Superman on Television
Lois & Clark: Episode Reviews
Season 3 - Episode 12: "Never on Sunday"Reviewed by: Rob Ó Conchúir
Originally Aired: January 7, 1996
Directed by Michael Lange
Written by Grant Rosenberg
Cress Williams as Baron Sunday
Beverly Garland as Ellen Lane
Carol Lawrence as Beverly Lipman
Gary Dourdan as Ziggy
Ben Reed as Matt Young
Les Lannom as Rod Clemons
Olivia Brown as Star
Joe Palese as Detective
John Mueller as Policeman
Clark is awoken by a vivid nightmare of being placed in his rocketship on Krypton. Elsewhere, a malevolent witch doctor is putting a spell on Clark.
Perry asks Clark for advice because he's been fixed up for a blind date. Clark tells Lois he had a hard time sleeping. Lois and Clark are invited to magic show courtesy of Baron Sunday. Clark relives the same nightmare.
Ellen tries to impose lavish wedding plans upon Lois and Clark. Baron Sunday uses a voodoo doll to incapacitate a bus driver - Superman rushes into action and saves the bus from crashing - but the hypnotized bus driver dies of a heart attack, convinced that Vietcong soldiers are trying to ambush him. Superman notices the same snake-shaped symbol on the man's chest that was on his own chest during his dream.
Lois and Clark attend Baron Sunday's magic show where the magician proceeds to dazzle the audience. Jimmy is brought up onstage as a participant. Baron Sunday introduces himself to the news team and correctly guesses Clark's star-sign. Lois and Clark investigate the bus driver who died of the heart attack and learn about his post-war trauma. They interview one of Clark's old friends, but once he begins to reveal sensitive information, he suffers a similar heart-attack from fear-induced hallucinations courtesy of Baron Sunday.
While listening to Ellen's suggestions for the wedding, Clark experiences another daytime nightmare courtesy of Baron Sunday. He finally admits to Lois that he's been having these visions.
Lois and Clark visit Baron Sunday to ask him about hallucinations. Lois finds a strange needle which she pockets. Later they find a connection between the dead bus driver and a John Hendrix - aka Baron Sunday.
Lois and Clark consult the help of Star to try and determine where the cause of Clark's visions are coming from. Star discovers the needle and explains that it has dark properties - it can be used on voodoo dolls to inflict pain on others. She also explains the only way to counteract the dark magic - by displacing the evil with something good, such as a keepsake or an heirloom.
Baron Sunday's associate Ziggy comes to warn Clark, but dies as soon as he enters the door. Clark discovers as a junior reporter in Jamaica, he was fed false information by his colleague which led to John Hendrix being framed for a crime he didn't commit - and now Hendrix is trying to take his revenge on everyone involved - including Clark.
Clark tries to reason with Hendrix, but he's filled with a lust for revenge. Baron Sunday places Lois in a trance and tries to kill Clark. Clark uses Lois' engagement ring to overcome his fear, just as he recalls the image of Jor-El and Lara placing his S-emblem into the rocketship. Superman saves Lois and incapacitates Baron Sunday. Sunday assumes the form of a snake and slithers away, unseen.
Review Rating - 3 (out of 5): I'd like to apologize for my long absence from these reviews - much as I enjoy doing them, time and life tends to get in the way. I plan on launching straight back into them in the coming months. I'm eagerly looking forward to the return of Tempus, Lex Luthor and the New Krypton Arc (in which I'll make some well-deserved comparisons to a certain film with a similar plot). I'd also like to apologize for initially skipping this episode in my reviews - my thanks to Steve Younis for pointing out to me that "The Dad Who Came in from the Cold" was actually the 13th episode.
Another solid episode which, while not remarkable, is a perfectly serviceable episode that not only provides an intriguing plot and a formidable villain (for once!) but also a previously unseen insight into Clark's past as a struggling globetrotting reporter.
Cress Williams' Baron Sunday is the first original "Lois & Clark" villain I've been really impressed by in a long time. He's fearsome and intimidating and has powers and abilities to boot (not merely another corrupt white-collar criminal). Williams of course played the recurring character of D'Shawn Hardell in the original Beverly Hills 90210, a guilty pleasure of mine (and also where Dean Cain made his name before this series). Sunday's snaky escape at the end of the episode teases a return for the character - which sadly never came to be.
Beverly Garland as Ellen Lane continues to be a fun nuisance and an interesting diversion from the usual rock of support that Jonathan and Martha usually provide (they're once again unfortunately absent from this episode). And for once, I was even glad to see Star show up - her appearance in this episode was wholly relevant, even if it was still expositional.
The only disappointments character-wise in this episode are once again Perry and Jimmy, who as is often the case, have little or nothing to do. Perry backs out of a blind date (for some reason) and instead opts to bring Jimmy to a magic show despite the fact that they arrive just as the show is about to end (?). Interestingly, Jimmy cites his birth year as being 1974, which would place his age at roughly 22 by the time this episode was set (presuming it was definitely set more or less around the time it aired). This would appear to be a bit of a continuity error however, as Jimmy says he's 21 in "All Shook Up" back when he was still played by Michael Landes (and two years have definitely passed, as there's been two Christmas episodes).
Similarly, Clark cites his birthday as February 28, 1966 - that's all well and good, and recalls the classic comic book letters page joke of placing Superman's birthday on February 29; however Clark's spaceship landed on May 17, 1966 - how did the Kents know that his birthday was a full three months prior? Perhaps they just picked the date out of a hat as it was explained they did on the "Smallville" show.
It's always nice to get a look at Krypton on "Lois & Clark" and while that's not exactly what happens, the short glimpses are appreciated nonetheless. I had always remembered there being two actors who played Jor-El on "Lois & Clark" - David Warner and the gentleman (whose name eludes me) who plays him during the New Krypton arc at the close of Season Three. However, in "Never on Sunday" a third, faceless, uncredited individual apparently plays him as well. The childhood insecurities Clark harbors from his scant memories of his escape from Krypton are nice foreshadowing for that upcoming arc.
Placing a villain's framework within Clark's history as a struggling reporter is a really fun idea - too often we get villains out for revenge on the established reporter Lois Lane, or Superman the world's greatest hero. It's refreshing to get a villain whose vendetta is squarely focused on Clark, with Lois providing the support usually issued by Clark.
Some small considerations:
- There's a nice action shot of Superman stopping the bus, but it's a shame we couldn't get a wire-landing of him instead of the awkward green-screened composite of a fake Dean Cain. Other than that, there's not a huge amount of effects work to write home about, although all of the Baron Sunday stuff was seamless and enjoyable.
- Baron Sunday is of course a play on 'Baron Samedi' which translates to Baron Saturday. Baron Samedi was one of the villains in "Live and Let Die", Roger Moore's debut as 007 which also featured a screenplay by Tom Mankiewicz who was largely responsible for polishing Mario Puzo's "Superman: The Movie" script.
- Gary Dourdan from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (the original one - not Miami or New York) plays Ziggy, Baron Sunday's associate. I was wracking my brains trying to figure out where I recognized him from.
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