Season two of Superman and Lois started off with a few unexpected developments, and continues that path. Some of the characters are trying to settle in to a new status quo, others are getting surprises, and a few have new opportunities opening up for them. There are attempts to reach out, some good decisions, and a at least one “I can’t believe he fell for that” moment in “The Ties that Bind.”
We start off at the Kent farm, where Lois is up early and making a huge breakfast. From the Kent men’s reactions, this is far from normal, and we find out what she’s trying to do, which was a very nice thought. However, her nice gesture strikes some unanticipated difficulties. After some entertaining banter about the farm’s roosters, Clark is struck with another vision, and collapses to the floor. Since everyone present knows his secret, this is even more worrying than it would be in a normal family. A bit later, he shares what happens with Lois and John Henry Irons, two good choices. He decides on a course of action that seems like a bad plan to me, but what do I know?
Downtown, Lana and Kyle are setting up for a campaign event, and it’s nice to see that Lana’s taking charge but Kyle is ok with this. No needless drama on that front, which is a relief. They have a short encounter with Dean, the mayor they are campaigning against, and the man is a smug and vexing jerk. At school, Jonathan enjoys some time with his new girlfriend and gets some teasing some of his teammates. Another nice development is that, while he’s off the team now, Jordan isn’t getting bullied by them anymore. Jordan and Sarah meet for lunch, and Jordan kindly invites Natalie over to join them. She and Sarah get to talking about the car project Kyle is working on for Sarah, and Jordan rapidly feels left out of the conversation. Lois arrives late at the Gazette, and gets some unwelcome news from Chrissy.
Worried about his weird visions, Superman flies to see the one person he can think of that might have some answers: Morgan Edge aka Tal-Rho, his half-brother. All things considered, Morgan has a fairly luxurious cell to himself, and he is his usual mocking, overconfident self. Morgan comes up with an idea to find out what’s happening to the Man of Steel, but Superman wisely decides not to do it. Out at the Shuster Mine (once again, I love they named that after one of the co-creators of Superman), Lois and Chrissy interview a new project head, Dr. Karen Faulkner. This, too, is a familiar name to comic book readers, and makes me wonder what they have in store for her. Faulkner offers some bland assurances and gives the appearance of cooperation with the interview, but neither reporter buys she’s telling the truth. We do learn that AmerTek is the company currently running the mines, and that, too, is another nod to the comic book history of one of the characters.
Lana’s event at the diner hits a major complication and she’s going to have to rethink some things. There’s a glaringly obvious solution that no one seems to come up with immediately. Sarah is once again not treating Jordan well as she bails on some plans, although she does make a minor effort to make it up to him. Jordan wisely bows out and leaves, but at least there’s no teen huff of anger or ridiculous reactions. Lois has a chat with John and asks for his help with something. This is both the first time his armored alter ego is called Steel, and when we learn that, after Natalie showed up, he retired the armor. I can see two ways that might go and I hope I’m wrong about both. Their conversation gets interrupted by Clark returning from his earlier errand. He shares how things went with Morgan, hears another incident in progress, and takes off to save some lives. Unfortunately, both the opposition is tougher than it seemed and Superman has another weird vision issue, leading to his not handling the situation well. General Anderson’s team shows up to take over, including a familiar face from last season. I get that Superman shows up randomly due to the combination of super-hearing and -speed, but I’m not clear on how the DOD team knew what was going on or arrived so quickly. In the aftermath of this, Superman talks with Anderson again, and it’s another tense meeting. I suspect the General is going to be a problem as this season goes on.
Lois and John go out by the mines and set up some equipment. John has his own little flashback, remembering things from his world, and Lois is smart enough to pick up on it and gracious enough to talk to him about it kindly. There’s some techno-babble about what they’re doing, and they go into John’s RV for a snack. Kyle and Lana try and come up with a solution to their campaign problem, and it’s an entertaining scene of teamwork and knowledge of their town. At the high school, Jonathan is still in physical therapy (he did break his arm twice last season), while his teammate is doing some odd things he shouldn’t be able to pull off. Given some of the subplots floating around, that isn’t a good sign.
Out at the farm, Jordan is moping over some texts between him and Sarah, and it really doesn’t seem like things are going well. Clark comes in and shares his new plan, which I really, really don’t like. Neither does Jordan, who makes some valid points about coming along. With some behind the scenes influence from General Lane, who we still haven’t seen this season, Clark and Jordan take Morgan someplace to try and find out what’s happening to Superman. Once there, Morgan reveals a few surprises and Superman is stunned to see someone he thought he never would again. There’s a very tense reunion of sorts as some family issues are gone over and an introduction made. It actually makes some of Morgan’s past actions a bit more believable. After both some family and more general Kryptonian history is gone over, there’s some discussion about the problems at hand. Natalie and Sarah have an unusual girls’ day, but the talk rolls around to boys anyway. Natalie gives some good advice and shows how talented she is in other areas.
Lois and John have some refreshments and light conversation when their sensors go off, which apparently means they need to check other sensors. That seems very inefficient to me, but John’s the genius. Superman and the new expert talk over a few things, while Morgan has a different conversation with Jordan. Jordan does a good job of standing up for himself and his brother, and then Morgan’s completely predictable treachery is revealed and things go badly. Between them, Jordan and Superman could probably handle the situation, but that’s when another weird vision hits the Man of Steel, and things start going badly. Lois and John realize something bad is going on as we see miners having a truly bad day and Dr. Faulkner leading from behind a desk.
The situation with Superman, Morgan, and Jordan gets resolved as the hero gets control of himself again and then takes out some frustrations on his treacherous brother. The expert steps in and reveals a few things about what’s happening. Superman wraps up Morgan’s little field trip, parting on a note that shows both the hero’s optimism and practicality, a rare combination. Lois gets more bad news at work and reveals some secrets about her family (not THE secret), while Kyle and Lana come to the same conclusion about the mayor’s race (finally).
We get another of the really well-done scene between brothers as Jordan and Jonathan catch each other up on their days. Natalie comes in and tells Jordan that Sarah is there to see him. Out on the porch, Sarah finally comes clean about why she’s been acting so oddly. It raises several issues at once, but, while Jordan is understandably upset, there were several bad things he could have said here that never came up. Points to him for that. The scene doesn’t end on a happy note, but it’s a believable one. Lois, Clark, and John compare notes, and Clark shares some news that doesn’t sound good. John puts a few things together and they draw some conclusions about what’s going on around them. The show ends with another cut to the mines, and the confirmation that Dr. Faulkner is up to something that she’s not sharing.
What I liked: The overall tone of the show continues to impress and even delight me. The family dynamic within the Kent household is believable, and it’s a great change to see a gathering of people who are actually nice to each other, supportive, and still believable and not perfect. Jordan and Jonathan are great kids and I like how they are written and performed. Natalie is impressing me as well. The scenes with Kyle and Lana were other good examples of a family that works well together. I don’t love it, but I understand John’s decision to retire from heroing.
What I didn’t: I’m growing increasingly mistrustful of Anderson, and it seems like they’re just trying to make a major contrast between how Anderson and Lane dealt with Superman. Sarah isn’t handling her situation well at all, and Jordan’s getting hit with the fallout. I don’t like where the Dr. Faulkner story seems to be going. I think I know why they are doing it, but I’m not happy with the subplot that’s hitting Lois and Chrissy, either.
The show is a really good one, and I like how they handle the vast majority of things on it. I’ll give this a high 3.5 out of 5. I hope I’m wrong about what’s coming from those mines.