“Superman & Lois” Review – S01E09 – “Loyal Subjekts”

Loyal Subjekts

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Premiered: June 8, 2021
Written by: Andrew N. Wong
Directed by: Eric Dean Seaton

On today’s episode of all plot, no brakes…

My last note gives me far more pleasure than it should. I giggle at it madly, looking at it:

“SUPERMAN HAS A RANDY SAVAGE?”

OH YEAH, BROTHER.

It works best if you picture all the things Randy Savage might say but with an erudite rich guy accent.

“I’MA GONNA HIT YOU WITH A BAR OF AL-O-MIN-IUM SO HARD YOU SAY YER ALPHABET ZED FIRST! OH YEAAAAAAH.”

I spent about twenty minutes looking for PNG files of Randy Savage shades with the full intention of turning Morgan Edge into Morgan Savage for this bit and then, on minute twenty-one, questioned what I was doing with my life and stopped.

However, if YOU want to do such a thing, I will award you one inaugural Superman Homepage “OH YEAH, BROTHER.”

It’s like a Baldy. I totally didn’t make it up.

I suppose it is meant to be a big twist or interesting wow moment that Edge is a Kryptonian, or has been possessed by a Kryptonian, or is Zod, or is Kandorian, or whatever it’s meant to be. He’s not going to be Superman’s brother, I’ll spare you that. He’s using it in the colloquial sense, in that all humans are brothers and sisters. In the, yes, RANDY SAVAGE SENSE, BROTHER.

I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure I’m right. If I’m wrong, I’ll award myself an official Superman Homepage “OH NO, MY MAN.” which I also didn’t totally just make up. Julian Finn got one last year, you can ask him.

The reveal also comes from out of the blue, at a time that doesn’t make sense, in a way that’s pretty obviously out of place from the rest of the episode, designed (as are most things in this episode) to make you forget that the work hasn’t been put in to the character here.

It’s a giant plot burger, and a dry one, without ketchup. You gotta do that chew thing where you’re like “This is a hamburger, it’s supposed to be good, what is this?” or if you’re a vegetarian, you’re like “This is a gardenburger, it’s even WORSE without ketchup. Why did you do this to me, TV? WHY are you making me eat a dry gardenburger?”

“IT NEEDS CATSUP, BROTHER!”

Oh lord. Here we go.

I was encouraged to start my review with a focus on something positive, to show that I do like some things. I thought that was clear, given that I mention them in my reviews directly, but I’m going to front-load the stuff I like, experimentally.

The scene with Lois and Clark and the family, after all the initial exposition, was nice. It’s good to see them interacting as people. I wish to see more of that. It was a large part of what made the early episodes great. Every time I see it, I enjoy it.

The scene with Lois and Edge, completely out of context, is well crafted. It’s a classic Superman scene for Lois. The two actors really sell the scene, and the dynamic between the business villain and the intrepid reporter really plays.

Finally, completely out of context, I really liked the action in the Mexico scene. If you ignore that Superman having this weird virus thing going on makes no sense, the idea of a fight against people with guns where he starts strong, and ends weak, and ultimately overcomes, is executed neatly.

The cinematography and music and acting all continue to be top-notch despite the material given.

That’s really it for me. I wish there were more, but honestly, everything else in this show was pretty much blatant plot for the sake of plot absent all character, expecting us to forgive that fact, as many of these shows do, because there are COOL MOMENTS.

The problem is the respective elements. I like most of them on a very surface level, they just don’t make sense together, as presented. Check this potentially awesome list:

– Superman flying all the way to Mexico to stop an armed robbery!
– Morgan Edge is a super being, surprise!
– Lois and Jonathan are trapped in an enclosed place and forced to confront people with Superman’s powers!
– Kyle has super powers, and is evil!
– Jordan is sick, and has to have kryptonite burned out of his body!

Those all sound really cool. And they could BE cool, but for the context.

– Superman flying to Mexico to stop an armed robbery makes no sense, because if he hears that, and it calls his attention, he would hear every armed robbery. Why this one?
– Morgan Edge revealed to be a super being is spoiled by the fact that he just declares it and calls Superman to him, outside of his established shadowy character. If he’s trying to persuade Clark to join him, there’s no reason not to start, oh, eight episodes ago, and if he’s going to brainwash Clark, there’s no reason to wait either. That’s just on the surface.
– Lois and Jonathan are trapped in an enclosed place, but do not call “insta-Superman,” and the people with Superman’s powers do not immediately kill them. They are saved by an incoherent device from a character that shouldn’t be present, and another incoherent device from a character that isn’t present.
– Kyle having superpowers requires him going through the MRI machine process, so he is either aware he has powers and something is up before the scene where he loses his memory, or literally everything falls apart (he has to get into that MRI thing as his own self, this is established through Emily in this very episode).
– Jordan having Kryptonite burned out of his body becomes nonsensical when you realize (if it is viral) that Superman is still breathing the virus into Jordan’s body, and even if Superman is somehow (sigh) super-healed, Sam Lane just unleashed a metric ton more of it into the house and Jordan will now be re-infected.

These things add up. And the bad thing about it? They are ALL easily fixed, with a small bit of thought. And WITHOUT messing up subsequent episodes, if maintaining the beats is a writing concern.

