So, now we know the creature in the containment suit in the mines wasn’t Doomsday, despite all the heavy-handed red herrings the writers had been throwing in our path. It’s a “bizarre copy” of Superman, with a darker, mirror image version of Superman’s suit, but with a peculiar amulet around his neck.
But that isn’t the main plot of this week’s episode, “The Inverse Method.” No, it’s the cult plotline involving Lois’s sister Lucy. Ho-hum. I understand that giving Lois meaty storylines is a must, since she is supposed to be an equal half of the series title, but I just can’t get into this particular one.
The Lanes already had a dysfunctional family dynamic even before Mrs. Lane up and left, leaving a military father to raise them— a man who was distant to his two daughters both physically and emotionally. But Lucy getting involved in a cult and almost committing suicide in order to “ascend” was what drove her and Lois apart, despite Lois’s misunderstood attempts to save her. Now, the past is coming back to haunt Lois some more. I’m trying to make this sound interesting, but I just can’t. It’s boring. Is it well-acted and written? Yes. But there’s already enough conflict on this series, without having both main protagonists constantly being bombarded with every bad thing the writers can conjure. NO ONE on this series is happy, except maybe General Lane, who is retired and constantly fishing. I was enjoying the sense of HOPE I felt in season one, which seems completely absent in season two, so far.
One constant: no one expects teens to be happy for long. Just when Jordan and Sarah patch things up, even she isn’t allowed to stay happy for 10 minutes before the next drama begins. Now the incumbent asshole mayor is threatening to expose Sarah’s attempted suicide to smear her mother’s mayoral campaign.
Don’t even get me started on the cliched drug storyline with Jonathan. Eyeroll. Superman’s son should damn well know better than to take a PED, especially one that is X-Kryptonite based.
Back to this Superman & Lois version of Bizarro. When we first see him in this episode, he/it is aware and intelligent enough to be trying to destroy the amulet around his neck with his fire-breath (he is a "backwards" Superman, so his freeze breath is, too). So unlike past Bizarros, this one is no idiot. However, while the amulet bothers him enough to want to destroy it, he’s still not smart enough to throw it into the sun or the bottom of the ocean. Nope, he inexplicably puts it back around his neck. Weird. But, he is smart enough to head to the Kent Farm next, where energy flows between the amulet and Clark during their brief grappling match. What does this mean? Is Clark being robbed of energy, or his powers? If so, is the purple gem in the amulet a reference to the future appearance of the purple-skinned Parasite? Disappointingly, Bizarro does not speak in this episode, as he mumbled a few indistinct words last ep. Bizarro-speak can be very entertaining, if difficult to comprehend.
Next up is Bizarro vs The Supermen Of America, the trio of X-Kryptonite powered soldiers Gen. Lane’s replacement has assembled because Superman wouldn’t follow his orders any longer. No spoilers here, but let’s just say: if Bizarro has been more than a match for Superman, then this won’t end well.
The battle on the edge of the Antarctic intensifies when Superman and John Henry (in his armor) arrive. It’s Superman and Bizarro’s lengthiest bout yet, and once again the special effects during the fight sequences are impressive.
I was impressed by Tyler Hoechlin’s acting as Bizarro: the nervous finger movements, the neck twitches, all subtle touches that communicate his traditionally unstable nature. More recent comic book and tv versions of Bizarro have had short-term lifespans, since they have been imperfect lab experiments.
It’s worth saying again: catch the BEST SUPERHERO SHOW YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING, Superman & Lois, airing Tuesdays on the CW, and streaming the next day on cwtv.com
Superboy Vol. 1, #68: First appearance of Bizarro
The Man Of Steel #5 (1986): Bizarro as a lab creation of Lex Luthor