Just because a man is bald, tech savvy, and wants to murder Superman doesn’t mean he’s Lex Luthor. That episode revealed that the man determined to kill Superman is not Captain Luthor as he is called by his Echo Dot, I mean A.I. He really is John Henry Irons AKA Steel, the character who became famous in the comics after Superman died and is also known for a really terrible 1996 flop with Shaq. This show quickly attracted us from the pilot.
The reactions to the twist have been mostly positive, but I’ve seen people upset that a hero character and one of the few black characters in the Superman corner of the DC Universe were turned into a villain. That begs the question: is John really a bad guy? He’s not trying to kill Superman because he’s jealous that there is a man with godlike powers like the real Lex. The Superman of his world went on a rampage that included his wife Lois and possibly his daughter Nat. He has real reasons to believe that Superman is just a beautiful lie waiting to strike.
This means that John belongs to the category of well-intentioned antagonists. He’s trying to save the world from genocide. We don’t know what happened to the Superman of this world to get him to destroy buildings like he did in a Zack Snyder movie. He could have been brainwashed. He could have just snapped. Brainwashing is most likely as John stated that Morgan was involved and I assume it is X-Kryptonite motifs destroying Metropolis with Alt Superman. If the Superman of this world could be controlled by Morgan, so could Earth Prime Superman.
The other factor is that John clearly has PTSD from all of the trauma he’s been through. When Superman approaches John, presumably just to hit him in order to take him out, he sees a flash of his black Superman suit approaching him. He cannot distinguish between his melting people Superman and our Superman. This likely influenced his decision to make the nuclear sabotage for testing Superman’s powers seem reasonable. So you have a man with good reason for his actions and untreated mental illness. That doesn’t sound like a villain to me.
Where does John go from here? Does he have an arc of salvation and does he become an ally? Is he going to be a full villain? Will he persist on this show beyond this season? There are many ways you can go with him. I am very fascinated by where this is going.
In this episode, Lois and Clark also teamed up to investigate John. This is the first time they have worked together on this series. Up until this episode where Clois was together in scenes, they were talking about the boys and cuddling or talking about the boys and Superman things and drinking wine. They were all good scenes, but something was missing and it was Clois who worked as a team. You met and fell in love as a reporter, so this is an integral part of the couple’s dynamic. It’s amazing that it took a show called Superman & Lois so long to do this. Even if you say “Duh! Clark and Lois need to investigate! “Factor it’s just common sense for writing on television that you need to have your leads work as a team at some point in the A-story. Really enjoyed it, but figuratively I roll up a newspaper and pat them on the nose because they waited until episode 7 for it.
Over at Teenage Fear Corner, Jordan gets mad at Jonathan for talking to Sarah while he was spying on her with his super hearing. Obviously, they put on makeup right away because this show failed to keep the twins mad at each other for more than one episode. Part of me likes that they always have each other’s back and forgive quickly. The other part screams that Jordan broke Jonathan’s wrist last week and he may never play soccer again. If you add in the apparent parenting preference for Jordan, Jonathan should still be angry. They had a full speech about how to regain confidence after it was broken in the final episode, and then waved a hand at Jonathan’s injury as if it were an afterthought. Jordan was going to hurt someone, and Jonathan paid the price for it. This should have resulted in more conflict.
Despite my problems, this was a good episode. The John Henry Irons reveal was well done, we finally got Clois to work together and the spooky flashbacks of Alt Superman melt Alt Lois. There were many things to like, although the problem on this series tended to be instantly forgiving of conflict. The first season has already been written so there is nothing you can do about it now, but you can consider this for the second season. Work through a conflict on a show. Don’t just pretend it’s not like the wet spot after sex.
Chance thoughts on “Man of Steel”:
Lana will feel so guilty when these five people end up dead over Morgan. I doubt the themes will end this season alive.
The reveal of “Captain Luthor” as John Henry Irons reminded me that Hank Henshaw was revealed as Martian Manhunter in the first season of Supergirl.
I’ve seen a lot of praise for Tyler Hoechlin online lately and I’m happy about that, but I want to remind people that he was good for the role from the start. It’s just writing for a lead and a guest star are very different.
Elizabeth Tulloch is now my second favorite Lois. Teri Hatcher is still number one, but Bitsie is on her heels.
In the preview, Jonathan says he almost died. Does the idiotic decision not to give Jonathan a distress signal come into play?
If John Henry Irons stayed this season, I wouldn’t mind pairing him up with Lana after Kyle is inevitably sacrificed to the TV gods as a regular offering on the series.