Of Clark’s four combined parents, birth and adoptive parents, Lara has always drawn the short straw. Jor-El becomes the A.I. this is what Clark teaches about krypton and is relevant to narration in adaptations such as Smallville, where he served as Big Bad for years, and in Man of Steel. Jor-El even came back briefly from the dead in comics. Jonathan’s death is used as a catalyst to get Clark to become Superman in adaptations, and he becomes the namesake of a son in comics and on this show. Martha becomes the kind and patient mother who is crucial to Clark’s outlook on life and who makes his first costume in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures and in this series. Lara becomes the pretty woman who gave birth to Clark and throws him into space. She gets a dubbing role in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, but we all know that was because Marlon Brando couldn’t afford to be overpaid again to speak to Jor-El. Adjustments don’t care about Lara. Until now.
It was so nice to see Lara reunited with her son. Sure, she was in the body of her son’s first friend, whom he presumably saw naked, but it was touching nonetheless. Emmanuelle Chriqui and Tyler Hoechlin played all the beats very well. Lara was so happy to see that the son she had to send away had found love and had a family of his own. Those scenes could have been embarrassing as hell, like the fifth season of The Flash, in which Grant Gustin played the father of a woman older than him. That awkwardness wasn’t here. It felt natural. I think a big part of acting on a superhero show is finding the emotional truth of a scene even in absurd situations.
The show also gave Lara a backstory. Morgan is the product of their first marriage, sent to earth, landed in England, and instantly hunted and imprisoned. To explain Morgan’s desire to use the citizens of Smallville as meat puppets, he can cram with Kryptonian consciousness. The pizza oven-MRI hybrid thing that did this is Lara’s invention, The Eradicator, which Kryptonians were supposed to preserve. If you think, “Alan, I vaguely remember Eradicator from the comics. Isn’t it a robot with sunglasses? ”Yes, but it was a device first. I’m sure Superman & Lois will eventually get around to casting a hot guy in Ray-Bans.
Lara’s desire to help her family and people is reflected in Lana, the real heroine of this episode. Having Lana willingly bake Kryptonians was very brave. She had no way of knowing if the process was reversible. As far as she knew, that could have been the end for her. She jumped into The Eradicator anyway to save her husband and all the people she signed up for the program. Lana’s sense of responsibility towards Smallville makes her successor Martha the heart of Smallville. Clark can’t really take over the Martha coat because he bears global responsibility, has a complicated family situation and has been away for 22 years. Lana has the time and years of built-in trust in the community. I really hope this will be explored more as this is the first time I have liked Lana in any incarnation.
Over in the teen’s corner of the episode, Jonathan continued to be naughty with Sam. One of the joys of this show was the show that gives Jonathan characteristics of Lois. In the comics, Jonathan Clark Jr. is one you might think Lois wasn’t involved in his ancestry at all, which is stupid when you remember that Lois is the dominant parent character who spends most of his time with him. This show wisely didn’t fall into the trap of making Jonathan Mini Clark. Jonathan has Lois’ desire to tell the truth to power and her habit of getting into trouble. Jonathan even tells Sarah the truth about the Kryptonian meat doll situation with her father, while Jordan is more like his father, the compulsive liar.
The situation between Sarah and Kyle is complicated because she clearly loves her father, but he has let her down many times due to his alcoholism and she was very tough when she thought he went off to drink. Kyle wants to be a better father and husband, which is the impulse that pushed a Kryptonian Rando into his body. He wanted a simple solution when seeking treatment for his addiction and untreated PTSD. It would have been very easy to write Kyle as a one-note idiot, but they showed how much he loves his family, and they love him. Sarah has many bad memories of her father, but he’s still the man who accompanied her on guitar on the talent show. I think seeing a sociopath inhabit her father’s body made it clear how much he means to her. It was cute to see them reunite through the kryptonite box. Erik Valdez and Inde Navarrette have great father-daughter chemistry.
I still think this show is going to kill Kyle at some point. He’s the most dispensable series regular, likely to continue into season two. Jordan and Jonathan have conspiracy armor. Sarah is Jordan’s love interest, which gives her a bit of protection. You could kill Lana, but there would be a backlash. Sam has too many conflicts with Clark and Lois to kill him early on in the season. Kyle is the obvious choice to sacrifice to the television gods. I think Kyle is just compassionate enough that if you get rid of him, it will move. I didn’t think the prospect of Kyle’s inevitable death would ever be sad if I watched the pilot and thought he was dead. It’s evidence of Erik’s acting and writing that the thought of Mongul punching a hole through Kyle doesn’t make me twerk like I used to.
There was a lot going on in this episode. They had a soapy revelation about a long-lost brother, the military lining up in Smallville, an obsessed drunk, an ex-girlfriend who willingly let the main character’s mother bounce into her body, a whole backstory about said mother and Superman, who saved the corpses of people who were torn away with a solar flare that will fail for days. It could easily have been a mess, but the show spun all of these plates and kept them up in the air. The episode felt like a season finale, and there are five episodes left. Kudos to Superman & Lois assistant Adam Mallinger for a great job writing his first TV episode. I know that meant a lot to him and I’m so happy that it turned out well and that I didn’t have to read the episode because of the dirt.
Random thoughts on “O mother, where are you?”:
The people of Smallville seemed calm about the establishment of the DOD. If for no apparent reason I saw the military in my area pitching tents, I would freak out and tweet about it.
People complain that Lana doesn’t recognize Clark as Superman since she could tell people if Clark is circumcised, but I was okay with that. You just have to accept that people admire Superman so much that they would never expect him to be the guy to pick up a pizza for his family to wave at, or the neighbor to let you use his tools.
I was a bit surprised when Jordan said “So?” to Jonathan, who tells him that Evil Superman melted Alt Lois. I guess since it’s not dad he doesn’t have much of a reaction, but if I heard that there was an alternate universe where my dad murdered my mom I’d be pissed off.
The cinematography was so great on this episode. The sunset shot with the Kryptonians chasing Superman was just spectacular.
Hope they don’t wait too long to post the score for this show on Spotify once this season is over. Dan Romer was an excellent choice for this series.
I wonder what John Henry Irons is doing. One-night stands with white women who look like Lois? Has he visited restaurants that he has seen at diners, drive-ins, and dives? Are you visiting objects of unusual size at various tourist traps? I hope all of the above. He deserves to have fun.