Superman on Television
Lois & Clark: Episode Reviews
Season 2 - Episode 12: "The Eyes Have It"Reviewed by: Rob Ó Conchúir
Originally Aired: January 22, 1995
Directed by Bill D'Elia
Written by Kathy McCormick and Grant Rosenberg
Harvey J. Alperin as Dr. Neal Faraday
David Bowe as Dr. Harry Leit
Farrah Forke as Mayson Drake
Gerrit Graham as Munch
Billy Mayo as Cop
Brian Reddy as Blind Man
Dr. Neal Farraday is trying to escape from the clutches of Dr. Harry Leit, who is trying to steal his device. Farraday frantically runs into an apartment building and into Lois' apartment, using the pen-like device on her, which flashes a bright light into her eyes. He plants the device in the apartment while Lois remains in a trance-state. When Leit and his associate Munch arrive at the apartment, Farraday has committed suicide.
Later, Lois gets interrogated by Mayson Drake at the scene of the crime. Lois asks why Drake, an assistant District Attorney and not a police officer, is doing the investigating. Drake responds that she simply wanted to see if Lois was alright. They learn that the victim's name is Neal Farraday and that he was a leading expert on light properties and that he was one of the few people in the world who could even fully understand the nature of his work. Clark reads up on Farraday's theories and is bewildered by them. When an oblivious Lois attempts to use Farraday's device as a pen, not knowing that Farraday planted the important object in her apartment, she throws it out when it doesn't work. Clark criticizes her view on how disposable items are in modern life and keeps the pen.
Dr. Leit and Munch discuss how they need to neutralize Superman in order to retrieve the device from Lois Lane. Munch suggests that Leit do something to Superman's eyes.
Mayson stops by the Daily Planet and offers Clark the chance to spend a weekend with her in her lakeside cabin. Clark's attention is on Lois' phone conversation with a mysterious informant and he accidentally agrees to Mayson's offer, before going into action as Superman.
When Lois meets the informant, it's Dr. Leit and Munch, asking about the device's location, to which Lois is oblivious (as she was in a trance-state when Farraday planted it in her apartment). When Superman arrives, Dr. Leit completely blinds him with another light-device. Superman carries Lois away and explains that his sight has been lost. Lois allows Superman to stay on her couch for the night while they figure out a way to overcome this new problem.
Lois finds herself blurting out completely irrelevant scientific facts throughout her everyday conversations (a side-effect of Farraday's device). She contacts STAR Labs about Superman; a conversation overheard by Leit and Munch, who go to the labs and kidnap the scientist who was going to help Superman.
Superman decides he should contact his adoptive parents, and decides to find a pay phone, disguised in some of Lois' clothes and a pair of sunglasses. He contacts Martha and manages to explain the situation to her. Afterwards, he averts an attempted mugging of a blind man, which leads to an awkward situation between the two men.
Dr. Leit arrives at Lois' apartment and dupes Superman, claiming that he's a STAR Labs scientist trying to restore the Man of Steel's sight. Instead, Leit uses the light-ray on Superman again, ensuring Superman's blindness. Lois walks in and sees the villains and frantically warns Superman. Unfortunately, the two men escape amidst Superman's confusion of the situation. Lois is angry that Clark is nowhere to be found. She believes that he has gone on the romantic trip with Mayson.
Jimmy finds Jonathan and Martha at Clark's apartment and explains that Perry sent him there to look for Clark, but that he suspects he has gone away with Mayson.
Superman explains to Lois that even though his blindness is troublesome, if he should remain blind, he will strive to be the best blind person he can be, as that is what life's challenges are all about. The Kents arrive at Lois' apartment and Superman diverts Lois, asking her to go and get some Oolong tea, so that he can speak privately to his mother.
Mayson arrives at the newsroom, expecting Clark to be there. Perry feigns ignorance to protect Clark's honor, but Mayson asks him not to, believing that she has been stood up. Perry explains to Jimmy that Clark probably got cold feet as a result of Mayson's persistence.
While Jonathan and Lois are returning with the groceries, Munch kidnaps Lois. Dr. Leit explains the nature of Farraday's device, how it transmits information through rays of light and Lois suddenly remembers that it was the dysfunctional pen that she gave to Clark back in the newsroom. Lois won't show Leit where the device is unless he agrees to tell her how to cure Superman's blindness. He reveals that he has been using an ultra-violet light ray to render Superman's alien optic nerve opaque, while infra-red light will reverse the condition.
While discussing Farraday's device with Mayson and the Kents, Superman too realizes that it must have been the peculiar pen in the Daily Planet and clumsily makes his way there, hailing a cab to ensure an accurate arrival. Superman steals the device from Clark's news desk just as Lois, Dr. Leit and Munch arrive looking for it. Superman cuts the power and subdues them with super-breath. Munch grabs Lois and Superman offers the device in exchange for her safety. Lois wrestles away from Munch and grabs Leit's light-ray and uses the infra-red function to restore Superman's sight. The Man of Steel then destroys Farraday's device with his heat vision. The resulting blinding light leaves Munch and Leit temporarily blind.
