TV Review: Superman & Lois, 2×1, “What Lies Beneath”

User Rating: 4

I’m gonna make this as simple as I can; Superman & Lois has the potential to be a great program. Tyler Hoechlin and Bitsie Tulloch continue to be the heart of this show. In the second season premiere, Superman faces giant Kryptonian headaches, and his patriotism to America is questioned by the person replacing General Lane.

In addition to this chaos, both his boys, Jordan and Jonathan, are growing up. Jordan is overly clingy with his girlfriend Sarah Cushing while Jonathan tries to take things up a level with his partner. Both boys are unsuccessful at moving things along between their respective partners. Lois is in a place where she feels deep regret about not reaching out to parallel earth’s daughter Natalie (Tayler Buck). We later learn that this stems from the abandonment she felt and experienced from her own mother at an early age. Superman is also dealing with the crisis of knowing that the Department of Defense has decided to use other superpowered people to do heroic acts around the city and the world. This doesn’t sit well with Superman because that means you’re putting superpowered citizens in danger for battles they may not be able to win.

This premiere is an absolute mess. There are too many different things that are introduced within this 42 minute episode. It’s clear to me from the very beginning that Sarah most likely has a different boyfriend that she hasn’t told Jordan about. Lois was angry with literally every person who entered her path after being introduced to Natalie. The worst decision the writers possibly made was making a three-month time jump directly after Natalie’s introduction. Sure, it showed that things moved on between John Henry and the Kent’s, but I don’t understand how the time jump engaged the audience with the story in a more profound way. Clearly, time sped up, but the dynamics between all the characters stayed basically the same.

A further problem with a superhero show as expensive and vast as this is that the stories that really are the most interesting don’t get enough screen time. For example, Lana Cushing starts working to dethrone the mayor of Smallville. When did she even decide that’s something she wanted to do? Why in the world was Sarah away at camp for the summer? Who is the secret boyfriend that she is hiding?

Additionally, Lois and Clark are supposed to be this dynamic team, yet at no point does he mention that he’s getting these super headaches to his wife. John Henry just spent three more months in his motorhome without trying to find a job or do anything else until three months passed and his daughter needed to go to school. There are so many unclear gaps within the dynamics of this episode it makes audiences struggle to root for the characters they liked initially.

One final note that I want to make about this show is that the actress that plays Natalie, Tayler Buck, is a fantastic actor, but they haven’t given her any material to really work with yet. They have her playing an archetype of a bratty disengaged teenager who is only hurting at the loss of her mom and nothing else. That’s not good writing. She deserves better character work as a regular of a vast TV series. This show is so bad it didn’t even get off the ground. I guess the sophomore slump really is in effect for this show. Don’t hope for a good season of this show. I have lost the belief that it can fly.

Written by
Chike has been a film critic in Illinois for the last 10 years with Urbana Public Television. Most of his work can be found on their YouTube channel where his show Reel Reviews is posted. The films he enjoys most are the kind that surprise you with characters that are deeper than you could ever suspect. As much as he loves reviewing it’s the stories that are unexpected that bring him the most joy. He lives in Champaign with his parents surrounded by cornfields.

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