Superman & Lois Review: “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower,” “Haywire,” “The Best of Smallville”

We have here review and discussion of the most recent three episodes of the series. Life in Smallville fails to settle, while global challenges continue to daunt the Man of Steel.

The show goes on hiatus for about a month, rerunning the early episodes before returning to newer ones in (it appears) early May.

Titles: “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower,” “Haywire,” “The Best of Smallville”

Directed by Gregory Smith, James Bamford, Rachel Talalay
Written by Brent Fletcher, Michael Narducci, Brent Helbing, Nadia Tucker.

Cast
Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent / Superman
Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane
Jordan Elsass as Jonathan Kent
Alex Garfin as Jordan Kent
Inde Navarrette as Sarah Cushing
Dylan Walsh as General Sam Lane
Emmanuelle Chriqui as Lana Lang Cushing
Adam Rayner as Morgan Edge
Wolé Parks as Captain Luthor
Erik Valdez as Kyle Cushing
Sofia Hasmik as Chrissy Beppo
Stacey Farber as Leslie Larr
Jill Teed as Sharon Powell
Clayton James as Derek Powell
Dylan Kingwell as Teenage Clark
Daniel Cudmore as Subjekt 11
Fritzy-Klevans Destine as Sean Smith
Wern Lee as Tag Harris
Danny Wattley as Coach Gaines
Eric Keenleyside as Mayor George Dean
Stephen Adekoluas Robbie Alvarez
Joselyn Picard as Sophie Cushing
Zane Clifford as Timmy Ryan
Dee Jay Jacksonas Cobb Branden
Pavel Romano as Corey Wellnitz
Monique Phillips as Aidy Manning
Dean Marshall as Samuel Foswell
Brendan Fletcher as Thaddeus R. Killgrave
Michele Scarabelli as Martha Kent
Sebastian Croon, Andrew Prest, and Barry Nerling as flashback crooks
Daisy Tormé as A.I.

Premise:

-Jordan uses his abilities to become a superhero, while Jonathan gets benched. Genreal Lane, meanwhile, develops concerns about his son-in-law’s new life.

-I wondered about Lois monkeying around with the local paper last time. She wants to use that platform to speak out against Morgan Edge, but she faces legal restrictions due to her past at the Planet.

-We learn why Edge is so interested in Smallville, and he and Leslie Larr are at work creating some dangerous villains. Of course, the Secret of Smallville may breed metahumans without their intervention, as it did on the Smallville series.

-Nothing ruins Harvest Festival like multiple villains, some of them apparently resurrected from the dead.

High Points:

I like the way they are gradually developing some depth with the show’s first apparent Big Bad, Captain Luthor. It’s a slow-burn story arc, and I hope it will pay off. I have to wonder if he and our earth’s Kal will end up joining forces against the other Big Bads. Because he is not an established character, we really don’t know where his story might go.

The flashbacks to teenage Clark and his early attempts at becoming a hero work extremely well, and parallel nicely with plot developments in the present. He was never a Silver Age Superboy, but he did start using his powers while still quite young, and trying to be a force for good. His entertaining encounter with some thieves suggests how a lot of Superman’s later crime-busting should go.

Those flashbacks contrast with the handling of the present-day teens….

Low Point:

….who continue to present problems, as teens do. There is much to praise here, including some strong acting and a very natural handling of mental illness and alcoholism. And I can accept, to a degree, the casting of older actors. However, if they’re going to be fourteen, they need to be written like fourteen-year-olds, or at least written by someone who knows something about fourteen-year-olds. Also, why isn’t Jon playing more? A big-city high school had tagged him, at fourteen, to be the senior quarterback. He was so gifted his parents wondered if he had inherited Kal’s superpowers. You’re trying to tell me that, just because his brother has abilities, that he wouldn’t be seeing regular field-time on some podunk high school team?

On another low note, when Superman fights Thaddeus, he takes an awfully long time remembering that, oh yeah, he can shoot lasers from his eyes.

Nitpick of the Week

I enjoy the show’s Easter Eggs, and they’re often inobtrusive. I also know that the town of Smallville received its canonical name in 1949, and that is the reason that this incarnation of Kent’s hometown was founded in that year. However, it defies history and the visible evidence that the rural farming community we see onscreen could be a postwar town. Everything about it indicates it has existed since at least the early 1900s.

(I suppose two smaller communities could have been consolidated into one in 1949)

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 The parenting is a newish approach, though Lois and Clark have a son in DC continuity and have had several out of it. However, there really is only so much you can do that’s new with these characters, and still have it be a Superman show.

Effects: 6/6 The show rocks when Superman is allowed be be super, and he faces multiple challenges, from minor crimes to large-scale disasters and encounters with well-matched villains.

Acting: 5/6 The acting is generally strong, and Hoechlin’s performances as Clark/Superman are among the best-conceived I’ve seen. George Reeves was barely distinguishable in the dual roles. Christopher Reeve, taking his cue from the Golden/Silver Age incarnations, was clearly putting on the mild-mannered reporter. Tom Welling played Clark Kent. Henry Cavill… You know, I’m really not sure.

But this guy? He’s pretty genuinely both.

Production: 6/6

Story: 5/6 I am impressed that the show handles so many plots as well as they do, even if it sometimes results in cluttered episodes. I think it would improve the show if they had one fewer plot per episode.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Overall: 5/6

In total, Superman and Lois:”The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower,” “Haywire,” “The Best of Smallville” receive 34/42

Lingering Questions

Leslie Larr has been named for the comic-book villain Lesla Larr. Will she turn out to be Kryptonian, like her namesake? Are she and Morgan in league with the Lord of Apokolips? And could she be secretly also working for General Lane, trying to create a Superman the military can control?

So, after all of these years and despite the family’s obvious close relationship to the late Martha Kent, Clark has never taken any of them to the Harvest Festival he enjoys so much?

I know that Clark wants to be a good father, but is that reason enough to hamstring Superman further by helping out with the football team? It’s not like most fathers of high school athletes are also coaches.

Does General Lane not have a driver?

When a fire mysteriously goes out and they find frost on the beams, do DCU firefighters just fill out the “Probable Kryptonian Intervention” form?

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