Superman & Lois – Season 2 Episode 7

Mar 9, 2022 | Posted by in TV


Superman & Lois deals with the aftermath of Clark’s capture, the fracturing of the Cortez family and Jonathan facing consequences for using drugs.

Clark being betrayed and imprisoned by the military made for a strong shock. The breakdown of Clark’s relationship with them has been prominent since the season began with Anderson’s hostility being a major contributing factor. Clark bears some of the burden for this due to his lack of trust in Anderson but the bulk of the problem comes from Anderson severing ties with Superman for not acting as one of his soldiers. Up until this point the relationship breakdown plot has been complex and nuanced due to the different factors feeding into it.


Picking up the pieces

Progressing it in a big way through putting Anderson firmly in the position of villain robs this of a lot of the complexity that made it so interesting. Instead of being someone trying to do a job hindered by the lack of communication from a major asset he is now a vindictive and sadistic enemy who is comfortable resorting to torture and willing to abandon everything he supposedly stands for without any of this being earned by what has been previously shown. Other than being less than impressed with the reality of Superman as opposed to the idea of him there is nothing identifiable about him. He is consistently hostile and all evidence points to him being bad at his job due to the plethora of bad decisions he has made. Replacing Sam with a less competent representative of the military is a reasonable idea particularly from the point of view of Clark expecting a certain level of competence due to his years dealing with Sam but it doesn’t work as intended and the detail of Sam having recommended him for the job makes it worse as it’s clear that Anderson is completely out of his depth so it would be more reasonable for him to be a character who has somehow risen through the ranks despite being obviously incompetent. Sam’s endorsement suggests that he should be among the best which is very much the opposite of what has been presented.

One thing that does come across is that his vendetta against Superman has become personal though it’s not entirely clear why. The suggestion is that the persistent lack of cooperation combined with his former hero worship has allowed a very personal hatred to form that he now acts on. As a result he loses all objectivity and professionalism and acts outwith his remit. This includes torturing Tal-Rho with a Kryptonite collar and attacking Clark with Kryptonite weapons while shooting up with X-Kryptonite to level the playing field. These actions have him kicked out of the military which likely resolves the tension between them and Clark. This moves Anderson entirely to the role of antagonist and robs the show of a compelling ongoing plot that could have been better if more time had been spent developing Anderson as a character and showing him to be competent with a different way of doing things.

An advantage to the approach taken is that it allows the plot to progress quickly. It builds to the conclusion of Anderson killing Bizarro in a brilliantly executed action sequence where Anderson is brutal and merciless while Bizarro is completely out of his league thanks to his X-Krpytonite weakness being exploited. Bizarro’s death would seem to be premature as there was a great deal of potential to develop him as a character as well as use him to explore Bizarro World through his perspective. Mention of a strong connection to Bizarro Tal-Rho and his unnamed wife is a recent example of that potential though it’s unknown what is planned after this point but Bizarro was shaping up to be a compelling presence that is now gone.


A desire to help sometimes isn’t enough

The development of the Clark/Tal relationship is a definite highlight. Tal-Rho remains underdeveloped as a character but now that the Morgan Edge persona no longer exists there’s a stronger sense of who he is as a person. So far he seems to be playfully sadistic, despotic and starved for affection. His desire for a relationship with Clark is genuine but being able to forge one is held back by the anger and resentment he carries with him due to his upbringing. Being incarcerated in a cell where he has no external contact will feed into this heavily but he definitely envies Clark coming from a positive upbringing and is unable to see beyond that.

Another issue he has is feeling that Humans are so far beneath them to the point that he doesn’t recognise them as being important. Clark’s devotion to them is a mystery to him and it feeds into the beginnings of their interactions in this episode as he believes that Clark ending up in the same cell despite everything he’s done for the people of Earth will act as validation of that position and bring Clark around to his way of thinking. Of course it does as Clark believes this to be a resolvable problem because he is a persistently hopeful person even in the most dire of circumstances.

