After the major revelation from last week, things had to grind to a little bit of a halt. Not that it’s a bad thing, as it allows our characters to process what happened. The emotional weight of this episode is heavy and showcases why this could be the best show of the Arrowverse so far.
Superman & Lois airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the CW, then streams free on the CW app.
Story: Time for Therapy
We start with Lois meeting up with a therapist at the DOD as she unpacks some heavy feelings that she carries. The session acts as a framing device for most of this episode as we try to figure out her feelings. On paper, it does seem like a cheap ploy of watching someone process their emotional trauma as a narrative device, but as you watch it, the interaction taking place feels so genuine. Trying to understand what made Lois get angry and who she hurt is gripping. We’ve seen enough episodes so far that she won’t actually blow up on someone who didn’t deserve it. There’s yelling at suspicious people like John Henry Irons, but towards characters with great interaction with her, it adds a little mystery to it all.
On the flip side, we have another family that gets some attention with the Cushings. From the moment we see them, they’re actually in a good mood as Kyle encourages Sarah to try out for the school musical. Kyle’s happiness so far in the show has been regarding rooting for Morgan Edge to do business in Smallville. We haven’t seen this good of a family connection with this group, and it’s refreshing to see. It makes the conflict that’s starting to brew between Kyle and Lana all the more invigorating. Seeing the internal struggle of Lana as she tries to undermine Morgan Edge while trying to keep Kyle in the dark adds more life to their story.
The only criticism of this episode is the interactions between Superman and General Lane. It’s been a running plot point of Clark discovering that the DOD has contingency plans for him. But in this episode, they act like it’s a discovery. Since episode 6, we’ve known that Lane has kryptonite weapons as one of the soldiers shot Clark with a kryptonite bullet. It’s like we’re repeating the same actions all over again. Now, if they developed it or added a new element, then that would be different. But for now, it’s just the same story that’s being told as something new.
Characters & Performance: In the Right Lane
When we look back at this season, we’ll look at this story as Elizabeth Tulloch and Jordan Elsa’s finest performances. It’s a multilayered portrayal of such raw feelings. We get anger, pain, sadness, and much more from both of them—especially Lois, who goes through this episode’s gambit. We haven’t seen her in such a vulnerable light before, and I don’t mean in just this series but from all portrayals of this character.
Maybe because we’re seeing her dealing with some of the pains of motherhood and caring for your kid, she feels extra protective of Jonathan because they’re the only two in the family that don’t have any superpowers. So when he does something reckless that almost gets him killed, it strikes a nerve. Kudos to both actors on such an outstanding job.
We get to see more of John Henry Irons, and it’s such a delight. The pain and struggle from the events of his world are carried with every word he says. We’re obviously on Clark’s side, but it’s hard not to discount his beliefs. In fact, sometimes you might say that we get his reasoning, but know that this Earth’s mightiest superhero is on the side of good. Speaking of the two, we finally get some dialogue between the two of them without the need to guess John’s identity. He speaks openly about the pain he caused for him, especially for killing Lois. Yet, Superman actually sympathizes with him because he doesn’t know what he would do if Lois got killed. It brings a fascinating dynamic to these two characters.
Pacing & Editing: Taking Time to Breathe
Now, as mentioned in this review, the show takes its foot off the gas briefly. It doesn’t mean the story is slow; just trying to unpack what happened without piling too much on viewers. Besides a reveal at the end of the episode, we get little advancements on the main story. If the episode tried to top the last one with even more bombshells, it would feel a little off. After all, it’s still a family drama at the heart of things. Thankfully, we don’t get pulled in too many directions with the story. It would be weird to go back into the football subplot and focus on that.
As mentioned in this review, Lois’s therapy scene is at the center of this story. We get little bits of information at a time when she explains her feelings. Then it’ll flashback to show the context of it. Nothing feels too fast as the editing takes its time to show the real reason why she’s at counseling. The edits are like an onion slowly getting peeled back as the tension is building up.
Cinematography & Sound: Sunny Days & Shadows
If you noticed throughout the episode, all the outdoor scenes have glorious sunshine instead of dreadful cloudiness. Knowing that the series is filmed in Surrey, British Columbia, which doesn’t have the sunniest weather throughout the year. All of the Arrowverse shows are filmed near the area, and most of their outdoor scenes are cloudy. I’m glad they took advantage of the beautiful weather because the sun shining on the Kent farm with no clouds in the sky is breathtaking.
Also, the lighting of the interaction scene between Superman and John is lit outstandingly. Especially how Superman appears out of the shadows, it looks like the Man of Steel pulled a move from Batman’s playbook. Speaking of the Dark Knight, the score has some darkness sprinkled throughout. A sense of foreboding is felt throughout until we reach the emotional climax. The music becomes subtle as it doesn’t take away from the powerful acting that’s on-screen.