Supergirl: Why Lena Luthor Needs to Forgive Kara

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The first full week of October 2019 held a great deal of significance for this TV Fanatic writer.

Aside from being the week most of The CW shows premiered, it also marked the holiest of holy days for Jews across the world: Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement).

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It was not lost on me that in the time between these two holidays, a time when past wrongs and forgiveness are foremost on the mind of the Jewish people, Supergirl Season 5 premiered with an episode that emphasized the importance of forgiveness. 

Lena Luthor - Supergirl Season 2 Episode 1

Before we get into all that, let's talk about Lena Luthor. Lena got introduced on Supergirl Season 2 Episode 1 and quickly became a fan-favorite.

While a Luthor, fans saw in Lena a complex character trying to overcome her family name.

Many fans ship Supercorp, the ship name for Lena and Kara, but even those who don't view the friendship as romantic have grown to love Lena and her relationship with her best friend Kara Danvers AKA Supergirl.

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Through the past five seasons, fans have lamented the fact that Lena seemed to be the only one not privy to Supergirl's secret identity and believed she deserved better.

Kara Danvers Is Supergirl Season 4 Episode 22

When the truth was revealed to her by her brother on Supergirl Season 4 Episode 22, fans knew that it would be devastating for Lena and her relationship with Kara.

There was a bait-and-switch on Supergirl Season 5 Episode 1, when Lena seemed to accept Kara's heartfelt apology, only to later reveal that she was deceiving Supergirl to use her in the future.

Right now, Lena is hurting, angry, and lashing out.

Lena claims that she wants to help humanity, and she probably means it, but what she is doing comes down to the fact that her best friend, the one person she trusted, betrayed her in the worst way, and she doesn't know how to recover from that. 

Kara almost Tells Lena - Supergirl Season 4 Episode 20

Most fans saw Lena's new dark path coming. The character said previously that she would never be able to recover if Kara betrayed her. The show's writers want to paint Lena as a villain.

And why not? After all, she's a Luthor and Luthors are always the villains of the story.

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We have seen this story before. Smallville did the same arc with a young Lex Luthor and an even younger Clark Kent.

In all past incarnations, Lex was straight-up evil, but Smallville made him sympathetic, a true friend to Clark with a painful past and an abusive father. We didn't want Lex to become evil.

Clark Lex 4x09 - Smallville

Lex fought against becoming a villain, just like Lena did. Like Lena, Lex wanted to overcome his family name and darker impulses.

Also like Lane, Lex's Kryptonian best friend lied to him for years about being super.

The difference is that Lex Luthor has been Superman's arch-nemesis since the 1940s.

It is one of the basic rules of Superman lore, right along with the love-triangle between Clark, Lois, and Superman. Lex needs to be evil.

Lena, however, does not.

Lena Luthor Comics - Supergirl

Lena first got introduced to the Superman Comic Universe in 1961. That Lena was an incredibly intelligent librarian.

She was married with a son and had no idea that she was related to the notorious criminal Lex Luthor.

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Her parents had changed their names to Thorul to distance themselves from Lex's criminal activities when Lena was very young, and she was told the brother she remembered was dead.

This Lena also had a relationship with Supergirl. She had gone to school in Midvale with Linda Lee Danvers, AKA Kara, and been close with her.

Lena and Kara Friendship - Comics

Lena eventually learns she is related to Lex and the two love one another, but this Lena was not a villain. 

A later version of Lena is a paraplegic. She is smart, she has a daughter who loves her, and she ends up caught up in the mess that is the superfamily. 

Some versions depict Lena as darker.

Some describe her as an anti-hero. And yes, in some versions, she is a straight-up villain. But she does not have to be.

Clark Lex 1x11 - Smallville Season 1 Episode 11

What Smallville's writers did with Lex, making him sympathetic, was groundbreaking for the character. It worked on Smallville, but to do the same story with Lena on Supergirl would be repetitive and lazy. 

Not only that, but Lena deserves better.

She has fought long and hard to overcome the Luthor name, her upbringing, her darker nature, and she deserves to win that battle. That is not to say that she did not deserve better treatment from Kara. But this isn't about Kara. It is about Lena.

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While I sat in shul this year, I thought about Supergirl and forgiveness. I thought about the people I struggle to forgive and how that affects my life.

I thought about what a Rabbi once told me, that if I apologize sincerely three different times to somebody and they refuse to forgive me still, that is on them and I have fulfilled my obligation.

Lena - Supergirl Season 5 Episode 2

I thought about why we forgive. Sometimes, we forgive because the person wants, needs, or deserves to be forgiven. More often, we forgive because WE need to forgive. 

Mark Twain said, "Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured."

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Holding a grudge, holding on to hurt and pain hurts us and pains us.

While Kara would hate it if she knew Lena hated her, the true victim of Lena's hatred is Lena. She needs to forgive Kara, not for Kara's sake, but her own.

Mending Their Friendship - Supergirl

Lena needs to express her hurt to Kara and explain to Kara why she is hurting and why Kara has lost her trust.

She does not have to forgive her right away, but she needs to be open to forgiving her because that is the only way she will heal.

Pretending to be Kara's friend and scheming behind her back only turns Lena into everything she never wanted to be, a circumstance that is both tragic and unnecessary.

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Do you know what I want to see? I want to see Lena come back from this. I want to see her become a hero. I want her to rise from the ashes of this betrayal as someone stronger and more capable of love than ever before.

Lena - Supergirl Season 5 Episode 3

Lena's story does not have to be Lex's story. Luthor blood and upbringing does not have to be poison. A Luthor and A Super CAN be best friends!

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If Lena becomes nothing more than a villain that Kara has to face, it will be a betrayal of her character, and her fans would not be okay with it.

What about you, TV Fanatics?

Would you be okay with a purely evil Lex-Luthor clone in a female body?

Should Lena let Kara off the hook? Should she be honest? Should she be allowed to be a hero?

Let us know in the comments.


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Leora W is a staff writer for TV Fanatic..

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Supergirl Quotes

Kara: When I saw you on that ship, oh my god, I felt like could hope again. I could touch you...and see you and hear you and be with you, finally. But you're different. [pause] You have nothing to say? Nothing?
Mon-El: I'm sorry.
Kara: [Resigned] Shame on me for having a human heart.

J'onn: My father thinks I'm a coward.
Kara: Then he doesn't know you. 'Cause the man I know has dedicated his entire life to making sure what happened on Mars never happens anywhere else. So go in there J'onn. Show your father who his son really is.