Superman & Lois – Season 1 Episode 15
“Last Sons of Krypton”
Superman & Lois ends its final season with a final confrontation with Morgan Edge and various characters making big decisions.
The Morgan Edge plot has been one of the weakest elements of this generally strong season. One of the strengths of this show is its ability to juggle a variety of stories with very few of them falling by the wayside but the ball was definitely dropped on developing an engaging antagonist. The most frustrating thing about it is that that building blocks were all there such as Edge being bereft of strong familial connections, being abused by his Kryptonian father while growing up in less than ideal circumstances on Earth and his general desire for meaningful connections. This offered an obvious contrast to Clark being close to his family, having a strong relationship with Jor’El and being the product of a loving upbringing. In essence Edge was positioned to resent Clark for having everything he wanted which he does but not enough time was spent making that meaningful.
As such, Edge’s contribution to the episode is little more than providing a light show that dialogue points out is a large threat. He’s one of three problems that have to be dealt with which automatically makes him less significant than he should be. There is no character connected to the threat so he amounts to a presence that has to be defeated. Given the lack of attention placed on Edge as a character over the course of the season it wouldn’t be possible to fix the issues in a single episode but it’s a notable weakness when considering how significant he is supposed to be. Ultimately his defeat is quick and there is a clumsy attempt to provoke sympathy by him telling Clark that all he wanted was a family but it’s far too little too late for it to have any impact. He’s very much an afterthought even if what he is supposed to represent is clear.
What does work about this conflict is John’s role in it. His arc over the season has been really compelling. He started off fuelled by loss and hatred with Superman in his crosshairs because of what the version from his universe took from him. It was a clear and understandable motivation that gave John a clear path to follow. This provided the foundation to build a connection between John and Clark that resulted in genuine trust forming between them and John seeing saving this world as catharsis for losing his own. Added to that is his difficulty separating this version of Lois from the one that was his wife which formed an arc of its own. All of this made John a fascinating presence in the show and set him up for a meaningful contribution to the finale.
Everything he dealt with culminates in a moment of self sacrifice where he ignores the warnings of failing power in his suit to provide the necessary muscle to back up Clark at a crucial moment. Survivor’s guilt came to define him in his own mind so sacrificing his life in order to save the world is something he sees as appropriate. Clark saves him so the sacrifice doesn’t claim his life but his willingness to give up his life to save the world still speaks volumes and his survival doesn’t feel cheap as a result because it also ties into Superman as a hero who helps people survive impossible odds. John lives because Superman exists just as many others have so that aspect is also meaningful.
John being satisfied with his meaningful contribution to saving the world allows him to move on from his fixation on avenging his lost world and lost family. There is mention of him being offered a job with the D.O.D. but he’s more interested on tracking down this world’s version of his sister and possibly introducing himself to her this time. Lois offers him a place on the farm so he can work with Clark to get it up and running as they both work together as heroes. Clark trusts him enough to want to partner with him in this way though it oddly comes from Lois rather than Clark himself which stands out. Considering the drama was around whether John could find a way to trust a man who looks exactly like the one who took his family and world from him it would have been more meaningful had Clark made the offer but Lois making it allows John to confirm that he struggles with being around someone who looks exactly like his wife. No matter how far he has come this isn’t something he can push aside which means that he has to leave and find his own place in this new world.
His plans may be delayed or completely disrupted by the unexpected arrival of Natalie at the end of the episode. It’s an odd cliffhanger though it was only a matter of time before she reappeared and it certainly opens up a lot of storytelling possibilities. The moment itself is filled with emotion as John processes the sudden appearance of the daughter he thought he lost while she sees Lois standing with her family. It’s unlikely she understands the concept of alternate universes at this point so she reacts with surprise at seeing her mother alive after seeing her die. Further potential exists with Natalie sort of being Jonathan and Jordan’s half sister. As mentioned it’s a strange cliffhanger but the potential it creates for the second season is massive. It’s also likely that the Superman from John’s universe has made his way to this one so that will likely be the antagonist for the second season thought that is merely speculation on my part.
