Tuesday, March 14, 2023

REVIEW: 'Superman & Lois' - Clark and Lois' Romantic Bliss Requires Them to Have a Discussion About the Future in 'Closer'

The CW's Superman & Lois - Episode 3.01 "Closer"

Clark and Lois are now working at the Smallville Gazette together and enjoying small town life. However, Lois' work-life balance is put to the test when an undercover assignment reveals a deadly foe that promises to change the Kent family forever. Superman would move heaven and earth for his family, but with a villain this merciless, even that might not be enough.

"Closer" was written by Brent Fletcher & Todd Helbing and directed by Tom Cavanagh

Clark and Lois are stronger than ever. The weight of the secret has been lifted from their shoulders. That allows them to have more open and honest relationships with Lana and Chrissy. Jordan is equally glad to be able to talk with Sarah about what's going on in his life. Not everything is perfect. Disasters still occur throughout the world that require Superman's help. He is the only person capable of saving lives in those situations. Jordan believes he's strong enough to help. However, he only adds to the danger. Clark is always trying his best to keep his family safe and protected. His sons are growing up. Jordan and Jonathan celebrate their sixteenth birthdays. Everyone now has access to the new Fortress. Jordan is given permission to fly by himself. Meanwhile, Jonathan passes his driver's test. All of this amounts to Clark and Lois reflecting on their family. They start discussing whether they want more kids because Lois has a pregnancy scare. She was honest on the medical forms she filled out while trying to get information from Dr. Darlene Irons for a story. Her symptoms are serious enough to require further testing. It's all happy and celebratory when everyone believes it's the creation of new life. However, Lois gets the call that she isn't actually pregnant. Instead, something else is going on. The show teases everyone's emotions only to pivot in the end. The extent of the conversation likely means this isn't the final word on the subject. Clark and Lois still enjoy their romantic bliss. They fondly remember the days when Jonathan and Jordan were little and needed so much love and support from their parents. Now, new dangers threaten the family all the time. They can always confront them when they stand united. Clark only receives a brief tease of what threat is now starting to rise. The family was already warned about Bruno Mannheim. The arms dealer was responsible for John Henry Irons' death on this Earth. Apparently, Clark and Lois have investigated him before in the hopes of breaking a huge story. They ultimately had to walk away from that endeavor. Too many lives were threatened. No one was willing to come forward to speak on the record. That motivates Lois. She is determined to uncover the truth. And yet, she has to direct her energy inward to understand what's happening within herself. That's the grand mystery that takes priority. She can absolutely devote herself to work. But she also needs to remain healthy for her family. It's all a careful balance. No one wants to stymie her career ambitions. She is simply given a reason to worry. It may be out of her control. Superman may not even be able to save her. This mystery still must be faced as a family because they all have something to loss if the illness is bad enough.

Of course, someone still has to confront Bruno Mannheim and the experiments on prisoners he's running. Clark was surprised upon seeing Henry Miller with powers. He has faced this foe before. He knew what to expect. He held him accountable for his crimes. And now, he's released and starting a new reign of terror. It's obvious Henry is terrified by what sinister things people are forcing him to do. He isn't free enough to share his plight with Superman. Instead, Earth's mightiest hero must also be completely in the dark. Moreover, his super-hearing is disrupted. Clark doesn't know how to respond in that situation. Jordan similarly knows bad things are happening. He follows his father's orders not to intervene. He's disappointed by that. He also stays with Sarah. That's good because he wants to spend more time with her. The two teens still aren't the best at communicating. They need some space in order to prioritize who they want to be. That shouldn't come at the expense of their friendship. It's just awkward because Jordan still needs to reckon with the end of their romantic relationship. That's the work he needs to do. The training is still important. His father provides him with the tools to better define his skills. General Lane was good as Jordan's first trainer. It simply needed to be amplified. Meanwhile, General Lane is completely confident running the Department of Defense. He finds it impossible to ever retire because he's the only person trusted to lead. He continues to mess up prioritizing his family. That has always been a struggle for him. Now, he wants to act as a surrogate grandfather to Natalie. He sees her potential. He wants to tap into it. And yet, he needs a reminder to empathize with all that she has already endured in her young life. That takes active listening skills. Elsewhere, Kyle and Chrissy commiserate over being at low points in their lives. It results in the two of them hooking up. Chrissy is on the other side of the door when Lana stops by to deliver the signed divorce papers. It's awkward. It infers that this won't be a one-time thing between them. It has the potential to offer new dimension to both. It's an expansion of their worlds that looks to the future instead of being miserable over the past. It all has value. It's mostly just the show pairing two characters together who have never been seen together before. It's fascinating and hopefully leads to something surprising. And finally, Lana discovers black mold at the high school. She wants to lead Smallville to a new era of economic prosperity. And yet, the former mayor berates her at the birthday party for touching money that he had designated for a special project. He's operating on stakes that no one else understands. As such, it's easy to write him off as hysterical. Any adept viewer has to know his objections have a larger meaning that connect to the rest of the story though. That's unfortunate because Lana already has plenty of problems to focus on as the Mayor of Smallville without adding extraordinary ones to the list.