Superman and Lois: The Thing in the Mines

Oh, THAT’S the truck that just hit me….

The second season of Superman and Lois has launched several new plots in motion. Some of Lois’ past is coming back to haunt her with a past story she wrote spawning both professional problems and family drama. Clark is having weird visions that are throwing one of the world’s most powerful beings off his game. Add in a mayoral race in Smallville, some relationship issues for Jordan and Sarah, and the sadly believable illegal drug scene in a small town, and things are getting complicated. John Henry Irons is doing his best to help the Kents and deal with “The Thing in the Mines.”

The show opens with Superman in orbit, apparently preparing to take a run at the mines. It doesn’t go well, and he ends up retreating to the farm, where he talks with Lois and John. After some discussion, it’s decided that John will try and infiltrate the mines since AmerTek, the company that was running them, has been supplanted by the DOD, and Superman is not on the best terms with them right now. There’s also a passing comment that once again brings up the shared world problem. Superman has a lot of allies who could come help, but they never even seem to think of this idea. Jonathan and Jordan get another great brother scene as Jordan moons over Sarah and Jonathan keeps obsessing over his teammate’s unlikely successes. Natalie comes by and gives some advice about Sarah, and Jonathan makes an excellent point to his brother.

The writers have suddenly remembered the Cushings have more than one daughter, and Sophie is back from whatever limbo she’s been in, helping Lana prepare for an event for her mayoral run. Kyle reassures her, and it sounds like there’s going to be more family drama at that house. Lois watches some footage of the cult leader who is now causing her, her family, and the Smallville Gazette so much trouble. We get to see where Sam has been, and while it’s a bit stereotypical, it’s believable. Lois brings him up to speed on some of Superman’s issues with the DOD. Things continue not going well at the farm as Clark gets ready to take the kids to school. Jordan tries to have a conversation about Sarah and some things he wants, but Clark has to tell him no. They argue, and Clark very uncharacteristically loses his temper. You think an adult yelling at a kid is bad or scary, imagine it with powers and slipping self-control. Lois ends up taking the kids in as a very shaken Clark stays home, watched by a concerned John. This has to be stirring things up for the man who saw his world fall, and his wife murdered, by an out-of- control monster who looks a lot like Clark.

After she gets back, Lois and Clark talk about what happened, and some of Clark’s responses are even more troubling than his initial outburst when you think about it. The boys get into their own trouble as Jordan has a talk with Sarah that takes a turn, and Jonathan finds out more about his football rival, and it sounds pretty bad. Lana’s first campaign appearance goes poorly, as a guy called Chuck is either a plant for the current mayor or couldn’t do much more for Mayor Dean if he tried. General (ex-General? I’m not sure how that works) Lane turns up at the farm, helps get the clearance John needs for the mines, and that starts having trouble with Lois. There’s a lot of unresolved issues around her sister Lucy, and the relationship is so rocky, it affects Sam and Lois’ as well.

Not trusting himself to do much else, Clark goes to help coach football practice. Jonathan spends most of the time on the bench as Timmy the druggie dominates everything. They have words between plays, and when Tim says something that shocks Jonathan, things get physical. Clark pulls Jonathan into one of the practice rooms to talk to him, but has another fit. Jonathan, at times, I think might have the best reactions in the family. As soon as he sees Clark having problems, Jonathan forgets his own drama, helps his father out, and gets him out. Sam gets quite the surprise as Jon and Clark arrive home, and Clark manages to share a bit more about what’s happening to him, not that it really helps a lot. Irons’ infiltration of the mines starts off smoothly enough, as he interviews with Dr. Faulkner before going inside. Dispirited by her campaign event, Lana comes home in a foul mood, and Kyle does his best to help her, although she’s not really in the frame of mind to listen.

