Superman & Lois -- "Last Sons of Krypton" -- Image Number: SML115a_0067r.jpg -- Pictured: Tyler Hoechlin as Superman-- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

While not without faults, Superman and Lois Season 1 has been a great surprise. While other parts of the Arrowverse falter and close out, Supes and his family are here to tell us that the little world the CW has created still has life in it. This week’s episode marks the finale for the first season, which has the difficult job of closing up as many storylines as it can while still keeping things interesting. Spoilers follow for Superman and Lois Season 1, Episode 15, “Last Sons of Krypton.”

“Last Sons of Krypton”

This season finale has a lot of work to do in roughly 45 minutes of screentime. In some ways, it succeeds with flying colors; other parts feel slap-dashed together and chopped up for time.

When last we left off, Tal-Rho kidnapped Jordan Kent and “eradicated” his own father’s soul into the boy. Since Kal El and Tal-Rho are half brothers, if Zeta-Rho’s soul were to overtake Jordan’s, that would make Jordan Tal-Rho’s father-nephew and Clark’s step-dad-son. That silliness aside, it’s pretty creepy and starts us off with an action-packed episode with tons of Superman action.

The first fight of the episode is Superman vs. Zeta-Jordan, and it’s a tense one; we know Superman has to hold back, and so does Zeta-Rho. While that’s happening, Tal-Rho shows up in Smallville and all but negates John Irons’ abilities before converting a half-dozen soldiers and taking them along for the ride.

It’s dangerous to go alone

Things start to move quickly after this; Lois brings the main theme of the show so far and this episode in particular into play when she convinces Clark that she and their son, Jonathan, are the ones best-suited to bringing Jordan out from beneath Zeta-Rho’s mental domination. Superman is typically thought of as someone who works alone, but over and over the show reinforces that he realistically can’t. He can’t be in two places at once, even if he can get pretty close, and he’s only so strong–at least when it comes to other Kryptonians.

In between, there’s a funny moment where Jonathan dumps all the guns he took from John Irons’ truck on the table in front of Irons, saying “Here’s all your stuff back.”

Superman and Steel take the fight to Tal-Rho; Irons absconds with the unconscious Jordan while Superman fights off the eradicated soldiers.

Rescue Mission

The rescue sequence between Jordan, Jonathan, and Lois is one of the weaker scenes in the episode. Earlier this season, Tal-Rho used a device to walk through Clark’s memories, learning everything he could about him, and Lois uses the same device on Jordan. I’m not sure when they got their hands on the device, but okay. When Edge used it, the writers turned the device into a creative way to do a fun flashback episode that turned into a tense, harrowing experience for Superman and one of the coolest episodes of the season.

When Lois uses it, she scrubs quickly through a few memories and then, when Zeta-Rho notices her, she just screams Jordan’s name. It’s straightforward and melodramatic in that classic CW fashion and doesn’t fit the super-competent Lois Lane we’ve known previously, rendering the whole plotline a bit underwhelming. With that said, when Jordan wakes up, he’s flying 15 feet above the ground holding his brother up by the neck. The hug they share after is cathartic and feels genuine.

While all that is happening, the Cushing family–the stand-in for all of Smallville–is helping to evacuate the town. Again, this plotline feels a bit rushed and extraneous. It helps redeem Kyle that much more but feels like it should’ve had a few more minutes or been cut entirely.

Once Edge is defeated, we shift into the denouement of the season, and a ton of important stuff happens here.

What’s Next?

Perhaps the biggest is the interview Superman does with Chrissy and the Smallville Gazette. This is the part that shows how well the Superman and Lois writers really understand Superman. Chrissy asks him if he’s worried that people will be afraid of Kryptonians after Tal-Rho’s takeover attempt, and Superman says that he can’t control how people feel, but that he knows who he is. Superman doesn’t need to be thanked; he’s a true servant of the public.

Things end with a big cookout that has a few key revelations. Lois asks Irons if he’ll stay around, and they have a touching conversation about what it means to see your wife–from another Earth–married to and in love with another man. It’s a rare case of the multiverse being used for character development instead of wacky comic book stuff. We also find out that Sam Lane is stepping down from the Department of Defense, so his role in upcoming seasons is up in the air and could be interesting.

Finally, we get a cliffhanger for the next season, but it’s honestly not much of one. A ship crashes on the Kent farm and who gets out but Irons’ daughter from his Earth.

A great start

Looking back at the season, I appreciate how short it was with just fifteen episodes. We ended up with a lot less chaff to separate than with a full 20-plus episode season and much more time spent on the core story, and diversions were intentional rather than being obligatory time fillers. There were certain plotlines that were dropped entirely; I’d forgotten all about Jordan’s anxiety issues until someone else mentioned them. And you could say that figuring out he’s Kryptonian and has Superman for a father helped him understand himself, but anxiety doesn’t just disappear like that. But overall, Superman did what he’s supposed to–standing head and shoulders above the other heroes as a beacon of hope. This finale had a lot of work to do in such a short time, and not all of it worked, but overall we ended up with a genuine treat of a season.