“Superman and Lois” on The CW continues to be utterly perfect by simply letting the story progress at an organic pace. It’s led by prolific acting and intense story dynamics that toe the line of reality through a fictional lens. However, that’s where the genius comes into form, due to passion, and the attention to detail from the writers. Even the actors once seen as a role being portrayed are the characters in every aspect.
Tyler Hoechlin is Superman, and Elizabeth Tulloch is Lois Lane. Both are perfectly cast; from the mannerisms to the appearance, wardrobe, and to the chemistry. Though after a brilliant and strong season of storytelling, I have no stipulation in saying that “Superman and Lois” is the perfect melting pot of all things Superman, and at moments it’s the animated series brought to life.
One thing to note is that Tyler Hoechlin is no longer playing Superman. He is the Man of Steel, from the characteristics of being goofy, lovable Clark Kent reminiscent of the great Christopher Reeve with a dose of the animated series, along with the integrity of Henry Cavill from the ultra-realistic DC Extended Universe (DCEU), and ideally grounded by the foundation of Smallville’s Tom Welling.
Elizabeth Tulloch is pure Lois Lane, from the iconic purple in various scenes, or how she stands firm when the world is ending, she sniffs out a story as a good journalist does. From dealing with postpartum and a miscarriage to her questioning the humanity; lying dormant in others, this Lois has experienced quite a lot in this universe and she conveys that every week.
I always hear the criticism that Lois is a damsel waiting to be saved from Superman, but with the presence of exceptional writing from everyone involved, Tulloch portrays Lois with just enough comic accuracy perfection that with her subtle changes makes the character just as appealing. Thus making the character real and tangible by making her full of grit, as powerful as Clark, and no longer associated with the stereotype. At times I was sympathizing with her and could I feel the variety of emotions stemming from the screen. The chemistry between Hoeclin and Tulloch is just perfect, and it never feels forced, and both are in constant sync.
This leads me to Jordan’s (Alex Garfin) and Jonathan’s (Jordan Elsass) arc and how they have grown from the pilot up to the latest chapter in the epic novel of proportions. Both are vital pieces and solid foundations for why this series continues to excel. Seeing Jordan stand up to an immovable force in the presence of Tal-Rho (Adam Rayner) at the end of episode 11 to defend his family and finally stand with confidence not because of his Kryptonian heritage was awesome. It felt like Jordan grew because of his choices and the values instilled from his journey and arc that reflected the upbringing of Clark.
This then gives direction to scenes in the latest episode of Jordan and Jonathan working together to save Clark, solidifying the bond between the brothers and the respect built throughout the season, simply character development being done correctly.
I remember the seeds being planted in episode 8, “Holding the Wrench,” when Jonathan was trying to find his placement in the superfamily, and Lois instilling humility even though Jordan and Clark are bestowed with powers. Lois and Jon carry the wrench of morality lined with prosperity and strength. The herald words of a mother guiding a son are finally paid off in the latest episode.
In my opinion, watching episodes 11 and 12 back to back showcases the imagery of why Clark Kent and Superman are necessary and belong with each other. One episode shows us a juvenile origin that is pure comic nostalgia painted perfectly from the retro Max Fleischer tights. Clark has already passed to the modern-day iconic red and blue correlating the hero’s journey, which is mentioned repeatedly in the series. Only to see him make the ultimate sacrifice to protect not only his family but humanity as well.
Due to the impending threat of Tal-Rho, who is trying to peel back and shred every ounce of humanity Clark has left, by the brutal indoctrination, and the sequence of memory distortion is powerful. It gives way to the scene about to unfold, simply perfect pacing.
Episode 12 feels reminiscent of a film or a serialized limited series, and it’s a spotlight of every character in the show. It picked up right after the events of the cliffhanger left from the void of episode 11 when the series announced it was going on a brief hiatus to finish filming.
One scene that stood out was seeing the humanity in Lois Lane begging to tell John Henry Irons (Wolé Parks) not to kill Superman because he is a father, and he isn’t the monster from his nightmares. However, Irons is morally and utterly broken due to his grief from seeing his life torn to pieces. By a symbol once perceived as hope was an icon and beacon of destruction. Only to have the presence of Arrowverse veteran John Diggle (David Ramsay) act as a center of balance for moral justice by telling General Lane (Dylan Walsh) not to give up on Superman, and Oliver would have echoed the same.
Even though Diggle was in a cameo role, it reminded the audience this takes place in the Arrowverse. The appearance was part of the redemption journey he was walking since the seeds of being Green Lantern were planted at “Arrow’s” end. Hearing the values of Oliver still find semblance, and the progression of Diggle moving on the vigilante life was a perfect back-door to let the character come to a close.
Throughout the episode, the overarching theme is family. Let me explain… the Kents are left distraught and trying to locate Clark leading to the question of what if there is another way. Lois was thinking with a deep conscience about whether to call John Irons to seek help due to the tragedy he foreshadowed was coming to fruition. However, the answer she received shook her to her core.
Looming in the shadows of the episode through insightful character exposition, will the hatred and malice of vengeance infecting John Henry Irons be cleansed, or will he finally enact his revenge and kill Superman-essentially his Moby Dick in this story. Would Irons cross the line or would he listen to the cries of forgiveness?
Leading to the presence of characters such as Diggle, and Jonathan Kent, Lois begging to find another way, and at the last second, the innocence from everyone finally broke through. In a way, the cries of salvation from Lois, Jonathan, and Diggle were felt in Superman and Steel’s fight. The brawl was a cinematic spectacle, and the cinematography was once again top-notch; the colors were popping on the screen.
In the end, the humanity and heart of Clark displayed through a poignant and powerful showcase of earlier scenes from prior episodes was the wake-up call necessary to deter the impending fears of what John witnessed. The struggle to take control and nurture v nature causing Superman to lash out. However, in the end, the presence of morality and the connection of his family.
The love instilled from everyone was the redeeming factor that helped Clark regain his composure and humanity. Instead of succumbing to the fragile and distraught evil Superman that is played out time and time again. The simplicity of hope, a message that Jordan and Jonathan carry being the sons of the Man of Steel instilled through the guidance of Lois and the humanity of Clark. Utter brilliance from those involved.
I felt this exchange showcased the growth in Irons letting go of the misery attached to him. I loved the episode closing with the Superfamily back on the Kent Farm. Especially while burying the hatchet with the man who once plagued them was now freed of his past. Irons was no longer an enemy instead now an ally.
However, I feel the most significant part of the episode was the reassembly of the Cushing family, and how Kyle and Lana’s choices and actions took to enrich Smallville with prosperity to see it degrade in front of them was a tough pill to swallow. The pain they are dealing with but sticking with each other shows unity and the family’s strength. The small subtle scene of them trying to atone for what they caused through a moral accident.
The dynamic of Lois taking a moment away from the action at hand to check on Lana and Kyle and have them explain the feeling of losing control when possessed by Kryptonians is reflective of what Clark was dealing with during the episode.
Though things will be tough going forward, and their humanity is going to be tested. It begs the question with three episodes left, and the decision to show stakes and the weight attached to them from the series offers dividends to not only the source material but the creative freedom associated with the project.
I wonder where the series will go, and can it stick the landing and go out with a season finale of epic proportions. It felt every story thread was tied up, but a few loose story arcs are left, and only time will tell.
Superman and Lois gets a 9.5/10 for excellent storytelling and showing the growth of character development prevalent throughout the series.