If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good hallway fight. A hallway fight makes for one of the most memorable scenes of Oldboy, they defined the Netflix Marvel shows, and they’re a surprise highlight of the latest episode of Superman & Lois. Spoilers follow for Superman & Lois Season 2, Episode 6, “Tried and True.”
“Tried and True”
Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) tells Clark (Tyler Hoechlin) that she and Chrissy (Sofia Hasmik) plan to do a deeper dive into the Inverse Society and Lana (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and Sarah (Inde Navarrette) try to comfort each other after the fallout at Sarah’s quinceanera. Meanwhile, Jordan (Alex Garfin) notices something suspicious in Jonathan’s (Jordan Elsass) book bag. Lastly, Lt. Mitch Anderson (guest star Ian Bohen “Teen Wolf”) finds himself under fire for the deterioration of the department of defense’s relationship with Superman.
Before we dive in, a fun fact: This episode was directed by Amy Jo Johnson, the original Pink Ranger from the American production of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.
The show kicks off with a look into another world–the mirror world. The Kent household is dilapidated, and the world has a red hue thanks to the sun that gives Bizarro Superman his powers. An unkept cat sits on the table, eating next to newspapers with backwards text. Bizarro Superman stands in his dimensional travel suit and powers himself up with green Kryptonite. Cut to the episode’s first hallway fight between Bizarro Superman and a bunch of soldiers. What wouldn’t normally qualify as even a fight is a knock-down, drag-out melee that ends with Bizarro Superman fighting a powered-up Lana as he makes his way to Ally Alston, taking her pendant before coming to our world.
The climax of the episode is a mirrored version of the same fight. Where Bizarro Superman went left and then right, Superman goes right and then left. Weakened by the red light, Superman is in the same predicament as his mirror self, only it doesn’t end with him triumphant and reclaiming the pendant. Instead, Lt. Anderson stops him cold with a Kryptonite dart, and the last we see, Superman is being hauled off to the Department of Defense’s anti-Kryptonian black site.
Using a character like Bizarro Superman–a name they keep hinting at but haven’t actually used yet–in a prime-time superhero drama is a wild swing, but I love the way these parts of this episode play out. I won’t pretend like they can stand up against the iconic Oldboy and Daredevil scenes, but they do a fine job considering they’re working on a CW-sized budget and time frame. It puts both Superman at odds with their own governments, engaging in losing battles to save their respective worlds.
Another Very Special Episode
Meanwhile, life continues in Smallville, and with it continues local drama. I’m not as interested in this stuff, as I mentioned last week, even though I’d call the performances solid to excellent. Emmanuelle Chriqui plays Lana’s sense of betrayal heartbreakingly well, and anyone who has been through that kind of thing will know exactly how well she’s doing portraying the hurt that character is going through.
Similarly, Lois and Lucy (but not Lana or Lara) try at their father’s request to reconcile, and things are going well until the mention of Ally’s cult comes up, dumping a tanker truck on the smoldering conflict.
And finally, there’s Jon’s X-Kryptonite abuse. This one is the best of these because it feels like it’s going to resolve quickly. Not to say that they’re “getting it over with,” but that they’re letting the story run its course quickly; the short seasons necessitate that stories like these don’t drag on for too long. If the show does something interesting with the consequences, that will make it worth the time.
Even with so much focus on drama, the solid performances make sure that this stuff isn’t agonizing to watch even if it’s not ultimately where I want things to be. Kal El is pretty occupied right now, so he can’t really do much to help out with these situations, but Superman & Lois is at its best when it’s about what it’s like to live as Superman. We get that from Bizarro Superman this week, to a degree. We’re heading toward the mid-season finale, now, and this is a fun set up for that.