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Five Thoughts On Superman & Lois‘s “Lies That Bind”

By | June 1st, 2022
Posted in Television | % Comments

Man, what is with the CW absolutely cockblocking me out of watching the show I like? We’re in the final spat of episodes now and I really wish I could be raring to go as we stare down that barrel, but I’m absolutely exhausted by these constant month long breaks! Regardless, Superman & Lois is back and we’re back to talk about it as we enter the final few episodes of this season without (hopefully) any further interruptions. Last we saw of Smallville, Jon-El and Lana-Roh were wreaking havoc on this side of the portal and it all culminated with Clark finally telling Lana his big secret. How did that pan out? Well, let’s find out.

As always, spoilers are abound below.

1. Where We Picked Off

Finally getting to see the fallout from Clark revealing his identity as Superman to Lana feels like a massive weight off my shoulders. I have been thinking and thinking and thinking about how this could possibly play out and, as is usual for Superman & Lois, things go in a direction I wasn’t exactly expecting. Instead of focusing on what you might expect her to (like the fact that her best friend has been hiding his secret identity as the world’s most famous superhero from her since the moment they met, for instance), Lana instead focuses on their relationship as people. She doesn’t necessarily seem to care about the big picture stuff and zeroes in on their history and what this means for the life she’s lead. She highlights the fact that Clark took off from Smallville shortly after her declaration of love for him drove them off the road in a crash that seemingly miraculously left them all unharmed. Armed with the newfound knowledge that Clark saved them and then promptly disappeared, she challenges what that means for them, especially the fact that he never seemed to look her up on returning to Smallville.

I completely get this and it’s been clear on multiple occasions that Lana is still lowkey hung up on Clark, but I also completely understand Clark’s reasoning for not coming back to tell her who he is given that she was already engaged to Kyle by that time. Telling her would have upended her life and tore her and Kyle apart and the family that they built together would never have come to fruition. Lana is still reeling from everything that went down with her and Kyle and their separation and I totally understand why her mind goes to that place. Could she have been saved from all that hurt had she been with Clark this entire time? It’s short term, very emotional thinking that overlooks the fact that nothing in their lives would have been even remotely the same and neither would have had the families that they do now. It’s a complicated tidal wave of emotions, far too much for her to handle, and I’m glad to see them take this route over the more tried and true secret identity revelation. It’ll certainly make things far more interesting to develop from this point.

2. The Kid’s Aren’t Alright

Y’know, the double edged sword of these kids becoming more independent as they get older and more sure of themselves is that they also become far more reckless and rebellious. Jonathan has been re-instated in school now, but that’s quickly short-lived when he displays a complete inability to interact with the other kids in a normal way. Which I also totally buy. He just saw his doppelgänger tear through town and his family and is living with not just the knowledge that his dad is fighting the toughest fight of his life so far, but the fact that if they fail then it’s the end of all life as we know it. So, let’s skip school and dive into the mines, why don’t we?

This did, at least, solve the Natalie problem quite nicely. As I think I mentioned last time (or the time before that), this season has struggled to capitalise on Natalie and John Henry in the face of how personal to the Kents the stuff with Ally and Bizarro has been. Here, though, we get to see her bonding with Jon and Jordan in a way that hasn’t really been afforded before now. Hell, we even get the revelation that she’s been working on her own warsuit in her spare time and is willing to give it to Jon as a way of combatting the slew of Kryptonian-powered people rocking up on Smallville in recent days. Sure, it’s pigheadedly stupid for them to sneak into mines unsupervised to steal X-Kryptonite to power said warsuit and anyone could see that it was all going to fall apart (in this case, literally), but I’m at least glad it didn’t break bad in a way that disrupted everything else going on in the show. This was a solid B-plot that built on the story they’ve been telling with the kids so far with only a few shoddy moments of green screen, but by the time they were all hanging at the Irons’s place, I was glad to see them brought together.

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3. Impossible Is Something Else

I never would have guessed that what the Superman mythos was missing was a Vegeta. Clark has had so many Kryptonian relatives come and go throughout the years, but he has almost always been the patriarch of the El family on Earth. It’s either his little cousin or his cloned… son? (however you want to define what Kon-El is to him) or someone that looks up to Clark as an example. Tal-Roh turned out to be a pretty well layered and interesting villain last season, but seeing him come around and now be forced to take accountability for his actions and the blinding point of view he had while under the thrall of his father in order to be a part of the family he always wanted is pitch perfect. I’m so, so glad that the show kept Adam Rayner around and is now taking this direction with Uncle Tal.

