I’ve watched a lot of superheroes on tv and in the movies. There have been good versions, and horrible ones, creative spins on old favorites, and interesting new heroes with new stories to tell. What’s impressing me with Superman and Lois is that it’s a show about actual, mature characters. They don’t do random things to generate drama, they don’t needlessly keep secrets, and the majority of the relationships are believable and healthy. There are some interesting developments, and a few surprises, in “Haywire,” although I’m not sure I get why they titled the episode that.
The opening flashback shows Morgan Edge and his people in pursuit of a falling star six years ago. They get what they’re after and it seems ominous, even if we don’t quite know what they’re doing. Back in the present, there’s a really miserable looking football game being played in the rain back in Smallville. Kyle is there, playing tour guide and adoring fan to Morgan Edge. Lois and Chrissy worry about a vote coming up on the town giving Edge the mines he wants, and then they get surprised when Sam Lane shows up. Lois gets in an amusing complaint about him, and then he, in turn, gets surprised when he sees Jordan’s newfound prowess on the field.
Back on the Kent Farm, Sam isn’t happy at all about Jordan’s new abilities being kept from him. Given what we learn later, this is a bit disturbing. Sam and Lois fight about this, and then Clark comes in. Clark is respectful, of course, and calm, but pretty much tells Sam off. Since it’s not a one-dimensional show, Sam raises some good points, and then invites himself for the weekend. The General also makes a suggestion regarding an upcoming prisoner transfer of the mad scientist Kilgrave. Ever notice how many of Superman’s foes are mad scientists?
Elsewhere, Jonathan and Jordan attend a party, where Jonathan gripes a bit, understandably, to Sarah about Jordan “not even liking football.” It’s a believable little scene. Then, two of the players get in an argument and Jonathan steps in to play peacemaker between Tag, the kid we’ve seen with a broken arm, and one of the jocks. At a very different dinner, Morgan Edge spends a lot of time chatting with Lana, who clearly isn’t happy about it. Her hubby, Kyle, seems oblivious, whether from their marital problems or his fondness for Edge isn’t clear.
Chrissy and Lois are thrilled about the article they are about to run, which is very unflattering to Edge. Edge’s nasty lawyer, Leslie, somehow knows and turns up, threatening lawsuits. The Smallville Gazette has next to no budget, and Chrissy reluctantly cancels the story. Tag goes home and we get the hint that there’s more to him than just a football player with a broken arm. Clark practices with his sons on the farm, teaches Jon a lesson about being cocky, and we see that Jordan is, in fact, far from perfect at the game, which is another nice touch. Jonathan raises a point with Clark that makes perfect sense and I’ve wondered about myself. Lois uses some outrageous flattery, asks a favor, and then takes off to do research. Clark is worried about her going so soon after the strange attack at the motel, but she’s not backing down, and borrows his truck. Another nice detail is that her car wasn’t instantly replaced after being destroyed last episode.
At their home, Kyle and Lana have yet another argument. Again, in a believable bit of storytelling, they both make a decent point or two, and walk away annoyed. Lois gets out to the mine, lays into Morgan Edge, ignores his threats, gets in some great lines, and leaves. It’s a wonderful Lois moment. The coach runs the team through video of their last game, continuing his usual tough style, and Tag suddenly slips out. Back in Metropolis, we meet Kilgrave, amusingly played by Brenden Fletcher, who was not only a different character on Arrow, but a different Superman villain back on Smallville. Kilgrave shows how brilliant and dangerous he is, and kind of proves one of Sam Lane’s points.
Worried about Tag, Jonathan follows, and sees all is, indeed, not well. He tries to get Clark for help, but this is just when General Lane calls him about Kilgrave, and Clark has to go. Kilgrave has planned well, and left a message for Superman, eluding both him and the DOD team searching for him. One minor quibble; this seems like the kind of thing ARGUS might handle, but they haven’t been mentioned on the show at all. On the farm, Sam leaves to handle things, and has a conversation with the boys on the way out that really ticked me off. Showing just whose kids they are, the boys follow up on their own worry, and decide to handle it themselves. The big vote in town happens, Clark is not there like Lois asked, and the only vote against Edge ends up being Chrissy. Lana finds Lois and offers to meet up for a drink later.
While she’s getting ready, Clark returns and apologizes. They have a not-quite fight that is wholly understandable and makes perfect sense. Logic doesn’t always win in matters of the heart, and Lois has a good reason to be upset. Jordan and Jonathan have gotten to a big party, check on Tag, and chat with Sarah. Sarah goes get in a great line about why she quit being a cheerleader. Superman shows up at the DOD and endures some barbs from Sam with his usual calm and level-headedness.
Lois and Lana have their girls’ night out, and Lana makes some great observations about Clark and Lois. They talk a bit about their husbands and the strain of marriages over time. It’s another nice little scene you could see actually happening, and nothing blows up, no one gets kidnapped, and no one is spying on them. Jonathan tries to talk to Tag while Jordan and Sarah ponder their places in the pecking order. Sarah is a lot more insightful than Jordan. Tag starts having issues and runs off. The Kent boys go to make sure he’s ok, and for reasons unknown, Sarah doesn’t go.
In some nice dual storytelling, Superman finds Kilgrave as the boys try and help Tag and his new problem. Kilgrave is very smart, both in what he notices and his gadgets, and actually has Superman down a few times. The boys watch what Tag is going through, don’t call for help due to something that happened earlier, and Jordan tries to get the young man under control, relying way too much on powers he doesn’t at all have under control or even really understand. Finally, the kids realize they are in over their heads and use the signaler. Realizing his sons need him, Superman manages to beat his foe and call for a team to come get him before flying off. Arriving just in the nick of time, he takes charge of the situation.
Later, the Kent/Lane family have an interesting discussion. We learn roughly what happened to Tag and where he ended up. That’s a big reveal, touching on something I’m not sure DC has done before, and Jonathan isn’t happy about it. When Clark asks why they waited so long to call him, things turn positively frosty. Lois and Clark have a heated discussion with Sam and he ends up leaving. Things look a bit better at the Cushing household as Lana and Kyle make up.
The big events over with, we get the wrap up scenes to round things out. Jonathan is in on it and helps Clark with a very nice surprise for Lois. The two adults have a nice conversation before getting interrupted by Sam, who seems to at least have learned a bit of a lesson. Lois makes a mature decision, leaving Clark free to do what he needs to. In the face of all story logic that I can see, Sam Lane starts a new contingency plan. Out at the mine, we get a much bigger hint about what Edge is up to. It’s not good, and sort of harkens back to a running theme from the early seasons of Smallville.
What I liked: Once again, almost everything. The writing and characterizations are fantastic. It’s a very believable story at about an unbelievable man and his family and friends. Lois being annoyed and then making up with Clark worked perfectly, Lois and Lana’s night out was a great bit of character work. They don’t make anyone a shallow caricature, and they are giving some nice time to secondary characters. Chrissy backing down on the story is just a slice of grim reality. I don’t like most of what Sam Lane did in this episode, but I understand it. Kilgrave was a good villain I hope we see again. Jonathan is a great kid who cares about people. I’m not sure what Edge is up to, but I know it’s not good.
What I didn’t: Again, not much. It really feels like ARGUS should have come up by now, but I guess they are trying to carve out their own piece of the Arrowverse.
Another great episode in a surprisingly good show. I’m giving this a 4 out of 5. It feels a bit like what Smallville might have eventually matured into, which I like.