Superman and Lois: Anti Hero

Really, I get a thematic color for a room, but this is a bit much, isn’t it?

I very much enjoyed Tyler Hoechlin’s portrayal of Superman, first on Supergirl, then in a few more appearances around the Arrowverse. I was happy to hear he was getting a show, especially with the addition of Elizabeth Tulloch as Lois Lane. When Superman and Lois debuted, I was thrilled, and I’ve been enjoying the show ever since. Season two has been busy, with the return of Lucy Lane, the threat of cult leader Ally Alston, Superman’s deteriorating relationship with the DOD (mostly due to General Mitch Anderson’s increasing paranoia and power grabs), and the great fake-out of what we were led to believe was Doomsday but turned out to be Bizarro. On the personal front, there’s Jonathan’s increasingly poor choices and drama in the Cushing/Cortez home. All in all, things are very busy in “Anti-Hero.”

Last episode ended with the surprising turn of Anderson betraying and arresting Superman, courtesy of the DOD’s red sun gear and special weapons. I really wonder what it says about that organization that they’ve spent this much time, effort, and money on ways to neutralize their greatest and most powerful ally. Superman finds himself in the red sun room alongside Morgan Edge/Tal-Rho, who is his usual smirking and smug annoying self. Edge asks assorted questions, and Superman even gets a bit snappish back, which is an indicator as to how badly things are going for him. Anderson comes in and barks out some questions, which Superman doesn’t feel inclined towards answering. The Man of Steel does try and warn the General of Idiocy about another threat, but Anderson isn’t listening and stalks off making assorted threats. Edge, enjoying the floorshow, lounges back and asks Superman to fill him in on what’s happening. Back at the farm, Lois worries, Sam tries to reassure her, and the boys get told to essentially take care of themselves and work out whatever problem they’re having. Jonathan looks miserable and Jordan leaves without a word.

Lana is getting boxes together for Kyle’s move, and Sarah, good kid that she is, helps out. The two talk a bit about what’s happening, and it’s a nice, well-written and acted scene. That’s followed up by Lana seeing an ad about Mayor Dean and looking irked, as Sarah goes to school and is clearly feeling the tension of everything happening as she talks with Jordan. The two are surprised to see Sheriff’s cars in the parking lot, which Jordan knows bodes ill. Candace goes to see Jonathan, gives him more of the XK, and promises a good price. He gives the drugs back, much to her disbelief, and then takes them when the police come down the hall. Jonathan had a plan, although not a great one, and it clearly didn’t work. The two things this scene left me wondering were how Jonathan was paying for the drugs in the first place and how they managed to train dogs to alert for XK so quickly. It’s a new substance, not of this world, and it takes a while to train a K9.

At the Gazette, Lois is on the phone with Sam, growing increasingly frustrated about Clark’s dilemma. As she gets off the phone, Lana comes in with questions about the ad the paper ran, and Lois sympathizes but can’t help, directly at least. Lois makes a good suggestion before she gets another phone call that seriously alters the trajectory of her day. Edge continues to annoy Superman, and presents his own distorted view of their last meeting. Anderson returns, increasingly desperate for answers, and starts breaking multiple laws and codes for the treatment of prisoners. The man has really gone into villain territory. Getting home, Sarah and Lana talk about the events at school and the turmoil with Kyle. Lana, despite her own pain and chaos, is a great mom and takes some time to look out for Sarah, making a good suggestion.

There are a few things you really try hard to avoid in any version of the DC Universe, and one of them is a righteously furious Lois Lane. This is what Jonathan finds himself facing as she storms at him with, all things considered, a great deal of control. There’s some inconsistency about exactly what he got caught with (the XK has been inhalers, but she raves about him having “20 pills” on him), and Jonathan tries some really poorly judged justifications for what he did. Jonathan makes the understandable, if not necessarily correct, decision to not say where he got the drugs, and Lois isn’t happy about this. Jordan has the poor timing to walk in at this point, Jonathan tries to protect him, but Lois has had more than enough and sends them both upstairs to their rooms. Morgan becomes the focus of Anderson’s wrath, and the general really looks like he’s enjoying what he’s doing. This man needs some serious psychiatric counseling. Finally, Superman tells him what he wants to hear, and, when the general leaves, Edge points out a flaw in Superman’s plan.

Not having a lot of other places to turn, especially with Chrissy, John Henry, and Natalie all not being in this episode, Lois goes to see Lana. It’s a good scene between friends, but with one flaw. At one point, Lana asks how Clark is reacting to Jonathan’s problems, and Lois mentions that he doesn’t know about it yet. Considering what a good parent he is, and how close Lana and Clark are, this should have at the very least provoked some questions, but it goes unremarked. Lana gives Lois some very good advice, which Lana excels at, and the ace reporter has something to think about. Back home, Jordan has a lot of questions for Jonathan, but his brother isn’t answering them. Jordan is getting a lot of flack for things Jonathan did, and I feel bad for the kid.

