Superman on Television
Lois & Clark: Episode Reviews
Season 3 - Episode 5: "Just Say Noah"Reviewed by: Rob Ó Conchúir
Originally Aired: October 22, 1995
Directed by David Jackson
Written by Brad Buckner and Eugenie Ross-Leming
Mac Davis as Lawrence 'Larry' Smiley
Olivia Brown as Star
Brian R. Richardson as Jeremy
Nancy Cassaro as Michelle Sitkowitz
Rob LaBelle as Arnold Sitkowitz
Michael C. Mahon as Brian
Erin Donovan as Betty
Jennifer Hooper as Cathy
Marte Boyle Slout as Cassandra Smiley
Lois and Clark run into each other outside a movie they have both walked out of. Lois is still angry that Clark broke up with her. They run into Arnold and Michelle Sitkowitz, neighbors of Lois who are still recklessly in love after ten years of marriage. After Lois and Clark have parted, Arnold and Michelle hear a voice saying that they have been chosen - they see a burning bush. A taxi pulls up beside them; two men emerge and force them into the taxi.
Star tells Lois that Arnold and Michelle have gone missing. Lois vows to find Arnold and Michelle. Clark's parents tell Clark that he should do everything he can to get Lois to forgive him.
Perry shows Lois a program featuring a maudlin TV televangelist who works at restoring peoples' marriages. He claims Larry Smiley did wonders for his relationship with Alice.
Superman saves a group of people from a car accident while simultaneously having an argument with Lois. Later, Lois and Clark meet a man whose brother and his brother's wife were brought to the Larry Smiley Institute before disappearing.
Lois and Clark warn Perry that he too might be in danger. Perry assigns Lois and Clark to go on an undercover assignment to investigate the Smiley Institute.
Lois and Clark reluctantly go to the Smiley Institute - they are shown to a cabin, but Clark turns down cabin after cabin until the last one. He explains that he used his x-ray vision to find the Sitkowitz's former room. Clark uses his super-vision to then read the impression of a letter written by Michelle to her sister. Lois discovers her luggage has been lost. They then attend a counseling session with a group of other couples.
Later, Larry Smiley speaks to his followers and chastises one of them for betraying them. He picks up a red phone and claims that it's God on the other end and that God claims that everyone who follows him will be allowed into Heaven. Smiley then unfolds a cryo-tube containing his mother.
Perry and Alice are kidnapped by a taxicab, similar to the way the Sitkowitzes were. Perry is brought to Larry who promises him entry into heaven - Perry begins to realize Larry is crazy. Larry reveals to Perry that he'll be flooding the Earth using a weapon built for him by one of his followers. He shows him that Alice is being contained in a suspended animation chamber.
One of the campers at the institute spots Superman and insists that he join in for a counseling session. During the session, Lois begins to forgive Clark for hurting her.
Clark discovers Kathy (one of the followers)'s dead body - it has been made to look like a suicide. In her shoe they discover a piece of paper in what looks like Hebrew. They find a secret office belonging to Smiley. They find a stack of documents where they learn that they are not candidates for whatever Smiley is planning. After discovering their couples' counseling file they end up making up.
Jimmy arrives at the camp and explains to Lois that Perry and Alice have been kidnapped. Lois spots Smiley and his crew packing into jeeps. They climb aboard one of them and find that Smiley has built a giant ark. Smiley answers another 'phone call from God' who explains that there will be a great flood that will wipe out all life on Earth except Smiley and his followers.
Clark brings the Hebrew page to Star who channels an age-old prophet who is able to read the page. Lois and Jimmy are found by Smiley and are strapped to the weather-weapon where Jimmy tells Lois an embarrassing fantasy he used to have of her. Superman saves them from the weapon and stops Smiley's weapon. He then revives all of the people frozen in the cryogenic chambers.
Superman returns Lois to her apartment where they both agree to give the topic of marriage a rest for a while and just concentrate on being happily in love.
Review Rating - 3 (out of 5): Once again, an episode I remember being pretty horrid turned out to be quite enjoyable - significantly more so than last week's "Meh, I guess it wasn't bad..." episode. In fact, I'd even go as far as to say this was a few steps short of being a 4 out of 5.
