After a two month hiatus caused by COVID-related delays in production, Superman & Lois—the CW’s best superhero show, and the show you should be watching—returned last week with “Broken Trust,” an episode that showed us a side of Superman that we rarely see in any medium: a supremely powerful being who sometimes has to use all his might just to keep himself in check, so he doesn’t hurt anyone.
What makes Superman almost lose his cool isn’t an act of a supervillain, but is instead a betrayal by someone he knows and thought he could trust.
But first, Tag shows up again as a subplot in this episode. He’s the teen caught in the blast caused by Jordan’s first-ever heat vision in episode 1. Somehow he gained super-speed in the accident and has escaped government custody to confront Jordan about it, pretty violently. Jordan signals his Dad, who has a thrilling chase after Tag, and a spectacular CGI rescue of a derailed train that is the equal of movie SFX. Lois is certain that during that accident Tag got his speed because he was simultaneously exposed to X-Kryptonite. Lois knows Edge has a plan to use the X-K to create a Kryptonian-powered army. Add it to her Mission List to break this case wide open and expose Edge. Little does Lois know that the mysterious “armored lunatic who knows Superman’s real name” will be the one to help her, in his guise as a fellow reporter. But her suspicions about him skyrocket this episode.
The first instance of “Broken Trust” in this episode happens when Jordan lies to his Dad (again) about being in control of his abilities so he can play against the Metropolis football players that used to bully him in grade school. Of course, Jordan loses control, and if Super-Coach-Dad wasn’t there to contain and hide his outburst of power, the headlines in the next day’s Smallville Gazette would have been national news. The parental talking-to he gets later causes Jordan to throw another self-pitying emo-fit, complete with “I’m not YOU, Dad!”
The second instance is the twins disobeying their father when told to stay put in their Metropolis hotel room while he pursues Tag. Which leads to Jonathan getting hurt trying to keep his still-not-in-control brother from accidentally killing someone.
Superman reasons with Tag, just as Lane’s troops arrive, firing weapons on sight. Superman moves in front of Tag to protect him, which was a cue for another soldier to fire rounds from his special rifle…containing Kryptonite-tipped rounds. This is the biggest breaking of trust in the episode, and the one that really sets Superman off. He now knows for certain that Gen. Lane has K-weapons and isn’t afraid to use them, even against him. Actor Taylor Hoechlin does a damn good job making Superman look damn scary; scowling angry, eyes blazing red, ready to tear into the troops. But somehow he finds the strength to remove and destroy the Kryptonite, rein himself in, and tell them to STAND. DOWN. It’s a tense and powerful scene that leads later to a bonding moment with Jordan. It seems in their struggle to keep their powers in check, that they aren’t so different from each other after all. Let’s hope it’s a turning point for the emo twin. His tantrums are getting tiresome and it’s only episode 6.
I have mentioned that with the Kents moving back to the family farm and raising teen sons makes this series feels like Smallville 2.0. Well, it feels more and more like it every week. Now with the introduction of X-K, and more residents getting superhuman abilities, Superman & Lois is mirroring Smallville’s “Freak Of The Week” format, where humans exposed to Green Kryptonite got weird powers. Also on repeat is a Kent/Lang romance, with the kids of Clark and Lana warming to each other. In the comics and on Smallville, Clark told Lana about his super-abilities. Sarah has been hinting to Jordan that he can confide in her…”about anything,” implying that she suspects his abilities, so I can foresee Jordan repeating that trope.
Repetitious or not, Superman & Lois is different (better) than any other CW show in the way it is written, filmed, and portrayed. Watch Superman & Lois Tuesdays on the CW, and streaming the next day on cwtv.com