Tuesday, May 25, 2021

REVIEW: 'Superman & Lois' - Clark and Lois Learn the True Identity of the Mysterious Stranger in 'Man of Steel'

The CW's Superman & Lois - Episode 1.07 "Man of Steel"

Clark struggles to help Jordan, who is grappling with a new power. Lois enlists Clark's help which leads to a surprise encounter.

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.

"Man of Steel" was written by Jai Jamison and directed by David Ramsey

Clark and Lois are motivated by family. They are determined to protect Jordan and Jonathan no matter what. Life can be scary and unpredictable at times. That extends to the uncertainty surrounding Jordan's developing powers. He is increasingly volatile as he doesn't know how to control them. His father hopes to offer him the guidance that his own father passed along to him at this young age. The generations of this family are learning from each other and hoping to inspire future greatness. And yet, threats exist in this world right now. It's fitting that the core antagonist of the season is also motivated by family. That creates narrative poetry that compels the audience in every dramatic moment. Sure, the threat from Morgan Edge remains pronounced and severe. He is looking to take over Smallville and experiment on its citizens. He has already picked the next five subjects he is going to expose to X-Kryptonite. His plan is still moving ahead. Leslie more than makes up for her shortcomings previously. She couldn't stop Lois from discovering the truth hidden away in the mines. She can certainly take advantage of two opposing forces going against each other now. That distraction is crucial for what Edge is planning next. The show is making incremental progress in that regard. Lana is committed to serving as a source for Lois as she investigates the truth. She wants to protect the citizens of Smallville. And yet, her friend is selected for the experiment. She has no control over that whatsoever. Whatever Edge wants, he gets. Lana has this leadership position. It's mostly just an empty job. She is close to the operation though. That puts her in danger. She hasn't discussed all of these risks with her family either. That too could threaten to tear them apart. It comes after Sarah was already caught in the crosshairs of people with incredible powers and an inability to control them. So much is being concealed from the people in this town. Edge and Leslie hope to take advantage of that. That threat is serious. Lois can't let anything distract from this core mission. And yet, her investigation is hindered by the disruptions of this mysterious stranger seemingly lying about everything. He presents as an ally. In reality, he has the weapons apparently necessary to destroy everything that's happening. In examining the truth, Clark unearths a name. Captain Luthor is how this character has been referred to since the start of the series. The audience has even operated with the understanding that he hails from another universe. He positions himself as his Earth's greatest savior. He must act now before Superman destroys humanity. He is personally motivated to do so. He and his daughter, Natalie, watched as Superman killed Lois Lane on live television. Their lives were completely destroyed because of the Kryptonian and those gifted with these powers. And now, more people on Earth Prime are receiving these abilities too. He must stop the mastermind before it's too late. He attributes all of this to Superman's sheer presence on this planet. Clark may insist that he's different. He is a deeply moral man who will never cross a line and abuse his powers. Clark understands the threat that comes from losing the trust of the public. He has worked hard to maintain that. Lois has built her career on exposing corruption throughout the world as well. They care for each other. They try their best to protect their sons. And yet, Jordan and Jonathan are the ones who have to come in and save the day. They don't know what's happening with their father. They know he's in trouble. They act. They are heroes. Clark still wants answers. This stranger isn't who he appears to be. Captain Luthor was just an alias as well. It was a title he carried in order to create a sense of illusion. He was playing into the mythos of what is traditionally Superman's most adversarial relationship. Instead, he is John Henry Irons, another character familiar to the comics. He is a brilliant engineer. One who is at home with the gadgets he creates. He and his daughter built technology that can rival anything Clark can do. But John Henry is the one locked up at the end of this story. It's not the end yet though. More of the truth is out there. Clark and Lois recognize that they can no longer keep their sons in the dark. They share classified information with them. It's what they need to do to keep them safe. They too must be aware of these threats. Meanwhile, John Henry mourns the breaking of a promise to his daughter. He is motivated to act in this world. Every moment he's here is another spent away from her. More of this story still has to be told. This episode does a solid job in contextualizing John Henry's plight and having it contrast nicely with what Clark and Lois are also hoping to achieve within their family.