Young crimefighter Clark, X-Kryptonite soldiers, Luthor hunts in Superman & Lois S1E5

“The Best of Smallville” revolves around the annual Harvest Festival, a big deal in most farming communities. Smallville adds an important feature: gathering and providing unwanted or unneeded food and supplies for the needy. It was one of the charitable events that Martha Kent spearheaded, along with her many other philanthropic deeds for her neighbors. There is a very touching moment for Clark when a small token of appreciation to her is dedicated on Main Street.

Of course, city boys Jon and Jordan think the festival will be Dullsville, but dad Clark promises them it will be a good time. At least Jon’s Metropolis GF will be coming to visit and tagging along. That is, until she text-dumps him the day of. Now it’s Jonathan’s turn to be the insecure, no-girlfriend, emo brother. The teen parenting moment of the week is Lois talking Jonathan through his first breakup.

At the festival, Jordan’s relationship with Sarah continues to grow, and just as she is about to tell him about her creepy Dad (and perhaps about the hints of past child sexual abuse we saw in an earlier scene), Jonathan and his buddies show up making drunk jokes at his expense. How parent Clark deals with this is surprising both to us and to Lois.

As Clark is cleaning out Martha’s home office to make it into Lois’s, it triggers several flashbacks to his teen years, giving us more opportunities to see Michele Scarabelli as a very gentle and caring Martha Kent, doing her best to raise a teen on her own, and a very special teen at that. Similarities to Gotham and young Bruce Wayne’s early attempts at fighting crime in a black ski mask come to mind, as we watch a masked Clark foil an appliance store robbery, already showing some expert use of his abilities. Martha also gives Clark something that spurs him to leave home to find his destiny. Heading for the Arctic, no doubt.

During the height of the Silver Age of comics, Superman Editor Mort Weisinger expanded the Kryptonite mythos to include many different colors/varieties of the alien radioactive mineral, each with its own special properties. At the end of last week’s episode, we learned of the existence in Smallville of one of these lesser-known versions: X-Kryptonite. Introduced in 1960, X-K was harmless to Kryptonians, but gave normal humans Kryptonian-like superpowers. While searching for a cure for Green Kryptonite, Supergirl accidentally created X-K, and then used it to give her cat Streaky superpowers, so apparently it worked on animals too. In 1980, X-K was revised to no longer bestow powers, but to have the same effect on Kryptonians as Green K, so being redundant, it has rarely been seen since. Meaning, this Kryptonite variety was as unfamiliar to a huge Superman comics fan like me as it was to most viewers.

Morgan Edge has been kidnapping Smallville citizens and experimenting on them with X-K, with the intent on creating a superpowered army. For what purpose, we still do not know. Lois has been hot on the trail of these missing persons cases as part of her growing anti-Edge crusade. This week, she and Clark get a tip from Christy, her new boss at the Smallville Gazette, who asked herself WWLLD?, and followed Edge aide Leslie Larr to the X-K supersoldier lab. The naming of Larr follows another Weisinger Silver Age trope, where every other character has the initials LL.

This leads to the only Superman appearance this episode, as he battles the newest experimental X-K soldier, only to watch him self-destruct. X-K doesn’t mix well with every human, apparently.We get more of an idea who Captain Luthor is, and what his mission is on this Earth that he wasn’t born on. He is clearly very anti-Superman, since his flashback revealed Superman to be evil on his Earth. Could he be from the Earth in the comics where Good and Evil roles are flipped, and Luthor is the world’s greatest hero, and Superman the greatest villain?

Now that his spaceship is destroyed, Luthor’s humorous, blending-in vehicle of choice is a tricked out, high-tech Winnebago, complete with Kryptonian-tracking capabilities, and an anti-Superman arsenal. Is this supposedly “good” Luthor really trying to kill Superman, even though he isn’t evil on this Earth? It doesn’t make sense. Unless this Luthor has another reason to hate “his” Superman, that is, and is taking it out on this one. He may be “good,” but he may also be insane.

Watch Superman & Lois Tuesdays on the CW, and streaming the next day on


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Easter Egg: the Smallville name on the Community Center is the logo from the Smallville tv series.

This Luthor was married to Lois on his Earth.

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