– Superman has been trailing a Mexican armed robbery ring that he’s researching for a book he’s considering writing about the cartels in Mexico. His ear is trained on the movements of a local militia (which is two lines of dialogue to establish) that’s been robbing banks to serve the plaza, internal corruption, a reporter’s bread and butter. He hears them make a sudden move, and is like “Aha, my story, AND a chance to save lives. This looks like a job for Superman.” Done.
– Morgan Edge calls Superman into a desert where five superpowered being grab him and subdue him. “Surprise! I’m Zod. I would have just killed you, but I learned there were worlds where you join me, so I’ve been working toward that, but it’s clear you won’t see reason. Kneel, or die, BROTHER.”
– Kyle shows up at the house. Lois immediately sees it’s out of place, because she isn’t stupid. He wouldn’t come over without calling because Lana is worried. “I came because some people are coming to kill you, Lois.” “Who?” Kyle with red eyes. Sam Lane appears, blasts him with John’s gun. “Took this off your buddy, Irons!” Two more Kryptonian appears. Sam Lane fights them off. A conversation occurs where he tells Lois “The kryptonite was wrong. I see that. There are other ways. I wanted to show you I’ve learned I can fight to protect you in ways that are not actively harmful or homicidal.” “Oh, Dad. I forgive you.” “Stay away from Murder Campers, son.” “Gee, Grandpa!”
– One line from Clark, after Jordan is healed: “Now I have to burn this out of my body.” “I’ll be there for you like you were for me, Dad.”

Why do I say all of this? Why am I gaming it? Not to prove that I can write television, though I can. To show that this, the above, took all of ten minutes, and it at least works toward giving the audience some elements and threads of one thing connecting to the other, as opposed to things happen because THEY ARE FORETOLD TO BE SO by a beat document, no doubt.

This is the worst part about writing by committee, and why shows with a clear lead writer are generally so much more superior. The concern is not churning it out fast, damn the consequences, as it is clearly with this show. This isn’t a show going out when it’s done and ready, it’s a show going out on the schedule it was given.

Not good for solid TV, generally.

It is clear that the show is working less from “What happens after A to get to B?” and more “This is cool! And this is cool! And look, cool! To cover for not really knowing what they want for their characters, and how to accomplish that.”

It’s even worse after the show promises explicitly in its first few episodes that it’s not going to be that to the audience with character moments and plots that spring from what the character needs and is failing to achieve.

The episode starts with, as ever of late, Lois Lane stating the problem. Can’t show it, that’d be less cumbersome.

“We need to use every resource at our disposal!” [to get Morgan Edge]. “Clark’s a great reporter. Now that he’s not coaching he can help!”

Two sins. One, it’s highlighting a flaw of the plot, that Clark is a reporter and hasn’t been reporting, and two, that Clark “coaching” has prevented him doing anything of worth, which is, no charitable way to put it, crap.

Why draw attention to this?

It’s not like they use it as an excuse to involve Clark in the plot, which MIGHT justify it. He does no reporting here, in this show, or any other, really.

It seems to be expressly placed to explain why Clark has not been reporting to the audience, but the problem is, it in no way explains it. Coaching football takes 2-4 hours in a day, and granted, I was an English major (YEAH, BROTHER), but I know that 24 minus 4 leaves twenty hours.

Even if he sleeps twelve hours a day, my dude Clark here is straight up unemployed. In four hours a day, one can easily write two novels a year, if one is a writer. A little recce isn’t a strain on the old Netflix time, my friends.

Beyond that, it is again reiterated that the entire football subplot is not going to be touched on outside of a line of dialogue, to the point where Jonathan no longer even wears a cast. Though they do have a weird moment where the coach kind of puts him down for his prowess with girls, which, you know, weird?

Either Jon’s magically healed, instantly, or all the time that the doctors said Jonathan’s cast would need, we’re supposed to believe, has elapsed, and Morgan Edge’s URGENT PLOT has gone no further and Lois and Clark and Beppo have gained NO GROUND despite having a man that can clearly hear gunfire in Mexico he isn’t even paying attention for, really, being on the case.

Let’s talk, then, about the five people (or less, or more, depending on the scene) Morgan Edge has decided to give powers, and how the clumsiness of its execution, and the show’s general clumsiness, turns opportunity into a liability.

Here’s your premise. A rich, white dude is moving into a small community where people are polarized and poor and, presumably, also mostly white. It’s Kansas, after all.

The people here as shown are willing to do practically anything to get by. This exploitative billionaire then chooses five subjects, or SUBJEKTS, with a k, because, well, Kryptonite, and he’s going to turn them into his zombies that do his bidding. Or Kryptonians who have their own free will and serve him. It’s unclear, and it doesn’t matter to the point. It should be clear.

Two of the subjekts, at least, are visible minorities. It’s hard to say for sure if there are more, because the show keeps conveniently shifting who the subjekts are unless they’re seen on screen, but the general aesthetic seems to be that Lana/Edge seek a diverse crew.

It’s hard to be sure because of the show’s inconsistency. The candidates who meet with Larr in “Wrench,” for example, differ from the people on the corkboard, and then the man who showed up with Emily in the climax is new to us, as far as I can tell, and he’s a big bald white dude.

