Superman on Television
Lois & Clark: Episode Reviews
Season 1 - Episode 6: "I've Got a Crush on You"Reviewed by: Rob Ó Conchúir
Originally Aired: September 12, 1993
Directed by Gene Reynolds
Written by Thania St. John
Jessica Tuck as Toni Taylor
Michael Milhoa as Johnny Taylor
Johnny Williams as Lou
Audrey Landers as Toots
Alexander Enberg as Toaster #1
David DeLuise as Toaster #2
Superman spends all day helping the Metropolis Fire Department extinguish fires all over the troubled West River side of the city. It appears that there is an arsonist at work.
Meanwhile, Lois goes undercover as a dancer/waitress at a mob-owned nightclub called the 'Metro Club'. She has gone undercover for she is convinced that the fires must have something to do with the Metro Gang's grip on West River and she aims to see if she can find something out about the arsonist responsible.
Lex Luthor unveils plans to radically re-invent West River as 'Lex Harbor', providing better quality living for the citizens there. At the press conference, Clark questions his methods of getting approval for this new plan, suggesting that there are rumors that Luthor used coercion to get approval on important documents.
Johnny Taylor, head of the Metros is arguing with his sister Toni, who believes that their operation would be profitable as a legitimate organization. Meanwhile, Clark decides to drop by the club, undercover as a dock worker, looking for a job. Clark downs drink after drink, while telling a fake story about losing his job on a ship. He then asks if there are any jobs going, but the bartender denies him the opportunity. When Clark becomes angry at the refusal, Toni arrives and dismisses him from the club because he is not conforming to the club's dress code.
A gang of high-tech flamethrower-wielding thugs arrive and set fire to the Metro Club. Clark saves Toni and discreetly extinguishes the fire with his arctic breath.
The next day, the Metros turn on Johnny and decide they want to join up with Toni. Johnny is dismissed from the club. Meanwhile, Lois listens in on the meeting through bullet holes in the wall. Lois and Clark print the story on this shift of power, aggravating Toni who tells everyone to find the leak. Meanwhile, Clark is given a job by Toni, in thanks for saving her life. He introduces himself as 'Charles King' and Toni refers to him as 'Charlie'. He later impresses Toni with his knowledge of her favorite drink.
Lex Luthor arrives at the club that evening and Clark ducks out of the way so that he is not recognized. Lois appears onstage in disguise as 'Lola Dane' and performs "I've Got a Crush on You". Lex recognizes her, but decides to go along with the ruse, applauding her at the close of the song.
Lois and Clark go backstage and discuss seeing Lex in the crowd. When they are caught by Toni, Clark announces that he has found the leak and that 'Lola Dane' is really Lois Lane, reporter for the Daily Planet. Clark is instructed to throw her out of the club. With his x-ray vision Clark sees that one of the trash dumpsters is filled with recyclable paper materials. The other is filled with food waste. Clark decides to throw her into the dumpster full of food, instead.
Later, Lois shows up at Clark's apartment and scolds him for blowing the story. Toni shows up planning a romantic evening with 'Charles King' and Lois hides. Clark passionately kisses Toni to facilitate Lois' escape. Jealous, Lois retreats to her apartment and a tub of ice cream. Lex shows up and explains what he was doing at the Metro Club. He believes Toni is hiding something and that Lois should continue trailing her. Lois returns to Clark's and follows Toni to a burned-out Garment Building. There, it becomes clear that Toni is working with the Toasters and that the night the Toasters set fire to the Metro Club, they were supposed to kill her brother, Johnny in the process.
The Toasters turn on Toni and tie her up, planning to take down the Metros and burn West River to the ground. Later, the Toasters meet Superman who "cools them off".
Luthor finds Toni and gloats at how much better off he is with her imprisoned. With the destruction caused by the Toasters (funded by him), he has bought out West River at "fire-sale prices". After he leaves, Clark rescues Toni and tells her his real name. She tries to tempt him into letting her go free, but Clark is not to be swayed and the police are already outside, anyway.
Luthor puts the Toaster project on hold, delighted at the fact that he has gained control over West River. Clark tries to get Lois to admit that she was jealous of Toni, but Lois just smiles. "In your dreams, Clark. In your dreams."
