Superman on Television
Lois & Clark: Episode Reviews
Season 2 - Episode 14: "Top Copy"Reviewed by: Rob Ó Conchúir
Originally Aired: February 19, 1995
Directed by Randall Zisk
Written by John MacNamara
Raquel Welch as Diana Stride
Farrah Forke as Mayson Drake
Wayne Pére as Rolf
Robert Culp as Mr. Darryl
Atop a building, a woman intentionally sets fire to a top floor office to attract Superman.
Lois and Clark play chess, while Lois makes apologies for the fact that she's been distant about her and Clark going out on a date. Unfortunately, Clark has to leave to save the woman in the burning building just as Lois is making her feelings clear.
The woman (Diana Stride) jumps off the rooftop of the building and Superman saves her. In the midst of the rescue, Stride tags Superman with a tracking device.
At a meeting with her producers, Diana Stride announces that she's going to produce an exposé on Superman and his private life for her news show "Top Copy".
Perry informs the news team of an Intergang informant the police are using, who is going to pinpoint an Intergang assassin who has been murdering influential political figures for decades. Clark tries to apologize for running off on Lois the previous evening, but Lois won't grant her forgiveness. Perry tells Jimmy of a similar conflict between two reporters who allowed a doomed romantic relationship between them destroy their careers.
Clark hears Diana Stride in the newsroom, talking to her cameraman about how she hopes to find Superman in a civilian disguise. Clark manages to change to Superman just in time to foil her plan. Diana announces to the newsroom staff how she plans to make a program in 'tribute' to Superman. Superman subtly destroys Diana's tracking device with his heat vision, warning her to be careful around him.
Diana is revealed to be an Intergang sleeper agent and the mysterious police informant ('Mr. X') was once her partner, Michael DeSanto. She is ordered by Intergang superiors to kill DeSanto before he can name her as the political assassin.
Lois and Clark meet with Mayson to try and get Mr. X's identity, but Mayson is mostly uncooperative. Clark charms her into revealing that the assassin Mr. X is going to name is said to be very famous.
Lois steals Mayson's beeper and Clark traces the number and addresses found in it to a safe-house containing Mr. X. Lois, Clark and Jimmy are arrested by armed guards, however Diana uses this opportunity to blast the safe-house with a bazooka, forcing Mr. X/DeSanto and his guards outside. Diana shoots DeSanto three times in the chest and retreats.
Superman brings DeSanto to the hospital, and Lois finds a strange looking necklace at the scene. Superman vows to protect Mr. X; Diana tells Intergang that not only will she succeed in killing DeSanto - she'll kill Superman for free.
Lois suspects Diana Stride is the assassin, based on the peculiar quick-progression of her career in news television, as well as the fact that every political figure she interviewed ended up dead soon after. Clark is skeptical, believing that Lois is clutching at straws.
Mayson comes down hard on Lois and Clark, threatening them with a grand jury, unless they reveal how they found the safe-house and unless they agree to share any information they have with her about the assassin. They refuse.
An oblivious Perry introduces Diana to Lois and Clark, telling her that they know Superman quite well. Lois goads Diana with the necklace and how she found it quite recently.
Clark tells his parents about his problems with Diana trying to uncover the truth about him. Martha shows Jonathan and Clark a high-tech 'laser-sculpture' she's working on, claiming that it's the future of art.
Diana phones Clark and asks to speak to Superman at his soonest convenience. Upon arriving at her office, Diana attempts to seduce Superman to no avail. She tries to appeal to his sympathetic side by telling him that her show will be cancelled if she doesn't achieve higher ratings. Feigning vulnerability, she kisses him, using Kryptonite lipstick, warning him of a slow and painful death. Superman manages to escape.
Diana comes to the Daily Planet with a new tracker, but luckily Clark manages to escape again, immediately calling his parents about his Kryptonite poisoning.
Lois returns the beeper to Mayson, explaining that a large part of why she stole it in the first place had less to do with the fact that she wanted to get the story and more to do with the fact that she just dislikes Mayson. The two women initially find it amusing that they can be honest about how they don't like each other, however it soon becomes awkward.
