Superman & Lois – Season 2 Episode 11

May 4, 2022 | Posted by in TV
Superman

“Truth and Consequences”

Superman & Lois deals with the aftermath of Clark’s trip to Bizarro World with the threat of Bizarro Jonathan and personal revelations to ponder.

A trip to an alternate universe invites characters to reassess their own choices in very particular ways. In this case Clark gaining an understanding of how his Bizarro counterpart lived his life and his choices causing his family to split apart forces him to examine the choices he has made and how those impact the people around him.

Superman

These are my feelings

There has been a lot of discussion about Clark’s secret and the strain keeping it puts on the family. Jonathan and Jordan have both expressed individual concerns about the impact keeping it has on their lives and the toll that it takes on them. Jonathan repeatedly references Clark not taking action because he’s protecting his secret and how dangerous that mindset is for others. The most glaring example is when he has the chance to confront Bizarro Jonathan but is so distracted by lying to Lana that he gets away. This leads to her being kidnapped and her life endangered.

Feeding into that is Jordan’s feelings about his break-up with Sarah. At first he inundates her with texts until Lois advises him to sort out his feelings for her and put them in a letter that will outline them more succinctly. It’s an old fashioned approach and Jordan mocks the notion at first but finds it useful to carry out the task. Writing letters even if there’s no intent to send them is a recognised therapeutic technique as the act of writing the letter forces the author to put words to how they’re feeling and begin to understand it. The episode doesn’t fully lean into that idea and Jordan’s behaviour surrounding this letter is questionable at best but the intent is certainly clear.

What it does highlight is his lack of comfort keeping the secret that Clark effectively forced on him. It’s a very complicated issue as it isn’t Jordan or Jonathan’s secret to tell but they suffer hardships as a result of it. Lois and Clark made the decision for them in their role as parents so their expectation is that it’s a necessary familial burden that they all have to carry. Further complicating matters is that Jordan has powers so is keeping his own secret around that. It’s connected to Clark’s secret so revealing his powers would most likely lead to conclusions being drawn about Clark. The main issue is that it’s against Jordan’s nature to keep secrets because, ironically, he has been raised to be honest so lying to those he cares about is unsettling. This is coated in teenage hormones and being swept up in the romanticism of his first love.

Superman

I guess we’ll handle the plot

He wants to be fully upfront with Sarah because he sees her as his future when she could be a teenage relationship that fizzles out for whatever reason just as Clark and Lana’s did. A relationship with a massive deception associated with it is doomed to fail as it arguably already has after Sarah ended it due to him being unreliable. She doesn’t know the full story and only sees the broken promises. Even though she understands that Jordan’s family has issues that divert his attention she was unable to sustain waiting around for him so decided to end it before more harm was done. It’s heartbreaking but also very mature on her part.

Following this, Jordan becomes fixated on winning her back with the latest step in that campaign being the letter. In the letter he confesses his secret to her in order to give her full understanding of what it is that rendered him unable to be there for her at those key points. As mentioned above, this isn’t considered to be his secret to tell so it is initially met with objection from Lois when she reads the letter. She talks about Lois and Clark being on their side which prompts Jonathan to counter with a declaration the reverse is true.

This acts as an effective summary of the internal dynamic within the Kent family at this point. Parents and children are in the mindset of there being sides rather than being on the same team as they should be. A lot has divided them this season and Jordan posits that they may not be all that close in the first place. This certainly tracks with the distance Clark maintained from his children in favour of being Superman throughout their lives; a pattern of behaviour he has found difficult to change so the next step for the family is to find something that works for them.

Superman

Not Clark’s finest hour

Part of that will involve compromise on the part of the parents and both of them share an arc that results in them deciding to do things differently. It was addressed in the finale of Supergirl that a secret identity worked for Kara for a time but it got to the point where it no longer serves her and a decision had to be made on what she was going to do with that realisation. Something similar happens here with Lois and Clark collectively asking themselves why they’re so determined to keep this secret even though they know doing so put Lana in danger. Her kidnapping wasn’t a direct consequence but there’s a definite link and it’s enough for them to come around to the idea of doing things differently. I doubt that Clark opening up to the entire world about being Superman is on the cards but he comes around to the idea of telling Lana the truth. After telling her a version of it as Superman he is overwhelmed by guilt and decides that he owes it to his best friend to let her in on the secret.

