Tuesday, March 9, 2021

REVIEW: 'Superman & Lois' - Clark Learns How to Be More Present for His Sons in 'The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower'

The CW's Superman & Lois - Episode 1.03 "The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower"

Clark shares some of his Kryptonian history with Jordan and Jonathan during a family breakfast. Meanwhile, Lois and Chrissy dig deeper to uncover the truth about Morgan Edge.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of The CW's Superman & Lois.

"The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower" was written by Brent Fletcher and directed by Gregory Smith

The tension of this version of Superman doesn't come from the massive feats he must accomplish in order to save the world from various alien threats. Instead, it is primarily driven by him trying to be a good dad. That's the priority of the storytelling here. It's actually impressive because it reinvents the formula by driving the small stakes of the stories. The world still needs Superman. He is perfectly capable of flying halfway around the world to save people from dying in a massive bridge collapse. He no longer needs to hide that part of his life from his kids. Lois doesn't have to make up an excuse for why he was present one moment and gone the next. That whiplash would almost seem jarring to a young, impressionable mind who doesn't know what's going on. Having the truth out can forge stronger bonds within this family. And yet, they are still learning how to adjust to these changing dynamics. Jordan and Jonathan realize that their father has powers that allow him to do things other dads can't. He can hear the entire world. He knows how to pinpoint a specific sound and know whether or not someone is in trouble. He wants to rush to his children to protect them when they are in danger. He is even more worried now because he fears Jordan doesn't have control over his powers. He hovers over them. He is physically capable of doing that. In this situation though, he is omnipresent in their lives. He is always right there. That provides pressure that can be absolutely crushing to the teens. They want the freedom to express themselves and figure out what they want. Jordan developing powers makes him special. He isn't like his father though. His journey won't be a parallel one. Clark can still teach his sons so much. And yet, he is capable of making mistakes as well. His powers allow him a lot of freedom in this world. The citizens of Earth have placed their trust in him. He is focused on his family. He wants them to thrive. He doesn't want to be the one holding them back. It's still strange when Jordan tries out for the football team. That has always been the place where Jonathan could shine. His prowess on the field was even used as evidence that he could have inherited some of Clark's powers. It was all a misdirect though. Jordan is the one who was alienated for a long time and then developed these abilities. He feels empowered to radically change his life. It's an evolving perspective. One where he might only be doing this in order to prove to his peers that he isn't the weak newcomer he was initially perceived as. He is capable of further enriching their lives with his presence. He too can be just as valuable on the field. That may take away some of the spotlight from Jonathan. He is still gracious when it comes to his brother. He fights for him. He is selfless even though his world is changing so much without the sudden benefit of powers. It's an evolution for the entire family. They are adjusting to this world where new things are possible. And yet, family units can undergo this change without having moved locations. Sarah feared the life that was inevitably waiting for her. She finally shares that with her mother. It's a huge breakthrough. It's one that doesn't immediately reset everything she was previously interested in. It's simply opening communication to allow this change to be understood and respected. The show actually does a solid job in grounding these dynamics between parent and child. It remains a powerful central focus for the show. Of course, it still has the trappings of the superhero genre. Superman still has to rush to save Lois after she is attacked by a man with powers. Mysteries still exist in this world. It's up to Lois to unravel them. The fate of Smallville could be on the line based on what Morgan Edge is doing. It's still apparent that plenty of people have powers in this world and are capable of using them for nefarious purposes. It's not solely set up as a conflict that only Superman can face. It shares the responsibility across the board while highlighting all the other things that are important. That creates a fully realized world. One where the stakes may be simple. The ambition is still profound because of the radical change involved. Superman now has a job as an assistant football coach at the high school in Smallville. It's where he needs to be. He can be of service to his family there. That's just as profound as the radical acts that both he and Lois make in their professional lives elsewhere. They have the responsibility to do right by their kids even though they are flawed people who struggle to get things right. They lead with compassion which allows the show to offer genuine sentiment without being overbearing with emotions that feel out of place.