Jordan’s possession by Zeta-Rho ends up being less than interesting. The beats of fighting the possession that were shown with Clark earlier in the season are repeated though they are far more condensed. Clark struggling with the prospect of fighting Zeta-Rho in his son’s body makes for a really tense sequence but it’s far too brief to have the necessary impact despite some strong acting work from Tyler Hoechlin and Alex Garfin. This should have been the major emotional conflict that the episode hangs itself on but it gets somewhat lost in the bustle of everything the episode is trying to wrap up. As a threat Zeta-Rho is dealt with very quickly and easily which runs counter to the gravity associated with his emergence in the previous episode.
Zeta-Rho is defeated by Jordan pushing him out with the help of Lois who uses the same device Edge used on Clark. In theory this is a great idea as it leans into this show’s focus on drawing power from strong family connections but in practice it falls somewhat flat. There isn’t enough time to fully cover Lois entering his mind and giving him the strength to fight back so it’s relegated to a single scene where she gives an impassioned speech about the strength she knows lies within her son punctuated by clips showcasing examples of times Jordan proved what he’s capable of. It’s a nice moment but it rings somewhat hollow as it doesn’t provide any extra insight into Jordan’s relationship with his family or with Lois specifically. The limited coverage of Jordan’s social anxiety disorder over the course of the season limits this victory as the situation was ideally placed to tie into that. Jonathan trying to reason with Jordan on the outside falls flat as it is never made clear that he has any influence even though the first thing Jordan hears upon regaining control is Jonathan saying “I love you”. The moment works by itself but it could have been so much more and it’s frustrating that the potential wasn’t tapped into.
Another thing that appears neatly resolved is Smallville being negatively affected by Morgan Edge’s influence. Clark points out when being interviewed as Superman by Chrissy that it’s a town that was damaged and in need of healing which happened because of the strength of community that exists. It’s a strong sentiment that in theory matches up with what has been said over the course of the season but as a plot it has been too far in the background to be as consequential as this episode suggests it is. Towards the end of the episode people were shown to be working together to rebuild following the damage done by Edge’s forces which does showcase a clear display of community that is really touching to see especially when paired with the wonderful associated score but the background of this idea is lacking.
It’s noteworthy that Clark would take the time to be interviewed as Superman as it clearly shows how he thinks as a hero. He is someone who holds honesty in high regard even when the truth is difficult to deliver, accountability is something he sees as important. In particular the people of Smallville deserve to know the truth about what happened to their town and what Morgan Edge actually wast. It’s important that Superman be seen as a trustworthy figure and answering the difficult questions is a big part of why that it. It’s excellent characterisation and summarises the events of the season succinctly along with hammering home the message of the power of community.
Added into the Smallville plot is the Cushings deciding to stay which was always going to happen though it was justified by them taking charge of the dangerous situation and proving their loyalty to the town they call home by throwing themselves into helping. It all wraps up neatly with them being accepted by the town once again, Kyle getting his job back and reaffirming their commitment to Smallville as a family. Kyle’s growth is highlighted by his lack of hostility towards Lois confirming that he considers her to be a friend now. The end result of that journey is more than earned because of the work put into developing their relationship. His acceptance of Lois makes her a fundamental part of Smallville as a community which ties into the ongoing idea of the Kents finding a way to call the town home.
Another thing that confirms this for Lois is her putting a major financial stake in the paper and offering to enter into a full partnership with Chrissy rather than allow it to be sold to a corporate entity that cares nothing for journalistic integrity. Chrissy is excited about the idea and they promise to build something that is a beacon of journalistic excellence. This matches up with what they were shooting for when they became partners in the first place. Lois saying that the story is what matters regardless of the consequences sets up the possibility of major challenges coming their way when they report things that people are uncomfortable reading.
