Clark is having to accept a lot right now. His wife is sick and his sons are growing up quickly. He has to face reality, and that’s tough when you spend so much of your life living a very different reality from those around you. Spoilers follow for Superman & Lois Season 3, Episode 07, “Forever and Always.”
“Forever and Always”
Lois (Elizabeth Tulluch) and Clark (Tylwr Hoechlin) dig deeper on Bruno Mannheim (Chad Coleman), starting with his connections to Hob’s Bay Medical Center, while Jonathan (Michael Bishop) and Jordan (Alex Garfin) panic at home over Lois’ dire diagnosis. Meanwhile, Matteo (guest star Spence Moore II) comes to Smallville to meet John Henry (Wole Parks) for the first time, and Sarah (Inde Navarrette) and Chrissy (Sofia Hasmik) start to break the ice.
We DO talk about Bruno
While this episode isn’t exclusively about Bruno Mannheim, he is undoubtedly at the center of the story, and what begins as a two-pronged attack ends with a Lois and Clark making the same discovery that we the viewers made last week: the woman Lois has been befriending, Peia, is married to Bruno Mannheim.
At the hospital, Lois questions Peia about her life and can’t resist turning it into an interrogation. Clark, meanwhile, visits Bruno Mannheim in the guise of telling his side of the story about the hospital he’s opened to treat and cure cancer.
This is sort of an informal framing device to explore how Bruno rose to power–and met Peia in the process. Thanks to the two actors, especially Chad Coleman, this storyline works well. Continuing from last week, they’re building a complex character who is trying to use crime as a way to quickly do good for his own people, who he views as abandoned by greater society.
While Clark is starting to figure out what’s up with Mannheim, Lois is apologizing to Peia for overstepping the bounds of their early friendship. Finally, all four are in the same room when the two husbands go to visit their wives in treatment, putting the two heroes and two villains in the same room, though each pair still has the secret of their superpowered spouse.
Elsewhere in the episode, it’s Smallville family drama. Sarah comes face to face with her dad’s new girlfriend, Chrissy, but the two are able to begin getting along. Matteo comes to visit Natalie and John lets his Scary Dad side out, but later apologizes to the young couple. Jordan and Jonathan first interrogate the artificial intelligence at the Fortress of Solitude about why it can’t treat Lois, and then discover her end-of-life documents.
A lot of this is pretty boring. There’s no superheroics to be seen throughout the episode, it’s just people being serious with each other. The major upside is that the show is still doing a great job of handling Lois’ cancer without making her a victim or leaning on science fiction for an easy exit. This storyline working is going to depend almost entirely on maintaining this mature framing of her condition. The most exciting moment comes when the show reveals the twist we all saw coming a mile away, which is that Matteo is Bruno and Peia’s son.
I’m not looking for a family melodrama, though, and it’s a little frustrating that we don’t get to see Superman do anything, since that’s what we’re here for. Because the show needs to both develop Bruno and give Lois some serious screen time, that means that we’re going to have times like this throughout this season. Hopefully they’re in the minority, though, and things ramp up soon.