If it weren’t for another hiatus because of COVID scheduling, we probably would have the season of Superman & Lois aired soon. For now, we’re beginning a final stretch towards that the end of Season One. This episode set up some vast stakes for our characters and helped guide the story forward. In addition to all that, it’s the second to last episode of an unofficial Arrowverse crossover. John Diggle from Arrow appeared across Batwoman, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and The Flash to address what happened to him after the series finale.
Superman & Lois airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the CW, then streams free on the CW app.
Story – Control of Your Soul
The last time we saw Superman, Tal-Rho forced him to swear allegiance in exchange for his family’s safety. It appeared that Clark turned and would be on his side. This episode revealed that it wouldn’t be that easy, as Clark fought against being turned for evil. It shows one of his best powers that no one talks about; his willpower. That ability has him keep focus on his family as an anchor to keep him from being turned.
It does a great job of showing one of the many reasons why this Superman may be one of the best versions we’ve ever seen. These events also set up the debate of whether Kal-El can even be saved? With someone that possesses that much power, it’s a dangerous thing. Even John Henry Irons shares that it only took an evil Superman only seven minutes to destroy Metropolis. But, the Kent family fights back against that idea and shares that there’s still hope. This leads to some pretty emotional scenes, including some standout work from the marvelous Elizabeth Tulloch.
Yet, this episode does have a huge letdown with the addition of Diggle. Don’t get me wrong; I love John Diggle. He’s one of my favorite characters from the Arrowverse, and I’m excited to see his story. But, it felt like they were promoting that we would get some answers about the event from Arrow’s series finale.
Instead, his appearance has him just setting up the exposition for this episode and nothing about him. This felt like the crossover had it backward, and maybe it was because of COVID scheduling. That being said, it’s not all terrible because at least his showing showed that this series is connected to the other shows. We even got a fantastic Oliver Queen name drop in Diggle’s passionate speech to help Superman.
Characters & Performance: Cushing Bonding
A welcome change is the fallout of episode 10 from the perspective of the Cushing family. Keep in mind that Kyle fought for Morgan Edge to operate in Smallville because he thought the town would get back on its feet. That ended in betrayal, as now he’s getting backlash for having the people of this corrupted by Edge. It showed a lot more depth to Kyle as he just wanted his town to succeeded and didn’t think this would all happen.
Yet, it did leave the dysfunctional Cushing gang to genuinely bond together. Take the scene where they’re washing off a hateful message that someone painted on their house. This scene would have been really cheesy and out of place if the actors didn’t have chemistry. Yet, it feels heartfelt and gives us some good growth for this dysfunctional family.
This episode also brought back one of their strongest characters, John Henry Irons. The warning he gave is starting to gain a lot more weight as the world is threaten by a corrupted hero. However, he knows what this Earth’s Superman means and understands that he just wants to help. However, Irons still has a duty to fulfill, even with an internal conflict brewing. Wolé Parks knocks it out of the park as always and his scenes with Tyler Hoechlin still remain a strong highlight.
Cinematography & Sound: Suit Up
With the return of John Henry Irons, we also get to see the suit that he’s been rocking in the first half of the show. Now it’s not the classic Steel suit from the comics (although we could get one for the finale or next year); there are still shades of it present. It’s the first time that we get to see John in the suit without the helmet present. Even without being exactly how it looks in the comics, the suit still has the presence of Steel.
A lovely little music motif we get back is Clark and Lois’s theme. We heard it a couple of times throughout the show, primarily when they first met each other in the pilot. The show’s composer, Dan Romer, makes the theme sound a little haunting but beautiful. There’s a faint choir-like sound that makes their love seem majestic. It just raises the hype levels of Dan Romer’s musical score getting released in the future.
Editing & Pacing: Close to the End
There are some basic but nice editing tricks to show Clark’s struggles. When he tries to remember what’s important to him, we’re shown clips of previous episodes. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but emotionally, it does convey that heartful punch by showing Superman’s life, especially when his family is seen as they’re the heart in his life.
What’s interesting about this season so far is just when I think I know where the show is heading, it goes and takes an unexpected turn. Without giving too much away, that same feeling happened with this episode. It’s definitely not a negative aspect towards the show as it keeps the viewer guessing. But that slow pace we were used to in the beginning is now getting a little faster. With three episodes left, it’ll be interesting to see how it all wraps up.