‘Supergirl’: Did “Call to Action” Just Introduce the Everyman Project?

Tonight on Supergirl, anti-alien sentiment took a deeper hold even as National City celebrated Thanksgiving, but it wasn't Agent Liberty and his followers who found themselves at something of a turning point. Lena Luthor did, too, and it may just be the beginning of the show's take on a storyline taken straight from DC Comics.

Spoilers for tonight's episode of Supergirl, "Call to Action," below.

At the end of last season, fans saw Lena (Katie McGrath) begin to perform experiments on Harun-El, the stone used by the Children of Juru help create the Worldkillers. It's also has incredible properties and was being used by Argo to power their civilization as the only surviving portion of Krypton. Very little had been revealed about what Lena was planning with her experiments on the stone until tonight.

In "Call to Action," it's revealed that Lena has been using Harun-El on medical experiments with the hope of curing cancer. In her private lab she has numerous hearts in special chambers, all supposedly riddled with tumors that she and Eve Tessmacher (Andrea Brooks) are trying to slow, shrink, or even fully eliminate using properties of the stone. Unfortunately, their cancer-curing efforts are proving to be in vain and as each heart only gets worse it is incinerated, thus ending the experiment. However when they attempt to incinerate one of the hearts it simply refuses to burn. It has been made invincible by the Harun-El.

This invincibility property gives Lena the idea that it could be used to give ordinary humans extraordinary powers and, in her mind, a fighting chance against aliens whose abilities outpace their own. It's a suggestion that doesn't go over well with her friends -- particularly Kara (Melissa Benoist) and Alex (Chyler Leigh), but after a falling out with James (Mehcad Brooks) her mind is made up. Lena tells Eve that she wants to move forward with the Harun-El Protocol -- and that means a human subject to try it on.

For DC Comics fans this sounds quite a bit like the Everyman Project. In comics, the project was initiated by Lex Luthor with the goal of granting superpowers to ordinary humans and the first recipients of said powers ended becoming part of Lex's superhero team, the second Infinity, Inc. While it sounds kind of cool on the surface, this is Lex we're talking about and true to form, there was a sinister edge to things. Lex was able to give people powers through the Everyman Project, but he also had the ability to strip them away to test and retest the powers repeatedly to make sure it would be safe for Lex to ultimately go through the process himself.

Lex also brutally killed many of the Everyman Project subjects by deactivating their powers in mid-air on New Year's Eve. The project was eventually dissolved, and the Superman-like powers Lex had managed to give himself were taken away.

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of Lena's Harun-El Protocols are on Supergirl, especially with Lex coming to the series. The CW announced last week that Jon Cryer will be playing the iconic villain beginning in the 15th episode of the series set to air in 2019.

“We are enormous fans of Jon Cryer, and he was instantly our dream actor to play the iconic role of Lex Luthor," said the EPs Robert Rovner and Jessica Queller. Jon is a super-talent, and the fact that he played Lenny Luthor in Superman IV brings an added layer of legacy to his casting. We’re beyond thrilled to welcome Jon to the Supergirl family.”

As the EPs note, this won't be Cryer's first time playing a member of the Luthor family. He took on the role of Lenny Luthor in 1987's Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

“We’re beyond excited to introduce iconic villain, Lex Luthor, to Supergirl and to weave him into our story this season. We’ve talked about having Lex on the show since its inception and we’re excited to have him finally arrive. We can’t wait for him to shake things up in National City and watch him go toe to toe with not only Supergirl, but his sister Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath).”

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Supergirl airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.