Review Rating - 3 (out of 5): Another filler episode, this time with little or no relation to the rest of the season. I'm going to try not to be too hard on these kinds of episodes; standalone-episodic-style shows with installments that didn't necessarily relate to each other week-to-week were still generally the norm for television throughout the 90s, but it was also when the new format was starting to break in. "Lois & Clark" is more fun when there's something happening that is directly related to developments in the story that came the week before and these kinds of episodes that just plonk in anywhere in the series just don't gel as well with me. Truthfully, this episode could fit in anywhere before the first-season finale and it wouldn't matter a bit to the plot. Superman, his modus-operandi or his motivations aren't explored at all. Lex Luthor's credibility with the city is never in any danger and Lois' feelings for Clark are as veiled and confused as ever.
Another thing that might repel certain fans of this series is that this episode features an awful lot of talking and very little action. Again, season one was generally more focused on character-driven plots over action-filled stories. Some episodes do this very well, while others like this one are passable attempts. For a plot that is supposed to involve a group of would-be terrorists burning down a portion of the city, we see very little of 'The Toasters', while we see an awful lot of Teri Hatcher skulking around undercover in skimpy outfits (but you won't get any complaints from me, there). We would later see this kind of problem in "Smallville", where episodes claimed spectacular plots and events, only to spend most of the runtime showing Erica Durance in whatever costume she decided to wear that week. Thankfully though, most of Hatcher's disguises are played for laughs here, rather than overt, obnoxious sex appeal, which would become the norm in "Smallville". Would I be endangering the credibility of the review if I happened to mention that Teri Hatcher's legs are awesome in this episode, though? I hope not.
Nevertheless, it's nice to see a third-party shaking things up between Lois and Clark and it almost seems like this episode is more along the lines of what the series was originally intended to be, with less focus on superheroics and more focus on real human emotion and dialogue. In that respect, it probably succeeded; Toni never fails to be interesting and the sexual tension between Lois and Clark is really entertaining... I just wish they'd added in the magic of Superman. Luckily as the show went on, the balance of Superman and romance became more solid (until it completely fell apart later on).
Some of the decisions by the writers in this episode are bizarre. It's never really explained why Clark decides to help Lois undercover. When he shows up at the bar, he pretends to be downright obnoxious and is seen drinking a beer and nearly a bottle of whiskey, which obviously has no effect on him. Was he doing this to prove his toughness? What difference would that make as to his credentials as a barman? Another annoyance comes with his 'wiseguy' accent that he briefly experiments with, only to abandon completely as soon as he shaves off his hilarious fake mustache and soul patch (CAPTION CONTEST, PLEASE!).
Jessica Tuck is as weak as Toni Taylor as Michael Arndt was as Sam Lane the week before. Luckily, Dean Cain is strong enough to carry her in most scenes, but once again, it seems like the actress has no interest in putting any emotion into her performance. I understand that she was trying to convey the reserve of a tough-as-nails businesswoman trying to make her mark in what was essentially a man's industry (repeatedly reminded to us by her obnoxious brother in the episode), but in the scenes that called for her to be sultrier and more forthcoming, she didn't raise her game at all.
Not really much else to say this week. I'm quite aware of the fact that I've ranked this episode and the previous two a 3 and that it may seem that my rankings aren't very varied. The truth is that these episodes weren't offensively bad and were reasonably entertaining and well-written; but that they just don't excel the way others do. Overall though, I think I'll focus more on discussing the episodes' various merits and downfalls, rather than trying to stack them up against each other. It's more sensible to do it that way. Nevertheless, the array of extremely bad "Lois & Clark" episodes that are ahead, will be reviewed as such.
From a trivia standpoint, it occurs to me that the sound effect that happens when the Toasters use their weapons is the same as when Clark's super-hearing "kicks in" in later seasons (where random calls for help would chime in throughout the day). I noticed this about the thunder-claps in "I'm Looking Through You", which were the same as Superman's sonic booms when he'd break the sound barrier.
Next week is "Smart Kids". I was going to make a joke about 'your inner child', but seeing as how awful I remember the episode being, I'm not going to. Don't worry though, once we get through that one, there are some really great episodes coming up.
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