This sets up a potentially interesting thread for Lana over the rest of the season. It has been addressed in other properties -including ones relating to Superman- that knowing a superhero’s secret identity carries a hefty amount of responsibility. In Smallville Pete Ross referenced having to constantly be mindful of what he was saying and be constantly armed with a web of lies to not let on that there was even something to know about Clark. Lana may suffer from the same problem or she may be better equipped to handled it since she’s an adult. The viewer is left to ponder what she will do with the information but for the Kents it represents a significant step away from living in fear and acknowledging that there are those in their lives that can be trusted. Whether this will extend to Sarah remains to be seen but for now it’s important as a development and the reveal is delivered as such.

As mentioned the concerning part of this plot is Jordan’s behaviour around Sarah. He opts to approach her to give her the letter when she is worrying about the disappearance of her mother; far from the best time to talk to her about his feelings. One reading of the situation is that Jordan is eager to smooth things over so that he can be there for her but it comes across as him being uncharacteristically impetuous. He has repeatedly been shown to be both smart and empathetic so it doesn’t track that he would choose that time to burden her with how he feels. It’s a confusing choice that adds unnecessary melodrama to what is already a tense situation.

Superman

Bizarro sibling rivalry

The Lana/Sarah scenes are really strong. Lana giving her a car is a major sign of trust even if it does come with boundaries because she is still a parent after all. They have been growing closer together in the wake of her marital problems with Kyle. Sarah isn’t taking sides and Lana doesn’t expect her to but they can still offer one another emotional support in a difficult time for their family. Her reaction to Lana’s disappearance is in keeping with her typically intelligent way of dealing with everything. She gathers information and goes for help when she has a reason to worry. Shooting Jordan down when he tries to overpower her with his own feelings when she has enough to deal with is another smart choice on her part.

Lois and Sarah also had a strong dynamic in this episode. It begins as an extension of the Kent family secrecy but quickly evolves into an honest connection between them. Lois tries to cover for Jordan by delivering a version of what he’s dealing with that might be believable before she opens up to Sarah about her high school boyfriends and how she didn’t always make the best choices as a way to highlight how well Sarah handles what comes at her. It’s rare to see these characters interact one on one like this and it offers Sarah a bit of perspective on her own life by reminding her that everyone is dealing with something. This is something Sarah already knows but the abundance of change in her own life may be facilitating her forgetting about it.

Bizarro Jonathan makes for an excellent antagonist. Right from the opening moments his objective is clear and there’s a very real possibility of him achieving it. Using the knowledge he has from his world to decide that kidnapping Lana is a viable plan and setting up a scenario to incapacitate Clark is handled cleverly. It puts him believably out of commission to heighten the threat level at a key point. It’s also a strong development point for Jordan who rises to the occasion and levels up his powers by flying for a brief time. It’s a believable progression due to the intensity of the situation inspiring him to push himself in order to protect his family. The episode doesn’t do enough with how uncanny it is to have Jordan attack the exact duplicate of his brother. It makes sense from Bizarro Jonathan’s side as the previous episode indicated he didn’t have a close relationship with Bizarro Jordan but Jordan seems to understand the difference clearly enough to have no problem pummelling him. Part of the appeal of duplicates acting as villains is the uncertainty associated with inflicting harm on them.

There is an additional plot involving John and Natalie investigating the portal and dealing with Bizarro Lana who comes through. It features some good back and forth between them though it is very mechanical. Despite a promising start Natalie isn’t a character who has been given a lot of time to develop and John occupies the background more often than not. In this case he gets things moving towards the potential closing of the portal while offering a reminder that Ally is a threat that will eventually arrive. It’s definitely necessary and works but lacks in overall depth especially when compared to what the rest of the episode offers.