Race politics exist. They are part of the dialogue about shows with good reason. It makes us uncomfortable to talk about it at times, but we must. People are dying over them, after all.

A show that makes the choice to have a rich white dude exploiting minorities, turning them into mind-controlled slaves, is then obligated to unpack that optic, or be labeled willfully, dangerously blind. Particularly weeks after they had Superman, in the role of a cop, threaten the life of a disarmed black dude. These are story choices. They don’t just magically happen.

There is even a ready-made story here to address the concern that they could (or could have) easily dovetailed into. Companies owned by nefarious white dudes have been historically exploitative and frankly vicious toward minority communities in the past, and many are, right now, taking great pains to be performatively “non-bigoted.” It’s in the headlines this very week.

There are tons of folks in companies making legitimate efforts. But it’s plain, and obvious, that many corporations are being obviously and falsely performative to profit off wrongs they, in the past, have gleefully propagated and encouraged.

Many American companies, for example, stand for queer acceptance when it’s convenient to their bottom line to be demonstrative in American markets and in press releases, but in places where you can get killed for being gay, they’re glad to make a buck selling goods without that Pride flag on the logo, thank you very much.

Want to buy a rock? They’ll probably sell you a rock to stone someone with.

Edge is, it’s easy to assume, a dude who would be down with that. And what is he doing in this plot? It’s directly reflective of this performative wrong, even on the surface. This is an opportunity not only to comment on the way the rich exploit the poor, but also how the rich exploit the minority poor.

What does this show do with that, weeks into showing this situation now?

Exactly nothing.

I am not stating, to be explicitly clear, and to repeat, that the writers or producers have ill intentions in this regard. I think that this, and every problem I mention, in fact, spring from clumsy writing and bad planning and tone-deafness, a critically blind eye to optics. They are, very obviously, not thinking about these things in any way demonstrably expressed in the show.

The problem is, these things, on a micro and macro level, need to be thought about to make a good show. They are an inevitable, ongoing factor now, whether that’s convenient or not. It’s why I’m talking about it even though believe me, it’d be much easier to make jokes. It makes me uncomfortable. It frightens me that I will say the wrong thing and hurt someone. But unless we talk, this persists.

Outside of that rather heavy matter, even if you put the optics aside, the Subjekt program itself doesn’t make coherent sense.

You’re a person who wants to work for Edge. Say, Emily. You really want a job, and Edge seems great. Okay. 150,000 for your business. Grand.

“And, you can be your better self!”

“Okay. How?”

“I want you to step into this MRI machine.”

“Okay, why?”

“Don’t worry about that. It’ll be great.”

“I’m not sick. What are you gonna do, scan me for something?”

“Just get in the machine.”

“Yeah, but like, what’s the purpose of it?”

“Your better self!”

“But see, the thing is, I would ask questions about this.”

“You wouldn’t, because I’ve got MONEY!”

“That’s kind of insulting to the intelligence of poor people, isn’t it? I mean, we’re not monolithically stupid and easily duped just because we lack a few greenbacks.”

Edge smiles. “I’ve got a cookie for you! Who wants a cookie?”

“No, Morgie, I’m serious here. Like, when you assume, or when viewers take on faith, that if you hold a dollar on a fishing pole, and dangle it off a bridge, we’ll jump off, isn’t that saying something? Isn’t that undermining your message that rich people are bad by reinforcing a negative stereotypes about the poor? And in this case, isn’t it worse, because it’s also pointedly someone who is poor AND a minority?”

“HOW ABOUT WE SOLVE THIS IN THE RING, BROTHER!”

“Don’t call me brother. That’s deeply offensive.”

“No it’s not, I’m RICH!”

“All right, I’m out of here.”

“But your better self!”

“Witness it, bucko.” DOOR SLAMS.

They come close to addressing the issue, skirting it lightly, when Edge makes his brief speech about how “It’s all their choice!” and “They’re here of their own free will!” but never make even the slightest turn with Lois after toward “They have no choice, they’re broke, and they’re clearly not acting of their own free will.”

It goes to “Better call Superman then! Mwu ha ha ha.”

Edge knows Lois knows what he’s up to now, and that she can do nothing. What is the point of the façade here? Anything Lois hears is hearsay.

How much more effective would the scene have been had the tone been “Yes. I am tricking these people, Lois. I’m doing this, and neither you nor Superman can stop it. I am mining the poor for my scheme as much as I am this mineral, and there is nothing you can do about it. The working poor will thank me as I step on their heads. Now toodle off to your disreputable paper, and don’t forget to get me some fries with my shake.”

How much more of a villain is that guy than this one?

Instead they go straight to FIST FIGHT WITH SUPERMAN to define his menace. Physical confrontation. With all that they could unpack or make hay of sitting right there.

Before, Clark and Lois converse about how we gotta GET ON THAT EDGE PROBLEM, RIGHT NOW! And Clark basically pulls out some sack lunches for the boys and is like “Yeah, but Lois, he’s rich. People like him. What are we gonna do?”

Yeah, Clark, what, oh what, can a dude with the power of a God who can hear things in Mexico who can travel so fast no one can see him POSSIBLY do here? I wonder.

Edge being in Smallville for X-K attunement makes some sense. That’s legit. But it totally undermines the DRAMATIC NEED for Edge to get it out of town AT ANY COST two episodes back. But you know, why think?

