Supergirl Star Melissa Benoist on the "Daunting" Challenge of Directing "Deus Lex Machina"

Supergirl returns on Sunday night after a long hiatus thanks, in part, to the coronavirus pandemic which shut down production on the series earlier this year and the episode The CW series returns with is a major one. "Deus Lex Machina" not only will reveal how Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) came to have the power he currently enjoys since "Crisis on Infinite Earths" but it's also series star Melissa Benoist's directorial debut. With the episode being so Lex-centric, it turns out that it presented its own specific challenges for Benoist, with the expository nature of the episode being "daunting" for her to take on.

In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Benoist explained that "Deus Lex Machina" contains a lot of time jumps in order to fully tell its story, something that presented the challenge of being able to keep viewers informed without sounding too perfunctory and still leaving room for audience enjoyment as well.

"I'm glad you pointed that out because that exact point was the most challenging aspect and the most taunting one because there are a lot of time jumps that let the audience follow Lex as he [learns about Earth-Prime]. It starts the day after Crisis," Benoist said. "So, in the way that we had Kara Danvers wake up after Crisis in her loft and it was this new world, Earth-Prime, this is Lex's telling of that. So, we time jump a lot, there's a lot of exposition, exactly, a lot of themes that we had to catch people up on. So that was a little daunting to make sure that yes, it was expository and informing the audience what they needed to know to understand, but also keeping it moving and entertaining and not just feeling like an encyclopedia, if you will."

Even with the daunting aspects of the episode's storytelling, Benoist also said that while she was a bit terrified to direct for the first time, she got a great deal of enjoyment in getting to work with Cryer in an entirely different capacity for the episode and she felt fortunate to get to helm this specific episode.

"Considering it was the first time in the director's chair for me, I think I'd be remiss if I didn't say how terrified I was. That just went without saying, that I was scared, but reading it also had this thrilling aspect to it because I was going to get to be the one to visualize it and make sure the tone was coming across," Benoist said. "I guess only since season 4, we've had these episodes that were a departure from the story and took a step back and gave us Lex Luthor's point of view, and this is one of those episodes. So, I couldn't believe how lucky I was that I got to be the teller of that particular story for our season, where we recap the entire season from Lex Luthor, Jon Cryer's eyes. And I was very excited to get to work with him closely in an actor-director relationship. Aside from the initial terror, and wondering whether or not I was capable of doing it, I was so excited and immediately just imagining what I wanted to do and thinking of shots."


Supergirl airs Sundays at 9/8c on The CW. "Deus Lex Machina" debuts on May 3rd.