Previously on SUPERGIRL

When I heard that Jon Cryer was cast as Lex Luthor – Superman’s greatest enemy – I was hit with a lot of different emotions. The guy from TWO AND A HALF MEN? Duckie? The Famous Teddy Z?!? That’s who they cast as Lex freaking Luthor?

And then, of course, I remembered that Jon Cryer had ALREADY played a Luthor! He was Lex’s nephew, Lenny, in the brilliantly terribly SUPERMAN IV – THE QUEST FOR PEACE! There was no way this wasn’t going to be a train wreck, right?

Boy, was I wrong.

Cryer’s Luthor comes to National City in the hopes that his sister, Lena, had finished working on the Black Kryptonite she got from Argo City and managed to develop the cure to help make regular humans super. Lex needs the cure, since he’s dying of cancer caused by Kryptonite poisoning from his years of trying to kill off the Man of Steel. Without the Harun-El serum, he’d be dead, so he works with Lena to get it finished. It’s not just for Lex, though. The serum would also come in handy to help James Olsen, who’s lying in a hospital bed after being shot at the end of the last episode.

He’s still a boastful, prideful man, but he knows the right buttons to press with his sister to get his way, and with Lex and James both nearing death, she works overtime to get everything done. Lena takes the serum to the hospital and cures James.

When she returns to the Luthor mansion, we get the scene where Cryer becomes Lex Luthor. Lex reveals that he has also taken the serum. Not only that, but he has Otis Graves back on his side along with MISS TESSMACHER! Lena gets tied up, with Eve Tessmacher training a gun on her as Lex and Otis kill a whole bunch of people on the way to a helicopter.

What a great Lex Luthor scene, and Cryer pulls it off magnificently. I won’t say he’s my new favorite Luthor portrayer on his first outing – Michael Rosenbaum on SMALLVILLE will always have that honor – but he was a lot better than I was expecting. And considering his desire to take down the alien Superman, his proclivities seem to align nicely with the mission Ben Lockwood has been pushing for as Agent Liberty. Lex should make an interesting foil for the back half of the season.

And it’s good that we have a new antagonist, since the guy who I thought was going to be the season’s Big Bad – Manchester Black – seems to have met his end this episode.

With the Elite basically taken out, Manchester is on his own, with J’onn J’onnz taking on the mantle of a Martian Manhunter to find Black and take him down. Black has been pushing J’onn’s limits, to test the mettle of a his peaceful nature and get him to take up arms – violently – against the Children of Liberty. Black take the staff of H’ronmeer and starts causing problems around National City, including the site of J’onn’s father’s burial, to call J’onn out. The Manhunter finally has had enough, takes the staff from Manchester and obliterates him.

If this Manchester is anything like his COMICS counterpart, he’ll manage to come back somehow and then push his consciousness into a cow somewhere…

SUPERGIRL has me even more excited now for the final stretch of the fourth season and I can’t wait to see what the show does with it’s new villain.