Well, because the audience remembers more than a week ago.

We watch these things, at times, I am told, in a BINGE, even, on streaming services, where such a problem would be GLARING and READILY EVIDENT and even more insulting on repeat watchings. But hey. Don’t develop a plan, just spit it out. Boom.

What about Tag, and the other Kryptonians who are still seemingly themselves? Is the possession just convenient? Do they only do the possession when people are stable?

Not saying which isn’t clever plot obscuring, of the kind you might see in a mystery, it’s making it so we, the audience, can’t comprehend the plot. In a show that takes such great pains to hold your hand through every little beat, that’s off.

Another strange choice: Let’s REUSE that weird awful Kryptonite gas device from last episode that wasn’t well defined, alter its properties randomly to make it even more incoherent, and make it focal!

Sam Lane: “It’s a virus now!”

“Wait, what? I’ve never been sick. I’m Superman. You know this. Your delivery agent is a virus?”

“Yeah. See, you breath it in, and then it’s IN THERE. Boom!”

“Right, yeah, Dad, but I thought the idea was taking me down. Isn’t that the whole point?”

“It is!”

“Okay, sure, but see, here’s the thing. Your intent is to kill me or stop me. Because I’m Superman. Rogue Superman. I am like, really strong, and really fast. The only thing that isn’t menacing about me is my winning smile.”

“You gotta go down!”

“Roger that. You want to hit me with Kryptonite, because that hurts me. It slows me down enough to say, I don’t know, stab me with Zack Snyder’s misplaced Batman spear. Or a banana. Whatever.”

“I don’t see the problem here, Kent.”

“Well, I just don’t get the part where you add in a virus. Like, I thought the point was to take me down rapidly. If it’s going to work, why then develop a part where later, I develop a mildly annoying cough that doesn’t kill me or even leave me vulnerable all the way to bullets?”

“Top minds are—”

“Those aren’t top minds, Samuel.”

Lane whips out the Kryptonite Gas gun he keeps on him at all times from the truck (as this show clearly demonstrates) and SHOOTS SUPERMAN WITH IT as remonstration.

Superman shakes his head. “Good job there, Sam. I’ll be back in what, two, three days with a mild hack? Then you can, I don’t know, deny me Tamiflu or something. For your country.”

“I SERVED MY COUNTRY, BY GOD!”

“OH YEAH, brother. Yeah you did. You served it a plate of stupid.”

As mentioned, the Lois and Edge scene is great, if you completely ignore the fact that she just randomly decides this is the time she must storm into the room and warn all those people in the most ineffective possible way that makes her look like she’s bonkers and wrong.

Not WEEKS AGO, while her son’s broken bone was healing (et-hem). Not while folks were being forcibly converted into mindless soulless death tools of a rich guy, all of whom will likely die horribly and are presently being mentally tortured and having their agency taken away.

NOW. RIGHT NOW.

RIGHT. NOW.

Because Morgan Edge attempted to PLACE AN AD.

That’s what got Lois fighting mad and ready to verbally throw down and DO SOMETHING.

The utter GALL of him advertising in HER PAPER.

Which isn’t hers.

The best part of that whole ridiculous setup (and by best I meant worst) is that Beppo had to have worked that ad up and printed that noise before she showed Lois.

Like, she said to herself “Yep, we’re gonna run that. Why not? A buck’s a buck. I know my character’s entire position is that Edge is terrible with his money and what it’s doing to Smallville, and I control this entire paper, literally, but the PLOT COMMANDS, and I OBEY!”

Just picture her printing that thing up, readying it in Illustrator or InDesign. “Should I be… maybe I should call Lois? Nah. I’ll just work the ad up like I’m going to run it, print it, then show it to Lois. Sure. That makes sense.”

Actual quote from Lois, speaking of Superman in third person to Clark Kent while he’s standing right in front of her: “This isn’t normal. Superman doesn’t bruise!”

Does Superman not know that? He does.

Does Lois not know that? She does.

Do we not know that? We do.

Jordan’s entire arc this episode is rushed and odd. They spend a lot of time on Jonathan getting shot down with that gal we don’t know and have no reason to care about, as much as Jordan’s entire scene with Sarah, which deserved breathing room.

I won’t even get into the weirdness of those sneezes and all their comic potential. You can go on and do that for homework.

They repeat the beat from last episode, that Sarah is giving a musical performance and needs a partner. Now it’s a review? My eyes glazed over. It is because they say it is, that’s all that’s left for this show.

But now JORDAN is the villain, for, uh, getting sick. But Kyle is back to a hero, because yeah, last time, and the last hundred times, he got drunk, but this time he SHOWED UP after she already started embarrassing herself for the strange second talent show in two weeks.

That doesn’t make Sarah out to be dumb at all. It’s not totally out of character for her.

I’M LYING.

And the point of this, we suppose, is to show that deep down, Kyle is really a GREAT GUY who is trying. That makes his turn to villainy tragic. Except he hasn’t been a great guy, this isn’t great parenting, it’s performative and convenient and way too pat.