In theory this plot could have been the temptation of Superman with Tal-Rho trying to convince him that his loyalty should be with him rather than the people who betrayed, attacked and imprisoned him. As an idea it’s strong especially as a way to reinforce Clark’s unwavering belief in Humanity as well as his unshakeable morality but the actual handling of this is half baked as it never extends beyond the obvious platitudes on either side. Adam Rayner’s performance as Tal trying to get under Clark’s skin is excellent, his playful attitude makes for a strong foil to Tyler Hoechlin’s more serious approach. Both sides make sense in context and it forms a good basis for their dynamic to form. Tal’s desire to form a relationship with his brother is genuine and this makes it believable that he would leap into the path of bullets to save his life. It’s a decision from him that is earned by what they experience together throughout the episode. By the end there is a sense that they are moving towards brotherhood albeit slowly.


Sibling rivalry

Family conflict is something that permeates every plot in this episode. Kyle moving out at Lana’s request has some severe emotional consequences for all concerned. Lana considers herself a failure as a mother and as a wife because she hasn’t managed to keep her family together. She wants to remain strong for Sarah but she is visibly struggling which prevents her from being the rock she wants to be. Sarah doesn’t have that expectation of her and is trying to offer support in any way she can but is also struggling because she doesn’t know how to resolve the complicated feelings she has.

Jordan tries to offer her support but he is limited because he doesn’t understand what she’s going through. Sarah doesn’t resent him for this because she’s aware that he comes from a loving family without those kinds of problems and recognises his desire to help her. Noble intentions can only take him so far in this case because Sarah needs someone who has been where she is and can help her resolve her feelings. The major obstacle for her is that Kyle keeps reaching out to her but Sarah doesn’t answer his calls because she has no idea what to say to him and doesn’t know if she should even talk to him. She wonders if there are sides to this and if she should be on one of them. Kyle’s infidelity is undeniably something to be condemned and him being capable of being unfaithful can easily make him a bad person in the eyes of many. Sarah’s internal conflict is around whether she should believe that he’s a bad person and cut him out of her life as a result. The conflict comes from Kyle being her father and Sarah loving him so being reluctant to cut him out of her life.

Lana urges Sarah to talk to someone who can understand what she’s going through rather than let her feelings consume her. This prompts her to contact Aubrey (Djouliet Amara); the girl she kissed at camp. Before asking for advice Sarah apologises for ghosting her following her return from camp and has her apology accepted. Aubrey acknowledges that Sarah has a boyfriend and their kiss created complications in that relationship so the lack of contact doesn’t seem unreasonable to her. Sarah feels bad for her approach to this situation overall and feels the need to make amends. Aubrey not holding it against her at least allows her closure on that issue but it’s likely that Aubrey’s introduction is designed to set up more problems down the line.


A friendship rekindled

For the purposes of this episode she is a sympathetic ear and the source of advice from an experienced point of view. Aubrey took her parent’s divorce badly and ended up behaving in ways she’s not proud of because she was avoiding the real problem. Her advice is that Sarah skips that and takes the time to speak to Kyle so that she can air her feelings to him and work through things in a healthy and thoughtful way. Sarah and Aubrey’s scene together was strong. Even though it was specifically geared towards dealing with two distinct topics there’s a palpable history between them with the two actors having a natural rapport that makes the past association believable.

As for Sarah’s approach to her parents splitting up, this is something I can personally identify with as I dealt with my parents splitting up some years ago. I was older than Sarah is in the show but my age did not bring wisdom as I handled the situation poorly. Sarah’s approach is in almost direct contrast to the one I chose. From early on she was looking for a supportive ear who could understand what she is dealing with and offer advice to help her move forward. I chose to keep it to myself so didn’t talk to anyone else about it. When looking back I felt a misplaced sense of shame that my parents had split up even though it had nothing to do with me and doesn’t reflect on me in any way. In my mind opening up to someone about it ran the risk of them thinking less of me so I kept it to myself and tried to deal with it alone. Another thing I went the wrong way about was my relationship with my father. Like Sarah I wasn’t sure what to say to him and as a result damage was done to that relationship. Perhaps with support and advice I might have handled that better and avoided some very poor decisions as well as the overpowering isolation that plagued me constantly during that time.

