"Something happened to you...something special. If no one else is going to help you find out what that is...I will." —Jonathan, to Jordan
If the second episode of Superman & Lois is an indicator of the pace of this series, then it is going to be a fast one, where no time is wasted dragging story threads out, and lot is going to happen every episode.
Immediately, we find out resolutions to plot threads set up in episode one: is son Jordan is going to become a Superboy or not, is the most famous reporter on the planet going to tolerate being re-written by new boss Morgan Edge, and who Superman's new mysterious armored foe with the familiar name is, and where he is from. Spoilers & Theories are listed below the spoiler-free portion of the review, or those who care to scroll far enough.
I have mentioned that this series could be considered Smallville 2.0, and that feeling deepened and became even more true after this episode's events. The Kent family's decision to leave city life behind and relocate to Kansas family farm is seeming more and more like destiny, and where they were meant to be at this point in their lives, to bring their family closer together. The parent/children drama feels very genuine and real. Clark is trying very hard to give his twin high school Freshmen the attention and guidance they need, but often even a Superman fails at this task.
Just when you thought the twin brother dynamic was going to a cliche...Jonathan acted pretty cruelly toward his struggling brother Jordan in the pilot episode, and thankfully in this episode he showed how much he loves Jordan and reaffirms how close they are and always have been, and how he will always have his back. An awesome attitude adjustment. I don't think I could've handled watching a continuation of pilot-episode-Jon. They have a heartfelt scene where Jordan acknowledges Jonathan's sacrifice of his promising Metropolis high school football career to move to Smallville for a simpler, less hectic life, and to help his brother cope with his emotional issues.
But Jordan just can't catch a break. He isn't being allowed to attend school until his father figures out if his developing powers are a danger to others. Jordan felt like an outsider and a freak even before he started showing superhuman abilities. Now he feels like a half-alien freak. A trip to his father's Arctic Fortress to assess his abilities included an uplifting surprise: meeting his namesake, his grandfather Jor-El, in holographic, interactive A.I. form. But Jordan's emotional rollercoaster plummeted fast after Jor-El's conclusions about his grandson's DNA makeup.
Meanwhile, General Lane discovers that Clark has revealed himself as Superman to his sons, and highly disapproves, saying it will ruin their childhoods and tear the family apart. Perhaps this is the first major step towards a cynical Lane and a hopeful Superman being at odds, as they are in the comics.
Captain Luthor, the armored combatant who seems to know a lot about Superman, Krypton, and Kryptonite reveals himself to General Lane as being someone he should know and trust. There's obviously some serious history between them, that Lane just can't fathom. A flashback shows a major reveal about this bald stranger's origins. It also seems his armor may be powered by kryptonite, and he's running out.
The look and feel of this show is definitely slanted towards the serious side. The desaturated colors, the somber music, with not a hint of camp...it's all very dramatic and full of gravitas. Not to say this isn't a show without its feel-good moments. Every scene with Clark & Lois together radiates warmth and chemistry, and Tyler Hoechlin is the most noble and hopeful Clark/Superman since Christopher Reeve. In interviews, Hoechlin considers himself an extremely positive, glass-half-full kind of guy. This optimistic mindset shines through in his portrayal.
The special effects and battle scenes are every bit as good as those seen in the movie Man Of Steel, and much better in every way from those seen on Supergirl, which seem very cartoonish in comparison. The camera technique to show when Clark uses his telescopic vision is fresh, different, and very well-done. The only disappointment so far is Superman's completely underwhelming Arctic Fortress. Ever since Superman The Movie (1978), the Fortress has been depicted in every movie and tv series as a massive, soaring, crystalline cathedral. Here, it's a featureless ice cave. Meh. Even Jor-El is a let-down. The portly, uncharismatic actor is very unlike the Marlon Brando, Julian Sands, and Russell Crowe Jor-Els we have seen, and unlikely to be mistaken for Kal-El's father.
The ratings have been very good so far, with episode two even getting more viewers than the same-night season premiere of The Flash. Confident they have a hit, The CW officially renewed Superman & Lois for a second season even before the second episode aired.
Superman & Lois airs Tuesdays on The CW, and streams the next day at cwtv.com
Scroll down for SPOILERS & THEORIES
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
Jordan's DNA falls short of "Superboy" status. According to Jor-El's scans, Jordan has too much human DNA to manifest a high level of super-abilities, and that his flashes of powers are just that. When Jordan overhears this news from "HoloGramps", being the emo kid he is, he takes it hard, and instead of feeling like a freak, now he feels like a failure. Like I said, the kid can't catch a break.
It will be interesting to see if Jonathan develops powers.
How will this family pay the mortgage? With Clark being laid off, and Lois quitting The Daily Planet in epic, mic-drop style, how will this family survive? Writing exposes on Morgan Edge for the Smallville Gazette probably won't be enough to support a family. Maybe Lois will become a successful novelist, like she is in the comics.
Captain Luthor is not from the "CW" Earth. His flashbacks show this Luthor knows another version of Sam Lane and a hugely different, deadly Superman, both from a now-dead world in the now-collapsed multiverse. Somehow, this Luthor snuck through a crack when all the Earths merged into the "CW" Earth during the Crisis. It's apparent he is a human who wears power armor that gives him the ability to go toe-to-toe with Superman. But it's failing, and he needs an upgrade. He needs more Kryptonite, presumably to power his armor, and hoped to find it at General Lane's HQ. When Superman arrives, and defeats what turns out to be a Luthor drone, he is shocked to discover Lane has a Green K-cache...more shades of comic book Lane stockpiling anti-Superman weapons. Luthor also plants the seed in Lane's head that Superman could go bad, and they need to be ready.