After what felt like a really long hiatus, Superman and Lois returns to finish their first season. The initial several episodes really impressed me, and I guess I wasn’t alone in that since the show was approved for a second season in record time. Back in their Tuesday night time slot that Kal-El’s cousin borrowed for the first part of her final season, the Kent family is back dealing with a lot of problems on the homefront and from other, stranger sources. There’s a lot of family drama, but done very well, in “Broken Trust.”
Picking up where the last episode last off so many weeks ago, Jordan gets ambushed in the woods by Tag, who is clearly struggling with his newly manifesting powers. As we’ve seen with a few others, Tag has Kryptonian level power, but only one special ability, in this case, speed. He’s convinced Jordan had something to do with the strange events that gave him a power he doesn’t want, and is determined to get his answers at any cost. Jordan, both trying to keep family secrets and really not actually knowing what happened to Tag, doesn’t have answers, and finally calls for help. Backup arrives in the form of the Man of Steel himself, startling Tag. They have a brief very high-speed pursuit until Tag causes a major accident Superman needs to take care of. Later, back on the farm, Lois tends to Jordan’s injuries while Jonathan ribs his brother about his powers and all of them get worried as Jordan shares what Tag was talking about. Once again sure they know better, Lois and Clark send the kids away so they can talk over what’s happening, and how General Lane’s facility, Tag’s powers, Morgan Edge’s strange plans, and the mysterious armored figure all relate. The Kents have a lot on their collective plate, that’s for sure.
Later, Clark goes to talk to his sons, and there’s some great brotherly bonding. One thing this show does really well is the relationship between siblings, showing both highs and lows. Clark has concerns about Jordan continuing to play football, but Jordan pleads, and Jonathan speaks up for him. Clark is finally convinced, in part after Jordan lies, but says Jordan will need to prove something to him after school. Out at the mines, Morgan Edge leads a big event about people getting jobs and generally making himself look like a hero. He and his ever-present aide Leslie Larr (the weird double L trend continues around the Man of Steel) do some schmoozing, and then Edge surprises Lana and her husband Kyle. Kyle has been a big supporter/suck up to Edge since the billionaire first started poking around Smallville, so he’s shocked when Edge offers Lana a job instead of him. Edge gives her the hard sell, but Lana seems very unsure about this. Edge and Larr notice Lois in the crowd, and dismiss her as harmless. Really, who in the world would think that at this point? I get hubris, but this is just flat-out stupid. After she’s done glaring at Edge, Lois gets surprised by her friend “Marcus,” who is keeping a lot of secrets from her.
Another realistic note is Jonathan and Jordan both having enough maturity to realize that, even though they don’t like everything he’s doing, their father is doing his best to actually look out for them. They have a brief scene with Sarah, who is coming to the next big game, and then Jordan has some kind of incident that, to me, makes it seem like he’s developing another of Clark’s powers. One very UN-realistic note is that Smallville High is playing a game against Metropolis. There’s a connection between the two places because of Clark’s personal life, but for the schools? Let’s remember that Smallville is in Kansas and Metropolis, while it has shifted slightly over time, has always been on the East Coast. I don’t even think the big college leagues cover that much ground, let alone high school rivalries. Jonathan manages to help Jordan through his current incident, and then lets Jordan talk him into keeping it a secret, which is not a good idea at all, and they both know it. Lois has a meeting with Lana and Kyle, and asks a big favor. To no surprise at all, Kyle dismisses everything she has to say. Lana is concerned, but, since Lois can’t share everything she knows, isn’t convinced.
Clark’s new surprise is bringing the boys down to a bunker under the barn, for some really old school training for Jordan. After an initial misstep, Jordan does better with advice from Clark and a creative visualization from Jonathan. Clark’s annoyance at Jonathan’s help is lost in the shuffle when General Lane calls with an update on Tag’s whereabouts. The two disagree on just about everything having to do with how to handle Tag. Lana has some problems trying to set something up for a celebratory dinner she and Kyle are supposed to go to, and Sarah proves she’s an amazingly good kid. While this scene of family life is played out, they have no idea they are being spied on.
The big game arrives, and the Kent brothers are there, as is their father as assistant coach. Jordan keeps having symptoms that he’s doing his best to cover up, and makes a big mistake in the game. He also gets a lot of verbal abuse from someone he used to know in school in the big city. Clark and Lois touch base over the phone, and then Jordan slips up again, with Clark ready to pull him out of the game over it. Lois keeps working on her own project when she gets unexpected company. There’s a nice nod to her being cautious about surprises before she learns it’s Marcus at the door, with a way for them to get in to look at Edge’s operation. Lois is suspicious, but Marcus has an explanation, and they manage to get in with some smooth talking from Marcus. Sarah and Sophie have an amusing sisterly scene until an unexpected visitor ends their planned evening.
