Superman on Television

Lois & Clark: Episode Reviews

Lois & Clark

Season 2 - Episode 17: "Resurrection"

Reviewed by: Rob Ó Conchúir

Originally Aired: March 19, 1995
Directed by Joseph L. Scanlan
Written by Gene Miller & Karen Kavner

Guest Cast:
Jim Pirrias Agent Dan Scardino
Curtis Armstrong as Albie Swinson
Dennis Lipscomb as Stanley Gables
Pat Crawford Brown as Mrs. MacCarthy
Danny Woodburn as Big Buster Williams
Eddie Frias as Diego Martinez
Peter McDonald as Sean MacCarthy

Synopsis:

Following the death of Mayson Drake, Lois and Clark attend her funeral. Clark tells Lois that her last words were 'Resurrection'. A mysterious man drives past with his associate discussing how he needs to find incriminating files that Mayson had on him.

Lois gives Clark some time alone and heads back to her car. On her way she spots a supposedly dead man moving around in a coffin and rushes back to Clark to show him. The mystery man's associate rushes out of the car and forces a pill into the 'dead' man's mouth, causing him to cease moving. His employer informs him that he can't afford any more dead friends waking up. Lois shows Clark the body which is now being buried, but when Clark examines it with his x-ray vision, he notes that the man is definitely dead.

Later at the office, Jimmy asks if he may borrow Lois' car to impress a new girl. When asked about Angela, he initially feigns bravado, saying that he needs to keep his options open - he then admits that she left him for a man with a Ferrari. Lois offers him the car if he promises to discover who was buried in the plot where she saw the dead man moving around.

Perry tells Lois and Clark that a DEA agent is coming to investigate Mayson's death, with no reason given. They suspect that perhaps it was mob-related and decide to check her office. As it is cordoned off by the police, they take to disguising themselves as cleaners. Upon arriving in the office, they find a half-eaten Meatball sub that's still warm. A man with a gun drops from the ceiling and holds a gun at them, tying them up before he leaves. As soon as he leaves, Clark breaks the bonds with his super-strength.

Back at the newsroom, Lois and Clark meet DEA agent Dan Scardino - who also happens to be the same man who tied them up in Mayson's office. He reveals that his investigation is unofficial - Mayson's car bomb matched the M.O. of Sean MacCarthy, a criminal Scardino captured who recently died in prison mysteriously. Scardino believes that somehow he is back on the streets. MacCarthy killed someone close to Scardino and he has vowed to incarcerate him once again. Clark finds Scardino to be reckless and irritating and makes note of it to Lois, who finds him endearing.

Lois and Clark visit MacCarthy's mother as that is their only lead. She reveals to the reporters that Sean was close friends with Buster Williams and Diego Martinez (the man Lois saw in the coffin); also criminals. She shows them letters that were sent to Sean from the other men. Lois reads the letter while Clark detects the ticking of a bomb under the house. He ducks away and neutralizes the bomb as Superman. Lois and Clark then take the letters away for further investigation.

The mysterious man from earlier is Stanley Gables, a lab worker who was fired from STAR Labs after a compound of his creation known as the 'Alpha Virus' killed four people and is slowly killing him. He tells his associate Albie Swinson that he is going to have his revenge not only on STAR Labs, but on the entire city of Metropolis.

Lois and Clark discuss their recent date and how Clark hasn't mentioned much of it since the sudden death of Mayson Drake. Unfortunately, the discussion is interrupted by Dan Scardino, who reveals that he has been reading through Mayson's diary (which contained some rather explicit entries related to her feelings for Clark). In the diary she mentions 'Resurrection' on a number of occasions, referring to it as a pill with sinister connotations. Lois and Clark investigate Mayson's car and using his super-powers, Clark manages to find a pill matching the description in the diary. The duo give it to Professor Hamilton for analysis.

A disguised Lois and Clark visit Buster Williams, the remaining friend of Sean MacCarthy and ask him about the job he was working on with MacCarthy and Martinez. However, much to the confusion of the reporters, Williams suddenly dies.