There is a strong sense of wiping the slate clean in this finale in many ways. The most moving example is Clark burying the remains of the crystal that housed Jor’El’s A.I. in the same way he would bury the body of a lost loved one. It mirrors losing Martha in the first episode and marks an important step in Clark’s growth as a father because now he has no parental figures to turn to for guidance aside from Sam who has made a distinct commitment to supporting his family but he is Lois’ father so Clark won’t necessarily rely on him for support in the same way. His family are what he has created rather than those who came before him and that’s a major shift to process. Clark’s monologue about how much Jor’El meant to him is incredibly moving and Tyler Hoechlin’s performance sells the weight of that loss brilliantly. The Kents adapting to a new normal has been a major theme this season and Clark burying Jor’El is a sign of that adaptation really starting to happen.
A good finale that plays to the strengths of the show that also suffers from the weaknesses. Morgan Edge remains a weak villain that has very little impact on the episode as a character. He is a presence that needs to be defeated but never rises above that despite the building blocks being in place to facilitate this. Much of this has to do with the lack of development over the season rendering it impossible to correct in a single episode but it remains a weakness of this episode. His declaration that all he wanted was a family falls flat because of the limited attention given to it. John’s role in this conflict does work well with his sacrificial moment having a lot of weight because the work has been put in to get to that point. It doesn’t result in his death because of what Superman represents on a wider level but the fact that he was content with making that sacrifice for the greater good is what counts. John’s decision to leave regardless of the trust that has developed between him and Clark makes sense especially when he mentions his ongoing difficulty being around Lois because she looks like the wife he lost. Natalie’s appearance is no surprise but opens up a lot of potential for the next season with her technically being Jonathan and Jordan’s half sister along with Lois looking like her mother. Jordan’s possession by Zeta’Rho ends up being less than interesting because it gets lost in the bustle of everything else the episode is looking to accomplish. The moment where Lois encourages him to lean into the strength she knows he has punctuated by examples of when he has proven how strong he is works well enough by itself but there’s so much more that could have been done here. There’s no greater insight into Jordan’s relationship with Lois and the social anxiety disorder remains largely forgotten so this isn’t as good as it could have been. Ultimately Zeta-Rho is defeated quickly and easily.
Smallville being damaged by Morgan Edge’s influence is neatly resolved which is an unfortunate consequence of failing to develop this. It was very much a background element so the resolution isn’t all that strong. It’s great to see the people working together to rebuild with an excellent score supporting it but without any depth to the story itself it feels like an afterthought even if Clark as Superman delivers an interview underscoring the strength of the people of Smallville. Clark taking the time to do that as Superman showcases his approach to being a hero and what he stands for which is great characterisation. The Cushings deciding to stay in Smallville was inevitable but the way it happens feels more or less earned as shown by them leaping into helping the people. Kyle gets his job back, they are accepted once again and Kyle’s growth is shown by accepting Lois fully so that all wraps up neatly. Lois committing to calling Smallville home is shown by her financial stake in the paper and fully throwing herself into their partnership while setting up potential problems given their promise to report the truth no matter the consequences. There’s a general sense of wiping the slate clean with the most moving example being Clark burying the remains of the crystal that housed the Jor’El. It’s a major shift for Clark as he has no parental figures to approach for guidance so his family are very much what he has created rather than who came before him. This mirrors the loss of Martha at the start of the season and marks a significant progression in Clark as a father. The Kents adapting to a new normal has been a major theme this season and Clark burying Jor’El is a sign of that adaptation starting to happen.
- John’s meaningful sacrificial decision
- a strong conclusion to John’s hard fought arc
- the potential that exists through Natalie appearing
- Jordan’s defeat of Zeta-Rho by embracing his inner strength
- the Cushings being accepted by the people of Smallville again by proving their loyalty
- highlighting Kyle’s growth through his acceptance of Lois
- Lois committing to Smallville by putting a major financial stake in the paper
- Clark showcasing his heroism as Superman by consenting to an interview and telling the truth about the situation
- Clark taking a major step forward as a father through burying Jor’El
- Morgan Edge being a presence that needs to be defeated rather than a character
- failing to capitalise on the potential associated with Jordan beating Zeta-Rho
- the damage to Smallville done by Morgan Edge still amounting to an afterthought
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