The Metropolis team shows they have no concept of fair play or good sportsmanship, and almost provoke a major incident from Jordan. Only some very quick thinking from Clark both saves lives and keeps the family secret, although it clearly pains the man. Lana and Kyle get home from their night out to find a few surprises that get increasingly unwelcome as they develop. In their hotel room, Jordan and Clark argue about Jordan’s control issues, and Jonathan finally comes clean with their father. Their argument gets more heated but then is interrupted when Lana calls with some worries and a question. Marcus and Lois begin their plan, and Marcus shows he has some pretty remarkable equipment for the reporter he claims to be.
Tag is not adjusting to his new abilities well at all, as his actions here show. They do show a kind of neat side effect of his power that was a nice detail to add. He pleads for understanding from someone he’s grievously wronged and doesn’t seem to see why that might not work. Lois is starting to really wonder about Marcus, but he puts off her questions by making an intriguing discovery that opens up a lot of new problems. This is when Leslie shows up and shows she’s a lot more than just Morgan Edge’s personal assistant. Just to really highlight the differences between maturity and teenagers, Superman flies high above Metropolis, scanning for someone that he knows needs help, while Jordan manages to resist temptation and obey his father for all of three minutes or so.
Events gain momentum as a lot of things start happening at once. While Lois and Marcus run for their lives, Superman starts homing in on the people he’s looking for, and Tag keeps pleading his case, showing some video that is certainly suggestive, but doesn’t actually prove anything and leaves the person he’s showing it too confused. Tag’s weird attempt at getting help through extremely questionable methods is interrupted when Superman arrives, and tells Tag he’s trying to help him. Naturally, Jordan and Jonathan’s ill-thought-out trip gets even worse when the boys from the Metropolis football team find them. How they manage that in a city that size, and why such a big city seems to only have one high school football team, is never touched on.
Ratcheting things up, we see Superman confront some men with questionable orders at the same time Jordan begins to do really foolish things. A lot of things are at risk and assorted lives, and injuries, are saved by heroic actions from two different members of the Kent family. It’s a series of dramatic moments with some great editing, acting, and special effects. Some people are going to have some things to think about, some more than others. I will say it’s one of the few times they’ve ever shown Superman actually angry on tv, and it’s done well, is perfectly in character, and intimidating as hell. In the aftermath of these scenes, Superman’s argument with General Lane gets interrupted by a family emergency. Lois’ attempt at getting answers from Marcus meets the same fate.
Back at the farm, there’s a lot of talk about the day’s events. Jordan has a lot to reflect on, but seems stuck in sullen teen mode. There are a few pieces of bad news, and some bad feelings that are wholly justified. Jordan is shocked when Clark tells him something that he should have realized on his own. Clark’s night doesn’t get any better when Lois shares details about her day and they both have questions about Marcus’ story. The next morning, Jordan has a chat with Sarah, who has been going through some difficulties of her own, and ends up lying to her to preserve the family secret. That really is a hard burden for a kid to carry, and I do feel bad for him, even when he’s doing dumb things.
Lois has a chat with Lana about what’s happened lately, and Lana comes to a surprising decision. Both women are keeping secrets, and, while I support independent action for people, I think both are making mistakes. The show ends with more problems for the Kents. Lois has a good mother/son scene with Jordan, who is not bearing up well under the load of his responsibilities and choices. All this stress triggers a recurrence of a problem he’s been having and not telling anyone about (see my earlier comment about secrets), and leads to some hurried reactions and an unexpected trip.
What I liked: This show continues to impress me on almost every level. The writing, the acting, the character relationships, all hit great notes over and over again. This is the best version I’ve seen of Superman in years, and Lois holds her own, not easy to do when you’re playing against one of the most powerful and famous people on the planet. The little add-in with Tag’s side effects was a great touch, and Lois being so careful before she answered her door was another realistic touch about someone living in a world of extreme threats. Jonathan has the makings of a great man, as does Sarah for a great woman. Kyle is hard to like, but his motivations are understandable, and he’s not just a jerk because the writer said so. I get where General Lane is coming from, although I don’t know why in the world he expects Superman to be ok with what he’s doing.
What I didn’t: Very little. I mentioned the Smallville/Metropolis issue, and I get it’s a convenient writing shortcut. It still doesn’t make sense, though. I also touched on the issues with the football team finding the Smallville kids, apparently magically. Jordan has had a rough life, and I get it, but he really needs to do some growing up fast. I also think that with Superman dealing with someone showing amazing superspeed, there’s a call he really should have made to Central City.
This show is probably the best currently airing hero series on tv. I’m giving this one a 4 out of 5. I’m glad it’s back, and that it continues to excel.