Superman on Television
Lois & Clark: Episode Reviews
Season 2 - Episode 16: "Lucky Leon"Reviewed by: Rob Ó Conchúir
Originally Aired: March 12, 1995
Directed by Jim Pohl
Written by Chris Ruppenthal
John Kapelos as Lucky Leon Tyrone Batista as Soldier
Robert Culp as Mr. Darryl
Farrah Forke as Mayson Drake
Michael Leopard as Police Detective
Mark Rolston as Gregor
David Jean Thomas as General Jason Jackson
Sam Vlahos as Raul Borges
Working a second-job as a delivery boy, Jimmy delivers a 'Desk Friend' to the mysterious Raul Borges. After Jimmy leaves, Borges is assassinated by a dart shot from the Desk Friend, controlled remotely by InterGang, who are using the devices to spy on influential people.
Lois and Clark have decided to simply go ahead and go out on a date as soon as possible. While discussing this, a detective arrives in the newsroom and arrests Jimmy for the murder of Raul Borges.
Mayson consults with Lois, Clark and Perry regarding Jimmy's arrest, telling them that she'll do what she can, but ultimately it's out of her hands. Perry manages to get Jimmy's bail paid, thanks to the support of the Daily Planet legal team.
Jimmy urges Lois and Clark to go ahead with their date and not to let his current predicament get in the way. Later, Jimmy is driving home when he discovers that his car is going out of control. Superman saves him just in time.
Lois gets an email about a secret shipment - but it's a trap set by 'Lucky Leon,' the 'Desk Friend' salesman and InterGang agent out to foil Lois and Clark's investigation. Lois and Clark follow the bait and interview Lucky Leon suspecting something amiss, but discover nothing. Lois does steal Leon's notepad and traces over it with a piece of tissue to discover a note written on a previous piece of paper.
Leon talks to Mr Darryl, his InterGang superior via video-phone about his plans to benefit InterGang by tricking Superman into stealing a shipment of nuclear weapons.
Lois and Clark frantically prepare for their date in their respective apartments, desperately trying to live up to the other's expectations. They go out and have a wonderful time, but at the end of the night, Lois gets scared and tells Clark that she can never see him again.
The next morning, Lois asks Perry if she can be re-assigned to a new partner, to which Perry angrily refuses, reminding her that her and Clark embarking on a romantic relationship was a bad idea from the beginning. Lois calms down and agrees to continue working with Clark.
Mayson arrives at the newsroom and explains to Lois and Clark that she has discovered that Borges was killed with synthetic curare and that she's waiting on information from her friend at the FBI about Lucky Leon. Mayson has to leave urgently and when the call comes through, Lois impersonates Mayson, learning that Leon used to work for the KGB.
Lois and Jimmy encounter a broken down army truck while on their way to investigate the dummy shipment. The phony army general (in reality, an associate of Leon's) informs them that terrorists have hijacked a van containing nuclear weapons. They urge Lois to contact Superman and stop the terrorists.
Mayson is in the middle of expressing her deepest feelings for Clark when he receives a phone call from Lois, who explains the situation of the hijacked weapons to him. Clark is forced to leave and Superman goes into action. The Man of Steel encounters the truck, 'steals' the truck back and unwittingly hands over the weapons of mass destruction to InterGang.
A United States general vows to bring Superman to justice. Clark is outraged that Superman was deceived.
Leon meets with Mr Darryl and shows him the warhead, Lois, Clark and Jimmy are spying on the meeting, but are captured. While tied up, Clark sets off the timer on the warhead to scatter the criminals. He then sets Lois and Jimmy free and neutralizes the bomb as Superman by throwing it into space where it harmlessly detonates. Superman easily captures Leon and Mr Darryl.
Superman and Jimmy are both cleared of their charges. Lois and Clark discover the hidden gadgets in the 'Desk Friend' devices. While walking home, Lois and Clark share their first kiss as a couple. However, blocks away, Mayson opens the door to her car which is rigged to explode. Clark hears the timer and races to save her at super speed. Unfortunately it is too late and Mayson dies in Clark's arms. She peels away his shirt, tattered by the explosion and sees the Superman uniform underneath his clothes. She whispers the word 'resurrection' just before she dies.
