Reviewed by: Michael Bailey
Originally Aired: January 25, 2022
WRITTEN BY: Katie Aldrin & Juliana James
DIRECTED BY: Gregory Smith
Tyler Hoechlin (Clark Kent/Superman)
Bitsie Tulloch (Lois Lane)
Jordan Elsass (Jonathan Kent)
Alex Garfin (Jordan Kent)
Inde Navarrette (Sarah Cushing)
Erik Valdez (Kyle Cushing)
Emmanuelle Chriqui (Lana Lang Cushing)
Wole Parks (John Henry Irons)
Tayler Buck (Natalie Irons)
Sofia Hasmik (Christy Beppo)
Ian Bohen (Lt. Mitchell Anderson)
Daisy Torme (A.I. Voice)
Nathan Witte (Daniel Hart)
Wern Lee (Tag Harris)
Catherine Lough Haggquist (Dr. Faulkner)
Adam Rayner (Tal-Rho)
Mariana Klaveno (Lara Lor-Van)
Eric Keenleyside (Mayor George Dean)
Shaw Madson (Phillip Karnowsky/Barrage)
Rating – 5 (out of 5): I will admit that there is a small part of me that is disappointed that the show hinted at Doomsday but gave us Bizarro instead. I’m a mark for Doomsday stories and it’s a big part of my Superman fandom. The thing is that it was a well-executed swerve. It keeps me guessing, and that makes me more engaged as a viewer. You could argue that between the hints they dropped, and the interviews Todd Helbnig has been giving that it’s a bit of a cheat, but it really isn’t. Showrunners and writers are under no obligation to tell us what will and won’t be coming up on the shows they work on and, to be honest, the current level of fan entitlement is exhausting. The people behind the scenes at the shows we watch owe us nothing more than an entertaining product and those that feel “betrayed” just need to deal with it and move on.
So, yeah, it wasn’t Doomsday, but this is probably going to end up being better and even more entertaining to a certain extent. And this episode was certainly entertaining.
Lana Lang-Cushing, Mayoral Candidate
The Lana for Mayor subplot is coming along nicely. I like that the writers aren’t making this easy for her and I also like that they are not running from Lana’s past. From the standpoint of the average citizen of Smallville, Lana and her husband stood behind the man that sought to conquer not only the town but also the planet. Then there’s the matter of the reverse mortgages that went bad for some of the people that would being her constituents if she was elected. We need to hold elected officials and those that are seeking to become our elected officials to a higher standard and have them talk about questionable things in their pasts. To be fair I have a sneaking suspicion that the man that raised these concerns at her event was a plant sent by Mayor Dean, but that doesn’t make the questions any less legitimate.
To be honest, Lana needed this push back early in the campaign. Politics is ugly and the sooner she can stand up to tough questions the sooner she’ll look like a leader. Having her do a live stream from her kitchen is a terrific way to humanize her and it’s a more comfortable environment to answer those tough questions. I have a feeling that things are going to get a lot harder, and potentially more dangerous, as this sub-plot continues but the writers seem to be taking it seriously and it’s giving Emmanuele some great material to play with.
Secrets, Even Necessary Ones, are Hard
Jordan wanting to tell Sarah about his powers is totally understandable and I like that the writers used this as a way to talk about the downside to being a super-hero or the kid of a super-hero. Secrets do tear people apart and Jordan is in a unique position to know what it feels like to learn that someone he cared about was keeping this huge thing from him for his entire life. Clark is also in a unique position because his entire life has been about keeping parts of himself secret from the rest of the world. The thing is they’re both right. Jordan is absolutely right about the stress of not telling Sarah about himself, especially after she was honest about what happened at camp. Clark is right that teenagers, in general, don’t always know what they want and that learning that her boyfriend has super-powers and that her boyfriend’s dad is Superman is a burden that Sarah may not deserve.
There are no easy answers here.
The compromise Clark struck works, not only for the characters but also for the show. It gives everyone time to figure out how this relationship is going to play out. Jordan giving Sarah the necklace was sweet and I’m glad these kids are back on more stable ground.
What the Heck, Jonathan?
The biggest surprise of the episode, outside of… you know… Bizarro… was Jonathan asking his girlfriend to sell him some of the white K laced drugs. It made for a great moment to end on and makes you think that Jonathan is getting the drugs to give himself a competitive edge. I’m hoping this isn’t the case. I’m hoping that Jonathan is following in his mom’s footsteps and wants the drugs to expose their use.
Yeah. I know. It’s naïve. I just wanted to think that Jordan was above using drugs to get ahead.
If Jonathan does plan on using the K laced drugs to improve his chances with the coach, then I’m trusting the show to play it straight and not have it fall into the realm of “a very special episode” territorty where everyone learns a valuable lesson that drugs are bad, mmkay?
