Superman on Television
Lois & Clark: Episode Reviews
Season 2 - Episode 22: "And the Answer Is..."Reviewed by: Rob Ó Conchúir
Originally Aired: May 21, 1995
Directed by Alan J. Levi
Written by Tony Blake & Paul Jackson
Maurice Godin as Jason T. Mayzik
Tony Jay as Nigel St. John
Lamont Johnson as Marvin
Michael Leopard as Police Detective, Sergeant Zymak
Clark arrives at Lois' apartment to bring her out - but she's not ready. While he waits for her, he practices how he's going to tell her that he's Superman.
He explains to her that his running off has nothing to do with a fear of intimacy and comes close to telling her, but the phone rings, interrupting the conversation. The phone call is actually for Clark - it's from an individual stating that he knows everything about Clark - that he's Superman. Clark is forced to leave Lois once again.
Superman goes to a dumpster and finds a handheld TV-device where he receives a transmission from a shadowy individual who tells him that he found a diary written by a man named 'Tempus'. The diary retells the events of the episode 'Tempus Fugitive' (which Superman has no knowledge of - as his memories were erased at the end of the episode) as well as all of the major events that have happened throughout the 20th Century.
Nigel St. John is aware of the diary, owned by a man named Jason T. Mayzik, a man who is still bitter about his father not leaving him his fortune. Mayzik has enlisted Nigel to get some kryptonite to blackmail Superman.
Jonathan and Martha have come to Metropolis for their anniversary. Martha has made Jonathan a hand-carved memory box containing pebbles for every year of their marriage. Jonathan has bought her a gift certificate for Cost Mart.
Lois is as angry at Clark as she has ever been. Clark receives another phone call from Mayzik. Clark reveals that he's going to go public with his identity, but Mayzik counters this by telling him that he has taken Clark's parents hostage and won't set them free until Clark steals some expensive jewels from a jewelry store.
Clark uses his super-powers to scan his apartment for clues. Superman uses his olfactory amplification to try and smell where the Kents and their mysterious kidnapper have gone. He follows the scent to a floristÊwhere he asks him about a specific orchid he smelled at the crime scene. The florist explains that he has a friend who hands out that specific orchid to trans-atlantic passengers. Clark tries to track down a passenger list to no avail.
With little time, Clark is forced to go ahead with the robbery. He flies into the store undetected and uses his x-ray vision to get the combination for the lock. Lois follows Clark to the jewelry store and is disgusted to see him pulling the crime.
Mayzik refuses to let Jonathan and Martha go. Lois scolds Clark for stealing the jewels. He tells her part of the story - that his parents have been kidnapped.
Lois vows to help Clark - she starts making calls to the airline in an effort to get the passenger list of the airline. Sergeant Zaimak asks Clark if he knows anything about the robbery the night before. He believes him when Clark says it wasn't him. Zaimak agrees to help them with the passenger list in exchange for Superman's help with the robbery.
Lois and Clark discover Nigel St. John was on the flight and track the connection back to Jason Mayzik - who acts odd and references Superman throughout the conversation. After they've left, Nigel insists that Mayzik kill Lois because of how troublesome she is.
Mayzik tells Clark he has 30 minutes to kill Lois Lane. Clark relays the situation to Lois - who enlists Superman to cryogenically freeze her to fake her death. Superman explains how dangerous that would be - but Lois tells him that she would give her life for Clark and his parents. Superman agrees.
Superman brings the body to Mayzik and Nigel who then expose him to Kryptonite and throw him in with his parents. Mayzik offers Nigel a drink to toast Superman's death. The drink is poisoned and Nigel dies - just as he was going to double-cross Mayzik. Jonathan and Martha manage to throw the Kryptonite into a vent, which enables Superman to regain enough strength to break through the metallic doors, freeing them.
After an initial struggle, Superman successfully revives Lois.
Jonathan reveals that Martha's gift certificate was part of a bigger plan - with the gift certificate he bought her a book about Italy (all in Italian), and hopefully they'd have learned some Italian by the time they returned from Rome (he had also bought plane tickets).
Perry and Jimmy are irritated by the fact that their lives seem to revolve around watching Lois and Clark and discussing what they're doing - as if they are side-characters in a TV show designed to advance their plots.
Clark tells Lois that he loves her and asks her to marry him. She is speechless.
Review Rating - 4 (out of 5): Teri Hatcher is the best Lois Lane ever. I've made that statement before, but man, this episode justifies my claim more than ever.
