more than she can take. Based on her experience with Andrea being replicated to some degree with Kara it’s understandable that Lena would react in that way. There is also an open question around what Lena would have done if the roles were reversed and she found herself being approached by Leviathan with an offer to alter events in her favour. Perhaps her desperation would have enabled her to make a similar decision and leave Andrea feeling betrayed. Considering the parallels being drawn between them it makes sense that there’s a possibility they would make similar choices.
The situation that leads Andrea to hide the truth from Lena draws another connection between them with both being forced out of their companies by the influence of a man. In Lena’s case it’s Lex threatening to fire her if she doesn’t go along with his plan to kill Superman. This allows for another example of how different Lena is from her brother as she is completely unwilling to help him and actively wants to stop him. Her motivation to find the amulet is an altruistic one and she trusts Andrea because she believes her to be on the same page. One thing this episode does well is sell the gravity of that betrayal from Lena’s perspective.
One thing that doesn’t work is how Lena learns that Andrea stole the amulet. They run into each other at a conference and Andrea is wearing the amulet around her neck for all to see. She was distinctly told to keep it secret which certainly doesn’t mesh with wearing it in full view of everyone. It’s a really clumsy way for Lena to find out the truth in order to move the plot forward. it was a well played moment but should never have happened in that way.
Another thing that doesn’t work is the assertion that the amulet activated powers that were created by the darkness that exists within her. This is where it would have been advantageous to spend more time with the younger versions of these characters as there’s no real indication that there’s any darkness within her beyond a slightly rebellious streak shown through underage drinking. After that point she was shown to be a mostly positive person who made a decision motivated by desperation which is far from dark. It’s also somewhat difficult to accept that knowing of a more powerful rival flagship smartphone would ruin her company considering the marketplace in the real world has a wide variety of flagship smartphones from different companies that boast a variety of features and have different strengths. It’s an overly simplistic issue that fails to be a strong enough reason for Andrea to fear losing everything.
Andrea’s relationship with Russell receives a reasonable amount of attention from their first meeting to his death. Once again there isn’t a lot of time to develop this relationship properly but it definitely comes across that Andrea genuinely loves him and deeply feels his loss. In a short period of time the episode manages to develop a connection that feels comfortable and organic between them which makes his descent into villainy followed by his death all the more tragic. It also helps justify Andrea’s motivation to break into the DEO to get him back and allows for them to reminisce about old times when Andrea goes to Lena for help in getting past Supergirl.
It’s great to see another example of Lena taking full advantage of a situation and masking her own personal gain with a desire to help an old friend. This results in her gaining possession of the Medallion though it isn’t likely to hold any power for Lena since Andrea’s abilities were apparently within her all along. Still, translating the text lets her see the word Leviathan which brings her into this ongoing plot. I’m really enjoying seeing Lena always on the cusp of doing something unforgivable without ever quite crossing that line. Incepting Russell to hold a scalpel to a lethal spot on his neck is a clear example of how nefarious Lena can be when she’s desperate but it’s unclear if she would have actually made him kill himself. It’s not outwith the realms of possibility that she assumed she was in total control of the situation and knew how Andrea would react but it’d be interesting to see how she might react if things didn’t go her way.
Leviathan as a threat are becoming more interesting now that more attention has been given to them. The medallion having the word Leviathan written on it points to them being a magical organisation or entity of some sort that are able to influence events through supernatural means. It is also possible that they are so well connected that this allows them to shape the world in whatever way they want in order to achieve their goals. Of course it could also be a combination of both. What remains unclear at this point is exactly what they want to achieve but there’s something very deliberate about the way they are conducting themselves and the way they prey on the desperation of those they task with carrying out their wishes gives an idea of how they manage to gain so much support. The threat of repercussions attached to their offers if those being helped don’t live up to their end of the bargain adds to their menace along with their influence. It’s not known where the plot will go or how it will threaten Kara but so far it’s intriguing.
A strong episode that adds much needed depth to Andrea while doing important work with Lena around her difficulties allowing people to get close to her. The scenes featuring the younger versions of Andrea and Lena were really good at establishing how that friendship began. Characterising them as being lonely young women from powerful families unable to relate to anyone else was a great way to establish the important similarities that had them drawn to one another and Lena learning to conduct herself with a confident attitude in all aspects of life from Andrea was a nice touch as well. The episode would have benefited from spending more time on these formative times in their lives as it would have helped develop the inner darkness that Andrea supposedly carries with her while also providing a sense of what growing up looked like for them. Andrea’s connection to Leviathan is covered in a great deal of detail and establishing how much she stood to lose helps justify what motivates her to take the actions that she takes. Lena being greatly hurt by her betrayal and how that informs her approach to friendship from that point on is clearly established though how she finds out that Andrea stole the medallion is laughably contrived. Seeing how reluctant she was to accept Kara’s offer to friendship before letting her guard down and taking Kara at face value adds further weight to her reaction to that perceived betrayal as well. Andrea’s relationship with Russell works really well despite a lack of screen time as a genuine connection is established between them which makes his descent into villainy and death appropriately tragic. It’s also great to see Lena almost crossing the line where Russell is concerned to get what she wants while leaving the question open as to whether she would follow through if things didn’t go her way.
Leviathan as an antagonist are nicely mysterious while having some information revealed. It is known that they have considerable influence whether that be supernatural or having access to the right people. The suggestion is that it’s a bit of both though it’s far from clear at this point. They definitely manipulate desperate people by improving a given situation for them while claiming a favour at a later point but it’s unknown what it is they do to make that situation better for their recruit. A few things about the episode don’t quite work such as the rapidity of the storytelling preventing any particular element from having the appropriate time to drill down into the necessary detail. This means that there’s no actual sense of the darkness within Andrea that inspires her powers and a great number of things are glossed over that would have benefited from having more time to develop. Despite that, the insight into the friendship from the beginning through to it falling apart is fascinating and getting a better sense of Lena’s inability to trust enhances her character greatly.
- the scenes featuring young Andrea and young Lena
- seeing how their friendship influences each of them as they grow up
- getting a sense of why Lena finds it so difficult to trust others
- drawing parallels between Andrea and Lena in terms of the challenges they face
- swift development of the Andrea/Russell relationship
- dropping more Leviathan information while keeping them mysterious
- using Leviathan to partially justify Andrea’s actions
- the rapidity of the storytelling preventing drilling down into the necessary detail
- Lena learning about Andrea’s betrayal being painfully contrived
- contrived reasoning for Andrea to feel that all is lost
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