Reviewed by: Michael Bailey
Originally Aired: April 26, 2022
WRITTEN BY: Brent Fletcher & Todd Helbing
DIRECTED BY: Louis Milito
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)
Ian Bohen (Mitch Anderson)
Mariana Klaveno (Bizarro Lara Lor-Van)
Adam Rayner (Bizarro Tal-Rho)
Serena Crouse (Bizarro Misty)
Hesham HamMoud (Bizarro Lt. Reno Rosetti)
Rating – 5 (out of 5): Alternate universe versions of characters are far from a new thing in genre television. It’s not even new for this show given the alternate Superman we saw last year in John Henry’s flashbacks and even more recently in the Earth-Prime mini-series DC is publishing. The rubber meets the road in how well the writers and the actors use the trope to tell an entertaining and compelling story.
With all of that in mind, the people behind the scenes and in front of the camera delivered on all fronts.
First and foremost, the episode was fun. Even when things got seriously dark it was obvious that the cast was having a ball playing these alternate takes on the characters they normally play. Tyler leaned into what a self-centered jerk this Superman could be. Bitsie seemed to enjoy playing a Lois that enjoyed the celebrity life until she realized what it was costing her. Jordan Elsass nailed the Bizarro Jonathan’s descent into going from someone that wanted to be a hero to someone that was okay with killing people for Ally. Adam Rayner turned in a wonderful variation on Tal-Rho. Everyone was at the top of their game and the fun they had on screen made me have more fun watching the episode.
While everyone seemed to be having a good time and this episode showed us what was happening to Superman while he was gone for those thirty days, thus moving the plot forward, the episode also played with some of the subplots that have been part of the season. In particular, Superman’s reaction to what happened to Bizarro Jonathan called back to the problems he was currently having with his Jonathan. It is never specifically said, but it seemed to me that Clark was seeing what being too hard or neglectful on his kids could produce and he didn’t seem to like it. Likewise, Bizarro Tal-Rho saving Superman mirrored Superman saving his Tal-Rho and for similar reasons.
More than anything, I loved that Superman was willing to give Mitch Anderson another chance. I’m not convinced he deserves it, but you could see that Anderson realized what a colossal mistake he had made and Superman not wanting to give up on him goes to the very heart of who Superman is as a character. He never said that Anderson should be exonerated or that he shouldn’t face the consequences of his actions, but he was willing to give Mitch another shot and even though he died doing it Mitch came through.
Until Superman lost the amulets. But that was going to happen anyway.
(I’m kind of hoping that Superman gives his Tal-Rho another shot as well. Even though Tal has a pretty long road to redemption in front of him.)
On a visual level this episode was epic. The alternate looks for everyone were great (especially Jonathan’s 90’s Superboy inspired look) and the whole aesthetic of Bizarro World, from the fashions to the décor to, most importantly, the square shaped planet, stuck the landing each and every time. The visual effects were likewise amazing, especially that fight at the end. This show is doing so well with Superman level fights on a television budget.
This was such a good chapter in this season’s storyline. It has a similar feeling that “A Brief Reminiscence Between Cataclysmic Events” did last season but still held its own. The pacing of the episode was great, as was the way the different chapters were introduced. Having Ally merge with her other self at this stage of the game continues this show’s track record of doing something bold and making me wonder where it’s going next.
This is definitely one of the best, if not the best, episode of the season thus far and this has been a great season for individual episodes.