Tuesday, March 28, 2023

REVIEW: 'Superman & Lois' - Lois Delays Vital Medical Treatment to Pursue a Lead in the Mannheim Investigation in 'In Cold Blood'

The CW's Superman & Lois - Episode 3.03 "In Cold Blood"

Lois and Chrissy pursue a new lead in the Mannheim investigation against Clark's wishes. Meanwhile, Jonathan, Jordan and Nat's attempt at a kind gesture is complicated by an unexpected obstacle. Lastly, Lana, Sarah and Kyle adjust to their own new normal.

"In Cold Blood" was written by Jai Jamison and directed by Gregory Smith

It's a process simply to get Lois to her first chemotherapy treatment. Clark has nothing in the Fortress of Solitude to offer a better prognosis. That's the first question General Lane asks upon learning this news from his daughter. It's rather sensible too. It's insane to think Superman is powerless in this situation. It's a threat that haunts Clark. Every night seemingly features a nightmare in which he races to save Lois in time. He has been in that situation countless times over the years. She knows she can always call out for his help. He will arrive in a matter of seconds. That's prompted many risks throughout her investigative journalism career. It's a valuable resource she depends on. Superman is more than capable of saving Lois when she's trapped in a crumbling city. In fact, that's a priority for him. Those aren't the stakes from this particular threat. All he can do is show up and offer support. Clark remembers the appointments better than Lois does. He's the one left behind. The sessions can be rescheduled. Lois embraces that freedom as well. She can't be tied down when there's a break in the case. She needs to investigate. She doesn't want to lose her sense of self quite yet. She is plagued by constant thoughts of this disease too. She is open and honest with everyone who matters. No one is kept in the dark. They are all armed with the truth. They lead with the noble intentions of helping her cope with the diagnosis. Chrissy is just as frustrated as Clark is by Lois continuing to prioritize work. It's a convenient excuse that she's closer than ever to exposing the truth of Bruno Mannheim's work. She needs to provide those answers to the public. This is a mystery she has been chasing for a long time. It takes on more urgency now. She's running against a deadline of her own health. She's also motivated to provide answers as to what happened to John Henry's counterpart from this Earth. That was the grand introduction to this story. His life is in danger now because of what happened in the past. However, he's focused on once again reminding Natalie that Lois isn't her mother. She wants to do something nice anyway. She has a very loving and generous spirit in that way. The watch made from the same technology as the hammer is hers to give away. It's valuable to her. However, it should also serve as a reminder to Lois how many people love and support her. She isn't in this fight alone. It cruelly takes a whole episode for her to accept that message. It's annoying because it's so repetitive. It's common in these stories as the nurse points out. It should at least be unique to this show. Instead, so much of the focus remains on Superman and how he can't protect his family from this threat. It's easier when he is thrown into battle against an enemy with Kryptonite-powered blasters. That's a threat he knows how to handle because he has allies helping him succeed.

Lois essentially exploits Clark's responsibilities as Superman to let herself off the hook when it comes to treatment. He wants to be by her side every step of the way. And yet, lives are still in need of saving. A mudslide occurs in Nepal where Superman is the only person who can rescue them in time. He shouldn't have to choose. Lois only follows through with the treatment when someone is there with her. She can't run away because her loved ones won't let her. They are afraid too. They have to stand united as they face this. Instead, Lois and Chrissy almost die because they are trapped in a freezer where Superman's signal can't get out. All it takes is opening the door for the message to be broadcast. As such, the two journalists don't have to find their own way out of this dire situation. Superman arrives. He is dependable that way. John Henry provides backup because Mannheim's men are armed with weapons that hinder Superman's abilities. In fact, the villain is running experiments with Superman's blood. It's a mystery as to how he acquired so much of this rare material. And yet, he's eager to see how the blood of Earth's mightiest hero will interact with humans. Henry Miller didn't have powers before. He's essentially lost his humanity as Mannheim runs constant experiments on his body. He has to look for another host now. That's the cost of doing business with this organization. Lois and Chrissy pursue a lead. It results in one corner of Mannheim's operation being exposed and destroyed. That's inevitable. Superman and his team aren't any closer to learning the scope of this danger. It's just important to recognize it exists on the horizon. He is well-prepared to handle it. It's still pulling Lois' focus from what should be the priority. Meanwhile, a kind gesture from the kids grows complicated once Jonathan's truck is stolen. It's a relatively low-stakes mission. One that highlights the level of competence they should display in using their powers. All three provide a valuable service in the mission to retrieve the vehicle and the special watch within. It's still a minor story in comparison to the extremes of saving the world Superman experiences as well as facing the difficult emotions that accompany Lois' diagnosis. Natalie and Jordan grow more confident. Meanwhile, Jordan proves how he isn't perfect. It's just a tonal whiplash from the stakes elsewhere. The show has always carefully balanced the blend of superhero mechanics and family drama. It aims to intensify each of those concerns this season. The pressure is just felt to make every story amplified in that way. It just doesn't work in some instances - like Jonathan's relationship and Lana slapping Sarah. Explanations later happen. They just don't reward the actions in the moment to showcase how these characters evolve after everything that's happened already.