Aside from the great character development, one of the key things I enjoyed about this episode was that it gave us a Job for Superman. Granted all Superman did at the end of the episode was bodyslam the machine, but similar to episodes like "All Shook Up", it feels like there's more at stake - the whole WORLD is in danger (or at least, Smiley seems to imply that it is).
It also benefits the episode that Larry Smiley is just a better, creepier, more topical villain than the yokel yuppies, the bodiless barons and the deadbeat druids of recent episodes. There's certainly a lot of potential for a character like Smiley to drift towards camp, and certainly he does, but he's nonetheless held up by the nature of the plot and his status as a creepy cult-leader. He'd nearly be a great villain, except that ultimately he doesn't pose much of a challenge to Superman. Once Clark finds out about the weather weapon, Smiley's finished.
In this episode, we finally get writing that reflects the shaky handling of the Lois/Clark romance of late. Once again the characters are on a strange, slightly off-kilter note that doesn't match up with last week's episode - but the writers manage to justify it in a way I can handle. Last week, Lois rejected Clark because of the way he hurt her - now it's being played more as anger on her part. She's simply mad at Clark, rather than opposed to the idea that they'll be together again.
The couple's counseling idea is great, hilarious and reminiscent not just of "Superman II" but of "Honeymoon in Metropolis". If not for the brainless "Ordinary People" episode which only three weeks ago involved Lois and Clark undercover on a romantic getaway (and in "The Phoenix" a while back before that as well) it would seem like a breath of fresh air. I especially like Clark 'lying down' in midair while he talks to Lois - so much of episodes like 'Honeymoon in Metropolis' have Clark trying his hardest to avoid revealing his powers to Lois; now he's free to show her the everyday uses he gets from them. And when Lois refers to one of Clark's powers as a 'vision gizmo,' he gets to chastise her for it because it doesn't sound 'cool'. Perfect.
Again, the episode isn't GREAT per se, it definitely lacks the flair of great episodes from the past two seasons like "Honeymoon", "All Shook Up" or "Lucky Leon", but it is good. Very good.
In terms of things I didn't like, for once I don't have any glaring misgivings with the plot. It was fun, well-written high-concept Superman adventure. I liked it. My main criticisms are fairly throwaway -
- There's a rather jarring bit of lens flare that hits off one of the actors and creates a duplicate of him - it's only a few seconds long, but it's really strange and the scene could have used a reshoot.
- There's a lot of bad 'cape-out' in the scene where Superman is having one of his trademark 'Season 3 Domestic Disputes' with Lois while simultaneously saving a bunch of car-crash victims. All they had to do was film Dean Cain running off camera and playing a 'whoosh' sound. Instead we get the awkward visual of him flapping his cape over the camera each time. It's unnecessary.
- I haven't mentioned this, but Teri Hatcher's dress-sense has been very strange in the past few episodes. She no longer looks as 'rough n' ready' as she did in the early seasons, where she looked characteristically beautiful in spite of her chaotic lifestyle of 5am starts on a diet of Double-Fudge Crunch Bars and coffee. Lois Lane suddenly looks like an extremely well-groomed, well-paid actress in increasingly bizarre Wilma Flintstone-esque 90s fashion.
In this episode she once again wears a strange orange dress that seems to have been designed with Native American tribal styles in mind. It just seems...odd for Lois to be wearing. She also wears an almost-frightening all-white three-piece pantsuit (with matching tie) that looks like something the Joker or The Mask would wear.
Larry Smiley is played by country star and writer of the legendary Elvis Presley song "In the Ghetto". He's particularly good, I think and I was glad to learn that trivia after the fact, as I love that song (it turns out Davis recorded a version of the song himself and it's also quite good). It's a pity there wasn't some kind of reference thrown in that Perry could have made.
One More Thing: Rob LaBelle plays Arnold Sitkowitz in this episode. He'd later play Dr. Frederic Walden in "Smallville" for a few episodes (as well as the demon Azazel in one episode of "Supernatural", also produced by Robert Singer; they frequently reference "Lois & Clark" in that show).
Next week, Commander Riker steals Lois, Clark and the Batmobile in "Don't Tug on Superman's Cape."
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