Before medical treatments and procedures are given to the general public, they’re tested extensively and peer-reviewed by experts in similar disciplines. But it’s probably okay if we use this cure we got from a dead Kryptonian from Backwards Earth on this sick woman who can destroy buildings with her voice, right? Spoilers follow for Superman & Lois Season 3, Episode 11, “Complications.”
Clark (Tyler Hoechlin) helps Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) prepare for a procedure but must leave the boys with her to help John Henry (Wole Parks) and General Lane (Dylan Walsh) track down the Mannheims. Meanwhile, John Henry and Nat (Tayler Buck) butt heads over her desire to help Matteo, (guest star Spence Moore II) and Bruno’s (Chad Coleman) plans go awry as Peia’s (guest star Daya Vaida) condition worsens.
This isn’t the finale, but it’s a huge episode for the season that puts a bow on many of the storylines we’ve been following to make room for what will hopefully be a knock-down drag-out fight at the end of the season.
We’ve watched Lois and Peia’s stories progress alongside each other, acting as mirror images of how a family can respond to a loved one’s battle against cancer, and that comes to a head. Clark has struggled throughout the season to support Lois in the ways she’s needed, but he’s listened over and over and by all indications, the experience has brought the two of them closer together.
At the same time, Peia’s husband Bruno Mannheim has shown that he loves his wife and son dearly and would do anything to save her. But in the process he put the entire family at risk, ignoring well-known best practices and medical wisdom because he’s so used to being in control that he’s unable to give up that control even when his wife is in immense pain. He can and will fix it.
The last minutes of Peia’s life in this episode are an indictment of Bruno Mannheim. Peia was certainly a villain, as she demonstrated when she temporarily regained her health in the previous episode. As soon as she began to decline, though, she seemed to understand that she wasn’t going to escape her fate. She wanted to be done fighting. In the process, she turned Bruno’s top henchman into mist and nearly destroyed a city block, and by that point it was no longer her fault, but rather Bruno’s for pushing for an answer that would let him escape his own grief–regardless of Peia’s pain.
While all of this is going on, Lois is at the hospital nearby preparing for her surgery when Jordan has a panic attack and spontaneously develops X-ray vision. The visual effect for this was actually really cool, and the show uses this moment as a chance to remind us how close Jonathan and Jordan are as twins, as Jonathan is able to help Jordan find calmness before he has a super-powered freakout.
Making things right
The story also picks up on Kyle’s new information–that his neighbor Clark is Superman. He’s understandably pretty weird about it, and blames Chrissy for not telling him. I think the purpose of this move was to play into Sarah’s current state of utter self-loathing over her mistake and the rift in her friendship with Jordan. Kyle spent season 1 as an almost-villain, and then got his life together when he and Lana divorced. But he slips hard here, reverting to his formerly selfish self. Seeing this in himself enables him to talk to Sarah about depression, making mistakes, and recovery from an empathetic position.
That sums up a lot of this episode, in fact. Bruno essentially stands down from his long-held position as a powerful crime boss, agreeing to tell the D.O.D. everything they want to know in exchange for his son’s safety and freedom. John Irons is able to see himself in Bruno–a man who lost his wife to an unstoppable force. He’s also able to see Matteo as something other than the son of a killer. There’s a lot of owning up and standing back from characters who had previously charged in, and instead making the right decision and favoring patience.
Of course, Bruno’s mistakes are about to come back to haunt Metropolis. Namely, Lex Luthor is getting out of prison and Bizarro Superman is awake.