This week, the stakes of Supergirl Season 3 became all the more clear as the zealous Graves siblings revealed they have not been acting alone and tipped their hand regarding their plans for the future. It's pretty simple, really: Together with the mysterious masked Agent Liberty, Otis and Mercy Graves plan on exposing and destabilizing the entire alien population of America, all in the name of--well, making it great again.
The political allegories in this one are anything but subtle.
What's more, Agent Liberty himself spent a bit more time in the spotlight, thanks to he and Mercy's partnership. That gave us our first real look at his civilization followers, the "Children of Liberty," as they'll soon be known according to series producer Robert Rovner. "We learn more about Agent Liberty's backstory in episode 4," Rovner teased when speaking with GameSpot and a group of reporters at The CW earlier this week. "It's an origin story, which I think adds a lot of depth to our villain. You get to see where he came from and how he got to be the way he is."
But perhaps more interesting that Agent Liberty alone is his partnership with Mercy Graves, which was explored in this episode, along with Mercy's former partnership with Lex Luthor, who was announced this week as an upcoming addition to the season. Mercy was, according to Lena, Lex's right hand for quite some time before their partnership came to a rather disastrous end. Apparently Mercy wanted to push Lex and his ideals even further than he was comfortable with--which seems a bit difficult to believe, considering Lex's reputation as one of the worst of the worst over in the comics.
Speaking of the comics--Mercy's connection to the Luthor name won't come as a surprise to DC fans. In the comics, Mercy was brought in (a transplant from the Animated universe, like Harley Quinn) as Lex's personal secretary and bodyguard. She's a cybernetically enhanced Amazon who has all the ruthless cunning of her boss, with added superhuman strength and invulnerability, making her quite the force to be reckoned with. We saw a small sample of that this week as Mercy went toe-to-toe with Lena using pieces of Lena's own L-Corp exosuit--a nod to Lex's comic book power armor.
Significantly, a large part of Mercy's comic book history revolves around Lex Luthor's campaign (and eventual tenure) as President of the USA, and considering how up-in-the-air the presidency is in the Supergirl universe right about now, that may be something to keep an eye on in the future. Rovner was, of course, unable to confirm or deny whether a President Luthor plotline was in the show's immediate future, but there are certainly political seeds being sown.
Agent Liberty, too, was shown conducting a town hall-like meeting with his soon-to-be "Children of Liberty" promising the tides of change for those humans who feel disenfranchised by the aliens on Earth. Along with exposing the alien threat, Liberty also seems to want to make a power play of his own--to what end, we can't be sure. But let's just say there's a chance that the man behind the mask isn't a total stranger to Mercy or to Lena after all, and that maybe Mercy and Lex's partnership isn't as over and done with as Lena would like to believe.
Of course, a Luthor reveal for Agent Liberty would be a left turn for the character. His comic book counterpart is a man named Benjamin Lockwood, a former CIA agent turned tech-based superhero. That incarnation of Liberty was more frequently a morally ambiguous anti-establishment figure who rallied against the government and occasionally teamed up with the Justice League.
Regardless of whether Agent Liberty is, in fact, Luthor in disguise, another member of Team Supergirl is about to find themselves in the crosshairs of the conflict. James Olsen's editorial with CatCo Worldwide Media is going to make some waves, Rovner explained, that may or may not bring some unwanted attention to him. "His relationship with the Children of Liberty is an interesting one. It has its roots in this episode, but it's going to get much more complicated as we get deeper into the season."
What, exactly, constitutes "complicated" for James Olsen is certainly up for debate, but with the chaos Agent Liberty has already wrought in National City this season--and the promise for more to come, best practice seems to be paying close attention to the possible clues about whoever is behind the mask. Luthor or not, he's certainly not a threat to be taken lightly.