Props to the writers for showing that Jonathan’s girlfriend isn’t dealing because she’s evil, but out of desperation. It’s a nice bit of shading and shows that not all people that get caught up in this sort of thing are evil.
Lois vs. Ally The Cult Leader
Lois’ plotline is also coming along nicely. My favorite part of Lois’ end of the episode was the scenes with her and her father. Sam and Lois’ relationship has always been contentious and for the most part I have sided with Lois when they are arguing, but the thing with the cult and Lucy is different. Now that we know that Lois and Lucy’s mom left the family it casts a new light on why Sam has done what he’s done. The conversation they had where Lois told him that they really needed him and that he wasn’t there and Sam telling her that his girls meant everything to him was sweet and it was nice to see Sam agree to talk to Lucy.
Not that the promised conversation happened. Ally showing up at the diner was a legit shock and, like Jonathan asking for the drugs, was a great way to close out the episode. The show seems to be really going for this cult thing, which has a lot of potential. I’m a bit shocked they are going in this direction given the link between people that appeared in Superman related shows with a name that sounds a lot like Ally and cults, but now that they are going for it, I assume they’re going to go all of the way.
Ally confronting Lois was bold and I know that nothing about this is going to be easy because easy doesn’t make for good television, but if Ally was there to scare Lois then she’s barking up the wrong tree. Not because Lois’ husband is Superman, but because she’s Lois Lane and doesn’t scare easily. This is a great way to show Lois as the driven and determined reporter and having the connection be so personal means she’s going to fight that much harder.
A Bizarre Development
Bizarro is one of the most complex members of Superman’s rogues gallery primarily because, for the most part, he’s not really a bad guy. There have been writers to play him as dangerous (mainly Geoff Johns and Alan Moore, but his turn on “The Challenge of the Super Friends” had him as a member of the Legion of Doom, so there’s that) but for the most part he’s been some mixture of the comedic and the tragic. The live action “Adventures of Superboy” series did some great things with the character, as did “Superman: The Animated Series” and most of his Silver and Bronze Age appearances had a lighthearted quality to them.
Bizarro is like Frankenstein’s Monster. He’s not evil. He’s an imperfect copy of Superman that usually has little understanding of why he feels the way he does. We’re still early into this story, but I’m hoping that’s the direction the show goes in. I’m sure there will be more fighting, like we saw in this episode, but Clark and this creature are linked mentally. That’s a really cool spin to put on their relationship.
This is why I don’t mind that the big reveal wasn’t Doomsday. The writers gave us another option and one that has more dramatic potential. Especially since Bizarro is kind of a red herring. We’re so focused on him that it’s easy to forget that Doctor Faulkner knocked John Henry out this week and has a shadowy benefactor that I am hoping against hope turns out to be Lex Luthor. It reminds me that the bad guy in both the original Frankenstein novel and most of the adaptations is not usual the creature, but the people pulling the strings.
John Henry armoring up was great, and I like that we’re seeing how this effects Natalie. It’s another example of this show making their sub-plots compelling. Relationships are the heart and soul of this show and whether its Nat and John Henry working out their issues or Clark having to deal with his kids being scared of him or Lana working through her cold feet in running for Mayor or Jordan and Sarah working out how they feel about each other or Jonathan feeling like he’s being left behind on the field or Lois and her sister and her father. This show does great with the super-hero side of Superman and the fight over the mines was a good example of that, but the reason I want to tune in every week is that I’m invested in the characters.
As ever, I can’t wait for the next episode.
I’m not sure if I want to give this episode five out of five or a four out of five rating only because of the mayoral subplot. To tell the truth I’m just not feeling that part of the story. I’m hoping that it will line up with the main plot at some point. I don’t know about how I feel about the Natalie character yet. I get that she doesn’t want to be on earth-one and she’s upset about that and the whole Lois not being her actual mom thing, but I just think that she should give her… Read more »
I absolutely love the Superman/family dynamic of the show. Bizarro as the villain was great and even looks great on screen. Its when we leave the core family things break down for me. The show is still plagued by way too many subplots. Whiplash. Too much time is spent on Lana and her family. The race for mayor is a drag. Lana’s family being in the show this much would make sense if she knew Clark was Superman, but she doesn’t in this universe. I am not sure about Natalie’s direction yet. At some points I really like her and… Read more »
Agree with 100%. For whatever reason, CW shows always bog their shows down with a huge cast (that seems to grow every season) and assigns each of them subplots that need to be dealt with every show. They all tend to lose focus over time. Was hoping Superman and Lois would be the exception but it looks to not be the case. Still a good show, though.
[…] Michael is writing the reviews for Superman and Lois over on The Superman Homepage. Check out his review for The Thing In The Mines by clicking here. […]