Tuesday, March 21, 2023

REVIEW: 'Superman & Lois' - Lois Fears a Danger That Threatens to Take Control Away From Her in 'Uncontrollable Forces'

The CW's Superman & Lois - Episode 3.02 "Uncontrollable Forces"

Clark and Chrissy both notice a small crack in Lois' game face. Meanwhile, Sarah and Jordan have an awkward encounter. Lastly, Lana receives a panicked phone call.

"Uncontrollable Forces" was written by Katie Aldrin and directed by Elizabeth Henstridge

Is Superman strong enough to defeat cancer or end society's wealth disparities? Those hardships can't be solved through brute force. As such, it makes Superman feel powerless. Now, there are certain ways to actually remove his powers. Kryptonite is one of them. Clark has felt that before. He hopes people see him as an uplifting signal. He arrives to save people from the worst disasters. And yet, some hardships happen gradually. It's all about the ways society was designed. It may happen within a person's body. Mannheim is conducting experiments in the hopes of achieving something wicked. He views himself as the savior of his community in Metropolis. He comes from the impoverished neighborhood of an infamous city. Clark and Lois call Smallville home. However, so many characters make the frequent journey to Metropolis. That's a place where they have so many connections as well. It may not always be easy to go there for a doctor's appointment. That's what Lois does to receive an official diagnosis. The premiere teased a potential pregnancy. Instead, Lois has stage three inflammatory breast cancer. She's fortunate that the doctors detected it. The treatment is going to be intense. She doesn't know how she's going to handle it. Suddenly, her life is out of control. She has to be strong for her kids. She also has to extend empathy when a judge is willing to die instead of face the horror of her recent actions. Mannheim manipulated the system. This judge hoped she could reform the systemic injustices from the inside. Instead, she only became part of the problem. She received this appointment at such a young age. She was seen as inspirational. She was targeted with absolute viciousness. She no longer had control over her life. She had to do whatever was ordered of her. She can't answer the questions Lois and Clark have for her. Clark serves as a convenient lie detector. He then traces all of this back to Mannheim. The villain demands an interaction. He needs to express himself as the champion for the underdog. His work provides prosperity for the people who have long been abused by society. Every rumor about him exists to distort the honest nature of his work. He believes his noble ideals justify the heinous actions he takes to make them a reality. Superman hardly has a response. He saves lives. People appreciate his heroics. And yet, they aren't always the best solution. Superman can only do so much in certain times of turmoil. He uses his voice to hopefully make a difference. And yet, his superpowers give him access to defeat out-of-this-world threats. The issues that are more man-made are much more difficult for him to tackle.

All of this showcases how Clark Kent is just as strong and influential as Superman. That's a lesson being passed down to his children as well. Anyone can make a difference in the world. And yet, they must navigate a society that was shaped long ago. Past generations haven't always lived up to the noble ideals. In fact, plenty of corruption exists to further disrupt society. Acknowledging it is a start. Understanding the people and the problems goes a long way. It takes dramatic action to actually change anything. That plays out globally where the outcome of certain choices have far-reaching consequences. It's also incredibly intimate amongst family units. Clark and Lois have no time to discipline Jonathan and Jordan for being out past curfew. Instead, they have to tell their sons about Lois' diagnosis. They will face it together as family. They are stronger when they stand united. Something may exist at the new Fortress that can perhaps improve the prognosis. All of that is up in the air. It's thrown further into turmoil by the actions elsewhere of people who believe they are right. Smallville is a small town. It's not insignificant. It's always a little too convenient that this city happens to be the center point for so many global conspiracies. It suggests that something or someone notable can appear from any place. Mayor Dean is killed because he could no longer keep some money hidden. He no longer has that power. Lana and John Henry trying to understand his warning only further endangers their lives. It highlights how John Henry still exists. That worries Mannheim and whatever his grand plans are. The man he thought was dead has been reborn. Of course, this John Henry doesn't know what his counterpart did. He's in-the-dark just as much as everyone else in Smallville. He too leads with empathy. He's there for Lana. She needs security now more than ever. Her life is threatened. Meanwhile, she completely missed that Sarah was lying to her. Sarah hopes to exert her newfound freedom because of the divorce and election. She gets to be more independent as she explores who she is outside of her romance with Jordan. The teenagers don't have any clarity on who they want to be. Natalie works for the Department of Defense when she's not focusing on school. Her father wants her to have a normal life. That includes going to parties and having crushes on boys. That doesn't lead to anything substantial. It's not long before she and her friends have to leave. It's fun while it lasts. Everyone is allowed in on the secret now. That's freeing. It doesn't change the world. It's simple fun which could be seen as them living in denial of the suffering elsewhere. That criticism is lobbied at Superman. It may be unfair. That's how some people view him and those privileged to enjoy better lives than the lowest amongst the population. That's a lot of burden to carry. These are expansive ideas the show is throwing at its characters. Sometimes the lofty goals don't always pay off. The emotion of Lois' diagnosis does even though it's a bit cumbersome to wait until the climax to make this epic declaration that will change everything immediately.