Diana hides outside Clark's apartment with her cameraman Rolf and they spot Clark changing into Superman. As luck would have it, however, Rolf's camera battery is dead. Lois comes to the apartment just in time to see Superman struggling on the floor. She brings him straight to the hospital.
Diana breaks into Clark's apartment and finds his secret costume chamber. Superman uses a nuclear reactor as a makeshift chemotherapy solution to destroy the Kryptonite in his bloodstream.
Diana Stride disguises herself as a police officer and uses gas to incapacitate the hospital staff and the guards. Lois finds an oxygen tank and uses it to keep Mayson safe. She then fights Diana, saving DeSanto's life.
Superman is cured from the poisoning and flies back to the hospital, where he finds that Lois has the situation under control, except that Diana has escaped. Mayson reluctantly asks for Superman's help finding Diana.
That evening on 'Top Copy,' Diana exposes Clark Kent as Superman, to a bewildered Daily Planet staff. Clark calls a press conference where Jonathan and Martha use the laser device to create a hologram of Superman, convincing the reporters and the world that Clark and Superman are two different people. The holographic Superman lies, telling the world that Clark was simply doing his laundry for him.
Superman catches Diana and Rolf leaving the studio and shows them the Daily Planet headline exposing Diana as a fraud.
Lois and Clark go back to playing chess.
Review Rating - 3 (out of 5): A successful done-in-one filler episode that restores the status quo by the end of the episode a bit too conveniently, but is nonetheless entertaining throughout.
Raquel Welch is suitably hammy as the duplicitous Diana Stride, and the episode does a good job at creating a double-barreled villain's plot for her, by not only making her an assassin for Intergang, but also by making her a ruthless journalist out to expose Clark/Superman. The plot kind of retroactively fails however, insofar as Diana Stride's exposé is never again referred to in "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" by any of the villainous characters or even Lois Lane herself when they discover Clark Kent's dual identity. Whatever, there's sackfuls examples of this in the comics. It's also worth mentioning that Stride is the first character in the series since Lex Luthor to theorize that Superman leads a double-life. I really enjoy the more realistic notion that the citizens of Metropolis just assume that as Superman doesn't wear a mask, he must just be Superman all the time, which makes it that bit more intriguing when someone figures out the real truth.
The weirdest thing about this episode was Diana Stride's cameraman/henchman Rolf, played with a faux French accent by Wayne Pére. Pére is actually quite good for such a one-note role and succeeds in at least being memorable - but for all the wrong reasons. For whatever reason, Rolf is written as a bit of a sadomasochistic pervert, suggesting to Diana and Superman on different occasions that they 'punish' him. On another really awful occasion he asks Superman if his costume ever chafes. It was awkward and off-putting and I'm not sure it's the kind of thing that belongs in a show that had a primarily family audience by this juncture in its existence.
Once again, Lane Smith is given oodles of great material. His story about Billy Northcross and Serena Judd, reporters who became partners, only to fall in and out of love and find their journalistic career in ruins - is absolutely brilliant and again, one of my favorite and most memorable Perry moments in the entire series. This episode really gave me a twinge of regret that the producers didn't see fit to keep Michael Landes as Jimmy, as the relationship between White and Olsen has really developed, with Perry really having warmed to the cub reporter.
Like every episode of "Lois & Clark" there are plot holes that must be addressed: how does Diana discover the safe-house where DeSanto is being kept? How does the Daily Planet expose Diana Stride's 'hoax' so quickly? I'll buy that Martha can afford extremely elaborate hologram technology for her 'art projects lol,' but where does the sound come from? And is it really enough to fool all those reporters? *Shrugs*
A few special-effect related mistakes: wires are apparent during the 'holographic Superman' scene, unfortunately. I don't even know why they needed to film the scene with wires, as the only time you notice them is in a mid-shot where you only see the upper part of Dean Cain's body, so why couldn't they just use a lift-rig for that? Unfortunate. Throughout the episode the camera filter changes on a few noticeable occasions, but it's not too offensive.
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