Lois and Clark learn that the pill Mayson stole induces a temporary state of suspended animation akin to death. They hypothesize that perhaps someone is faking the deaths of criminals to break them out of jail for a big job. They also suspect that a cemetery would need to be in on the scam in order for it to be a success, and visit the one that caters for the cemetery where Martinez, MacCarthy and Williams are buried. Clark manages to acquire the invoice for MacCarthy's 'death' and discovers that the funeral arrangements were handled by one Albie Swinson.

A cemetery worker tries to kill Lois by using an out-of-control bulldozer, but Dan Scardino saves her in the nick of time. Superman arrives to stop the bulldozer and is noticeably irritated by the fact that Scardino got there first.

Scardino later breaks into Lois' apartment and she mistakenly attacks him. He tells her that he only wanted to ensure that she was safe, as dangerous people are after her and he doesn't want anything to happen to her. Clark arrives and tells her about Swinson's employer Gables.

Late that night, Lois gets a call from Albie Swinson offering her information on Gables, who he believes to be out-of-control, with the virus affecting his mind. He tells Lois to meet him at the cemetery. Unfortunately, Gables has tapped Swinson's phone and hears the entire conversation. Lois tries to call Clark, but unbeknownst to her, he is working at the Planet investigating Albie Swinson.

Lois gets attacked by Gables' men at the cemetery and she stumbles into a coffin that happens to contain Buster Williams. The casket is then transported to the home of Stanley Gables via a series of underground tunnels. Williams wakes up during the transit.

Scardino and Clark learn about Stanley Gables' involvement with Albie Swinson and assume that Lois must have gone to his house on her own. Gables sets up an all-out assault on STAR Labs. Clark and Scardino saves Lois and Albie and Superman apprehends Gables. Lois, Scardino and Swinson apprehend Williams, MacCarthy and Martinez respectively.

Clark apologizes to Lois that they haven't had any opportunity to talk about their date. He offers to take her to a movie that night. Dan arrives and asks Lois out as well. Clark concludes that Lois has some choices to make.

3Review Rating - 3 (out of 5): 'Resurrection' is one of the more curiously plotted episodes of 'Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman'. It has all the earmarks of being an epic story-arc related episode and it has bags of continuity, but upon closer examination, it's actually a rather mediocre filler episode, disguised as something bigger. It also has the dishonor of introducing one of the weaker characters, more ham-fisted, thrown-in characters of the entire series: Dan Scardino.

When Mayson Drake utters the words 'Resurrection' at the end of 'Lucky Leon,' there's so much possibility behind the word. Is this the next phase of Intergang's stranglehold on Metropolis? Possibly a new threat from Lex Luthor or a seemingly dead villain of a past episode? Instead it's just a standard guest-star villain of the week, and a fairly one-dimensional one at that. Once again, it's a wealthy megalomaniac out for revenge, with a lackey comedy sidekick (admittedly who has an impressive change of heart). I do really like the outlandish plot and it's perfect for a superhero TV show, but not enough was done with it - the idea of villains coming back to life has so much potential for a Halloween episode...instead the horror potential is completely absent.

So now it's time to talk about that other reason I don't have any particular fondness for this episode (even though I can't really call it a 'bad' episode as most of its writing is decent): Dan Scardino. While the show obviously presents him in a way that you're not really supposed to like him (Clark certainly doesn't), it's just not really apparent as to why Lois does either. He's annoying, brash and she knows nothing about him and after all the effort she's gone through with both Clark, Superman and Lex, it doesn't really make sense to me that she'd suddenly go all gooey-eyed for this new equation - except that he's good-looking and a hunk; which is unusually shallow given how much progression Lois has gone from only having eyes for Superman to noticing Clark as a romantic prospect. Secondly, Scardino's involvement in future episodes (and to some extent this one) is just plain implausible and awkward. His role as an operative Drugs Enforcement Agency doesn't really mesh well with the colorful, high-concept world of Superman or even "Lois & Clark" (where drug-crime has had little or no place so far) and this became more and more apparent in his future appearances where writers would have to shoehorn in a plausible reason for the DEA to be connected to a given case. It also doesn't help that Jim Pirri's acting skills aren't strong enough to sell his character - it's fine buying him as the jokey, ultra-confident, swaggering brute that he sells Scardino as, but once he needs to sell his emotional involvement to the MacCarthy case his excessively emotional acting just seems forced. Why does he have such strong feelings for Lois after only meeting her once? It's implausible high-school romance at its angsty worst and it's the kind of thing that flies in the face of why I like the real, tangible, three-dimensional epic romance of Lois Lane and Clark Kent within this series. This is dime-store shipping at its Smallvillian worst. At least with Mayson Drake her involvement in the Lois/Clark romance was tertiary at best and her involvement in the actual adventures MADE COMPLETE SENSE. Daniel 'Dan' Scardino feels like a forced replacement for Drake designed to give Lois a romantic distraction to realize her feelings for Clark. He's a clumsy, poorly executed character and I have nothing but contempt for his appearances.