What is the point of trying to villainize Jordan with Sarah? They’re taking great pains to make him out to be a bad guy in dialogue. He MISSED SCHOOL and that set Sarah off a few episodes back. This episode, without reason: Are you HIDING SOME SECRET FROM ME, Jordan? And of course, it will soon be HE WASN’T THERE FOR ME TO PLAY PIANO. After spending a whole scene declaring how much he was there, and how great it was. Telling, not showing, all of it.

Do you see how hammy and unbuilt this tower is?

Next week, watch them stick something on top of it and expect it to stand.

A note, presented without comment: WHY WOULD INFECTION WITH KRYPTONITE, WHICH HARMS KRYPTONIANS, TRIGGER A BENEFICIAL POWER?

Jordan gets sick, and Lois and Clark (NO, REALLY) turn to SAM LANE. Guy who straight up is making weapons to kill Clark, that almost killed Clark, that are the DIRECT CAUSE of Jordan’s sickness.

Now imagine you’re Superman. You have (as this show ACTIVELY declares) in the past had Kryptonite in your lungs, and had it burned out of you. You know this is a solution, and it’s in the Fortress, and it sucks, but it WORKS. It immediately saves your son.

OR you can LEAVE YOUR SON IN PAIN, possibly DYING, and call the man who infected your boy and ask him to do more things to the physiology of your child. Because, as Lane says:

“My guys are working on it.”

What to choose, what to choose?

OH YEAH, BROTHER. SAM LAAAAAAANE.

To follow the wrestling gag, Sam even gets thrown through a table. I can’t even make this up if I tried, it’s so goofy.

Sam Lane. Oh, God, Sam Lane in this show. They really, really have no idea what to do with this guy, save use him as a bludgeon to make us hate other characters for their utter stupidity in the face of his idiocy. Sam Lane this episode:

– Let’s repeat the Lois “You’re not welcome here!” beat we’ve already seen, with Lois, only to forgive and laud him for the very thing he did that caused him not to be welcome, because “it worked out somehow.”
– I’m Sam Lane, I’m just going to conveniently sit outside in my car though I’m not welcome here for no real reason until some plot element needs me. Good thing I carry one of those Kryptonite gas guns with me, I’ll even mention it on the phone so the audience knows, even though me having one here makes absolutely no coherent sense. I’ve just been trespassed for considering using one, so I’ll just, uh, sit here with one and wait for MY TIME TO SHINE.
– Let’s get Jonathan out to have a lengthy chat with me that is basically the exact same chat we just had with Lois, to prime the pump for how wrong Lois and Jordan are not to trust my methods, though they are absolutely right. But don’t worry, they’ll think they’re wrong later just because.
– Hey, I just tried to murder your husband, but coincidence made me convenient to you, so I MUST not be all bad, right? The law of moronic TV is “All’s well that end’s well, no matter what you actually did.”
– HE ATTAC. HE PROTEC. NO INTROSPEC. WORST OF ALL, HE INFEC.

And hey, you know what would be great, while people are dying of Covid?

Let’s use a virus haphazardly as a story device.

Let’s have Clark get it from his Dad because he Dad was being clumsy containin the virus, and then that virus infects your kid, and you, and you’re both hurting, and the kid is getting worse and worse.

Let’s follow it up by making Dad the hero of the moment by, yes, infecting the villains with that virus. It was really good, you see? Without that virus, we’d all be in some trouble. Guess we all learned something today.

“Wait?”

“Yes, brain?”

“Wouldn’t Jordan get infected again? And need to get all burned again in that horrible traumatizing way”

“Yes, brain.”

“What about his anxiety?”

“What anxiety? The show has forgotten entirely.”

“I mean, the virus was all over that house, the DoD has no idea how to fix it, Superman is still sick, so far as we know.”

“BE YOUR BETTER SELF, BROTHER! ASK ME NO QUESTIONS, OR WE WILL MEET IN THE RING. OH YEAAAAH.”

Coincidentally, that’s EXACTLY how the episode ends.

They do have one scene where Lois hysterically whines about how she can’t protect her sons. Jonathan points out the flaw in the plot, as characters in this show are wont to do.

“I crashed the truck. I went in the murder camper. You didn’t do that.”

“Yes, but won’t somebody think about how this is my fault?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s stupid, Mom.”

“I don’t think it is.”

“Wait. Didn’t you just lose your temper inappropriately again? Didn’t you, I don’t know, rage into Edge’s office and completely scotch your chance at saving five or more lives today to engage in a confrontation with someone that could have no discernable positive effect, and many negative effects?”

“I, ah…”

“I mean, last week, you raised your voice at me, and it was time for therapy, and really all that was hurt was that I got a scolding I deserved. Now you’re getting people killed, but you don’t need to talk to someone? You’re justified. Is that right, Ma?”

“We are HERE to work on our FAMILY.”

“Yeah, Ma, I know, you keep saying that. And like, I’m totally chill with almost having been Murder Campered to get to know you two. I’m learning, and growing. It’s all good. But, you know, isn’t it a bit insulting and incoherent to use therapy, a real thing that helps people, as a strange prop and then completely forget the issue you covered when it’s convenient? Isn’t it insulting and inconsistent, particularly for viewers really struggling with depression and anxiety and loss? Forsooth and verily—”

“Look, Jon, a rabbit!”

“That’s not a rabbit, ma. It’s Kryptonians who want to kill us.”

