Superman and Lois has rightfully earned a ton of credit for its handling of very serious storylines this season. With the threat of the Manheims neatly wrapped up the final two episodes of this season were in a weird place. Put a bow on the final plot threads or do a prolonged build-up to the fourth season? Injustice didn’t handle either direction especially well making for a rare misstep in what’s been a great season.
This episode felt like the first where the writers seemed ready to move on from Lois’ cancer. It opened with Lois coping with her mastectomy, comparing it to an injustice. That’s become a fairly big Superman/Batman buzz word to just casually throw around making for an interesting choice of episode titles.
Much of this episode revolved around Lex Luthor’s (Michael Cudlitz, The Walking Dead) rise in power after being tossed into Stryker’s Prison for a crime we now know he didn’t commit. Lois’ journalistic integrity won out, but it sure feels like Peia wasn’t wrong about releasing him from prison being a horrible mistake.
The show took an interesting approach with Lex having him be in jail for over two decades, which would be most of Superman’s formative years on this Earth. Cudlitz is certainly a more intimidating presence than Jon Cryer or Jesse Eisenberg, but his Luthor seems almost too brutish to be the calculating, vengeful Lex Luthor no film or show has been able to accurately portray save for Clancy Brown in Superman/Justice League.
Lex gets his walking papers from the warden, who he quickly brought under his thumb by threatening his family and he makes a dramatic walk after ensuring Otis will arrive at the discussed time. With no context of the S&L Luthor, these prison flashbacks have to suffice. They don’t prove overly effective since he’s in quiet seething mode instead of the pompous billionaire jerk before he gets knocked down several pegs or two. We get Luthor is dangerous, which Peia already mentioned. Seeing Lex control the guards into beating up the guys who responded the obvious manner to his threats didn’t make him more intimidating.
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The other big storyline this episode was Junior being convinced the hero who saved him and Sarah is their age. Jordan puffs his chest out slightly after some classmates clown his hero costume’s goggles. Undeterred, Junior keeps trying to find someone who will take him seriously. It’s weird that the Kents, Lana and Sarah (and Chrissy) literally just dealt with this problem with Kyle and are taking the same head in the sand approach. Maybe the lesson would have stuck if the writers didn’t make Kyle a jerk for being upset that everyone close to him constantly lied to his face?
Lana is back to coddling Sarah saying it is not OK for Jordan to brag about his powers. That’s not exactly how that conversation played out. In a theme that constantly played out this episode, a parent tries to make things better for their kid even though they’re overstepping their bounds. Lana tells Clark and Lois, who then get upset with Jordan and ground him superheroics until things die down. Clark talks to Kyle after learning he’s treating Jon differently than the other firefighters. Good thing John Henry and Nat were MIA this episode or we’d have a full slate of teen drama.
Actually, Jon’s subplot isn’t bad since his problems are more relatable. He doesn’t want any special treatment because he’s Superman’s kid. He just wants to earn respect on his own. It was frustrating that both Sarah and Jordan were back to being brats upset that everything isn’t revolving around how they feel.
A tornado warning hits. Remember how big a natural disaster proved in Smallville? Here it’s more of a long-form nuisance. Sam is in the tornado’s path. I wonder if he’ll wave Clark off like Jonathan did in Man of Steel? Jordan disobeys Clark’s orders and flies in to help.
This is in part because Clark tried to give Jordan some leeway to being a hero despite a pattern throughout the season of him ignoring orders and doing whatever he wanted. This is silly though that Jordan would swoop in to assist on a problem Superman should have been able to handle with no problem.
After the tornado is extinguished, Jordan lands exactly so he can bask in the adoration of everyone. Clark is rightfully pissed and that only escalates at home when Jordan says he didn’t forget what they taught him — he just didn’t care. Jordan shoves Clark aside a little too forcefully and Clark steps up to him like he’s Bruno Manheim and tells him not to ever do that to me again. Tell ’em Superman!
Jordan bucking up against his parents’ orders is reasonable. He’s a kid that’s a bit directionless now that he and Sarah are on the outs, but this is the same kindly kid who just watched his mother battle cancer. The timing is off and would have worked better with some space from a new season to develop this more aggressive, rebellious side of Jordan.
Luthor literally walked to the Kent household to demand Lois retire. This is an intense scene though it seems like Clark wouldn’t have backed down from Lex even if he was preserving his secret identity.
Meanwhile, Sarah’s so over the Kent secret right now. It’s weird how it’s just been one episode and Lana is back to doing whatever Sarah wants to make her feel better after her DUI scare.
Lex and Otis check out Bruno’s lab and find Bizarro eating rats before he lunges and presumably kills Otis since he’s not a top-tier villain.
As the season premiere for the fourth chapter, Injustice could have worked. Throwing so much important changes to the status quo this late in the year seems like a questionable decision. Let’s see if they can rebound with a stronger season finale.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: The CW