Tuesday, August 10, 2021

REVIEW: 'Superman & Lois' - Edge Enacts His Plan All Over Again to Eradicate Humanity and Revive Krypton in 'The Eradicator'

The CW's Superman & Lois - Episode 1.14 "The Eradicator"

Lois is worried about Jordan as he and Sarah continue to grow closer. Clark pays Lana a visit. Jonathan has been spending more and more time with John Henry.

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 Eradicator" was written by Max Cunningham & Brent Fletcher and directed by Alexandra La Roche

Superman could never be turned against humanity. Morgan Edge tried to do that in pursuit of his grand scheme. He failed. As such, he has absorbed the energy of the Eradicator. He has made that sacrifice for the survival of his people. He also targets a new member of the Clark family. Clark couldn't be turned. Jordan can though. It's not immediately clear whether or not he is taken because he also has powers. Edge certainly knows that. That means he still functions on some basic level as the villain he has always been. He doesn't exist entirely as some new entity as Leslie Larr proclaims when Superman, John Henry and Lois arrive on the scene in Metropolis. It's all complicated. It's blatantly obvious that the show feels the urge to amplify the stakes before the season ends. It needs to go big and more elaborate than ever before. It has produced moments like this previously. It can widen its scope successfully. This episode feels repetitive and unsure of its own stakes. Sometimes, those patterns are implemented in order to highlight the differences within the situations. Lois was killed as she was reporting live on John Henry's Earth. That was a tragedy that traumatized him and Natalie. Their lives changed instantly. He has long sought out to prevent that pattern from repeating on this Earth. And now, he gets to be the champion who stops Lois' death from happening in a similar way. She is once again reporting on a Kryptonian leading an army against the city. Superman isn't compromised but he is busy handling the new soldiers in Edge's army. John Henry is as well. He also has the tools to be aware of more threats popping up. The protagonists are still largely behind the curve when it comes to recognizing all that Edge is doing. They have always operated from that position. Of course, the show has been very inconsistent with Edge's ultimate goal. It all seemed to pivot around this one central idea. He simply went several different ways in the hopes of obtaining it. He didn't want to sacrifice himself for all of this to happen. It's what ultimately occurs though. He has that ability and access. He wasn't defeated earlier. Nor is he stopped here. In fact, the situation only grows more dire. Again, it's the show going the expected route of making things seem darker before the resolution and salvation can come in the finale. It's a known trope. As such, the audience can struggle latching onto the stakes of it all. It's eery in some ways. That is still effective. But again, the conflict with Edge has largely been defined at this point. He still has tricks up his sleeve. It's all destined to grow even more personal for the Clark family. That's a space the narrative has explore before though. Not a whole lot is different now. It places Jordan's life in more peril. It does that for General Lane, Jonathan and Sarah as well. They simply aren't at risk of being turned into a weapon that can be used against humanity. Jordan is the latest person to have his identity taken away. The show has established that his essence can return and be saved. It's important to fight for that. That holds thematic connection to the fight to preserve the community of Smallville too. And yet, that plays as such an afterthought in comparison to the grand pronouncements and action happening in Metropolis. That balance has always had to be carefully handled. The show has successfully done so. It's easy to care for these characters. It feels false when it's suggested they have to accept defeat and embrace a new start elsewhere. It's disingenuous without offering a true consideration for the severity of the story up to this point. In fact, the show is perfectly fine acknowledging that more people deserve the truth without ever actually following through on that impulse. It starts a larger conversation about what the public is entitled to in a world with such dangerous secrets that must be protected at all costs. It's so easy to wave that away because the action picks up and must move to Edge's latest actions. That intensity moves the story forward. It doesn't do much to share some larger observations about life in this specific world. That's incredibly disappointing and makes the attempts to do so fall flat even when they still embrace the charm that flows through every corner of this show.