When Superman & Lois premiered back in February, critics gave great praise towards CW’s newest superhero show. Fans got on board, and suddenly after Episode 5, the show went on a 5-week hiatus because of COVID-related production delays. Now it’s back going forward, and does.
Superman & Lois airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the CW, then streams free on the CW app.
Story – A Play on a Superman Cliché
We begin with the conclusion of the last episode with Jordan getting ambushed by Tag, who has now developed super speed. He gets beaten pretty badly until Superman flies in and saves Jordan. It leads to Jordan developing these bad headaches and seemingly having his powers become unstable. This feels like a natural way to make him lose control of his powers instead of bringing another element into play. Clark is hesitant about Jordan playing football until he gets a handle on his new abilities. The development of seeing Clark taking on the role of his father, Jonathan Kent, is fascinating.
We know Clark’s powers were a mystery to him and his parents. Now he’s put in a situation where it’s the same exact scenario except there’s the benefit of hindsight. With Jordan’s powers, he knows better than anyone. It’s not just actually physically having them, but the emotions that come with it. The stress and anger of controlling them, but also wanting to use it for more selfish reasons like standing up to a bully. We also see the Man of Steel training Jordan in trying to hone in his strength, which is easily a big highlight of this episode. It’s like a classic Smallville moment with a twist.
We also see the flipside of Smallville with Morgan Edge completing his deal. He now has full access to the mines that contain the mysterious kryptonite. We get some new advancements with Lois, joining up with the Stranger (under the guise of Marcus Underwood). It’s always nice to see Lois do some investigative journalism, and the dynamic between the two of them really works. Hopefully, later down the line, she can have a bigger chunk of the story to see her in action for most of the episode.
Characters & Performances – Super Great
It deserves mentioning that Tyler Hoechlin, who plays Superman, keeps knocking it out of the park. All the different sides we see of Kal-El from being a noble superhero to this down-to-Earth father. The scene where he trains Jordan is such a delight. Seeing him getting excited over Jordan excited and completely nerd out is so endearing to watch. Then we get to see the flipside where he has to rein in Jordan. The way he talks about his own experience dealing with these powers and the responsibility of Superman help makes his character even more interesting.
While the scenes with Jordan and Clark are good, they feel like more of the same thing. It’s developing into a formula. He gets mad at his dad even though he knows he should probably listen to him. We get a little variation of it related to Jordan not being able to control his powers. The thing that does save it from being a drag is the performances. Alex Garfin, who plays Jordan, is believable in his struggles and feels for him. It doesn’t seem like typical high school angst, but someone who’s genuinely dealing with these problems.
The B plot dealing with Luthor and Lois joining together is exciting, especially after revealing that they were in love on his Earth. Wolé Parks forming genuine chemistry with Elizabeth Tulloch is actually pretty sweet to see. It shows a different side of our main antagonist, as if you imagine that his Lois is the same as ours; he admires the great investigative energy and passion that she possesses, just like Clark does. Even when she gets upset at him, you look at Wolé’s face and see a man in love. It adds more intrigue to what happened to him on his Earth and what became of his relationship with Lois Lane.
Pacing & Editing – Slow Burn Gets A Little Hotter
This show has always been a bit of a slow burn, but it’s not such a bad thing. There are many spinning plates that the showrunners have to spin and develop. You have the Kent family dynamic, Morgan Edge’s effect on Smallville and Lois investigating him, the boys’ football developments, and more. Not to mention you have Superman out of all characters in action.
Yet, each beat gets to breathe and develop instead of rushing into advancing the plot. This episode feels like every story is bleeding into each other. Tag’s attacking Jordan, in the beginning, sets everything into motion like a domino falling onto each other. We’re almost towards the halfway point of the season, so hopefully most side beats get merged together.
With the show taking a slower pace, the editing does reflect that. Nothing feels too rushed with this episode, and everything feels like they get to breathe. A big part of the story deals with Jordan and him playing in the football match against their rivals. The game is like something we would see out of Friday Night Lights. The action isn’t too hyper, and we can understand what’s going on, especially since their helmets cover Jordan’s and Jonathan’s faces.
Cinematography & Sound – Beautiful Heat Vision
It’s still amazing how this show looks vastly different compared to the other Arrowverse shows. Superman & Lois doesn’t look like it should be on the CW, but more for HBO Max. In every shot, we see Superman looking magnificent, as if he should be on the big screen. We get to see him more in Metropolis this episode, and the city lights look great on him.
Another facet we get to see more in this episode is heat vision. This ability plays a prominent point throughout the story, and there are many sides we get to see. We often think of heat vision with strong, angry emotions, which do happen here, but there’s a vulnerable side to it. The framing of the eyes when Jordan tries to find some control and struggles evokes some sadness. Combine with the effective sound effect of when he gets those headaches that sound more like nails on a chalkboard, and we understand what Jordan is going through.