“It’s fine. It still distracts people from noticing what you were talking about.”

Added bonus quote from that scene: “Dad’ll figure something out. He always does.”

Yep, that right there, that’s what Lois needs, a dude to figure out her issues for her. That’s so Lois Lane!

(IT’S NOT THOUGH.)

(I KNOW.)

(JUST CHECKING.)

(WHY?)

(BECAUSE YOU GOTTA BE CLEAR IN A WORLD WHERE AWFUL PEOPLE WOULD THING THAT WAS LOIS ALL OVER, CLEARLY)

(REALLY? THAT’S HORRIBLE.)

(A LOT OF THINGS ARE RIGHT NOW. WE’LL GET THROUGH THIS TOGETHER. IN THE RING.)

(OH YEAAAAAAAH.)

Another random note presented without comment: SARAH ONLY SANG ONE VERSE.

Lana decides that something is strange with Emily because Emily left during her daughter’s singing.

NOT when Emily goes into the magic conversion machine and still has a sunny disposition toward Edge coming out and talking to Lana, sayin how wonderful everything is

THEN. Later. For the plot, of course.

The hilarious part of that observation (and by hilarious I mean terrible) is that Lana spends most of her time ignoring everything her daughter does, all her problems, to protect her failing marriage to an alcoholic jerk.

Whoopsie-doodle.

Another fun Lana fact. Edge KNOWS Lana suspects him of evil, AND that she’s reporting to Lois Lane. She turns down his offer to be a BETTER YOU. She is still employed by Edge. Why?

“Look, a rabbit!”

So ok, ok, ok, ok. Somewhere in there last episode, Jonathan, after nearly being killed in the Murder Camper, sending her mother down a SPIRAL that ended up with her in therapy, which he is, you know, fully aware of, decided to break back into THE SAME CAMPER, stash some automatic weapons he doesn’t know the nature of in the ground under the barn, and no one noticed?

Like, no one put a Ring Camera on the RV after the near fatality? No one was watching Jonathan?

But ALSO. Also, game this out. This means that either John Henry isn’t looking at his RV after it has been thoroughly damaged, and has no idea those guns are missing. Or worse. WORSE! He knows, and he didn’t think to call Lois and be like “Might wanna check your boy for an AR or three that shoots plasma and such. Also, he went back in the Murder Camper.” He just cranked up the BORN TO BE WILD and rode off into the sunset. Screw that kid!

So then Jonathan he pulls out this gun that SHOOTS KRYPTONIANS THROUGH WALLS, and your brain goes “Wait, John had this, and he never used it? He went with a hammer?”

But as soon as that happens to your brain, it realizes that Jonathan just shot these ALLIES OF KYLE through the wall, and Kyle, instead of doing what he immediately does after, burning that weapon with eye lasers, just let Jonathan SHOOT THEM?

Why? To gain their trust only to immediately betray it? Even brainwashed, that’s dumb.

This also requires that we conveniently ignore that Jonathan, who has never fired this weapon, recall, thinks he can take down Kryptonians with an automatic rifle.

Remember that scene, this episode, where Superman wasn’t taken out by an automatic rifle after the gas?

Trying that, Jonathan concludes, is wiser than fleeing for his life or hiding. Stand your ground… with a bullet weapon… with Kryptonians.

We are expected to ignore this because it shot cool red blobs.

And it bears repetition, that Lois and Clark are not dumb enough not to question Kyle’s sudden appearance. Especially Lois. Lois knows that people are being possessed by Kryptonians, and that Kyle is tight with Edge. He appears at her house for, as far as we know, the first time since the pilot, I think.

She asks him why he’s there, and he says “Lana was scared.”

Lois is unphased by this causal chain. She doesn’t go “You don’t come here, ever, you don’t care about your wife, and contrary to my writing, I am not as dumb as a rock.”

But she should.

She doesn’t, I guess, for the BIG REVEAL that we all knew was coming in the first episode, that Kyle is gonna be corrupted and work for Edge.

Man, never could have seen THAT coming.

It’s like they said “Let’s do the opposite of the John Henry reveal. Let’s do the most obvious, on the nose stuff we can now.”

You wanna really twist the audience around, the controlled and powered baddie in the family shoulda been Lana. That at least would be tragic and have some drama to it, as opposed to a moron getting his just deserts for trusting a nakedly ambitious megalomaniac billionaire.

Hidden deep in here we have a scene where Clark cries because Jordan went through pain because of being Clark’s son. It’s a good scene. It’s just so wildly out of place it falls utterly flat. It should have happened WAY earlier and in a different context. Thrust into the climax, it made the scene plod and feel wrong consequently.

Superman shows, and the baddies flee. They were sent because Superman was weakened, though. That means it’s once again time to play everyone’s least favorite game show, WHAT IS EDGE’S MOTIVATION?

“He wants to kill what Superman loves the most!”

“He has heat vision, though. He can fly into the sky and laser the house from above and make it go boom.”

“Right, but unless he sends minions, Superman will know it’s him!”

“You really think Superman won’t know it’s him?”

“It doesn’t matter! They failed. He was just testing Superman.”

“Oh, so it was a test. Okay. Why would he test Superman by threatening his family right before revealing he had powers? I mean, if he’s going to try and convince Superman to work with him, that undermines his goal. If he’s going to brainwash Superman, why doesn’t he have the five supers he made? If he’s not doing either of those things, why did he call Superman?”

