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Katie McGrath: Lena Luthor joins 'Supergirl's Superfriends

Katie McGrath said she hopes Lena Luthor learns to accept herself. Photo courtesy of The CW 
Katie McGrath said she hopes Lena Luthor learns to accept herself. Photo courtesy of The CW 

LOS ANGELES, April 20 (UPI) -- In Season 6 of Supergirl, Supergirl (Melissa Benoist)'s friends have had to cope without her. As they try to rescue her from The Phantom Zone, they're going to get some help from Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) in Tuesday's episode.

"You see her in this episode now joining the Superfriends properly, for the first time," McGrath told UPI in a Zoom interview.

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The term "Superfriends" is a homage to the animated series Super Friends, which featured Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and more. Supergirl once jokingly referred to her super-powered allies as the Superfriends, and it caught on.

Supergirl introduced Lena Luthor in the Season 2 premiere. The sister of Superman nemesis Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer), Lena has been trying to make her family's company, Luthor Corp., a force of good.

"I think her intentions were always pure," McGrath said. "She sometimes just couldn't see that she was going about it the wrong way. Or, that her pure intentions could be misused by her evil, maniacal brother."

In the past, Lena employed methods that Supergirl questioned. Lena manufactured Kryptonite to defeat the villain Reign, even though Kryptonite is Supergirl's weakness.

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In Season 5, Lena produced virtual reality contact lenses called Obsidian, which allowed users to enter a virtual world and interact with others connected via the lenses. Lex hijacked the Obsidian lenses to brainwash its users, but got acquitted in last week's episode.

The Superfriends are still dealing with the fallout of Lex's Obsidian hijack and Lena wants to help to redeem her company's reputation.

"That they can forgive her for her past mistakes goes a long way to helping Lena forgive herself for her past mistakes, as well," McGrath said. "She has a lot to forgive herself for."

McGrath said Lena's ultimate journey in Supergirl's final season will be to accept herself. Lena has spent much of the series trying to reclaim the name Luthor, when Lex and their mother Lillian (Brenda Strong) continue to pervert with their villainous schemes.

"She's been obsessed with her family," McGrath said. "I would just love to see her finally accept who she is and know that she is enough."

Lena has had moments in her five seasons of Supergirl in which she almost succumbed to her family's influence. When she learned Supergirl's secret identity -- her best friend Kara Danvers -- Lena ended their friendship.

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Kara/Supergirl and Lena ultimately made up. By Season 6, Lena is the one who's helped other Superfriends manage their emotions.

Lena joins Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh), J'onn J'onzz (David Harewood), M'gann M'orzz (Sharon Leal), Nia Nal (Nicole Mains) and Brainiac-5 (Jesse Rath) in the Phantom Zone rescue effort. Last week, Lena also shared an intimate moment with Brainiac, who was ready to kill Lex until Lena talked him down.

"That's why she would never become a villain like Lex," McGrath said. "It's alright to be angry, but it's not alright to act out of anger. In articulating that to Brainy, she can also start to forgive herself for what she did."

The 38-year-old McGrath said working on Supergirl for five years has added skills to her repertoire.

"I can fistfight in heels," McGrath said. "I watched some of my first episode. It feels like yesterday, and it feels like a completely different person at the same time."

Before Supergirl, McGrath appeared in the film Jurassic World and the series Merlin and Dracula. She was born in Ireland and still speaks with an Irish accent, although plays Lena as an American.

McGrath said she is still deeply immersed in filming Supergirl. She said she expects the end to hit her after she finishes filming, and she hopes she can land another job right away.

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"It's a privilege to be able to do this for a living," McGrath said. "It's not a privilege I ever want to give up. I like working hard."

Supergirl airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EDT on The CW.

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