Superman on Television
Lois & Clark: Episode Reviews
Season 4 - Episode 8: "Bob and Carol and Lois and Clark"Reviewed by: Rob Ó Conchúir
Originally Aired: November 17, 1996
Directed by Oz Scott
Written by Brian Nelson
Kenneth Mars as Grant Gendell
Kenneth Kimmins as Dr. Bernard Klein
Sydney Walsh as Carol Stanford
Steve Hytner as Denzler
Rif Hutton as Agent Pete Rawlins
Antonio Sabato Jr as Bob Stanford
Betsy Lynn George as Aurora
Darrell Kunitomi as Dr. Kobiyashi
Clark brings a reluctant Lois to dinner with his basketball friend Bob and his wife Carol. Lois tells Bob and Carol about hoping to score an interview with reclusive billionaire Grant Gendell. Privately, Bob and Carol discuss their villainous plot to kill Lois. Bob himself is a supervillain, wielding powers of magnetism which he uses to kill people. He plots with Carol to kill Grant Gendell before Lois can interview him.
Perry chats to Clark about his new girlfriend Candy. Clark reacts with disinterest, suspecting that Perry is only dating Candy for her youthful looks. When Perry asks Clark if he and Lois would like to join him on another double-date, Clark brushes him off. Lois is introduced to Jimmy's new girlfriend Aurora who he met at a rave, Lois isn't enthused about joining them on a double date.
Clark investigates the mysterious death where only a mysterious marking on the dead man's chest points to the cause of death, a heart attack. His government contact informs him that the killer is known as 'Deathstroke' and always leaves his victims the same way.
Lois visits Carol and tells her about a phone call she received from Grant Gendell. Carol bugs Lois' phone while she's not looking. Later, Carol and Bob discuss their plans to kill Grant Gendell and take all of his money.
When Lois goes to meet with Grant Gendell, Bob and Carol track her movements and bug her conversation with Gendell. With Jimmy's help, Clark learns that the spate of Deathstroke-related murders are all related to Gendell's lawyer and rushes to rescue Lois. He discovers his Government friend, Agent Rawlins in Deathstroke's clutches. The two grapple for a moment before the stress becomes too much for them and they break away. Later, Dr Klein warns Superman that his blood has become dangerously magnetized and he needs time to heal if he hopes to beat Deathstroke.
While visiting Bob and Carol's home, Lois becomes suspicious that Bob and Carol are villainous in nature. Later, Clark's fears are proven correct when he learns that Bob once worked for Gendell when an accident led to his termination and endowed him with powers of magnetism, forcing him to wear a containment suit at all times. Superman rushes to Gendell's home where Deathstroke arrives soon after and attempts to kill Gendell. Superman and Deathstroke battle again and Superman narrowly achieves a victory by shorting out Deathstroke's containment suit.
Review Rating - 3 (out of 5): A reasonably fun look at another one of the idiosyncrasies of married life, juxtaposed with super-heroics - the show has comfortably nestled into this routine now, much like Lois and Clark have found themselves enjoying wedded bliss. It's nothing special, but I enjoyed it more than last week.
It is pretty hilarious in the superhero-packed world of 2016 (where Firestorm and Vibe appear in weekly TV shows) that the show runners of this series would take a character like 'Deathstroke' and adapt him so brazenly that he bears absolutely no resemblance to his comic book counterpart whatsoever. It's a shame as well, because DC does actually have their own magnetism-themed supervillain in Dr. Polaris - I guess they didn't like that name and thought 'Deathstroke' sounded cooler.
Actor and model Antonio Sabàto Jr does the best he can but the man just isn't a great actor and struggles to deliver some of the technobabble dialogue his character frequently has to spew. Creating a bespectacled secret identity for Deathstroke is a cute counterpart for Clark's iconic shtick, but not enough effort is made to make it look convincing that this would work as a disguise. Maybe nostalgia is clouding my judgement, but when I look at Dean Cain as Clark and then as Superman, I do truly believe I'm looking at two different people - the glasses change the shape of his eyes and his different hairstyles elongate and flatten his head in a way that makes Clark and Superman look similar only in passing. With Bob and Deathstroke, they do none of that. They don't even change his hair! Not to mention, the glasses they give him are really ugly even by 1996 standards. Veteran TV character actor Sydney Walsh is similarly wooden as Carol; she just doesn't really have enough chemistry with Sabàto and they rarely feel like a real couple.
As is often the case, I wish we could have spent more time actually seeing the Perry and Jimmy subplots - which are told to us in expository dialogue rather than letting us see what they're talking about (I feel like if Deborah Joy LeVine had still been the show runner by this point, we would have had much better looks at Perry and Jimmy outside the office). At the end of the episode the writers almost seem to be relishing in Jimmy and Perry's misery - both of their girlfriends have dumped them and despite Clark's earlier admission that his tickets to the football game have gone to waste, they don't invite them to the game with them! Instead they head off for a riveting lunch with their new billionaire friend and his mute piece of human arm-candy.
The special-effects in this episode are impressive and have an interesting conceptual flair to them - Deathstroke's magnetic powers are displayed in strobing charges of light and while they only appear in brief bursts, they're interesting every time. Dean Cain does a nice job of acting like he's really struggling, even if all Superman is doing is clutching a man's shoulders. Sadly Superman's powers barely get a look in in this episode, save for a bit of heat vision and a stock clip of green-screen flight, Clark's exploits are mostly relegated to off-screen sound effects and 'cape-outs'.
A few notes of interest:
- Lois and Clark are wearing matching, oversized leather jackets at the start of the episode that look as though they might have been disguises in a previous episode
- It's always interesting that in the world of this show, Superman has no problem playing sports despite the obvious advantage his powers give him
- While Jimmy is describing how he met his one-scene-and-done girlfriend Aurora at an underground rave, he describes how he thought he was going to run into the 'Mole People'. I'd really like to think this is a reference to Superman's first theatrical live-action feature 'Superman and the Mole Men' starring George Reeves
- While luring Lois to her home over the phone, Carol has an A4 print-out that reads (in bold capital letters) 'FOOD LOIS LANE LIKES'. That got a laugh. It reminded me of similar sight gags on the 1966 Batman show where every episodes would have ridiculously specific signs everywhere.
- "Sooner or later, we'll murder them. But for right now? Let's enjoy the evening."
- There's a weak bit of direction near the end of the episode, where Deathstroke is pulling Gendell towards him and Superman just stands there with his arms folded like an idiot!
- "Candy dumped me like yesterday's RICE!" - God bless you, Lane Smith.
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