“To tell him they are brothers! That will change everything! THAT is his motivation.”

“That’s thin.”

“You’re thin!”

“Are you five?”

“You’re five!”

“Stop it.”

I did, however, really like that conversation Lois had with Jonathan after the fight, though, where she admonished him against having weapons that literally blow Kryptonians through walls without permission. The way she expressed how it agitated her resurgent fears for his safety, along with all the things the Kryptonians did, that really helped develop her character to make up for the fact that the show had Kryptonians EYE LASER HER HOUSE practically to the ground and practically murder her father. It was a nice touch, too, having Clark check in on his wife after what she went through last week.

Wait.

They didn’t actually do that?

They went with another maudlin, bad dad, self-pity, “Sam Lane was right.” wrap-up scene instead?

Oh. Oh, okay. That’s a choice.

Neither the DoD nor Lois nor Clark go to Lana’s after realizing that Kyle is a converted maniac. Though there are two children in the house in immediate threat. Why do they not? So we can have a scene where Kyle mea culpas in a way no sane person will believe after the events of this show?

And hey, Larr turns out to be a former Smallville citizen. If there’s one thing about small towns, you know, it’s that no one recognizes each other. There’s not an air that everything gets around fast, and that you can’t do anything at all without someone seeing and commenting on it.

::TOUCHES EAR::

Actually, wait, I am being told by the booth that it’s utterly implausible to imagine that a grown woman would disappear and reappear as the same woman with a different name without comment in a small town.

My penultimate, sad note, just before “SUPERMAN HAS A RANDY SAVAGE?” is telling:

“Why does Superman immediately physically attack Edge? He’s just a man.”

When you look at the scene from Clark’s perspective, it begins with Superman straight up trying to murder a dude for calling him on the phone.

OH YEAH, BROTHER, THAT’S ANOTHER WEEK OF SUPERMAN, BROTHER. MORGAN SAVAGE COMING TO YOU LIVE. IT’S PLAY TIME. NEXT WEEK IN THE RING, BROTHER. YEAH, YEAH, OH YEAH!

Randy Savage

I maybe made it anyway. Don’t you judge me. I like that the head is way too big and stupid.

1Rating – 1 out of 5.

NOW, AN IMPORTANT NOTE.

I am an independent writer of novels and comics and occasionally, reviews like this. If you liked this review, don’t like, don’t subscribe, just get yourself yonder to NealBailey.com or my Patreon.

I don’t get paid for this, so if you like any of the stuff I’m doing, plunk a buck in the tip jar or buy one of my books, help keep the work coming.

If you don’t like my review, hell, buy one of my books anyway, then savage the hell out of it. I won’t mind. I can use your hate money to make more words. Mmmmm. Hate money.

Until next week!

Neal Bailey

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afriend
June 9, 2021 8:31 pm

I mostly liked the episode; I’m waiting for them to do “The Big Reveal” (TM, Geoff Johns) with Jonathan. And I see a few different avenues of it happening in the show, but one of things I don’t like in pretty much all media is when they drag it out (same with “Will they? Won’t they?” Romances and prequels that take forever; looking at you, Seasons 6-8 of Smallville!) Also “The Big Reveal” (TM, Geoff Jo… You get the idea) for our villain. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but… There’s actually one recurring Superman villain that I’ve… Read more »

Superman2878
June 9, 2021 9:46 pm

Spoiler warning don’t read my comments if you haven’t seen the episode yet. Spoiler warning don’t read my comments if you haven’t seen the episode yet.Spoiler warning don’t read my comments if you haven’t seen the episode yet. Ok now that I’ve given fair enough spoiler warnings, here I go. I thought that this episode was amazing. I’m so impressed on how this show keeps surprising me. I’ve made some Side notes/questions about the episode and related topics and I can’t wait for the series to address them. 1. How did Edge know about John Henry Irons and his claims… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Superman2878
micah
June 10, 2021 12:21 am
Reply to  Superman2878

Agreed, it’s great! I don’t know what some people are looking for. But they’re doing a great job for me…. and im picky. And a die hard. I think the main reason im happy is because they’re exploring mostly untapped territory. The twin boys automatically showed us they were going to be new and unpredictable. And so far, I’m loving it. It has taken a turn, but not in a bad way.

Superman2878
June 10, 2021 12:59 pm
Reply to  micah

Yeah, and I’m so glad that they’re finally treating Tyler’s Superman with respect on this show. It’s my favorite part of the series. I knew that when he finally gets his own show that they would have to treat Superman with more respect. And now he’s getting that respect. Superman is the one saving the day and not another hero. I’m so loving this show. Keep it up WB/CW, you’re doing great! 😀

lcmcbain
June 10, 2021 10:11 am

This was an much earlier than expected, “jump the shark” episode for me. It was an incoherent mess. As Neal mentioned, I noticed the teacher watching Jonathan get shot down, (which was also quite poorly written since I also thought she was making it obvious she kind of liked him and not for pity’s sake) and thought, “that’s weird” and then the teacher makes the snide comment. What the what? Why? What difference does it make even if the why is”because”? It’s just laughably stupid, that’s why. As mentioned, many scenes just kind of happen randomly. The motivations and reasons… Read more »

neal bailey
Admin
June 10, 2021 12:58 pm
Reply to  lcmcbain

Thanks.

