Superman stories aren’t just about the very strong man in blue tights and his adventures; they’re also about parents. The House of El giving up their son and the House of Kent taking him in. The Lane-Kent family navigating a 50/50 split between super guys and regular ones. Parents are integral to the development of so many of the major characters on this show. Spoilers follow for Superman and Lois Season 1, Episode 10, “O Mother, Where Art Thou?”
“O Mother, Where Art Thou?”
As the name of the episode indicates, this episode is parents as far as the eye can see, particularly (but not exclusively) mothers.
The Smallville crew is working to figure out Edge’s plan and they make some major headway, obtaining his machine and the guy who operates it. The device that Edge has been using to force Kryptonian souls into human bodies was intended to be a sort of ark, a safe place for those Kryptonian souls to be until they had another option. Edge, meanwhile, is taking the worst of them and bringing them out.
Kal El’s mother, Lara, invented the machine, but never intended it to be used the way Edge has been using it. I’m not sure if I missed it or if they just didn’t explain it, but the operator can choose which soul to put into the host body. And so they decide they need to put Lara’s soul into a human body to get her help. It’s far from the most absurd thing that’s happened in the Arrowverse.
But this storyline kicks off all these parental encounters.
As soon as they float the idea, Lana volunteers. She sees herself as responsible for much of what Edge has done, at least insofar as she unwittingly facilitated it. Superman is hesitant, but Lois Lane helps persuade him to let Lana Lang (Cushing) volunteer to host Lara Lor-Van. Leslie Larr is nowhere to be found. This plotline was brought you by the letter L, and also the letter L.
So now Lana is taking an active role in protecting Smallville. She allows Lara to take over. Lara is ready and willing to help fight Edge by reversing the flow of her invention, but takes a moment first to catch up with her sweet handsome son, Kal El, learning quickly about his family, his life on Earth, and his role as Superman. Meanwhile, Lois is sort of a nexus point connecting many different parties–Clark and her dad, her sons and her dad, Lana and Clark. She grounds the whole affair even as it tries to lift off like a Kryptonian taking flight while unifying the cast of characters.
But parenthood appears in other ways. Most significantly, we learn Edge’s backstory. He crash-landed on Earth just like Clark. Only, he landed in Britain as a walking, talking boy. The Brits apparently took a shoot-first approach to the sight of a frightened child, and Morgan is chased down, captured, and held underground for years before finally escaping. He was old enough to feel betrayed by his parents and young enough that the lack of adoptive parents soured him on the human race–probably for good.
This storyline also serves to turn the volume on the stakes up to 11. Seeing dozens of Kryptonians with glowing eyes flying after Superman is a terrifying sight. At the same time, though, Lara is able to, with Superman’s help, reverse the process on all of Smallville’s inhabitants, stopping the problem almost as soon as it begins.
It shows how dangerous Edge is, but I’m also left wondering if the Daily Planet is going to suddenly see a change in ownership. It seems weird that Superman didn’t say goodbye to his mother, though time was certainly of the essence. It’s strange to see this Smallville Kryptonians plotline come to an end so suddenly after all the mystery. Edge still has plans, of course, but it sure seems like his machine is destroyed. So where does Edge go from here?
The storyline continues Superman and Lois‘ generally efficient storytelling by ending one part of the storyline before it gets old, but leaves enough questions that I’m already champing at the bit for the next episode.