How Supergirl changed Lena Luthor’s backstory

Supergirl -- “Mxy in the Middle” -- Image Number: SPG611fg_0018r -- Pictured: Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Supergirl -- “Mxy in the Middle” -- Image Number: SPG611fg_0018r -- Pictured: Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor -- Photo: The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

It’s no question that Lena Luthor has been a fan favorite on Supergirl since the moment she appeared on screen in season 2 of The CW superhero drama. Played by the brilliant Katie McGrath, Lena has had quite a major arc over the last few seasons.

Lena started out believing she was adopted into the Luthor family, only to realize that she was actually a Luthor and Lionel’s true daughter. Her relationship with her brother Lex has also played a major role over the last 2-3 seasons. It has lead to a lot of pain but also a lot of growth for Lena, who often shifted between embracing her Luthor roots and wanting to deny them.

Lena has gone through a lot of changes to say the least. And while the Luthor side of her family tree has received ample exploration on Supergirl, the other side of her family tree was more of a mystery.

Lena takes a journey to the past on Supergirl

Throughout the various seasons of Supergirl we’ve mostly seen Lena in connection with the Luthor side of her family. But over time we have gotten little hints about her birth mother. It’s been a huge gap in Lena’s life, and now the details are finally being filled in.

A lot of Lena’s trauma comes from the death of her mother who drowned when Lena was young. She doesn’t know or remember all that much about her, she only has some vague memories and the fact that Lex told her that her mother was a good person and Lena takes after her.

With Kara now safely back home, Lena decides it’s time to finally go seek answers about her mother. Given that Lena’s middle name is Kieran, that she saw a vision of a kelpie, and that Katie McGrath’s beautiful Irish accent sometimes sneaks through, I assumed that Lena’s mother would be Irish. Apparently not, since the place Lena goes to for answers is Newfoundland. I don’t quite understand it, but here we are.

At first Lena is warmly welcomed into her mother’s hometown, until they find out who her mother was. Apparently Lena’s mother, Elizabeth Walsh, was thought to be a witch and accused of murder. This information sends Lena reeling, as she was clinging onto the idea that her mother had been a good person. You can’t really blame her for wanting one non-homicidal relative.

At Andrea’s urging Lena decides not to give up and is able to locate one of her mother’s old friends. It turns out Lena’s mother was indeed a witch and part of a coven with two other women. Their coven was responsible for the death of an abusive man, but they had never intended to kill him they simply didn’t know the strength of their powers. This incident is what leads to Lena’s mother running away and then eventually meeting Lionel Luthor.

The biggest surprise however isn’t that Lena’s mother had magic or that she was partly responsible for the death of a man. The biggest surprise comes when Lena is told that her mother passed her gift onto her, if she’s willing to accept it. Convenient given that the Superfriends have to come up with a way to defeat Nyxly, and only magic can defeat magic.

So basically in this episode what we learned was that Lena’s mother is in fact from Newfoundland and not Ireland. She was also responsible for an accidental murder, but she wasn’t an evil person. She had magic powers which she passed on to Lena, meaning that Katie McGrath is essentially playing Morgana Pendragon again (the character she played on BBC’s Merlin).

These newfound powers will definitely come in handy for the Superfriends. Let’s just hope that Lena gets a happier ending on Supergirl than Morgana did.

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What did you think of Lena’s backstory and her mother’s past? Are you excited to see her embrace magic powers? Let us know!

Supergirl airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.