Nice to receive a kind, thoughtful response instead of the knee-jerk “I didn’t read this, but I hate it and you and you should be fired!” that’s so common and pervasive.

The show started well, but it’s taken a real nosedive for the sake of arbitrary drama, which is unfortunate. It was so very, very good at first.

Bobbywoodhogan
June 10, 2021 1:23 pm

I completely disagree with this review and 1/5 is ridiculous.

Also you confused Randy Savage with Hulk Hogan, Hogan says Brother all the time. Not saying Savage never used it but he didn’t use it frequently unless he was with Hulk Hogan.

neal bailey
Admin
June 10, 2021 1:30 pm
Reply to  Bobbywoodhogan

YEAH YEAH YEAH, OH YEAH!

THEM’S WORDS OF DISAGREEMENT, BROTHER! I REMEMBER LAST TIME WE MET IN THIS RING, BOBBYWOOD HOGAN, YOU SUGGESTED THAT ROWDY RODDY PIPER WASN’T EVEN A MASTER OF THE BAGPIPES, BROTHER.

WE GOT ONLY ONE WAY TO SETTLE THIS, BROTHER. WE’LL SEE WHO’S RIGHT NEXT WEEK, IN THE RING! CAGE MATCH!

BONESAW IS READY.

Dagenspear
June 11, 2021 8:20 am

I think you’re missing a lot of what happens in this show somehow, like I suggested in the comment on the last review. – Superman flying to Mexico to stop an armed robbery makes no sense, because if he hears that, and it calls his attention, he would hear every armed robbery. Why this one?– Morgan Edge revealed to be a super being is spoiled by the fact that he just declares it and calls Superman to him, outside of his established shadowy character. If he’s trying to persuade Clark to join him, there’s no reason not to start, oh,… Read more »

neal bailey
Admin
June 11, 2021 11:52 am
Reply to  Dagenspear

My responses to this, all of this, are relatively simple, though I do thank you, first and foremost, for making the legit effort of listing actual beefs instead of just “UR WRONG!” Isn’t it a sign that a show is deeply flawed if it requires this much clarification to parse what’s going on? Doesn’t it indicate that there’s a lack of thought going into it, which is MY beef? I can go through each and every one of those points above. Some I can refute, some I’d agree with you, my take missed something you pointed out. But the point… Read more »

Dagenspear
June 12, 2021 2:21 am
Reply to  neal bailey

I’d suggest the issue lies with the person who claimed these issues existed. Not the show itself. If the show presents those situations, then I think it’s up to the reviewer to look into if what they’re addressing is actually a problem, or if they missed something. Particularly if, I think, to me, they’re heavily claiming these are issues with the show.

I don’t think it’s making an excuse to point to things that the shows show, on screen and/or have characters say, as a rebuttal.

neal bailey
Admin
June 12, 2021 2:32 pm
Reply to  Dagenspear

Do you even realize that what you’re doing here is saying “It’s wrong to point out small mistakes in a show, just enjoy it!” while pointing out small mistakes in a review and not just enjoying it? Also, critically, you have not shown that I am citing any issues that don’t exist, you’ve made a laundry list of assertions that I disagree with but don’t care to refute line by line. I could, as I said, but I won’t, because you’re not starting from a place of good faith, you’re baldly asserting that I have issues and expecting me to… Read more »

Dagenspear
June 12, 2021 11:46 pm
Reply to  neal bailey

I don’t think that’s what I’m saying. I think I’m suggesting that someone who points out issues, it’s their jobs to make sure the issues they claim, exist. Example: You said Lois didn’t insta call Superman. I pointed out that not only did she not have the device on her, that also when she went to grab it, it got snatched up by the villain. And that when Sam Lane gives her his device, based on what I heard, she does activate it then. Others examples: You bring up how Sam Lane has just used that gas on the house.… Read more »

neal bailey
Admin
June 13, 2021 2:06 am
Reply to  Dagenspear

Again, I’m not going line by line with every issue I pointed out. The review stands. I will get a few wrong. That happens. I’m human. I’ll admit that I get a few wrong. Arguably, given how close I watch, some of the responsibility for what is unclear, even when I am incorrect, lies with the show, for its duty is to make what has happened very clear. As an example, what you mention about Sam Lane and the weapon is only mentioned in a throwaway line of dialogue in a scene that you’re so confused wondering why it happens,… Read more »

Dagenspear
June 15, 2021 9:22 pm
Reply to  neal bailey

Based on some of your claims, when those things are shown and/or said, I think it’s not on the show.

I think the way you react to some of these claims, as if it’s fact.

I pointed out 4. Pointing out 4 is pointing out that not all of your claims were right. I never claimed all of them were wrong.

The list I made is based on what I think is in the show, not what’s not in the show.

Dagenspear
June 12, 2021 2:26 am
Reply to  neal bailey

Something I admit I think I got a detail wrong, whether by me missing it or the CW version not having it and only saw it in a reaction, I think:

There’s a part that shows Emily going through the process. So, it seems, some, at least, Emily is, from what I saw, knows what’s happening and agreeing to it.