Sarah’s approach is a healthy one and it fits her character because she is used to facing uncomfortable feelings head on thanks to the work she has been doing on herself in therapy. Her natural inclination is to reach out to others and it puts her in a better position when it comes to her overall well-being. The end result of her conversation with Aubrey is approaching Kyle to open a dialogue with him. It won’t be an easy conversation but it will allow her to articulate how she feels and possibly begin to understand the factors that resulted in Kyle being unfaithful. Even if she can’t reach a new understanding and their relationship is beyond repair then at least she tried which in itself is significant.


Bye Bye Bizarro

The Kents have their own troubles when Jonathan’s drug use becomes widely known after he is caught with the inhalers during a drug raid at school. He was holding them for Candice who stands to be in a lot more trouble for possessing them than he would; or at least that’s the logic he operates on. The opposite proves to be true and he faces expulsion as well as two angry parents. The setup of this doesn’t work all that well because there has been limited coverage of Jonathan and Candice’s relationship so there’s no grounding for the belief that Candice will suffer more severe consequences than Jonathan. Her family are poor and Candice being caught with drugs will apparently ruin them. Jonathan’s standing within the school also isn’t established so the beginnings of this are flimsy and rely on Candice being better developed than she actually is.

It does allow for far more interesting content through the aftermath of Jonathan being punished for possession of the drugs. At first he refuses to explain who he was holding them for out of loyalty to Candice but assures Lois that he wasn’t selling them. Eventually it comes out that he used X-Kryptonite to enhance his prowess on his football field and Lois becomes furious with him. She partly feels this way because her son cheated at a sport, endangered his life with drugs and is acting in opposition to a lot of what he was taught while she raised him. Lois sees this as a fundamental and personal betrayal while feeling like a failure for raising a son capable of doing this.

A conversation with Lana helps her contextualise these feelings and understand that Jonathan making a mistake like this doesn’t reflect on her as a mother. Lois feels overwhelmed by the prospect of her sons growing up and having different kinds of problems that she is completely unprepared for. Drug possession, drug use and the associated expulsion were things she felt she had raised her sons to avoid so everything gets on top of her and she has no idea how to deal with it. Lana’s advice is to simply listen to Jonathan. This comes from a place of experience as she had the wrong mindset following Sarah’s suicide attempt. Lana wanted Sarah to talk to her about it because it would make her feel better rather than it being something that would benefit Sarah. Once she altered her approach to being supportive and letting Sarah know she was available to be whatever she needed prompted a more positive outcome.


The sun heals all

When she tries this, Jonathan is more forthcoming with her and opens up about feeling left behind by a family that are all definitively great at something. Jonathan is dealing with a massive inferiority complex brought on by being a member of a family where two members have super powers and another is a world renowned journalist. At one time Football was his defining skill but that was briefly taken over by Jordan and more recently infected by those using drugs to get ahead. All of this contributes to Jonathan’s crumbling self worth and drove him to lowering himself to using drugs in an attempt to claim something for himself.

He admits that none of that excuses what he did but at least it allows Lois to understand why he did it. What has been done can’t be changed and they now have to weather the consequences as a family. Curiously Clark’s approach is along the lines of Lois’ earlier wrong-headed approach. He reacts with anger because he feels that Jonathan’s actions are a betrayal of the values in which he was raised as well as reflecting poorly on the family as a whole. He’s disappointed with Jonathan because he thought he understood all he had been taught and is clearly frustrated at the prospect of having to re-evaluate how to approach Jonathan’s education should be be expelled. At no point does he attempt to hear Jonathan out or understand his point of view. This likely comes later once Clark processes everything that has happened to him recently. There is a lot of emotionally intense developments in Clark’s life so it’s easy to see how it would be overwhelming. This doesn’t excuse his lack of empathy but it is justified based on the surrounding events. Jonathan bursting into tears following the severe dressing down from Clark is a powerful display of how lost he feels in this moment.


