Superman & Lois recap: Jordan finds his place at school
No Captain Luthor in sight! After two episodes spent establishing the Kent family's new status quo and introducing the mystery surrounding Wolé Parks' The Stranger, Superman & Lois shifted its focus ever-so-slightly in tonight's episode, "The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower." Instead of following Superman as he zoomed off to fight Not-Master Chief in some foreign country, the episode focused on Lois Lane as she dug even deeper into her Morgan Edge investigation, the weirdness that comes with Superman being a parent, and Lana's strained relationship with Sarah.
I want to start with that second point, which I thought was the most interesting part of the hour. When the episode begins, Clark abruptly flies away from a sweet Kent family paint fight because his super-hearing picks up a crisis in China. Naturally, the boys have a few questions about how his powers work, which Clark kind of brushes off, reminding them they need to focus on not drawing attention to themselves. Unfortunately, Jordan and Jonathan's enthusiasm about their father's abilities disappears once they discover he uses his super-hearing to listen in on them at school — which is how he knew to show up at school and de-escalate a conflict between Sean and Jordan before the latter lost his cool. They view this as a violation of their privacy, as they should.
Coming into this show, it never occurred to me to wonder how having powers like Clark would affect his behavior as a parent (which is why I don't write TV), so I loved that the show dug into this a bit here. Given everything Clark faces on a daily basis as Superman, it's not surprising that he checks in on the boys from time to time. I feel most parents would do the same thing if they could; this reveal made Clark feel like just any normal parent. Not only that, but I also loved how his falling out with the boys led to a scene in which he and Lana bonded over the difficulties of raising teenagers, which is something we've never seen Superman do on TV.
Following his confrontation with Sean, Jordan decides to take decisive action against bullies and tries out for the football team as an excuse to use his enhanced strength to tackle his aggressors. The coach is so impressed with him that he gives him a spot on the team, much to Jonathan's disappointment because football was supposed to be his thing. Even though Jonathan is bummed that he's lost his thing, the show never forgets that these two brothers fundamentally love each other and it's clear from the beginning Jonathan will get over it soon. In fact, when Clark tries to stop Jordan from being on the team, Jonathan comes to his defense and says he should let him play because Jordan is actually befriending the other players and seems genuinely happy for the first time in a while.
Is it completely believable that Jordan would find his place on the football team? Not entirely. But that's not even my biggest concern with this development. I'm more worried that the episode didn't spend enough time considering whether or not it was even right for him to be on the team. Look, I hate football, but isn't it unfair for Jordan to play if he's going to actively use his enhanced strength? Doesn't that unfair advantage ruin the spirit of the game (which, for the record, I really don't care about)? Those concerns aside, I did like how Clark wound up joining the team as an assistant coach, which seems primed to create some fun moments. I really enjoyed watching him joke with Jordan about pretending to struggle carrying a cooler. (I didn't realize the Friday Night Lights comparisons would become quite so literal).
While all of that was going on, the show started peeling back the layers on the Lang-Cushing family. As it turns out, Lana and Kyle barely speak to each other, and Sarah and Lana's relationship has been very strained since her suicide attempt. One of the reasons there's a rift between Lana and Sarah is that Lana desperately tries to maintain the public appearance that the Lang family is perfect, which very much isn't the case. By the end of the episode, though, Lana and Sarah have a breakthrough as Sarah finally reveals why she tried to kill herself a year ago — she felt trapped in Smallville and saw no way out — and Lana admits that she feels lost, too. Emmanuelle Chriqui and Inde Navarrette played this rapprochement between mother and daughter rather beautifully.
Meanwhile, a woman named Sharon Powell reaches out to Lois about her Morgan Edge story. It turns out Sharon's son Derek went to work for Morgan in New Carthage, but he disappeared. At first, Chrissy doesn't trust Sharon, but that all changes after someone Molotov cocktails Lois's station wagon, and then a metahuman attacks her when she visits Sharon's motel room. Thankfully, Superman arrives in time to save Lois and Sharon. Even though Lois's super-strong assailant managed to escape his fight with Superman, he doesn't last long. Morgan's assistant Leslie (Degrassi's Stacey Farber) heat-visions him to death — which raises a whole lot of questions about what's going on with her!
Wall of Weird:
- Did you catch the storefront with the name Teague on its sign in the scene where Clark and Lana discussed parenting? That’s a reference to Smallville season 4, which starred Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles as Jason Teague, a love interest for Lana Lang.
- During the fight, Lois stabs Morgan Edge’s goon in the ear with a pen, which was pretty badass.
- For the most part, the show does a good job of writing believable teenagers, but I refuse to believe that someone like Jonathan would come up with the reference “Jor-El-DeBarge.”
- Sarah quits the cheer squad and breaks up with Sean, but she promises to attend the next game to see Jordan play.