Review Rating - 4 (out of 5): A huge, almighty renaissance for "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" and arguably the best single episode of the series since "All Shook Up". It's still not quite worth the coveted 5/5, but it came damn close.
The biggest thing that stood out for me in this episode was how distinctively familiar and similar the tone and atmosphere of this episode was to the episodes we saw in Season One. There's a specific emphasis on characters and character development and a marked decrease in goofy humor and villain-of-the-week plots. The episode also hearkens back to one of the original mantras of the series - to make Superman an idea and make Clark Kent a real person. Superman's appearances are seldom in this episode, but not to the detriment of the presentation - far from it. Instead, the episode respects the fact that we care about this successful three-dimensional representation of Clark Kent that we don't care much what clothes he happens to be wearing in what scene (which ironically does play into Lois and Clark's date... but I digress). This is part of what I love so much about what this show accomplished - it made you care so much about the characters that you didn't even notice when there was no action. Every live-action superhero show has attempted this and almost every single one of them has failed. Except "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman".
The only reason this episode didn't quite earn top marks was because it did still happen to have a villain-of-the-week and while there were the usual Season 2-esque elements of anecdotal comedy to the character, he was nonetheless sinister and compelling. The InterGang connection was similarly excellent, although I was a little bit disappointed that Mr. Darryl, the recurring supervisor/coordinator (but not necessarily leader) of the series' InterGang agents was rather anti-climactically apprehended by Superman with such little aplomb. This is a major coup in the fight against InterGang and they act as though it's just another bad guy in jail.
Lois and Clark's actual date is so risqué and talky that it's actually jarring that the scene is taking place in the more family-friendly Season 2 and not Season 1. It's a really nice exchange between the two, although it did teeter on the verge of being excessively sultry. Lois probably didn't need to talk about making love.
Mayson Drake as played by Farrah Forke meets her untimely demise in this episode, and fashionably so. While I maintain that Forke under-acts to the point of delirium, she's at least credible as a District Attorney and we really feel for Clark's predicament - he's clearly, unabashedly in love with Lois and has no interest in Mayson, but is too nice to let her down. This reaches its climax here, when Mayson's last words to Clark before her tragic accident relate to her feelings for him.
John Kapelos turns in a delightful performance as Lucky Leon, and he's the second member of the cast of 'The Breakfast Club' to appear on "Lois & Clark" (Paul Gleason appeared in "The Ides of Metropolis"). I honestly couldn't put my finger on how I knew Kapelos, as he's physically quite different in this episode compared to in "The Breakfast Club". As Leon, he played the quintessential InterGang agent, and the best attempt by this Superman TV show to create a duplicitous James Bond villain (besides John Shea's Lex Luthor, of course). I especially like his fondness for fresh fruit - previously unavailable to him growing up in the Ukraine. He honestly could have made future appearances.
There's very little to mention in this episode in the way of Superman special effects. Lois and Clark's first official, mutually-consented kiss (neither of them are under any kind of spell; he's not Superman; it's not being done to create a diversion, etc) is accompanied by Clark going into proto-bullet-time (four years before "The Matrix" was even released) to save Mayson, but it doesn't involve much other than showing Teri Hatcher still locked in a blissful state of slow-motion passion while Clark ducks away to save the damsel in distress. There's one other moment in the episode that actually veers toward genuine badness: Superman saves Jimmy by jumping into his car and turning off the ignition. Okaaaay... but why then do the wheels of the car clearly come to a halt, as if commanded by the brakes? And come on... if that's all Jimmy had to do, why didn't he figure it out? Whatever, the episode is good enough that I'll buy it.
Mayson's mention of 'resurrection' was intriguing and a great way to create suspense for the next episode. Unfortunately, if memory serves, the next episode is fairly underwhelming. I suppose we'll find out next week when I rewatch "Resurrection".
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