It’s all such a mess


A strong episode that impressively explores different types of familial conflicts while providing powerful introspective content for many of the characters. One of the major weaknesses of this episode and the season overall is the portrayal of Anderson. The season started with him in opposition to Superman due to a different view on him as an asset the military could use. They came into conflict over the lack of information being shared by Clark. Anderson was lacking in character and never came across as competent which made the plot far less than it could have been. Putting Anderson in the role of villain who betrays everything he is supposed to stand for is a strange choice and robs the conflict Clark has with the military of the complexity the story had. Anderson’s vendetta against Superman has become personal though it’s not entirely clear why. There are possible reasons built into the narrative but they aren’t developed well enough. The advantage to the approach of putting Anderson into this role is that it allows the plot to progress quickly. It builds to the conclusion of Anderson killing Bizarro in a brilliantly executed action sequence where Anderson is brutal and merciless. Bizarro’s death would seem to be premature given the potential the character had but his death was effectively handled. The development of Clark and Tal-Rho’s relationship is a definite highlight. Tal-Rho remains underdeveloped but Adam Rayner is more at home with the character now that the Morgan Edge persona no longer exists. His contempt for humanity and desire to have a relationship with Clark is clear. It builds organically to the point that it’s believable he would leap into the path of Kryptonite bullets to save Clark’s life. In theory their shared incarceration could have been a “temptation of Superman” style plot. It has elements of that but is overall half baked even if the dynamic between the brothers is strongly portrayed by the actors.

Family conflict permeates every plot in the episode. Kyle moving out at Lana’s request has severe emotional consequences. Lana feels like a failure for not keeping their family together and wants to remain strong for her daughters but is visibly struggling. Sarah is having difficulty processing her feelings and is desperate to talk to someone about it. Jordan can’t help because he isn’t able to understand exactly how she feels so she calls in Aubrey -the girl she kissed at camp- for some practical advice. This may be a way to set up future complications in her relationship with Jordan but it was an engaging introduction with a connection that has definite history to it. Aubrey’s advice helps Sarah deal with her feelings and she resolves to talk to Kyle in order to hear his side of the story as well as articulate how she feels. This is perfectly in keeping with Sarah’s established character. The Kents have their own issues when Jonathan’s drug use becomes known. A lack of development means that the events surrounding this don’t work as well as they need to but they do result in some excellent content around Jonathan. Lois is initially furious and turns to Lana because she has no idea what to do with these new and unexpected problems. Lana advises her to alter her approach and be the supportive figure that Jonathan needs rather than demanding explanations. This comes from experience following Sarah’s suicide attempt. Lois altered approach means that Jonathan opens up to her and reveals a major inferiority complex due to not having anything in his life that he can latch onto as being truly is. It doesn’t justify his actions but it does explain them. Clark is less understanding and takes the wrong-headed approach that Lois did initially. Jonathan bursting into tears following the severe dressing down from Clark is a powerful display of how lost he feels in this moment.

  • 8/10
    Anti-Hero - 8/10


Kneel Before…

  • the Clark and Tal-Rho dynamic
  • Tal-Rho’s clear desire to have a relationship with his brother and how that builds to him taking bullets for Clark
  • Bizarro’s death being effectively handled
  • Sarah struggling over what to do about Kyle
  • her desire to seek advice being very in keeping with her established characteristics
  • the clear history to her connection with Aubrey
  • Lois looking to Lana for guidance on how to deal with the revelations around Jonathan
  • taking that advice and having Jonathan open up to her as a direct result
  • Jonathan’s inferiority complex and how that explains his actions
  • Clark taking the wrong-headed approach initially
  • Jonathan being brought to tears as a powerful example of the weight of this situation


Rise Against…

  • Anderson being placed in the role of villain cutting off the engaging story around Clark being at odds with the military
  • Anderson lacking in character
  • no sense that he is in any way competent
  • the setup around Jonathan getting caught with the drugs following on from a lack of development


What did you think? Select your rating in the “User Review” box below

User Review
7/10 (2 votes)

We’d love to know your thoughts on this and anything else you might want to talk about. You can find us on Facebook and Twitter or just leave a comment in the comment section below. You’ll need an account for Disqus but it’s easy to set up. Don’t forget to share your rating in the “User Review” box

If you want to chat to me directly then I’m on Twitter as well.