Things get even more tense on two different fronts for the various DOD operations. Edge has had time to think, which is never good, and is looking at ways to turn things to his advantage. Things go from taunting words to an actual fight, and the lack of powers doesn’t make it any less brutal. Meanwhile, Anderson is monitoring his team’s mission to the location Superman directed them. They don’t find what they were sent for, but do find something that makes the increasingly paranoid Anderson leap to the wrong conclusions. Anderson realizes what’s happening in the detention cell just too late to stop the escape plan. Superman does stop Edge from actually killing anyone, but the two get free, leaving behind Anderson, helpless to do anything. Really starting to step over the line into the start of madness, Anderson becomes convinced of a plot that doesn’t exist, dodges a call from his superior (because that always helps), and then goes on to cross a few more lines.

The Kryptonian escapees meet up at Edge’s fortress in the desert. It’s a sort of twisted family reunion, with Edge, Superman, Lara, and the still-captive Bizarro. Edge is fascinated by the newest arrival, and, when Lara once again provides translation for what Bizarro is saying, Edge hears something that actually surprised him and gets him to more or less shut up for once. In Smallville, at the diner we see so much of, we see who Sarah has reached out to, and it’s someone she has a bit of a complicated history with. I also worry a bit about Sarah; her guest talks about a two hour drive to get there. There’s no one in Smallville Sarah can talk to? What about the girl who owned the store where Jordan nearly got himself in major trouble an episode or two ago? They have a good talk and her friend proves to be a really great person. Out at the farm, Lois acts on Lana’s advice and tries to have a calmer talk with Jonathan. He tells his side of things, and does seem to realize the magnitude of his screwup. One thing I feel bad about is he really was turning down the drugs and trying to protect Candance, and no one is going to believe him at this point, even if he tells someone. Lois lays out some of the consequences coming Jonathan’s way, but he sticks to his guns. I guess that counts for something.

In Tal’s fortress, Edge is still shaken by the news he just received and is trying to get more information about it. Lara provides the briefest of warnings just before Anderson, heavily armed and amped up on XK, bursts in. How Anderson found them, and why his exposure to the drug gave him so much more power than anyone else we’ve seen so far, I have no idea. A truly ugly fight ensues, as Anderson fights both Superman and Edge, and does pretty well. I suppose there’s some sense to that; Anderson is both better-armed and likely has more actual fight training than they do. Lara, seeing her sons in danger, makes a decision, and Bizarro enters the fray, really confusing Anderson for a time. In rapid succession there’s an unexpected sacrifice, an unfortunate accidental discovery, emergency surgery, and a death. In the aftermath, there’s a return to the status quo and what seems like an actual sincere conversation. Sam tells Lois about more fallout from what’s happened, and his own life is about to change. Clark finally gets home, thinking he gets to relax a bit, and then starts to get more bad news from Lois.

The ever-slimy Mayor Dean is holding court at the diner, doing his best to schmooze the citizens and attack Lana without actually saying her name. With a wonderfully-timed entrance, Lana comes in, stands her ground, and points out just what a giant hypocrite Dean is being. It’s a fantastic little scene that I really enjoyed and wish real-life versions of it would happen. Having made her own decision, Sarah goes to see her father, although how she knew where he was is unclear. For this next scene, imagine this scenario: you’re in huge trouble. You’re waiting for your father to get home, knowing how mad he’s going to be. And your father just happens to be Superman. I almost feel bad for Jonathan. Clark comes in, remarkably in control of himself, and lays out what’s going to happen in the near future, not tolerating anything by way of excuses from his son. Everything finally catches up with Jonathan and he looks utterly wretched as Clark leaves him. The show ends on an even worse note as two people who really shouldn’t work together meet up, and it looks bad for the good guys.

What I liked: Just about everything. This episode had a lot of surprises I didn’t see coming, but they worked. Some of the interplay between Superman and Edge was really well done. Anderson has gone over the edge, but I can halfway understand how it happened. In a similar vein, I disagree with just about everything Jonathan did this episode, but I understand it. The big fight near the end had a lot of twists and turns that were executed well. Lana’s scene with Mayor Dean was fantastic. Sarah reaching out and then actually acting on the advice she got was nicely done.

What I didn’t: Mostly small, detail stuff, but it still bothers me. How did Anderson find them for the big fight? How did Sarah know where Kyle was? I still don’t believe the drug dogs got trained on something that new, that fast. Just how as Jonathan paying for the drugs? We’ve never heard anything about an allowance or a part time job. I do feel bad for Jordan in all this. He’s getting hit on all sides at once.

I really enjoy this series and this was another great episode. This gets a solid 4 out of 5. The show is taking another few weeks off after this week and I’m very curious about the fallout from this very eventful episode.