“Superman & Lois” Review – S03E06 – “Of Sound Mind”

Of Sound Mind

Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Originally Aired: April 25, 2023
WRITTEN BY: George Kitson
DIRECTED BY: Diana Valentine

Tyler Hoechlin (Clark Kent/Superman)
Bitsie Tulloch (Lois Lane)
Michael Bishop (Jonathan Kent)
Alex Garfin (Jordan Kent)
Emmanuelle Chriqui (Lana Lang Cushing)
Inde Navarrette (Sarah Cushing)
Wolee Parks (John Henry Irons)
Tayler Buck (Natalie Irons)
Erik Valdez (Kyle Cushing)
Inde Navarrette (Sarah Cortez)
Sofia Hasmik (Chrissy Beppo)

Chad L Coleman (Bruno Mannheim)
Samantha Di Francesco (Candice Pergande)
Jason Beaudoin (Deadline/ Jason Distefano)
Daya Vaidya (Peia)
Joselyn Picard (Sophie Cushing)
Shekhar Paleja (Doctor Aleister Hook)

4Rating – 4 (out of 5): This was a solid episode. It had some issues but the thing about this show is that even the episodes that didn’t one hundred percent stick the landing are still entertaining.

Let’s get the parts that I didn’t like as much as the others. Sophie Cushing was a big part of this episode and at one point she says something about everyone always forgetting about her and my first reaction was, “Well, that’s because the writers seem to forget about you.” Which, I admit, is snarky, but at the same time Sophie is the one character that was introduced in the pilot that the writers have spent the least amount of time developing. It’s not hard to see why. The cast isn’t huge, but it’s not small either and there is only so much that you can do in a forty-two minute episode. Also, she’s so young that she doesn’t fit in either of the age groups that the main cast falls in. She’s not in high school and she’s not an adult, so there is no smooth way to insert her into the story in any meaningful way.

To be fair, there was a meta quality to having Sophie feel like everyone was ignoring her. It was clever and it was also a good way to show how the divorce was affecting the entire family and how because Sophie is so young, she doesn’t have the same support structures that Lana, Kyle, and Sarah have. On the other hand, we’ve seen so little of her that it doesn’t have the same emotional punch that other characters having similar issues would, so it fell flat for me.

I’m also annoyed that the Kents are once again falling into the “Jonathan doesn’t get as much recognition as his brother” thing. Yes, Jordan helped save his dad and yes, his mother has cancer and that’s going to take up a lot of oxygen in the family, but I was disappointed that they didn’t make a bigger deal of him unlocking the “I get to be called by my own name” achievement at the fire station. This was one of the big issues last season and it resulted in Jonathan getting into drugs, so it seems like they would have been more excited for him to, you know, try, and avoid something like that happening again.

Outside of that, I liked this episode quite a bit. I especially liked the way Clark was able to come to terms with the effect that Lois’ illness has on him. One of the main (and quite frankly lazy and stupid) criticisms that people that don’t like Superman always cite is that he’s too powerful and it’s hard to come up with something that can hurt him. Ignoring the fact that you could… you know… come up with a really powerful villain if you wanted the conflict to be a slugfest one of Superman’s supposed weaknesses is that he cares. He has empathy. You can hit him in the heart and that can take him down and showing Clark having so much trouble dealing with the reality of Lois’ illness does that. The mirrored storytelling of Clark being at the group therapy at the beginning and ending of the episode was the icing on that cake.

Jordon’s end of the episode was also enjoyable, though the pacing of it was a bit off. It was weird. I enjoyed them, but that plot thread didn’t feel as fully baked as the others in the episode. I can’t quite put my finger on why. Despite that, it was great seeing Jordan coming in to help his dad and I loved that Clark was able to overcome Onomatopoeia’s attack when Jordan went down. It’s a pretty basic dramatic move, but it works just about every time for me. The only reason I rolled my eyes at Clark saying, “He could even be more powerful than me,” was that I knew it would launch a thousand tweets and subreddit posts from whiny fans that are triggered by any mention that someone in Superman’s family could be stronger than him.

Despite Lois saying that cancer is their villain being a bit on the nose her end of the episode was the best in terms of execution. In the last episode we got to see what it was like for someone actually get a treatment of chemotherapy. This time the show got into the more uncomfortable end of any kind of illness that can turn terminal and that’s talking about what to do if the worst happens. On a writing level it was a clever way to make Clark deal with what I wrote about earlier, but it also makes the cancer storyline have more weight. This show rarely goes halfway with things, so this wasn’t a surprise.

I liked her conversations with Peia as well and that led into the revelation that Peia is the masked sound villain, which is now kind of obvious since her name sounds like the last letters of Onomatopoeia. Not that they did a huge build up to this, which is for the best. Introducing her in the last episode and then having her develop a relationship with Lois in this one worked just fine. It helps that the character isn’t one note and that her illness is one of the main motivations for Bruno Mannheim, which, in turn, gives more nuance to him as a character. Mannheim has been presented as a “does the wrong things for the right reasons” type of villain but adding that his wife is dying of cancer adds another layer to his actions and, on a purely dramatic front, gives him something in common with Superman. It’s not easy the thread the needle like that, but the writers and performers are making it look easy.

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April 27, 2023 7:54 pm

This was another emotional episode. However, this time it hit me personally in my heart. I had a similar experience with a girlfriend who had cancer. I saw the pain on Clark’s face and the pain in his eyes, which is how I felt about my girlfriend who had cancer. I relate to Clark and Lois’s struggle and the conversations that they have regarding this subject. I found myself getting some tears in my eyes at the end of this episode. Overall, I enjoyed this episode and I’m looking forward to the next one.