Since Superman & Lois last was on the air, a lot has happened to the CW. Changes have been made in the Arrowverse, including a new show with Naomi. Particularly, the biggest news that came out of the CW is the possible sale of the network. With so much uncertainty going on, it’s best to focus on the present with the return of Superman & Lois. CW’s best show is back and that same level of quality hasn’t changed.
Superman & Lois airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the CW, then streams free on the CW app.
Story: Patriotic Conflict
The premiere begins immediately after John Henry Iron’s daughter, Natalie, crashes land on Earth. It’s an emotional scene for everyone as Natalie is confused and Lois experiences trauma due to her miscarriage that was talked about in episode 8. We cut to three months later with everyone back on track and Superman working with a new liaison. It sets up an interesting dynamic with the new representative, Lieutenant Mitch Anderson. This conflict seems to set up a fascinating story direction that Superman is headed with his interests regarding America.
It’s not that Clark doesn’t want to help America, but he wants to help everyone. Having this show challenge the old motto of “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” feels very relevant. Especially as DC Comics recently changed this motto to “Truth, Justice, and a Better Tomorrow.” We see in this episode how he saves a submarine that’s sinking and the joy that the sailors have when they realized the Man of Steel saved them. Anderson reveals that not only was it a North Korean nuclear sub, but he returned it to them instead to the US Government.
On the one hand, you get where Anderson is coming from with his viewpoint of not trying to help the North Koreans with their nuclear plans. But, seeing the absolute joy on their faces when Superman saved them is what drives Clark to help people. He’ll always help people, no matter their citizenship. As we see what the Lieutenant has planned going forward, it’ll be great seeing what Clark will do.
Characters & Performances: Facing Trauma
Things aren’t great with Lois and Clark as the Natalie revelation kind of set some distance between them. You can tell that Lois is on edge and their communication isn’t as strong as it once was. It’s a great job by the show by presenting a realistic way to show the tension between the two. It’s already been established why Lois would feel this way so doesn’t feel like they’re forcing this just for the story. Elizabeth Tulloch absolutely knocks it out of the park (as she always does) and this feels raw. The show is hinting at past Lane family trauma which will be interesting to see unfold as Jenna Dewan is set to return as Lucy Lang.
It’s interesting how the show is dealing with the arrival of Natalie. With the cliffhanger from last year, it seemed puzzling of how they’ll incorporate the Kent’s and Irons together. By the end of the premiere, it makes sense and will be interesting seeing that going forward. Taylor Buck does a fantastic job of portraying the frustration of being an outsider on this Earth. Her scenes with Wolé Parks are some of the highlights from this episode.
Focusing on Anderson, Ian Boehn (who’s paired up once again with Tyler Hoechlin from their Teen Wolf days) plays him perfectly. There’s this perfect amount of narcissism and a-hole energy without going overboard. He conveys the mistrust that he has for Superman and you kind of see where he’s coming from. Anderson expected a working relationship, but the number of secrets that he has sowed the seeds of distrust. He’ll be a great antagonist to follow in the upcoming episodes
Cinematography & Sound: Top-Tier on Network TV
This show still doesn’t look like it would be on the CW. If you showed someone this show, they would probably assume it was on HBOMAX. A good example would be the submarine rescue. Just the shot alone of Superman flying at top speed to stop as he’s soaked in rain. How the red cape sticks to him as the perfect storm strikes in the background. It looks like an artist drew that and the still is instantly iconic for me.
Then for some of the VFX to be this good for the CW is insane. Especially if you compare it to the other Arrowverse shows that will have moments taken out of context and be shared on Twitter for how bad it looks. It matches perfectly with the great score by Dan Romer returning for another season. The music swells up at the right moment to show the triumph of the Man of Tomorrow. This sequence beautifully shows why people acclaim Superman & Lois as the best show on the CW.
Editing & Pacing: A Slow Start
With a lot of season premieres, they’re generally off to a slow start as they don’t want the audience to get overwhelmed with new information when they come back. This is the case for Superman & Lois as we get a three months later notice after the Kents and John Henry Irons see Natalie. I feel like what really makes a good time jump is wanting to know what happened after the period of time has passed. There’s not a lot of mystery or significiant events that they teased . It’s just an excuse to speed up the story and feels a little off. The premiere did feel a little slow as we’re trying to adjust to the new status quo. I can’t fault the show too much because a lot of season premieres do feel slow. There’s a lot of promise and potential that the show can do within this season.