The next day in the newsroom, Clark expects to be in the doghouse with Mayson, but she tells him that while she is very angry with him, she has spent time with his parents and she believes them to be wonderful people incapable of raising an indecent human being, requesting that he call her soon.
Review Rating - 3 (out of 5): A really solid episode that would almost garner a 4/5 except that it's rather low-key in many respects, compared to the rest of the season. Still though, it's a strong example of the show firing on mostly all cylinders: Lois and Clark continue to grow and develop their interest in each other (even though Clark is technically absent for most of the episode, he is forefront on Lois' mind) and Superman is given a unique and original challenge rather than just showing up as the muscle to tie up the loose ends at the end of the episode.
The idea of a blind Superman is excellent as it creates a challenge for Superman that is more three-dimensional than say, kryptonite. The episode never truly looks at Superman's blindness as a weakness, but rather an obstacle that he must overcome. Superman's conversation with Lois about how if he should remain blind, that he will strive to be the best blind person he can be, is absolutely terrific and honestly one of my favorite Superman moments in the entire series. The problem with it all however, is that it isn't properly resolved. We see Superman leave Lois' apartment, crashing through her window clumsily and then calling a cab because he can't trust his lack of direction. This all changes when he arrives at the Daily Planet newsroom and is able to seamlessly navigate to Clark Kent's desk, find Farraday's device and cut the power, all without being seen by the other characters. This would be easier to stomach if we were given some kind of an explanation as to how Superman is suddenly able to navigate without his sight (his super-hearing acting as a Daredevil-esque 'radar sense' perhaps?) but we're simply left to assume.
Farrah Forke returns as Mayson Drake and while I'm adamant that her acting is completely suspect and at times it feels like the writers forced her into the episode, she is as stunning as ever and provides Clark with another layer of difficulty to his unique problem. The idea that everyone just assumes that Clark has gone away on his vacation with Mayson, only to then assume that he stood her up for fear of committing to a relationship with her is pure magic that can only be accomplished in the world of Superman, specifically "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman". Everything just gets so out-of-control when identities remain a secret.
David Bowe and Gerrit Graham are the comedy villains of the week and are predictably serviceable-but-forgettable. Bowe is decent enough as 'Dr. Leit' (oh come on), but I feel that any lasting impact of his performance is more thanks to the inventive plot than any of his acting skills. To be quite honest, I'm really not terribly familiar with 'Dr. Light' of the comics, so I can't comment on how similar this incarnation is, but his use of light as a weapon is intact anyway and it's a cool little call-back to the source material that I wouldn't have noticed when I was younger. I also suspect 'Neal Farraday' may have been a reference to 'King Farraday' of the comics, although this is less likely as Farraday in the episode had little or nothing to do with the comics character other than his connection to Dr. Leit, based on a comic-book Justice League villain. I thought it was really funny when Dr. Leit actually explained how his UV light-ray also shines normal light so that he can see where he's aiming it. A cute little avoidance of a possible goof.
Whenever I rewatch this episode, I always notice one peculiar aspect of Clark Kent's characterization that doesn't stand well with what we've seen of him in previous episodes. Clark repeatedly expresses to Lois how he has no idea what Neal Farraday is talking about in all of the scientific journals relating to his light-device. This is plausible enough in relation to the general concept of Clark Kent being a 'normal guy' in this version of Superman. However, in previous episodes we've seen Clark and Superman showing a wealth of understanding of various different engineering and scientific principles. In a few episodes time, we'll see Clark/Superman BUILD A FREAKIN' TIME MACHINE. The only explanation for Clark's momentary lapse in intelligence is that he's playing dumb for Lois so that she doesn't suspect that he's Superman. This is something Clark rarely has to do in this particular incarnation (where everyone just assumes Superman doesn't have a secret identity and magically doesn't recognize him under Clark's glasses and hairstyle), but it makes sense that he wouldn't want Lois to suspect that he is secretly far more intelligent in the fields of science than she previously assumed.
Nothing to say regarding special effects, other than I really liked Superman placing his hand over the flaming bacon in Lois' apartment. I literally have no idea how they pulled that one off, it's a completely seamless shot of Dean Cain placing his hand onto a naked flame and removing it unscathed. There's no special-effect filter over the camera (which irritatingly shows up a few times in the episode) and the shot doesn't change. If anyone knows how they accomplished this, please let me know.
Next week things really kick off as Lois and Clark have to deal with an old enemy back from the grave and Clark finally musters up the courage to ask Lois out on a date. Lexy's back (and bald), baby in "The Phoenix", the episode responsible for a jolt in ratings that ultimately renewed L&C for a third season.
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