If I had free-reign to go back in time and have full creative control on "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman", if Clark had to have a second rival for Lois' affections (remember she nearly married Lex Luthor only a year previous to this) I would have brought in another member of the DC Universe to provide this, as so many other versions of Superman have done (the Animated Series did it with Batman and "Smallville" did it with Aquaman, Green Arrow and probably a number of others). If DC Comics wouldn't be happy with this (which they quite probably wouldn't have been), I would at least make Dan Scardino a new Daily Planet reporter (perhaps Ron Troupe?) or a police detective or something a little bit more related to the world of Lois & Clark. Scardino seems like a weak attempt at creating a spinoff series.

Besides my huge criticism of Dan Scardino, I have a few other more minor concerns regarding the possibly over-ambitious plot structure of this episode. Ignoring the fact that creating a complex series of secret underground tunnels leading from a cemetery to the home of Stanley Gables, there's also the all-too-coincidental discovery by Lois on two different occasions of men in coffins who happen to still be alive and happen to be part of her investigation. I also don't enjoy the fact that Scardino and Clark are collectively worried about Lois' safety, when it seems to be quite obvious that Clark (as far as the other characters are aware) is in just as much danger and no one (Lois included) ever considers this. Finally, it was a bit convenient that Clark and Scardino mistakenly deduce that Lois must have gone to Gables' house (when actually she went to the cemetery and was brought there later) and then she actually happened to be there. Why hadn't Gables killed her by that point? He already tried to in the cemetery but once he had her in his house he seemed to abandon his efforts.

Another minor complaint - when Lois is trying to show Clark that Martinez is still alive, Clark x-rays the now-closed coffin and spots that the man's eyes are closed and decides that he must actually be dead. However, Clark is Superman and his super-senses extend beyond x-ray vision. The Resurrection drug is described as placing users in a temporary state of suspended animation resembling death - this should not be enough for Superman not to detect the faintest heartbeat or sign of life. There are ways to explain this error away (maybe the drug actually is that powerful, etc), but to me it seems more like an oversight on the parts of the writers.

The biggest actual super-science related flaw I saw in this episode was in Superman's disposal of the alpha virus. He manages to freeze the airborne virus into a single icicle. This is plausible enough, however he then disposes of it by throwing it into space; we then see a shot of the icicle sailing out of Earth's atmosphere. This is the exact same problem as the baseball in "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace," except the consequences are far more serious. The icicle would have burned up while trying to escape the outer atmosphere, and the virus would once again be airborne and would probably be capable of infecting people at ground-level again (I stand to be corrected on this, but that would appear to be the result of this kind of thing).

FInally on a technical level, this is a pretty forgettable episode with little or no exciting moments of Superman in action. Clark uses his x-ray vision a couple of times as I've already noted. There's also a really bad shot of Superman landing in front of the out-of-control bulldozer where it's clear that Dean Cain was rotoscoped in after the filming of the scene. Perhaps the episode wasn't allocated a high-enough budget for an impressive wire-landing. A pity.

While it may seem like I truly hated 'Resurrection,' I still found some enjoyment in it and it's definitely not as overtly bad as other episodes in this season and the last. Also, with the introduction of Dan Scardino and the death of Mayson Drake, it certainly wasn't forgettable. It just has the misfortune of some shaky writing and the fact that it's sandwiched between two of the best episodes of the entire series - the second being 'Tempus Fugitive', regularly considered to be the definitive episode of "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" and containing some of my favorite quotes in the entire history of Superman.

Join me next week as we journey back and forth through time discovering the true meaning of Superman.



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