Superman

Truth time


Verdict

A good episode that provides significant development on the ongoing debate around the Kent family secret, features a strong antagonist and many impressive character beats. There has been a lot of discussion around Clark’s secret and the strain keeping it puts on the family. The glaring example of how keeping the secret puts others in danger in this episode is when Clark diverts attention away from Bizarro Jonathan in order to lie to Lana. This leads to her being kidnapped and her life endangered. Feeding into that is Jordan’s feeling about his break-up with Sarah. At first he inundates her with texts until Lois advises him to put his feelings down in a letter. The episode doesn’t fully lean into the therapeutic potential of doing this but the intent was clear. What the letter does highlight is his lack of comfort in keeping Clark’s secret as it was effectively forced on him. It’s a very complicated issue as the secret isn’t Jordan or Jonathan’s to tell but the fact that Jordan has powers does factor in because that is arguably his secret to tell. Except it isn’t because it connects to Clark’s secret. Both of them suffer hardships as a result of keeping this information to themselves and it takes a toll on them. Lois and Clark made the decision for them in their role as parents so their expectation is that it’s a necessary familial burden that they all have to carry. The main issue is that it’s against Jordan’s nature to keep secrets because, ironically, he has been raised to be honest so lying to those he cares about is unsettling. This is coated in teenage hormones and being swept up in the romanticism of his first love. He wants to be fully upfront with Sarah because he sees her as his future when she could be a teenage relationship that fizzles out. A relationship with a massive deception associated with it is doomed to fail as it arguably already has after Sarah ended it. In his letter he confesses his secret to her in order to give her full understanding of what it is that rendered him unable to be there for her at those key points. Lois initially objects when she reads the letter. She talks about Lois and Clark being on their side which prompts Jonathan to counter with a declaration the reverse is true. This acts as an effective summary of the internal dynamic within the Kent family at this point. Parents and children are in the mindset of there being sides rather than being on the same team as they should be. Part of getting to that point will involve compromise on the part of the parents and both of them share an arc that results in them deciding to do things differently. The first example of this is when Clark reveals his secret to Lana after being unsettled by the lies he told to her as Superman while he and Lois question what it is they’re doing.

Jordan’s behaviour around this plot is concerning. He opts to approach her to give her the letter when she is worrying about the disappearance of her mother; far from the best time to talk to her about his feelings. One reading of the situation is that Jordan is eager to smooth things over so that he can be there for her but it comes across as him being uncharacteristically impetuous. He has repeatedly been shown to be both smart and empathetic so it doesn’t track that he would choose that time to burden her with how he feels. It’s a confusing choice that adds unnecessary melodrama to what is already a tense situation. The Lana/Sarah scenes are really strong and show how they’re coming together as mother and daughter as well as the gift of a car signifying a significant sign of trust. Her reaction to Lana’s disappearance is in keeping with her typically intelligent way of dealing with everything. She gathers information and goes for help when she has a reason to worry. Shooting Jordan down when he tries to overpower her with his own feelings when she has enough to deal with is another smart choice on her part. Lois and Sarah also had a strong dynamic in this episode. It begins as an extension of the Kent family secrecy but quickly evolves into an honest connection between them. She opens up to Sarah about her high school boyfriends and how she didn’t always make the best choices as a way to highlight how well Sarah handles what comes at her. It offers Sarah a bit of perspective on her own life by reminding her that everyone is dealing with something. This is something Sarah already knows but the abundance of change in her own life may be facilitating her forgetting about it. Bizarro Jonathan makes for an excellent antagonist. Right from the opening moments his objective is clear and there’s a very real possibility of him achieving it. Using the knowledge he has from his world to decide that kidnapping Lana is a viable plan and setting up a scenario to incapacitate Clark is handled cleverly. It’s also a strong development point for Jordan who rises to the occasion and levels up his powers by flying for a brief time. It’s a believable progression due to the intensity of the situation inspiring him to push himself in order to protect his family. The episode doesn’t do enough with how uncanny it is to have Jordan attack the exact duplicate of his brother. John and Natalie’s plot works as a plot furthering narrative and allows the two characters to have some engaging interactions but it’s also very mechanical and highlights the missed opportunities associated with these characters this season.

Overall
  • 7/10
    Truth and Consequences - 7/10
7/10

Summary

Kneel Before…

  • evolving the discussion around the pressure of keeping Clark’s secret
  • Clark’s trip to Bizarro World encouraging him to reassess his own life choices
  • taking a significant step forward by revealing his identity to Lana
  • Sarah’s handling of Lana’s disappearance
  • strong interactions between Sarah and Lana
  • Lois and Sarah’s dynamic
  • Bizarro Jonathan making for an excellent antagonist
  • his clever scenario to incapacitate Clark
  • Jordan levelling up to protect his family

 

Rise Against…

  • Jordan’s behaviour in regards to his letter being out of character for him
  • the John/Natalie plot being largely mechanical and paling in comparison to the other character driven content

 

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User Review
6.2/10 (5 votes)

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