After weeks of lurking menacingly in shadowy Cadmus lairs, Brenda Strong's villain has finally been revealed for who she is — and she's conspicuously absent from the pages of DC Comics. As it turns out, the Cadmus powerhouse is actually the mother of Lex and Lena Luthor, which may explain her hatred for all creatures great and extraterrestrial.
This is a fantastic twist, a way to connect the Cadmus plotline with Supergirl's personal life, as her new gal pal's mother is the very same woman who is hellbent on the destruction of all alien life.
But what's really interesting is the comic book connection — or rather, lack thereof.
Mama Luthor Doesn't Exist
Comics are renowned for giving every single obscure character and their dog a costume and superhero title, or at the very least a plotline. The pages of DC Comics' history are littered with B-list heroes and their sprawling family trees. So you'd expect a family as prolific as the Luthors to have an infamous matriarch. And yet, that couldn't be further from the truth.
Lex Luthor's mother has only been briefly mentioned in the comics — named Letitia, this woman is just alluded to in passing, without so much as a sob story from her son. A Lillian Luthor did, however, appear in the TV show Smallville, but only in flashbacks as she died before the events of the show began.
In the comics (post-Crisis, pre-Flashpoint), Lex Luthor grew up in poverty, never knowing who his parents were. That leaves the writers of Supergirl with an interesting situation, as they can totally reinvent Lex and Lena's mother from the ground up.
So far, Lena's mother in Supergirl has more in common with Lionel Luthor from Smallville — Lex's father was also invented for The CW show. A scheming patriarch with ties to everything from covert weapons research to government agencies, Lionel's tense relationship with Lex in Smallville could parallel Lena and her mother in Supergirl.
Project Cadmus has also been altered significantly in Supergirl, both from the comics and from the setup in Season 1. When it was first introduced, Cadmus was a shady military organization, secretive but nonetheless by-the-book as they arrested J'onn J'onzz.
Now Cadmus seems to have splintered off from the military, acting more like a terrorist group with their threatening open-broadcast messages. This makes them a compelling threat for Season 2, but it's also quite jarring, as no reason has been so far given for the change.
It's possible that Lena's mother is the reason behind this, as she seems to have seized control of the group. In an early press release and episode credits, this character is referred to as the Doctor, the "diabolical female leader of Project Cadmus."
As we learn more about her, perhaps we'll find out exactly how Cadmus is related to the military, and whether Doctor Luthor hijacked the project for her own personal agenda. Either way, this is certainly a compelling plot — and will make for interesting dinnertime conversation when Lena invites Kara to meet her parents.
Tell us in the comments: What do you think Lena's mother wants from Cadmus?