Seeing Clark and Tal team up to destroy the pendant half that they got from defeating Jon-El was a sight to behold. There’s something genuinely heartwarming about seeing these two brothers form such a connection, even after everything they’ve been through and especially after seeing the bond they shared on Htrae. I’m really hoping this isn’t just a ploy to get Tal-Roh on the side of the angels only for him to get the big sacrifice moment in the finale, because I really do think this has legs. Tal-Roh is fantastic addition to the Superman canon and one that I would love to see get retrofitted back into the comics in some form or another. Clark finally having not just another Kryptonian relation, but a brother and a peer for him to lean on is simply a fantastic choice for the show’s wider mythology building. I know there’s a vocal sect of the people watching this show still annoyed that it’s divorced itself so distinctly from the rest of the Arrowverse and especially Hoechlin’s Superman’s connection to Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl, but I honestly think Tal-Roh is a far more interesting relation for him to have.

Now, I’m just excited to see the boys’s reactions when Uncle Tal comes to tea.

4. The Person That I Call / Lies That Blind

Following on from the unique way the beginning of this episode handled the fallout of Clark revealing his identity to Lana, the real meat of the matter comes when Lana confronts Lois. This is an angle I would never have thought about, but it does make sense and, for once, I really wasn’t on Lois’s side for most of this. Sure, she’s pretty blindsided by Lana telling her that she feels like the friendship they’ve built since the Kents moved to Smallville has all been a farce given that she now knows that Lois was hiding Clark’s true identity from her, but her reaction being that it doesn’t make sense simply doesn’t ring true and I’m glad she later sits Lana down to hash things out.

I mean, if the wife of the guy I’d loved since high school turned out to be in on hiding this massive, Earth-shattering secret from me, I’d similarly question her motives for attempting to befriend me in the first place and the legitimacy of the connection we’d forged. I do wish we’d gotten to see more of that second conversation, though, because I think there was a lot for the characters to hash out and I sort of feel like the episode took it as wrote that they became best buds again off-screen. Lana gets a lot (and I mean a lot) dumped on her in this episode and doesn’t really get the space to fully process it on screen given the fact that there’s at least two other main storylines happening.

Three if you count the small subplot with Kyle and Sarah. It’s small and I’m very, very glad it didn’t turn out that Kyle spiralled after worrying that Lana was seeing another man and ended up getting back together with the girl from the bar. If he had, this part of the breakdown would be going a lot differently, but it was sweet to see him rig up a slot at the open mic night for Sarah. It’s the smallest part of this episode as a whole, but it’s always the part that really touches me. The bond between Sarah and her dad, even after everything that’s gone down, has been really heartwarming to see and even this much is enough for me to keep chewing on.

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5. Become As Gods

Y’know, I was expecting the big punch-up between the assembled Superman, Tal-Roh and Steel against the merged Ally to have a tad more fanfare than it got here. It was sick to see, don’t get me wrong, and seeing them try to play keepaway with the pendant before breaking it was a fun sequence, but given that the last we saw of her was ascending to this fabled godhood level of power, I half expected her to show up and just walk right through them. Instead, godhood seems to put her on par with a Kryptonian which is a little disappointing. I mean, as disappointing as a punch-up in the heart of a volcano can be for this show, but it didn’t exactly ride the high I was hoping it would. I feel like they either needed to have her show up and flatten our heroes or otherwise have them running with their tails tucked between their legs to establish her as a powerhouse threat going into the finale. There is still three episodes to go, after all, and having this matchup this early come to a relative standstill makes me wonder how they’re going to escalate things for the finale. That being said, I’m pretty sure I said something similar about Clark fighting Tal-Roh around this time last season and that turned out pretty well, so I still have faith that they’ll pull it off.

The revelation that Ally’s newfound power manifests in the ability to lifedrain her opponents was a nice touch, though. RIP Bizarro Tal-Roh, we hardly knew ye.

//TAGS | Superman & Lois

august (in the wake of) dawn

sworn to protect a world that hates and fears her, august has been writing critically about media for close to a decade. a critic and a poet who's first love is the superhero comic, she is also a podcaster, screamlord and wyrdsmith. ask her about the unproduced superman screenplays circa 1992 to 2007. she/they.


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