Continuing to be wise beyond his years, Jonathan checks in on Nat and raises a few good points about her father before the two go off to play video games. Down in the kitchen, Lois gives Clark some advice, although he’s still shaken by his two outbursts earlier in the day. There’s a passing reference to one of Superman’s greatest foes and the two agree to wait to hear from John Henry. The man himself continues his investigation of the mines, but finds out there’s more going on than he knew and gets betrayed. The kids indulge in some post gaming bragging, and then Clark comes in to talk to his sons. Making up with Jonathan is pretty easy, and plays to some believable tropes of teenaged boys. Jordans’ issues are a bit harder, but they manage to have a mature conversation and work something out. Again, the family scenes on this show have been fantastic and are a big part of why I enjoy it as much as I do.

Faulkner schemes with whoever she reports to, and things aren’t looking great for John. Sam and Lois have a touching scene and we hear a tiny bit more about Lucy. While Lucy Lane has already appeared in the Arrowverse, thanks to Crisis rewriting history, the character we’re going to eventually see isn’t going to be the same as the one on Supergirl, even though Jenna Dewan is reprising the role. Lana is indulging in two things that really don’t go well together when Sarah finds her. They catch each other up on what’s been going on, and Sarah decides it’s time to help her mother out. Clark and Lois have a chat on the porch about parenting and then his visions kick in again. Wisely, he tells Lois to get away from him, and equally wisely, she backs up. He gets a clearer image of what’s happening and decides that, visions or no, he needs to take care of it.

At the mines, the shadowed form we’ve been seeing hints of emerges, and it’s not looking good for the soldiers out there. Of course, they shouldn’t be this heavily armed on American soil, and they show remarkably poor fire discipline on a few levels. Either standards have gone down a lot since Sam left or he wasn’t as good as everyone seems to think he is. John, barely managing to not get killed, makes his way out of the mines and calls for his own special backup. Things turn into a huge fight at the mines as Superman clashes with the new foe, there’s a phenomenally well-done fake-out about who they’re fighting, and Steel comes out of retirement just in time to be completely out of his league.

The bad guy gets away and the heroes regroup at the farm, eliminating one of the possibilities as to who the bad guy might be. Sam presses for something the others don’t agree with, but backs off when they all tell him it’s a bad idea. In the barn, Natalie stares at the damaged Steel suit. It seems like things are setting up for a predictable confrontation between her and John, but the writers once again side with maturity and have her go in an unexpected direction. John drops a hint about some of their circumstances changing. Sarah’s new idea seems to be clicking a lot better for Lana, and they work on a shared project until Jordan turns up. He and Sarah have a talk and things are at least looking up for them.

As Lois, rarely for her, is clearly rattled by what she needs to do next, Jonathan pays a call on his girlfriend Candace. Things take a few unexpected turns in their conversation, and they do a great job of blending his being a good guy and the unpleasant realities of some aspects of small-town life. Their conversation ends on a really surprising note, and I hope things aren’t going where it looks like they are. Lois’ meeting doesn’t go at all as planned, and I suspect this is going to keep being a problem for her for a while. The last scene of the show offers some insight into the new bad guy, and it’s an interesting spin on a classic Superman villain.

What I liked: The family scenes, with both the Kents and the Cushings, continue to be really well done, both in terms of writing and acting. Clark’s visions are getting worse, but the way they are affecting things makes sense. Jonathan is rapidly becoming one of my favorite characters on the show. I’m glad John is back in action as Steel, and I really liked Nat’s scene with him near the end. I’m impressed with how they are handling the villain. I enjoyed Sarah’s way to help Lana.

What I didn’t: I really don’t like the plotline going on with Tim and Candace. It makes sense, it’s not badly written, I just don’t like it. I’m also not a fan of the story from Lois’ past. The writers have earned my trust so far, so I’ll give it some time. I’m not wild about Lucy being rebooted, either.

The series continues to impress me on just about every front. I’ll give this a high 3.5 out of 5, and I’m curious to see what happens now that the bad guy has been revealed.