This week’s episode is talk-heavy, but that’s because there’s a lot of work to get done. There are tons of interesting character interactions to enjoy from across the entire cast, and also the loss of one of the show’s more interesting characters. Spoilers follow for Superman & Lois Season 2, Episode 7, “Anti-Hero.”
Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) pleads with Lt. Anderson (guest star Ian Bohen, “Teen Wolf”) to investigate Ally Allston (guest star Rya Kihlstedt) and Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) receives some very upsetting news. Meanwhile, Lois helps Lana (Emmanuelle Chriqui) prepare to fight the good fight. Lastly, Jordan (Alex Garfin) is still irritated with Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) for lying to him.
This week is all about tough conversations between characters who needed to have one for a while now, and a bunch of storylines came to a head. Superman wakes up in the red-sun holding cell that he previously locked Tal-Rho into. It’s an awkward situation to be sure, but it leads to some fascinating interactions between the two that show how complex Superman’s feelings about his sibling are. Superman is often portrayed as an absolute paladin, the very definition of lawful good, but the behavior on the part of Lt. Anderson in this episode forces him to pick which law he’s abiding by.
Tal-Rho and Superman tricking the soldiers into a fight is one of the most entertaining scenes in this episode. This week also fleshes out Bizarro Superman as a true hero from his own world. When the Kryptonians’ backs are up against the wall, he joins them and dies for them as well (at least, it seems like it. I wouldn’t put it past the show to find a way to keep him around a bit longer). So many of these moments, from Tal-Rho leaping in front of Kryptonite bullets to protect Superman, to Bizarro Superman battling a superpowered Lt. Anderson in a hopeless battle, are genuinely satisfying.
Keeping up with the Kents
Meanwhile, Jonathan’s secrets come to a head as he’s found with a bag full of X-Kryptonite in his jacket. He, being a stupid teenager, tries to protect his cute girlfriend so that he doesn’t look like a snitch, but it really only makes the situation worse. Lois initially screams at him, but a conversation with Lana reminds her that kids aren’t being stupid for the sake of it.
Similarly, I like that the story acknowledges that Jonathan didn’t just do XK for fun. People do drugs for the way they make them feel, but many times that need to feel that way is caused by the absence of something else. Jonathan is now the only regular member of his family. Even the non-superpowered members–Lois and her father–are “special” in his eyes. He’s an ex-D.O.D. boss and she’s a world-famous reporter. His brother and father, meanwhile, are of course both superpowered. It would be hard not to feel like you’re being left behind. And then kids at school are surpassing you thanks to these drugs? It starts to feel incredibly unfair.
This episode uses the Very Special Episode feel of the previous moments in this storyline to get surprisingly real about the emotions behind his decision. The tears he sheds late in the episode feel earned. He’s hurting. Everyone around him is mad at him, and he’s still feeling like he’s the odd man out.
I even enjoyed the scenes with the Cushing family. Sara and Lana have a tough conversation about a parent protecting their teenage child from family drama. Later, Lois helps Lana see that the mayor she’s running against can only hold her family life over her if she lets him.
The fight between Superman, Tal-Rho, Bizarro Superman, and Lt. Anderson caps it all off nicely with a good superhero battle that is equal parts satisfying punches and good drama. While I’ve had a few issues with this season during particular scenes, the overall arc of it is really working for me.