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Supergirl: Is Lena Luthor Playing the Long Game?

What's in a name? Are we defined by our family? Can we change the narrative that's expected of us? Those were just a few of the difficult questions on everyone's minds when the infamous Luthor family returned to Supergirl for the first time since Lena (Katie McGrath) turned her manipulative mother Lillian Luthor (Brenda Strong) into the authorities last fall.

After being framed for Lillian's escape from police custody during her high-profile trial, Lena's public image faltered as the the media was quick to condemn her because of her family name and association. Only Kara (Melissa Benoist) believed Lena was innocent, with Winn (Jeremy Jordan) and James (Mehcad Brooks) even doubting her once a video -- which was later revealed to be doctored by Hank Henshaw (David Harewood) -- provided some pretty alarming evidence against her. Once Lillian and Metallo broke her out of prison in order to use her DNA to open a vault full of Lex's favorite weapons and toys, it looked as if Lena was truly as innocent as Kara wanted to believe. But is she?

Last fall, Supergirl executive producer Ali Adler said the superhero series' sophomore season would be exploring the potentially harmful effects of preconceived notions, specifically as it related to Lena and the Luthor name. The series has made good on that promise so far and even appeared to confirm that Lena is an innocent woman trying to right the wrongs done by her half-brother and now her adoptive mother. But a flashback to the day Lionel Luthor -- who was actually Lena's birth father -- brought her home revealed that she might not be as innocent as we'd been led to believe.
Sure, maybe the fact that 4-year-old Lena was better than Lex at chess is just a red herring meant only to further drive home the idea that we as viewers are also guilty of passing premature judgment on Lena. But it could also mean Kara -- and by extension the show's viewers -- are all pawns in her nefarious game. Lena has proven to be an intelligent and strategic young woman, and if Lex failed in his quest to take down Superman (Tyler Hoechlin), maybe Lena drawing Supergirl in and making her believe she's another victim who needs saving is another Luthor attempt to destroy our heroes.

To be successful at chess one must be able to think ahead and see the moves one's opponent will make down the line. If Lena's really a wizard at chess, it's understandable that our minds might jump to the most obvious possibility: that she's playing Kara and setting a trap. However, maybe the young woman just likes chess and we're all mega jerks for thinking poorly of her simply because she's a Luthor who likes complicated games that require skill. Only time will tell at this point, but right now at least one thing is certain: Lena's smart and if she has her own secret facility somewhere, she almost certainly thought ahead and lined it with lead. I mean, honestly, it's no wonder Lex is in prison if he's that dumb.

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.

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