Reviewed by: Michael Bailey
Originally Aired: February 1, 2022
WRITTEN BY: Jai Jamison & Andrew N. Wong
DIRECTED BY: Melissa Hickey
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)
Lucy Lane (Jenna Dewan)
Catherine Lough Haggquist (Dr. Faulkner)
Dylan Walsh (General Sam Lane)
Rya Kihlstedt (Ally Allston)
Daisy Torme (A.I. Voice)
Danny Wattley (Coach Gaines)
Daniel Cudmore (Behemoth Thing)
Zane Clifford (Timmy Ryan)
Joselyn Picard (Sophie Cushing)
Rating – 5 (out of 5):
The Kids Aren’t Alright
The Kent boys went through some stuff in this episode. One of them was kind of goofy and heartwarming while the other made me yell, “No, don’t do it!” at my phone.
Jordan’s use of his powers to stop the kids from shoplifting and then panicking when he realized that there was a camera recording him reminded me of the early days of SMALLVILLE. That’s not a bad thing. Jordan is just starting to learn about the best way to use to use his powers, so having a scare like this was good for him. It also allowed Sam Lane to help out his grandson, which was genuinely heartwarming. It will be interesting to watch how Sam chooses to train Jordan. Part of me wants Clark to be the one to show Jordan the finer points of using abilities far beyond those of mortal men and women, but Clark is a little busy at the moment. And it’s always possible that Clark will discover Jordan and Sam’s training and decide to take over.
Jordan’s not the only Kent son with a secret, though Jonathan’s has more potential to be destructive. My hope was that Jonathan was going to follow in his mother’s footsteps and buy the drug to discover what it is, where it comes from, and to put a stop to its use in the high school and beyond, but that was not the case. The weird thing is I’m actually disappointed in him for taking the X-K laced drug, which means I am more emotionally invested in this show than I thought I was. The effects of the drug taking effect and what they did to him were very well done, as was the side effects. I liked that Nat noticed something was weird and was both concerned and totally chill at the same time. It makes me wonder what her social life was like on the other Earth.
Before her mother was murdered by an evil Superman that is. She seemed pretty busy after that.
The Lana for Mayor sub-plot continues to be one of my favorite side stories from this season and it is proving to be an emotional roller coaster, especially when it comes to Kyle. It makes sense that a guy like Mayor Dean, who is proving to be more and more of a scumbag, would poke around in Lana’s private life looking for grist for the political mill. Questioning Lana’s past, especially when it comes to the reverse mortgages, is one thing and completely fair. Poking around Sarah’s suicide attempt is another thing entirely and I liked how the writers dealt with Lana and Kyle telling her. It was a good moment for them and a good moment for Sarah while at the same time normalizing the discussion around mental health. It was a smooth bit of writing.
I even liked Kyle coming in hot when he and Lana confronted Dean on the street. Dean continued to be a jerk by bringing up Kyle’s drinking and it occurred to me that Lana could do some political judo here by being up front about everything and showing that every family has issues, but her family is dealing with them. It would make her more relatable as a candidate.
Then there was the scene at the end where it was heavily implied that Kyle had, at best, an inappropriate relationship with the bartender. My actual thought was, “Oh man! Come on Kyle! I just got fully on board your team.” I don’t know how this is going to play out, but as disappointing as it is, it does make for good television. Like Jonathan using the X-K drug, the show is continuing to prove how much I am invested into its characters.
Family Matters…With Added Cult Flavoring
The Lois/Lucy scenes were really well done. The writers are doing a good job exploring how a family deals with one its members getting involved in a cult. More than anything it is proving to be a great story for Lois and is allowing the writers to put her through her paces. Lois is a hard character to crack, but the writers are proving they have a good handle on her. If this didn’t involve Lucy, then Lois would not be as vulnerable. She’d just keep going, but the fact that her sister is part of this cult and, on top of that, it seems like her current partner has also lost faith in her are making thing harder. Which they need to be. It’s more dramatic and allows us to see the more vulnerable side of Lois.
Ally Alston is shaping up to be a fantastic villain. She’s got that smug, self-assured attitude that cult leaders have. From the scene at the diner at the beginning of the episode where she proved she has people everywhere to the scene at the hotel to the conversation with Chrissy at the end it’s clear that she’s a credible threat for Lois and her family. The fact that she kept calling Chrissy “Christine” is a sign that she’s highly manipulative. One, she’s calling Chrissy by her formal name, which is a subtle way of saying, “I am treating you like an equal and an adult. No need for that silly, childish sounding version of your name that you go by.” Two, it’s a way of starting to control Chrissy. Names are important. They are powerful and if a cult leader can get you to think of yourself as almost another person, then they can start controlling you in other ways.
The blond wig was an interesting choice. I’m curious if that is a further meta commentary on a certain former SMALLVILLE star that got mixed up in an organization that many, including myself, view as a cult.
Weird Theory Time…I’m curious if the Ally storyline and the Bizarro storyline are going to come together during the course of the season. The fact that the word “inverse” is part of Ally’s schtick and that Bizarro is the inverse of Superman make me think that there could be a connection. This could be a wild fan theory and it could be that I’m connecting dots that just aren’t there, but if Ally proves to be the mysterious voice on the other end of Dr. Faulkner’s phone and if the creature is somehow her creation, then both Clark and Lois’s storylines can come together in smooth and organic way.
Speaking of Bizarro.
How Bizarre, How Bizarre
We got our first good look at Bizarro in this episode, and it was amazing. The special effects were a little wooly in the arctic scenes, but they were still impressive for a television budget. The body language and twitching that Hoechlin did as Bizarro was unsettling, which was the point. The costume looks great and is very reminiscent of how John Byrne drew the character in the 1986 MAN OF STEEL mini-series.
So far this version of the character is dangerous, but there are hints that something else is going on, which makes it far more interesting. The fact that he and Clark are connected and the weird energy thing that happened that emanated from the pendant when the two were fighting is all the proof that I need that something big is going on and we’ve only been shown a fraction of what Bizarro’s deal is. Him killing the two Supermen of America and injuring both Tag and John Henry can’t be ignored or forgotten, but there is something huge going on and we have barely scraped the surface of the mystery.
Seriously. What is that pendant? Is it siphoning something off of Superman? Is it making Bizarro more of a whole person? I am so excited to find out.
The one problem I had with this episode was that Chrissy seems way too willing to think the worst of Lois. It smacked of, “we’re having this happen because the plot requires it,” but I’m willing to bet that Chrissy called Ally at the end of the episode in an effort to further gain her trust. I could be completely wrong about this, but until I am proven wrong, I’m going with my gut. All of the various plots are being given the right amount of attention and are continuing to be engaging.
I’m also wondering how things are going to be for Nat after John Henry is back on his feet. I was kind of shocked that she wasn’t more upset seeing Clark in costume considering that his counterpart on her Earth was so evil. She seemed more upset that he let something happen to her father. That struck me as kind of odd, but I went with it because I think her being afraid of Superman would be a littler cliché. I think the writers are handling it the best way possible.