Superman and Lois: The Inverse Method

Lois! You washed my cape on the wrong setting!

Among the reasons I think Superman and Lois has been such a great show is the characterizations and writing. Which is why this episode seemed a bit jarring. A few plot points only worked if characters acted very much out of character. There’s a lot happening, and certainly not everything is bad, but “The Inverse Method” is a bit of a letdown when compared to some other episodes.

The episode begins with a scene set five years ago. Lois and Lucy have a discussion that turns into a major argument as they talk about how to live their lives and where to go next. It’s somewhat odd seeing Jenna Dewan playing Lucy, who she portrayed on Supergirl, as a wholly different character. I get that Crisis let them reboot a lot of things, but it’s still weird. In the present, we skip back to the diner from the end of last episode where Lois was supposed to meet Lucy but Ally Allison showed up instead. Their meeting isn’t friendly, and the disagreements escalate to a show of muscle on Ally’s part. Things are not going well at all on this front.

While Lois calls Chrissy in the aftermath of the meeting, Bizarro (they haven’t called him that yet, but let’s face it, that’s what he is) flies to what I presume is the ruins of the Fortress of Solitude, digs something out of the ice, and flies off. In a reverse of what we’ve been seeing, Bizrro starts getting images of Clark’s life, which once again throws our hero into a small fit at the breakfast table. His sons are increasingly worried, and ask some intelligent questions. Not present is Lois, who is off listening to the podcast that’s causing her so much trouble in her personal and professional life. Clark gives Jordan some good advice, and then takes advantage of what the younger Kent did. Before taking the kids to school (which seems like a bad plan for a man having random seizures), Clark goes to see Lois and offer some encouragement and support. Natalie’s before school routine is a bit different, as she and her father work on the Steel armor.

Elsewhere that morning, the Cushings enjoy breakfast and then Lana gets both a compliment about her livestream campaign Q and A and a warning about what the sleezy Mayor Dean is up to. Lana isn’t happy, and Kyle is considerably less than that. Back at the farm, John and Clark talk about quiet and the farm in general. Their peaceful conversation gets interrupted when another of Clark’s visions gives them a heads up just before Bizarro returns. Bizarro and Superman clash and John steps in, attacking with his hammer, which is still clearly not fully repaired. Bizarro ends up flying off, not apparently affected by the attack, while Lois and Chrissy prepare for their hunt for Lucy Lane.

Kyle and Lana have an intense discussion about Dean’s poking around and what it might mean for the family, with Lana, as usual, a calming influence. At the high school, we see that Jonathan’s girlfriend Candace is absolutely an incredibly bad influence, and Jonathan, sadly typical for a teenage boy (and some men) can’t see it. She’s pushing him down a bad path, and the rest of his family is going to be very disappointed down the road. Clark and John talk about John getting pulled back into superheroics, and a new device to help track Superman’s twisted doppleganger. John gives Clark some advice that the Man of Steel definitely doesn’t want to hear, but sounds like a good idea in theory at least. Jordan and Sara visit one of Sara’s friends. Jordan steps in when some kids do something stupid, and while he handles the issue at hand all right, didn’t take a few things into account that sound like they are going to cause problems.

Panicked, we see Jordan make an interesting choice. His father has lots of experience with superpowers, and his mother is remarkably resourceful. Instead, he calls his grandfather, and Sam uses some of his old resources to help out. I will say I occasionally think the writers are mixing up the DOD and the CIA or DHS. While Sam gives Jordan advice, Chrissy goes in to one of Ally’s meetings, and listens the cultish delivery of Ally. Acting on John’s suggestion, Superman goes to see General Anderson (still very incorrectly identified as a Lieutenant in the credits). The two don’t agree on a lot of things, and Superman is clearly feeling frustrated by the man and missing his old relationship with Sam. They part on not great terms, and once again I’m left wondering if this show has somehow left the Arrowverse. Jon does something remarkably stupid at practice, and manages to get very, very lucky.

As Chrissy hears the indoctrination inside, Lucy finds Lois in the parking lot and they go inside to talk. There’s a lot of cutting back and forth between the sisters arguing and Ally addressing her followers. Ally also surprises Chrissy. This entire afternoon was a setup on two levels, and Lois really doesn’t come off looking good. Lucy broke a few laws as I understand them, but that never comes up. Chrissy and Lois meet up afterward, and Chrissy is really not happy with Lois. Sara gets home, misunderstands something at first, and then, when she gets an idea as to what’s going on, shows what a great kid she is. Back on the farm, Lois and Clark catch up on their respective days, and Clark again shows that he’s an amazingly supportive and understanding partner.

Things take a turn when the DOD gets a hit on the device Superman gave them, but decide to not include him in the event. The team, including young Tag the speedster, gets sent off to Bolivia. Clark gets a warning from the visions, but it’s too late. Anderson’s team was doomed as soon as we heard their name. The Supermen of America were an obscure and short-lived group of heroes who were killed off for dramatic effect during one of DC Comics’ big events. Most of the team shares the same fate when they confront Bizarro. Superman finally arrives and manages to save Tag, who grabs something and takes off. Lois encourages John to help out, and he armors up, despite the suit clearly not being ready. The fight goes badly and ends with someone heading for the hospital with bodies left behind. Natalie gets some bad news and takes it out on someone who really doesn’t deserve it.

In town, Kyle and Lana have a confrontation with the smug and generally irksome Mayor Dean. Kyle is back to his old hot-headed ways, and Dean seems amused and then makes a cryptic threat as they part. Lois shares what news they have of recent developments with the boys, and Jordan makes a surprising request of Sam. Sam agrees, but also has a condition that is going to blow up in their faces eventually. Kyle does something that at first looks really, really bad, and then winds up being something that might be worse.

There’s a lot of drama going on, but the last few scenes hinge more on the Lane side of things. Lois is being ghosted by Chrissy, and is clearly upset about it. We get another flashback to an argument between the sisters, and then end on Chrissy doing something that I really have trouble believing.

What I liked: John’s heroism shouldn’t be overlooked. He knew his armor wasn’t ready, and went to help his friend anyway. Jordan, too, was heroic in a smaller scale way, and least did something useful to clean up his mess. And, of course, Superman keeps risking himself when he’s far from 100% to save people who are in trouble because they ignored him. Sam’s choice near the end is going to be interesting. Sara is a really impressive kid who is probably going to grow up to be an amazing woman.

What I didn’t: Jon did something really stupid that seems very much at odds with how we’ve seen him so far. I was really hoping he was going to take after his mother and do some investigation here, but apparently not. Chrissy, too, was remarkably unlike herself, especially in that final scene. Sam has way too much influence and reach for both who he was and who he is now, and his agreement with Jordan seems like a bad plan on most levels.

This series has been stellar, and this episode was a letdown on a few fronts. I’m giving this one a 3 out of 5.