Lena Luthor might not have superpowers, but she's ready to kick some Daxamite butt in the Supergirl season finale.
After almost being married off to Mon-El (Chris Wood) the Daxamite mothership by Rhea (Teri Hatcher) — the revenge-driven queen who wants to turn Earth into her new planet — in the penultimate episode, Lena (Katie McGrath) is back on Earth with her biological mother and ready to help Kara (Melissa Benoist) save National City — no matter the cost.
However, Rhea's betrayal is just the latest of tribulations that Lena has had to overcome during her first season as Kara's BFF. Her real mother used her and tried to frame her for a felony, the love of her life was murdered and now her best friend's boyfriend's mom has added her name to the list of people who only see Lena as an asset rather than a person. That's enough to turn anyone into an alien-hating super villain, don't you think?
According to McGrath, Lena isn't that predictable. TVGuide.com talked to the actress ahead of the Supergirl Season 2 finale about how Lena is preparing for battle, whether she has a dark side we have yet to see and where she wants to go when she returns full-time in Season 3.
Lena has been betrayed by two mother figures almost back to back this season. How is she feeling about moms going into this season finale?
Katie McGrath: She's probably thinking she wishes she didn't have one. Thinking about this over the last couple of episodes that we were filming about whether she was hurt more by Rhea or by Lillian, and I came to the conclusion that — it's weird. With Lillian, it's almost like she suspects it. Every time Lillian does something, betrays her, turns her back on her, it's almost like, "Yeah, I know it." It hurts, but it's just all her. With Rhea, it was so unexpected. It was so new. It was like she truly trusted and believed everything that Rhea said. The pain of what has happened is so fresh. When she's thinking about mothers, she's like "Yep, that's my mother Lillian. Same old, same old." But with Rhea, it's a very fresh and new pain.
Speaking of unexpected pain, Lillian teased that at some point Lena is going to have to find out Kara's secret. What can you say about how Lena is going to feel when she eventually finds out that Kara is Supergirl?
McGrath: I think we've seen with Lena that she's more understanding to the plight of aliens than anyone else in her family is. I think it would be hard for her not to feel betrayed by the fact that her friend has kept this secret from her, but knowing her history with the Luthors I hope she would understand why Kara has done it.
Ultimately, a lot of Lena's energies are so different from her family. She will react to it in keeping with that idea that, "I am not my brother and I am not my mother. You are who you are. You're my best friend and I still love you." That's what I'm thinking, but here's hoping! Putting that out to the universe!
Looking at Monday's finale specifically, will Lena still be reeling from Rhea's betrayal or what will be Lena's role in helping Kara escape the Daxamite ship?
McGrath: I think it would be a mistake to underestimate a Luthor, in every good way and every bad way. They have never disappointed as a character, ever. Lena is no different. She is an extremely intelligent, strong, powerful woman. To think that she wouldn't have something to say about the destruction of National City and she wouldn't have a role to play in that story would be mistaken. Don't count her out.
Do you want Lena to stay on the "light" side and repair the Luthor name or do you want to explore if she has similarities with Lex and her family?
McGrath: Obviously, she has to have similarities with them. She can't deny that she is related to all of these people. They are her family. What would be exciting is seeing her come to terms with that. As of now, she's not. She is just trying so hard to be different from them. What I want to see is her accepting that she is a Luthor and all of what that means but not necessarily take that to a dark place.
Having said that, as an actor I much prefer being a bad guy. So, you know, I am kind of open to anything.
One of the things that she does have in common with her family is this extreme intelligence and a key scene from earlier this season was Lena playing chess with herself. It gave an ominous vibe for the future. What did you interpret that scene to mean and what does it say about Lena going forward?
McGrath: That's funny because it's actually one of Brenda's [Strong, Lillian Luthor] favorite scenes. She talks about it a lot and references it a lot. It does get referenced in the script in a way when Lillian says that she thinks she's backed the wrong child. What's great about playing Lena, as opposed to Lex, is that she is the unknown Luthor. We know Lex and we've seen Lionel and we've got this one, but we don't know the extent of her abilities. You don't know how intelligent she is. You don't know emotionally where she is. She is this enigma and the writers have teased it so well with that scene you mentioned and other little bits going through that it's like they are giving you tiny little hints of the character that they are creating. It makes you want more and it makes you intrigued by her. I think that's what makes really good viewing.
We know that you're coming back in Season 3 as a series regular. Is there anything in particular you want to see from Lena that she didn't get a chance to do this season?
McGrath: The reason I came back for Season 3 goes back to what I said earlier on. The writers have so eloquently sewed all these little hints about Lena without actually delivering on a few of them and that's really compelling for me. As an actor, I can see all these little bits that they've put in and they've not built upon them. I've got hints of where they want to go but I'm still completely in the dark in a way. As an actor that's really exciting. This is a character that I get to create with the writers and the producers that you haven't seen before. It's exciting and it's new. She's so complex and she's got such potential. How could you not want to stay with her? That's why I want to come back for another season, to deliver on everything that's been promised.
Fans have certainly gotten attached to Lena, especially when it comes to scenes between her and Kara. How much are you aware of that and do you try to play up the "SuperCorp" of it all — or are you just having fun?
McGrath: It's hard not to be aware of it now. I'm not on social media but other people are and they've told me about it. To be honest, you play the scenes as they're written. You play the scenes to make them feel honest and make them feel true. You play them as an actor to make them feel like you are delivering the story in the best way possible. People will take what they want to take from them. That's their right and that's their choice. I would never deny, and neither would Melissa I'm sure, people what they take from it. That's the nature of film and TV. The viewers get to decide what the scene is about for them. You play it the way that it's written and with responsibility to the story and then everything else after that is up to the viewers and the fans.
What are you most excited for fans to get to see in the season finale?
McGrath: It's completely action filled the whole way through. This is what Berlanti productions does so well on The CW. They've created these shows that are like mini-movies. The Flash, Legends and Arrow, this whole universe, these episodes and these TV shows are not like other TV shows. They are full of special effects and CGI and they are mini-movies. They are sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat, white-knuckle rides. [The Supergirl finale] just continues that. It doesn't give you a chance to breathe or question anything because any time you have a question, boom it's answered....I don't think anyone is going to be disappointed, trust me.
Supergirl's Season 2 finale airs Monday, May 22 on The CW at 8/7c.
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