The idea of family is at the center of much of Superman & Lois’ best moments. Whether it’s the interplay between Clark and his sons, his battle with his brother Tal-Rho, or the tension between Clark, Lois, and Sam Lane, family is an everpresent part of this version of Superman. The Super family expands this week as Lois’ sister, Lucy, enters the picture. Spoilers follow for Superman & Lois Season 2, Episode 4, “The Inverse Method.”
“The Inverse Method”
Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) and Chrissy (Sofia Hasmik) are on a mission to find Lois’ sister Lucy (guest star Jenna Dewan) and Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alex Garfin) become more and more unsettled as Clark’s (Tyler Hoechlin) painful visions continue. Meanwhile, Lana (Emmanuelle Chriqui), Kyle (Erik Valdez) and Sarah (Inde Navarette) share a family breakfast and discuss Sarah’s upcoming quinceanera. Lastly, Natalie (Tayler Buck) and her father (Wole Parks) share a bonding moment.
Superman & Lois has been hinting for weeks that Lois’ sister, Lucy, would be butting up against Lois as a result of a long-time adversarial relationship. Actor Jenna Dewan plays the character, who initially appeared in Supergirl Season 1, primarily as competition for Kara, who had feelings for James Olsen at that time. She’s been mostly MIA since that time, and in that time this thing happened where the entirety of existence ended and was rebooted. It’s tough to link the accomplished Lucy Lane we met back in Supergirl Season 1 to the one we’re meeting now–what happened between then and now that sent her spiraling?
Lois Lane on Blast
Lucy plays a significant role in this episode, as we open on Lois and Lucy some years earlier, arguing about Lucy’s involvement in the cult that now threatens Lois’ very career. Meaning to meet with Lucy herself, Lois instead finds the cult leader Ally Allston in Lucy’s place, a smug, condescending woman who makes herself immediately easy to hate.
Later, Lois meets with Lucy at a place of Lucy’s choosing, and we quickly find out that it was a trap laid by Lucy and Ally to get Lois to admit to selectively reporting on the cult to save her on hidden camera. This season has been tough on Lois, forcing her to have tough conversations with herself, John’s daughter, her father Sam, her coworker Chrissy, and now Lucy. Lois is getting the crap beaten out of her from every direction. It’s tough to watch. By the time the episode is over, Lois left alone and stunned as Lucy embarrasses her and Chrissy falls victim to Ally’s persuasive words.
A Kind of Parasite
If you read DC comics regularly, though, you might recognize Ally’s name. Ally, called Alexandra in the comics, is one incarnation of the Superman villain Parasite. While Supergirl fought a version of Parasite way back in Season 2, this is–again–a new version of Earth, and an opportunity for Superman to potentially fight a classic adversary. On the other hand, the writers could be intending to keep the parasite aspect of this character as more a metaphorical thing–as a cult leader, she’s drawing an undue amount of emotional energy from her victims as she manipulates them.
While Lois is fighting off seemingly everyone in her life except her immediate family, her sons are dealing with more personal issues specific to being sons of Superman. Jordan tries to use his powers to help someone, only to find out after that he was on camera at the time–leading him to ask his grandfather to help him learn to use his powers safely. Jonathan, meanwhile, gets his first dose of the X-Kryptonite drug working its way around Smallville. While it gives him an initial rush, it later malfunctions when he mistakes an approaching bird as an imminent threat and reacts. This mirrors a moment in the comics with Jonathan discovering his powers. While he’s getting his abilities through this drug right now, I can’t help but wonder if the drug will kickstart latent powers for the other brother.
Superman vs. Bizarro
While I think that Lois’ story is probably the “A” story for this episode, though, superheroics definitely get their time as Superman continues to fight Bizarro Superman. No one has called him that yet, but I’m crossing my fingers that someone will say the word “Bizarro” at some point this season and that it’ll stick.
Superman fights Bizarro twice this week, with the second acting as a dramatic climax for what feels like the first “act” of this season. Superman faces off against Bizarro in a salt flat in Bolivia that works as a stark backdrop and a way to make sure they don’t have to worry about VFX for destroying any buildings. By the time the battle is done, two of General Anderson’s three “Supermen of America” are dead, and John Irons is in a coma.
We’re left with lots of questions about this character. Where did he come from, and what exactly is the necklace he wears? Is the necklace the thing that seems to corrupt and drain Superman when they meet, or is that inherent to Bizarro? Is someone controlling Bizarro, or is he sort of a wildcard acting on instinct alone?
The only storyline I’m not really fond of right now is Lana’s quest to become mayor of Smallville. This storyline steps further away from Superman and further into Family Drama territory, with the family having to worry about depression and infidelity and stuff like that. The showrunners need to be keenly aware of how storylines like this will be perceived by viewers who show up for the cape–it’s the only thing that feels totally disconnected from that.
While this episode was a bit light on Superman action, it does a good job of developing the show’s core characters in interesting ways. I’m curious about what Ally will become, whether Jonathan will develop powers, and who Bizarro is in this version of Superman. It doesn’t feel like any of the ongoing stories are getting the short shrift here. That’s a tough balancing act for the writers, and they’re mostly nailing it.