For the past few episodes, Hatcher's performance has been good, but her writing has been bogged down by the frustrating inclusion of Dan Scardino and her contrived feelings for him. In this episode, we see how strong, how loving and how truly sensational a character Lois Lane really is. She is literally willing to die for Clark because she loves him. She's as much a hero as Superman and Hatcher is a goldmine. The scene where she tearfully explains to Superman how much is at stake is, in my mind, one of the best Lois Lane scenes in any medium. Hats off to Teri Hatcher.
This episode is another fine example of the kind of Superman story that requires no superhero action whatsoever in order to be interesting. It presents the perfect, god-like hero with a very human problem that has no easy solution - he is forced to use his mind and his wits to solve problems and overcome the obstacle. It's a perfectly modern superhero story and the kind we're unlikely to see outside of the prohibitive medium of television (if this was a movie or even a comic, unimaginative fans and producers alike would demand that Superman 'punch something' in order for the story to be enjoyable).
The plot is simple in its own sense - but the writing seamlessly blends in an impressive continuity element from a previous episode 'The Tempus Fugitive' involving the (perhaps a bit too convenient) plot device of Tempus having kept a diary explaining all of Superman's secrets. It also ties up Nigel St. John's fate pretty well, although I would have preferred if Lex had had the pleasure of killing him, rather than the relatively throwaway Mayzik character.
Maurice Godin was impressive as Jason Mayzik - true he's yet another greedy white-collar criminal, a staple diet of this series, but he exudes a charming menace and has an impressively smarmy voice that suits the character. Despite his success as the character, it is still a bit unfortunate that a character such as this should present such an impressively sinister challenge to Superman while ultimately just being another in a long line of done-in-one standalone villains who hadn't appeared prior to this episode and would never appear again. How much more effective would it have been if Bill Church Jr. received Tempus' diary at the end of the previous episode and he had been the primary antagonist in this episode (leading to the demise of InterGang)? This episode is strengthened by the inclusion of continuity - a shame that one of the most essential characters in it is basically a stand-in.
Jonathan and Martha's B-plot was delightful in this episode. While it is a bit irksome that they have once again managed to afford a flight to Metropolis (how many thousands must they have spent on airline tickets in this season alone?!) it is nice to see them again after their respite in the previous episode. Jonathan's clever deception filled my heart with joy - I'll have to pull that trick on my girlfriend some time when I can afford to bring us to Paris - and the scene where they reflect on their lives together while captured in Mayzik's bunker is really heartwarming.
Jimmy and Perry have a bizarre exchange towards the end of the episode where they opine that their lives seem to revolve around Lois & Clark, discussing the nature of their relationship and wondering what they're going to do next - as if they are supporting characters in their TV show. This is an entertaining and memorable exchange, but unfortunately it only continues to highlight how much of an underused one-dimensional expository character Jimmy has become in this season, compared to the impressive up-and-coming actual reporter he was growing into when the character was portrayed by Michael Landes.
The biggest problem I have with this episode is Clark's ultimate proposal to Lois. Like many of the issues I had with the Scardino love triangle, it just seems rushed, forced and contrived. The whole episode was gearing up towards Clark revealing to Lois that he's Superman, and instead this other revelation comes completely out of left field. I'll buy that Clark is a bit of a naive farmboy, but how on Earth could he ever assume that Lois would agree to marry him given how tumultuous their very short romance has been thus far? It's just a bit silly - a forced attempt at keeping viewers hooked until the following season premiere.
And so that concludes the second season of "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman". When I started reviewing this series for the Superman Homepage, I was convinced Season One would be the strongest of all four. While I still think Season One has some of the strongest atmosphere (largely thanks to Michael Landes' three-dimensional Jimmy Olsen and John Shea's Luthor) and some of the best individual episodes; Season Two certainly gives it a run for its money with classics like "Tempus Fugitive", "Lucky Leon" and "The Phoenix" as well as very decent outings like "Individual Responsibility" and "Top Copy". It had its fair share of clunkers ("The Return of the Prankster" stands out as being my least favorite episode of the entire series so far) but even those seemed to nurture the development of the characters in a way that Season One never tried hard enough at doing. It's a strong, solid continuation of the series and while there is a worrying sense of camp permeating throughout the season that wasn't really there as much in Season One, there's some strong character work that grounds it.
Looking ahead, I'm actually looking forward to Season Three. Yes, it is the beginning of the wilder, jump-the-shark moments the series is often derided for but there's also some genuine quality as well. Strong ratings throughout the latter part of Season Two meant that the writers were able to tell more ambitious science fiction-based plots in Season Three and many episodes feel more like traditional Superman comic book stories, culminating with the New Krypton arc at the end of the season which is very similar to a recent comics storyline.
So join me next week when Lois decides that "We Have a Lot to Talk About".
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