The mysterious villain slowly having their backstory revealed has been a classic staple in the Arrowverse. We’ve seen it in The Flash with Eobard Thawne, Malcolm Merylr’s mystery in Arrow, and many more. For Superman & Lois, we get a big start with the unraveling of Captain Luthor’s story and a game-changing twist.
Superman & Lois airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the CW, then streams free on the CW app.
Story – Oh Captain, My Captain Luthor
So far this season, we’ve known two things about our mysterious character. He comes from another Earth where Superman is evil, and he’s married to Lois. It’s been little bits and pieces given along the way. We finally get an acceleration of seeing more of his previous life. These scenes were some of the highlights of this episode, as you really feel for him as the tragic backstory unfolds. It does a great job of giving enough answers while still leaving unanswered questions.
With the development of Luthor, we also get more of the evil Clark Kent from his timeline. It’s interesting how a Superman-type character that has bad intentions is becoming more of a cliche. In this past year, we’ve seen Homelander of The Boys and Onmi-Man from Amazon’s Invincible embodied this archetype. Maybe because we’re actually seeing the Man of Steel himself instead of a copycat makes this usage still feels fresh.
Thankfully in this episode, we don’t see that much of the evil hero. It would be too much to flesh out why he became a world-destroyer, and it can be saved for later. For now, the audience sees the action from Luthor’s eyes as he kills innocent people. It’s horrifying to see straight in the beginning our hero mowing down people in Metropolis with his heat vision. Small moments like these really help with understanding the motivation of this stranger.
The story leads to an exciting conclusion involving Superman and Luthor. A huge twist gets revealed that’ll have comic readers shocked. When I saw it for the first time, I jumped off the couch and screamed in shock. This twist regarding Luthor makes all the clues that the show hinted at seeming more obvious. Well done by the writers and cast for keeping it a secret all this time.
It’s a sense that this is the first episode so far that we’re focusing on one big plot point. It’s all dedicated to our mysterious character. There are no football scenes or that much-extended family life interaction. Not that those parts are bad, but it’s welcomed to get some of the stories a chance to really develop and breathe. The only plot development is Morgan Edge, who edges the line of charming and devious. They’ve done a great job of outlining his goal and setting up his threat prescient.
Characters & Performances – Dynamics Get Tested
Shoutout to Wolé Parks, who plays Captain Luthor, on a spectacular performance. The pain and restraint that he gives off are compelling. You totally understand why he would hate Earth’s Savior and the motivations behind it. Honestly, in some scenes, you’re actually on his side, and that’s all thanks to Wolé Parks. His scenes with Elizabeth Tulloch in our timeline and his world are great. Even when she doesn’t know him, they still have great chemistry. Having Tulloch act like she doesn’t trust him while showing her love for him really shows off her acting chops.
On the flip side, we see Jordan grapple with a new superpower, enhanced hearing. Like last week, we get to see Clark train him to control his new ability. It’s always nice to see the Smallville connection expect Clark is now the one doing the training. We’ve even had a scene early in the season of Clark explaining how he trained to control his hearing. Unfortunately, Jordan’s hearing leads to the one big downside of the episode; the forced drama. Without giving too much, there’s an alluded love triangle between Jordan, Jonathan, and Sarah. It feels like it’s obligatory because the CW loves these different love stories.
Pacing – Big Reveals
As mentioned in last week’s review, the show moves slow, which isn’t a bad thing. The show is just starting, and we’re only a couple of episodes in. Now with episode 7, things really get to kick in full gear. Focusing on the mystery of our untraceable captain is on full display, and we finally get the answers we’ve been asking ourselves. By the end, it feels like the show’s dynamic has shifted a little. Things could slow down back next week, but with all of the reveals and secrets revealed, it’ll be hard not to put the petal on the gas.
Editing & Cinematography – Beauty of Smallville
With flashbacks in the Arrowverse, there’s a formula. A character will mention something, and a small flash of light with a swoosh sound effect will transition the memory. We don’t get any of that in this episode. Sometimes, it’ll just cut to Luthor’s memories without any transition. It’s like we remember these incidents along with Luthor, which helps convey why his mission to kill the Last Son of Krypton matters so much.
Like when Luthor asks Lois if she trusts Superman, we go back and forth to see what happened on his Earth. It’s a gut-wrenching move that’ll leave you shaken. Another great bit happened when he briefly sees our Superman in the black costume he’s horrified to see. It only was for just a brief second, but it added a lot to his character.
The cinematography continues to stand out as the show feels cinematic. The sweeping shots of Smallville with the hazy sun in the background and the flat landscape are stunning. There’s something grand about this small town that makes it feel like a big part of the show. We also get a spectacular showdown between Clark and our mysterious person. The lighting turns red because of Supes’s weakness, and it’s gorgeous. David Ramsey (who played Diggle on Arrow) directed the episode, and he did an excellent job.