Reviewed by: Steve Younis
Originally Aired: August 25, 2023
Story by Aman Adumer
Directed by Kiki Manrique
Jack Quaid as Clark Kent/Superman
Alice Lee as Lois Lane
Ishmel Sahid as Jimmy Olsen
Joel De La Fuente as The General, Man
Zehra Fazal as Leslie Willis/Livewire, Child
Jake Green as Dr. Ivo, Commanding Officer, Teen Boy
Azuri Hardy-Jones as Flip
Catherine Taber as Siobhan/Silver Banshee, Mom
Debra Wilson as Amanda Waller, Woman
A weakened Superman is being held captive by Task Force X. The General questions Superman about an invasion, an event that happened 22 years ago when The General (whose first name is Sam) and Amanda Waller were soldiers. As part of a large military operation watching over an alien spacecraft that had landed on earth, Sam and Amanda witnessed their entire platoon wiped out when a portal opened up and an invading army with alien weaponry attack. Mysteriously, the attackers were sucked back in to the portal, but their weapons, now powerless, remained behind.
Lois and Jimmy are in a panic over not being able to find Superman anywhere, and Flip and the News Kid Legion offer their help.
Dr. Ivo, angry at being locked up and unable to exact revenge on Superman himself, screams and bashes on his cell without effect due to the collar around his neck. In another cell, Siobhan realizes her Livewire powers are not being repressed, and bides her time.
Realizing that Superman honestly doesn’t know anything about the invasion 22 years ago, The General starts to display some doubts about the actions he’s taken against Superman, much to Waller’s dismay. She secretly turns off the camera in Livewire’s cell, enabling her to escape. Freeing Dr. Ivo and the others, the criminals take out guards protecting the facility, allowing Ivo access to Superman. Even though the Man of Steel is powerless and doesn’t want to fight, Ivo doesn’t care, and uses his Parasite abilities to drain Superman and the facility around him to gain more power, increasing his size over and over again.
Alerted to the situation, The General tries to stop Ivo, but Livewire helps him gain more power, and the villains all escape. The Parasite continues to grow, morphing into a giant purple beast that towers over the city of Metropolis, endangering people. Hearing Lois’ voice, Superman tries to stop Parasite, but with the city’s electricity to provide him with so much power, he’s virtually unstoppable.
Jimmy has an idea. Using his access to 5 million followers on Flamebird, Jimmy reveals his identity to his legion of followers, asking for their help. He wants them to switch off all the power around the city, turning off electrical breakers, and whatever else they can do to starve Ivo of the electricity powering him up. Lois gives an impassioned speech about how much Superman has helped them and how important he is to the city. The message works wonders, and Metropolis goes dark.
The effect on Parasite is immediate, and Superman tries once more to talk Ivo down. Enraged, Ivo won’t listen to reason, and attacks Superman once more. Using his x-ray vision, Superman sees that Ivo remains within the body of the Parasite behemoth. Using his speed, strength and flight, Superman crashes through the Parasite’s body, grabbing Ivo, who is no longer a threat when beyond reach of the Parasite technology.
As the city comes back to life, the people of Metropolis cheer for their champion. Superman flies to the roof of the Daily Planet building, where Jimmy runs and hugs him. As he steps aside, Superman and Lois share a moment. She tells him she loves him, and Superman swoops her up in his arms, takes to the sky, and expresses his love for her in return. As he leaves them alone, Jimmy grabs Lois’ satchel and notices the data sphere in her bag.
Back at Task Force X headquarters, Amanda Waller informs The General that Checkmate and the U.S. government have lost faith in Sam’s ability to do his job. Waller is now head of Task Force X, and she orders Sam to use Ivo’s last invention, the Omega Canon to kill Superman.
Rating – 5 (out of 5): What an awesome episode! Easily my favorite of the season so far. The season finale is going to have a hard time topping this one.
The emotion levels were ramped up to 11. I was tearing up at Lois’ speech and their reunion on the roof of the Daily Planet. This is one of the best Superman moments in any version of the character’s 85 year history. This is Superman!
Finding out that there was a Kryptonian invasion 22 years prior is an interesting revelation. I have a feeling the head of the Kryptonian invading army was none other than General Zod. I imagine we’ll be seeing more of him very soon. Clark discovering this information has given him a completely different view of who he is and why he’s here. I hope he’s able to go back to the Kryptonian artefact in Smallville and get the information he needs from Jor-El. For him to think his people were ruthless invaders is a new and disturbing twist for Superman’s introduction to his heritage. No wonder he freaked out about what he was shown by The General. To think he was sent here as a weapon is obviously very disconcerting to Clark, especially when he’s done nothing but try to help people with his powers. This episode made me think of “The Iron Giant” film on a couple of occasions… and that’s a good thing.
The conclusion to the “Zero Day” story was another high point in a series that just continues to get better and better.