Reviewed by: Michael Bailey
Originally Aired: March 29, 2022
WRITTEN BY: Katie Aldrin & Jai Jamison
DIRECTED BY: Ian Samoil
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)
Dylan Walsh (General Sam Lane)
Rya Kihlstedt (Ally Allston)
Samantha Di Francesco (Candice)
Stephanie Cho (First Sergeant Erin Wu)
Joselyn Picard (Sophie Cushing)
Leeah Wong (Emily Phan)
Danny Wattley (Coach Gaines)
Eric Keenleyside (Mayor George Dean)
Rating – 5 (out of 5): I kind of wished they had titled this one “World Without a Superman” because that was the vibe that the episode had. They even had a Superboy and a Steel filling in for Clark while he was missing. I realize it would have been a little too on the nose, but I would have gotten a chuckle out of it.
And it might have been a gentle poke at the people that are still sore that the writers zigged (Bizarro) when they looked like they were going to zag (Doomsday).
What Do You Do Without Superman?
Deal with two of the major sub-plot plates that have been spinning for most of the season.
Which, to me, was an elegant way of handling them. I realize that both the X-K Breaking Bad and the Lana is Mayor/Lana and Kyle’s marriage dissolving storylines are not completely over, but in terms of pacing I think taking an episode to focus on them was a good call. Weaving these plot threads together as much as they did here leaves more room to ramp up the Bizarro World story. It also shows how strong the show is that even though the main plot was barely dealt with, I was still engaged with the stories and characters. There are times when the sub-plots become annoying and I just don’t care about them, but that hasn’t been the case this season. I’ve been all in on these threads. It reminds me of the early nineties when every element of the Superman comics had my attention.
Lois Has a Point Part 1: Jonathan
I was glad that Jonathan finally came clean about Candice this week. I don’t think his keeping that from Lois could have gone on much longer. I realize that there is drama to be mined from him playing things close to the vest and Lois wanting him to come clean, but that sort of drama only goes so far. To be fair, teenagers do things that are against their better interest because they don’t realize that they are acting against their better interest all of the time. It’s part and parcel to being a teenager. For most people, at least. I also have some respect for Jonathan trying to protect Candice, who is in a tough spot between her father’s health concerns and getting involved with a major drug operation and as I continue to write this sentence, I realize how crazy all of that sounds, but this is a show about a guy from another planet who flies and shoots lasers out of his eyes, so it is all relative.
So, Lois definitely had a point about Jonathan coming clean and it was neat to see her and her dad working together so closely. Switching Sam from the gruff head of the DOD to the less gruff, more avuncular in places, grandfather has been a definite plus for the show. Also, with everything going on with Lucy it makes sense that Sam and Lois would grow closer. The moment where Lois was venting that Sam doesn’t understand what it is like to have two teenagers in the house that think they’re adults was on point because I am one hundred percent sure that Lois and Lucy were the exact same way.
I also loved when Lois was explaining why struggling against the ropes that she and Sam were tied up with wouldn’t work. Sam asking just how many times she’s been in that situation was the perfect bit of levity and character that the scene needed.
Lois’ cognitive dissonance over how her sons have been acting is almost funny. I honestly don’t know what she expected. This is Lois Lane. Through the majority of her iterations, she has been the type to charge ahead and put herself in danger and keep secrets and justify it all in her head that it is for the greater good, but she’s upset that her sons are doing the exact same thing. Normally this sort of characterization would bug me, but in the case of this show I find it charming. I mean, what did she honestly expect?
Speaking of charging into danger…
Lois Has a Point Part 2: Jordan
I honestly think that Jordan stepping up as a hero was my favorite part of the episode. This is where I think Lois has less of a point, but her worrying about her son is perfectly natural. He’s still new at this and she didn’t know that he had actually been training until this episode. Her reaction to that was valid, because they were keeping something from her, but, again, charging into danger literally runs in the family on all sides.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel about Jordan using his powers like this, but the progression has been smooth. The two hero moments from this episode were both great and it allowed Jordan to learn once again that having these powers and using them to help people is going to come at a cost. This also allows the show to have its cake and eat it too. Usually these shows focus on Clark learning these lessons either as a teenager or an adult, but here we get to have a Superman that has been in role for two decades and already learned all of those lessons and also have a character getting put through those paces. It really is the best of both worlds. My one hope here is that when all of this Bizarro business is done and dusted that Clark will take a more active role in his son’s training.
Not that I want Sam to stop training Jordan. I honestly think that Sam helped Clark out in honing certain abilities, but I have no direct evidence of that.
I also liked that we got the trope of a super powered Kryptonian (of half-Kryptonian in this case) having to leave his girlfriend to save her father and the girlfriend being upset because he just left and he not being able to tell her why. It’s an old song to me at this point, but it’s one I kind of dig hearing every now and again. The writers also didn’t hang a lantern on it either. It’s there but it is also a firm part of the story and not something that was stapled on for the sake of doing it.
And the scenes of Jordan using his powers were just cool. The first flight (not counting when he was possessed last season) through the flames looking amazing and the first with the drug dealers was equally as cool. The special effects in this episode were on point, especially the slow motion shot of Jordan seeing the heat vision coming at him and simply moving out of the way. It was a little reminiscent of the shot in the first Tobey Maguire Spider-Man film when Peter saw Deathstroke’s fist coming at him and taking a quick beat to realize what he was seeing.
Circling back to Lois, again, it could be seen as slightly hypocritical that Lois was against Jordan using his powers until she and Sam were in danger, but I chalk that up to her thinking as a parent first. She doesn’t want her son to get hurt, but when push comes to shove, and she is literally going to be shot it makes sense that she would finally see that they need him. To me, Lois probably thought that they would be in and out of the warehouse without getting caught. The X-K using guard was the wild card, so she needed one of her own and, in the end, she got to see just how far her son has come in his development.
Lana May Not Be Thinking Everything Through
While I am glad that Lana won the mayoral race, I am also a little disappointed that she is so unconcerned with her estranged husband getting injured. I realize that she had a lot on her plate that day, but it seemed cruel to just brush off Sarah’s concerns. Kyle was wrong for what he did, but they did share a life together and while I don’t think she needed to rush off and help him she could have been a little more supportive of her daughter wanting to help him out. She was more concerned with Jonathan getting harassed that what happened to Kyle. I am sure that this is all leading to something, but it stood out as I was watching the episode.
Sarah helping Kyle was sweet and I like that she hasn’t turned her back on him. It’s weird that her parents splitting up brought them closer but that’s how life works sometimes. And it’s dramatic on a storytelling level.
Also dramatic was Sarah breaking up with Jordan. Again, this is the sort of thing that happens in these shows, especially when teenagers are involved. Sarah isn’t wrong in what she did. She doesn’t know about Jordan’s powers or the fact he saved her father or that he was helping to bring down a drug ring and honestly that would have been a lot for her to take in. All she knows is that he’s been distant and wasn’t there for her on a very important day.
If you’re into that sort of thing, this is good romantic drama.
That Jonathan Definitely Listens to My Chemical Romance
The cliffhanger at the end was perfect. Having the Jonathan from the Bizarro world show up at the farm and bring dread tidings is exactly how you want to leave things off for this episode. I realize we have another break between episodes (due to Covid, according to Bitsie Tulloch) but I am oddly unfazed by that. This season has been so strong that a three-week break is not going to dull my excitement. The next episode looks like it is going to be, fittingly, an inversion of last season’s A Brief Reminiscence Between Cataclysmic Events and I am here for it.