Television

Superman and Lois – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner review S3 E8

I’m not going to say this review wasn’t intentionally being delayed until I knew the fate of Season 4 from the CW’s best show, but it probably wasn’t a coincidence… Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner marked another turning point for a show that has done a superb job all season of skillfully handling a delicate, mature subject matter like cancer and making it a core storyline in a superhero action drama.

This episode raised the bar for the series with all the key storylines converging for a stellar entry setting the stage for the final stretch of the season.

Clark moves Lois from their bedroom to a lower level since she doesn’t have the strength to go up the stairs easily now. With the big bombshell of Peia being Bruno’s wife, Chrissy has a huge front-page story on the Intergang leader’s secret wife. Lois wants no part of the story or of anything that would further hurt Peia. This is why building up their bond was so important. As focused as Lois has been on busting Bruno, learning about Peia has changed everything.

It’s somewhat surprising that Clark doesn’t get Lois’ perspective on this since it really would make Peia’s cancer battle more stressful, but he does see this from another level as their job and responsibility as journalists to dig deeper.

I appreciate that the writers are willing to actually explore the intricacies of journalism on a deeper level than the surface level. This isn’t a case where Lois, Clark and Chrissy crack every story they investigate with no challenges from outside or inside the newsroom. It’s making the career path of Clark and Lois just as interesting as when he puts on his red cape.

Lois is fine with her choice until Gen. Lane arrives with boxes of files that incriminate Manheim. It’s kinda odd the military would have all this just sitting in bins waiting for Lois to do a story, but whatever. He’s happy to see Lois back in her right state of mind before letting it slip that he’s got a date from Senior Swipe date.

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Sam is still a little apprehensive about it and shows up late. His date bailed, but he gets to commiserate with Lana, who can’t find anyone to go to The Cure concert with her. That was a concert date she made apparently two years ago with Kyle. The Cure doesn’t hit Smallville very often so booking early in advance is the only option. Sam is proving to be an excellent supporting character capable of having nice quality moments with any character.

Jonathan gets some good news as now he’s an official member of the national junior firefighter program complete with uniform. At least one teen subplot is advancing through the course of the season. He gets to tag along to a call provided he obeys Kyle’s order to stay by the truck. What are the odds of that? Jordan swoops in and gets one of the firefighters out of the building.

superman and lois - guess who's coming to dinner review -jonathan

Kyle assumes Jon went against his orders creating an interesting dilemma. Jonathan comes in hot — pun intended — at Jordan. They both argue they’ve been training to save people and Jordan goes super low saying the difference is he has heat vision while Jonathan is taking coffee orders. And there you go.

Sarah helps Jordan see how he’s been a jerk, but the damage is done on both levels as Kyle is figuring out someone with superpowers extinguished the fire. And even money says I know he’s thinking a certain Kent kid might be said hero.

Peia isn’t doing great but doesn’t want to cancel the lunch meeting with Natalie. It’s nice that Matteo appreciates his parents unlike Bratty Natty. Matteo is charming as always and Natalie is getting along splendidly with Bruno and Peia. This is a nice moment guaranteed not to last.

John Henry is visiting his “sister” Dr. Darlene Irons, who tells him the place Natalie is at with her boyfriend’s family is the same spot her John Henry went to all the time with Bruno Manheim. I’m digging all these converging storylines.

superman and lois - guess who's coming to dinner review -dr. irons and john henry

Oblivious as to what’s in store, Matteo says “Awww look, your dad’s here.” It’s such an innocent moment, but it’s about to get so bad for everyone. Bruno has the kids taken out and proceeds to beat down John Henry like he’s MVP or Bobby Lashley. Peia tries to get him to stop, but Bruno declares it’s him or them. Whatever reluctance she had before fades away and Peia blasts John Henry, who’s now in his Steel armor.

Clark, Chrissy and Lois have been poring over the Manheim files and Clark realizes the recorded that incriminated Luthor has that same telltale sound in the background. It wasn’t Luthor talking at all, but an imitation of his voice. AI came to Smallville early, huh? Recognizing that sound again, Superman speeds off to block Peia’s attack from fully destroying John Henry’s armor.

superman and lois - guess who's coming to dinner review -bruno

Superman manages to hold out long enough to exhaust Peia, who passes out. The strain pushed her past her limits and Superman says she’ll die if he doesn’t get her to a hospital. Instead of taking her to a Manheim hospital, Superman takes her to an army hospital where John Henry can enact defensive measures to prevent her form using her powers.

This causes some rare tension with Superman and John Henry, who doesn’t care that Peia is a cancer patient. She and Bruno have killed people and he’s not going to forget that no matter what kind of bond she has with Lois. This is quality writing. There’s layers to the emotional ties and characters aren’t just acting with one base personality. There are different factors each one is considering, and no one emerges fully unscathed.

On a roll, John Henry forbids Natalie from seeing Matteo again. That’s not gonna take of course, but it’s a sensible choice.

And Lois comes to the damning conclusion that they helped put Lex Luthor in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Uh-oh. That means Lex will be exonerated and happily collect his Get Out of Jail Free card. That’s not gonna turn out well for Lois and Clark.

superman and lois - guess who's coming to dinner review -superman and john henry

They might have more immediate concerns as Bruno has finally cracked the code for his Bizarro.

Superman and Lois is in the middle of one of the all-time great comic book show seasons right now. If the showrunners can just maintain this quality it’s going to rest right up there with The Flash Season 1, Arrow Season 2 and 5 and Agents of SHIELD Season 4.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Photo Credit: The CW

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