I have often asked myself what makes the perfect Superman and Lois episode. It often comes down to how I can emotionally engage with the characters and how they evolve throughout the story. This week I got that when Morgan Edge revealed himself to be Superman’s half-brother Tal-Roh. What an excellent conclusion to such a solid cliffhanger from last week. The fact that Tal-Roh is only interested in Smallville because he wants to use the town’s local inhabitants to implant the consciousnesses of long-dead Kryptonians is pretty diabolical, to say the least. None of that would have come across as believable were it not for the fantastic dynamic between Adam Rayner and Tyler Hoechlin as Tal-Roh and Superman, respectively. I really appreciate the time the writer of this episode, Adam Mallinger, examined how Clark feels about Kryptonian’s inhabiting local townspeople.
The biggest shock of the episode came when it was discovered Clark’s biological mother was responsible for constructing the machine reprogramming people’s minds. The fact that Lana was host to her mother’s consciousness was even more shocking but made since given how much Lana had turned a blind eye to this season. Her actions, while brave, did not make up for her irresponsibility in her children’s lives. Kyle Cushing finally could eradicate his deadbeat dad portrayal that had been haunting him all season. Unfortunately, he still has ground to make up with pretty much his entire family. I’m glad the Cushing family is reconnecting overall, however.
Lois didn’t get much to do this episode, and I was hoping she would have more of a part to play in saving the town. Unfortunately, I feel Lois has been underserved most of the season. When you have an actress of Bitsie Tulloch’s caliber, use her. It’s been nice exploring her as a parent, but I feel audiences would invest in her more if the show didn’t just have her in locations collecting evidence. Really let the audience work out the mysteries with her. Don’t just have her figure out the answer in two or three obvious scenes.
One other major problem for this episode involves the character of Sarah. Regardless of what she’s been through, she simply cannot get over the numerous feelings of her father. It was good growth to see her finally, except that although he often fails, he loves the family and wants to provide for them at every available opportunity. Unfortunately, Sarah refuses to be grateful for that, making the character very difficult to watch, especially during this episode.
I can’t give enough credit to Tyler Hoechlin, though, as Superman. He continues to consistently embody the persona and compassion begun by Christopher Reeve in 1978. Not once did he do action in this episode that was selfish or insulted the people who gave him a home. Instead, he offered options for civility even though they were dismissed. This is the kind of storytelling I expected from this show. I am disappointed it has come to fruition so close to the end of the season. I can only hope that with time the rest of the season matches up to the quality of this episode.