Superman & Lois
Season 1 Episode 11
A Brief Reminiscence In-Between Cataclysmic Events
After the showdown with Morgan Edge in the last episode, this new episode looks like its going to give the viewer a break from the bigger storyline and take us back in time. There is no better indicator of this then the opening scene of a young Clark Kent walking through a frozen wasteland and creating the Fortress of Solitude. While I’m still not overly impressed with the design, it is a fun moment of discovery. One that leads to a short but effective training montage and the return of the Clark/Martha dynamic that I’ve been wanting to explore all season.
Clark’s return to Smallville will also encompass the change in his relationship to Lana and how that leads him to Metropolis. It’s a good scene that is well played by Hoechlin. You can see the heartache and resignation in the performance and there is a sense of honesty within it. Clark is given a parting gift from his mother before he tries to make it in the big city and we get our first of many nostalgia moments in this episode including a perfectly executed phone booth quick change.
In the aftermath of Superman’s introduction in Metropolis, Clark Kent still needs to find his footing. That footing includes a job interview with Perry White at the Daily Planet. The Clark/Perry scene is well acted and frankly left me wondering why we never got any of this dynamic beforehand or during the pilot. Clark’s relationship with Perry was always one that helped shape him and I like seeing the series touch on that. We also get a replay of the first encounter between Clark and Lois and it is extended to give a sense of the environment they work in.
Things get more interesting when Lois challenges all the hero worship Superman is garnering and gives Clark information about a bigger problem in the city that isn’t being investigated. When Clark realizes it, the episode does something unexpected and perfect. Instead of Clark hearing about the threat and zooming off as Superman, he begins to investigate it alongside Lois showcasing both his skills as a journalist and allowing their relationship to progress as colleagues and equals. The progression of their professional and personal relationship is handled brilliantly by showing it as a progression rather than slapping together cliché moments.
Their investigation leads to Lois confronting the domestic terrorist and getting her first introduction to Superman. What makes the scene work is not only the heroics, but also not placing Lois in the damsel in distress role. She is fully capable throughout and that’s refreshing. The episode also hints back at the present when Clark sees a blurry shape watching him from the shadows and although we already know who it is, it is interesting to see how the shape’s actions and presence will inform Clark’s life as a hero.
Invariably, all the memories turn out to have a dark undertone to them and the rest of the episode moves between key moments in Clark’s life and the dark revelation that leads everything back to Edge. It’s a well executed plan that took me by surprise in its intricacy and results. The rest of the episode is a polar opposite of everything that came before with all of the positive and intimate moments shattered in a series of scenes that lead to a dark cliffhanger for everyone involved.