Tuesday, March 23, 2021

REVIEW: 'Superman & Lois' - Clark Reflects on the Sacrifices That Parents Make for Their Children in 'The Best of Smallville'

The CW's Superman & Lois - Episode 1.05 "The Best of Smallville"

As Smallville celebrates its first Harvest Festival since Martha's passing, Clark is reminded what his mother meant to him and learns a lesson that will help him move past her death. Lois makes a breakthrough in the investigation of Morgan Edge. Kyle tries to reconnect with Lana, but it seems like he might be falling back into his old ways.

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 Best of Smallville" was directed by Rachel Talalay with story by Todd Helbing and teleplay by Brent Fletcher & Nadria Tucker

The series so far hasn't spent a whole lot of time mourning Martha Kent. Her death inspired Clark and Lois to move their family to Smallville. They felt like they had to be in this small town. This is the place where their family needed to be in order to grow. They felt a sense of urgency and purpose here. It was all because of Martha. They wanted to understand what she hoped for them. And now, her life gets to be celebrated a little bit. Part of it is defined by tragedy. Her husband died. Her son had to leave this town in order to find his place in the world. The citizens of Smallville view her as the best of this place. She was willing to engage with absolutely everyone no matter what was going on in their lives. And yet, that highlighted the sadness and yearning she felt for her son. She was waiting for him to return. It's only now in hindsight that Clark is able to see that. She made this huge sacrifice for him. As such, he believes he has to be forgiving of his own children when they make mistakes or lash out. He believes that the decisions he and Lois have made are good for everyone. Jonathan hasn't been able to adjust yet. He still feels like an outsider in this place. Jordan has found his happiness. The twins have made friends. They are social and able to adapt in this world. The conversation runs deeper than that though. It's about an overall sense of belonging. Jonathan doesn't see the benefit or purpose of his life in this place. It comes from him always feeling confident in his surroundings up to this point. He is outside what has always been known to him. It's disarming. He doesn't quite know what to do. It's a fascinating story. One that has the confidence and freedom to be told outside of the traditional confines of the superhero genre. Clark reflects on his past. He has a new understanding of prior events. He is always assure of himself and his abilities as a hero. He knows precisely when to fly into action. Sure, that plays into the more conventional side of things in this world. That may be necessary as well. Of course, it's also apparent that the show wants to tell things in a different way. The dynamic between Clark and Captain Luthor is the inverse of what that relationship has always been in the canon. Superman is the hero. Lex Luthor is the villain. Here, Captain Luthor comes from a world where he was the hero trying to save the planet from the bloodthirsty Superman. He was married to Lois Lane and changing the world with his innovations. And now, he finds himself in this new universe. That explanation is still needed. He is steadfast in his pursuit of Superman. He targets him with such extreme precision. It's only a matter of time before some heinous and destructive action is taken. That's the dynamic as Captain Luthor has always known it. In this universe, that isn't necessarily the case. Sure, people may have cause for concern. Clark's powers are dangerous for whomever wields them. That is becoming more apparent with the other threat from Morgan Edge. He is mining a precious resource that can imbue people with Kryptonian powers. That may also make them more volatile and prone to destruction. Clark faces off with the first of that here. People yearn for this strength. It can be absolutely life-changing. It's the valuable resource that must be uncovered and utilized to the extreme. That can have a profound human cost attached to it. Lois is hoping to unravel this story. Chrissy is the one taking potentially risky actions though. It's very precarious. It can all explode from some outside influence as well. Captain Luthor serves as that while Superman is flying after Derek. That explosion has lethal consequences to it. Luthor doesn't achieve his goal though. He is solely focused on that. Clark wants to understand what is propelling this nefarious force to act inside Smallville. The town is at risk of destruction because people don't know how to wield this power. Even being sent to the outside world may not ensure a proper learning experience. Jordan experiences that when Tag returns to question what he did to him. It's all shocking. The stakes are increasing. The themes remain well-connected especially when trying to combine the typical storytelling beats of the genre with the more earnest dynamics of family and small town life. That's all apparent even though the audience can question Clark's parenting from time to time.