Superman & Lois cranked up the dial and gave us revelations and answers that felt like a season finale. Finally, we get some satisfying resolutions to storylines that don’t feel rushed, and it feels thrilling. It’s interesting how this hour has little to no fight scenes featured, but your heart is still pounding because of the drama. This shows how effective this show is by having us invested in these characters and their situations that we’re on the edge of our seats.
Superman & Lois airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the CW, then streams free on the CW app.
Story: Mommy Issues
The episode starts where the previous ended as Clark learns that Morgan Edge is Kryptonian and his brother. The show does a great job of making the Superman cliche of finding out that another Kryptonian and making them the villain feel fresh. While there are some shades of General Zod, this isn’t him. Tal-Rho’s backstory on Earth is tragic and helps us understand why he doesn’t trust humanity. It brings the classic question of what if Kal-El’s ship didn’t land in Smallville. We see the dark implications through Morgan Edge as he didn’t encounter any love during his time on Earth.
Another revelation we get in the first couple of minutes is that Tal-Rho can potentially bring Kal-El’s mom back. Throughout all the media appearances of Superman, there’s been a large emphasis on Jor-El and never his biological mother. It’s refreshing to finally see justice for Lara Lor-Van and the emphasis surrounding her. This brings the thematic theme of mothers in this show as Martha Kent weighs heavily on some of its characters. Also, we finally get an answer on why Lara’s crystal never appears in the Fortress of Solitude. It’s always bugged me during other adaptations on why we only see Jor-El present.
Characters & Performance: Internal Conflict
This episode is the perfect example of how Hollywood should deal with Superman. People assume that the biggest conflict he has to deal with is someone stronger than him. What makes him compelling is having someone who’s one of the powerful beings in the universe and makes him feel helpless. Yet, his strongest asset is his faith in others, especially with humanity. It’s the internal conflicts that the Man of Steel has to decide on that keeps him interesting. The showrunner, Todd Helbing, understands this perfectly, with Clark dealing with his Kryptonian roots.
You have someone who wants to acknowledge his heritage, even know he’s lived a full life on Earth. Tyler Hoechlin once again nails this performance as Superman. You can feel the struggle that he has to learn more about his biological mother. Bring in the fact that Martha Kent recently died, and you can see how torn he’s in. That’s why makes this character becomes so enthralling, thanks to Hoechlin. He also brings out the hopeful side of the character. When Superman talks to Lana (who still doesn’t know that he’s actually Clark Kent), he expresses that he’ll find a solution because of his optimistic nature. He plays it off so well that you can’t help and smile with him.
We get a larger focus on the Cushing family as Kyle and Lana get the spotlight. The follow-up to last week’s reveal with Kyle going under Morgan Edge’s sexperiment and becoming a host is done really well. We still see scenes of Kyle in control and expressing that he wanted to change to be a better man for his family. It’s probably the most sympathize that Kyle has been so far. He’s not a villain by any stretch, but he does get into conflicts with Lois. Deep down, he just wants to be a better person for others around him.
Then it transitions to when the alien takes over; he becomes downright scary—great job by Erik Valdez on becoming this chilling creature that’s absolutely frightening. Then we have Lana trying to save her husband, and it’s the best episode that she has to date. Without going into spoilers, she has this dual purpose in this story that’s done really well. It’s a clever twist that works well and allows for one of the strongest scenes we’ve seen so far. Emmanuelle Chriqui has great chemistry with Tyler Hoechlin in general, but with this new dynamic, it becomes even more compelling.
Cinematography & Sound: Like a Painting
Something is alluring about seeing a sunrise or sunset. The golden warm colors allure the eye with its beauty. This show wisely uses it to full effect, and there’s a lot during this hour. From the opening shot, there’s a gorgeous sunrise that fills the screen like a painting. The glow that shines off our hero and villain’s costumes is beautiful to see. Then there’s this shot of Superman flying towards the end of this episode that’s absolutely stunning. It looks like something out of an Alex Ross comic.
There’s an excellent sound effect with the Kryptonian hosts. When they’re in control, their voice sounds distorted and a little grainy. It seems cheesy on paper, but it works well. The strained voice makes it feel like the host is fighting for control. This addition helps make Erik Valdez’s performance even scarier, especially when he says to Jonathan that he’ll kill him first.
Pacing & Editing: A Little Too Much At Once
This honestly felt like the season finale during most of the episode. We got a lot of reveals and plot lines resolved. I don’t know what the direction is going forward, but it’ll be an exciting path. We did get a lot of exposition, which at times can be overwhelming. We’re learning about Morgan Edge’s backstory, life on Krypton, and understanding the machine that transforms Smallville residents into hosts for aliens. With just a short amount of time, it’s a lot to unpack. Thankfully, the editing did a great job of moving out any bumps on the way. It has a nice flow that helps mainstream this episode.