Superman & Lois 2×05 Review – Mirror Selves

Superman & Lois -- "The Thing in The Mines" -- Image Number: SML203a_0026r.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent and Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane -- Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW -- (C) 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Bizarro Superman isn’t so much a supervillain as he is a super-misunderstanding. He’s from a different place that works the opposite of ours. But also it’s important to celebrate Sara’s quinceañera, I guess. Spoilers follow for Superman & Lois Season 2, Episode 5, “Girl… You’ll be a Woman, Soon.”

“Girl…You’ll Be A Woman, Soon”

Lana (Emmanuelle Chriqui), Kyle (Erik Valdez) and Sarah (Inde Navarette) prepare for Sarah’s quinceanera, but things don’t end up going as smoothly as they had hoped. Clark (Tyler Hoechlin) finds himself struggling with feelings of guilt about what happened to John Irons (Wole Parks) and Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) worries that she might have been wrong about Ally (guest star Rya Kihlstedt). Meanwhile, Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) learns that Ret. General Samuel Lane (Dylan Walsh) is planning to train Jordan (Alex Garfin). Lastly, Chrissy (Sofia Hasmik) goes searching for the truth about Lois.

Superman & Lois leaned into the family drama a little too hard in this episode, with conflicts in the Cushing and Kent families taking center stage over superheroics. With that said, the episode still takes the time to give us some fun Superman action while laying groundwork for what exactly what is going on with Bizarro Superman and Ally Alston.

A Very Special Episode of Superman & Lois

Over on the Kent farm, Jonathan is giving in to the temptation to artificially enhance himself. Being shown up by his teammates and living with a super-powered brother has taken a toll on the kid’s self-esteem. Back in Metropolis, he was a popular football player, but somehow, in a small town, he’s seeming to play second fiddle to everyone around. To keep up, Jonathan starts juicing with the inhalable X-Kryptonite.

The idea behind this storyline–that the once-popular king of high school is struggling now that he’s not the biggest guy around–is a really good one. This is the kind of tension that would arise in a family like this, and that’s great. However, it’s pretty transparently just a Very Special Episode about steroid use and abuse at this point, right down to Jonathan lying and hiding it, getting angry, and people around him noticing his temper. It feels like a teen drama-style storyline with only the mildest of sci-fi conceits to make it appealing to those of us watching for capes and eye lasers.

Family Drama

The same goes for the other centerpiece this week, Sara’s quinceañera. I like the characters in the Cushing family (now Cushing-Cortez after Sara took her grandmother’s family name), but their family drama feels like a big step away from the reason we’re here: Superman. Lana working to become Mayor of Smallville is a great turn for a character whose primary defining characteristic has historically been “Superman’s First Girlfriend,” but it feels like a distraction from the stuff we want to focus on. That I actually care about them, especially Kyle–who drove me nuts during Season 1–really says something about the writing and acting here, but I’m also just not interested in family drama stuff in a show like this when it’s this far removed from the core concept.

Bizarro Superman Speaks

With that said, there are superheroics to be had here. As Lois re-investigates her sister’s involvement with Ally Alston’s cult, a bunch of revelations come out. The episode starts with this flashback to Ally as a child. Her parents passed away, and her father left her the pendant we saw Bizarro Superman wearing. Later, after Superman saves Alston from Bizarro Superman, the two mirror men meet again–this time with a translator that fixes his backwards speech. Ally, it turns out, is quite honest with all her talk of other-selves, and Bizarro Superman explains that where he comes from, she has accomplished what every supervillain only dreams of–total world domination.

I like this twist because it establishes first that, as I said above, Bizarro Superman is not a supervillain. He’s a walking, flying, megaton-punching misunderstanding. His mind works backwards from ours, and so does his homeworld. It also makes Alston’s every move that much more sinister, and her very-hatable smirk into something scary. So much has happened that it feels like these secrets should’ve come out earlier, but this is only the 5th episode of, presumably, 13 or 15 based on the length of the previous season. That’s a lot of time to play with the pieces on the board thus far. I just hope that the show can balance Super-stuff and normie-stuff a little better in future episodes.