Superman and Lois: Bizarros in a Bizarro World

Is it just me or do I look like I need Goth eyeliner?

The second season of Superman and Lois has had a lot of surprises. They used comic readers’ knowledge against them to subvert expectations in a masterful piece of misdirection early on, and since then, they’ve been delivering new spins on Superman mythos as well as going in new directions with the supporting characters. Now, after a break for a few weeks, the show returns with what is essentially the other side of the “30 Days and 30 Nights” episode, where the rest of the cast dealt with Superman being missing. Where has he been? Well, we find out in “Bizarros in a Bizarro World.”

After a cute touch with the title card for the show, we see Superman struggling through the portal to pursue the troublesome Ally Alston. He rapidly finds out how different this world is from his home, and they even manage to work in a nod to Bizarro’s history in the comics. Needing some time to gather his thoughts, Superman flies to Bizarro’s Fortress, and finds a lot of holo-displays, and then meets this universe’s version of Lara. She provides a bit of help for him, and Superman is forced to deliver some bad news. Lara gives him some information before the Fortress loses power suddenly. In the dimmer light, we meet this world’s Jonathan. We get a big hint that things are different right off the bat when we see how he’s dressed. The wardrobe department did a really nice job of recreating the comic book look of a Superman Family character that debuted back in the 90’s.

The two flee back to the Kent farm, where Superman finds a lot of dismaying differences from his own home. His conversation with Jon reveals even more, and this world is starting to seem more like the comic’s Earth 3, populated by evil versions of heroes, than Bizarro-World. Things are not going well, and then Lois shows up. They definitely seem to favor clothes with more Goth feel to them than Earth Prime, and this Lois wears the look well. Superman is shocked to see how Jonathan treats his mother, and then the show does something clever. There’s a lot of moving back and forth in the timeline, as we see a certain time frame from different characters’ points of view.

I’m not entirely certain how far back they go, but it’s interesting seeing the many differences in this world. Flash has done a great job in the past exploring alternate worlds, but I think this might be even better handled. This world’s Superman is definitely not the same man as the hero that’s been a beloved mainstay of comics since comic books started featuring superheroes. We see the family at a public event as the differences keep piling up, and then Superman’s attitude here forces Jonathan to do something that changes his world a bit, or at the very least, his place in it. This sparks off a discussion between Superman and Lois, and it’s interesting seeing the similarities and differences of this world contrasted with Earth Prime. We get a montage showing a series of changes and developments, and then what could almost be an argument between any teen and their parents, just with a different scope and stakes. Storming off, this Jonathan, like “our” Jonathan, gets led down a bad path by his girlfriend, and makes some connections he (and everyone else) would have been better off without.

Next up, we focus on Lois after a brief trip to the present to see things getting worse in the farmhouse. The Superman/Lois marriage is on shaky ground, and Lois has some legitimate concerns about how the Man of Steel is living his life. After a lot of arguing, Lois does something drastic, and Superman doesn’t take it at all well. She goes to get some advice and help from her father, and things in this version of the DOD aren’t exactly perfect either. Lois and Sam talk, while Jordan remains moodily silent, which is what he does most of this episode when he’s around. After a talk about the dimensions of this world’s Ally problem, they get interrupted by an unexpected, and unpleasant, family reunion. Lines have been drawn, and Ally’s recruiting is going really well, drawing in some powerful allies. There’s some intra-family violence and a demand that echoes back to something we heard earlier in the episode. This is followed by a slightly better, if sadder, reunion out at the farm, and a decision is reached that explains how some things happened we saw earlier in the season.

Back in the present again, Jonathan makes some demands that leave Superman confused. Things get physical as the surprised superhero tries to figure out what to do next, and then some unexpected help arrives. This triggers another jump back in time as we see an arrival, a lot of confusion, some cold-blooded orders from Ally, and someone going from bad to murderous. We get to see this world’s version of the Smallville Gazette, and Goth Chrissy shouts out some familiar names, although we never get to see the people who go with them. Chrissy is very smart and works out some of what’s going on when an unexpected visitor arrives, but the overall climate of fear means she has to tell him to leave. The strange visitor from another planet manages to get enough information to meet up with someone else we know, and we see what passes for the base of operations of this small resistance movement. Bad news is delivered, and then we circle back to things earlier in this episode and see something that happened just before a scene we’ve already witnessed. Things move a bit forward from what we’ve already seen, and there’s a brief fight and some really dubious restraints used on someone as the others try and plot out what to do next.

Superman strategizes with a recent foe who has come to see the error of his ways. There’s an actual apology with the realization from this character about how wrong they’ve been. It’s a short scene, but it shows once again how this version of Superman embodies the traditional ideals of the character, and not the darker elements that were played up in both the DC Reboot and the films starring Henry Cavil. The bad guys show up, and the good guys are outnumbered and outpowered. There’s a fight that doesn’t go well, and Ally moves closer to her ultimate goal, which isn’t going to be good for anyone. This triggers another backtrack, and we get to see the very different history of someone else from the series, as well as the significantly changed relationship they have with a major character. Later, as events develop, that relationship sours, as someone sides with a romantic partner over blood-kin.

The episode wraps by setting up a few cliffhangers. Ally pretty much get what she wanted, which starts to worry at least some of the ones who have been allies of hers. Some alliances shift, there’s an escape and a desperate pursuit, and then the whole thing brings us back to where “30 Days and 30 Nights” ended with some characters meeting up. That looks a lot more ominous now that we know the background of what led to this moment.

What I liked: This show maintains very high-quality writing and acting. Superman’s true character shows through, and Tyler Hoechlin does a phenomenal job playing different versions of the episode’s lead character. The moving back and forth to show us character histories was done well, and they did great job doing some quick world-building and distinguishing this Earth from Earth Prime. I liked the nod to Bizarro lore near the beginning. Jon’s wardrobe was also a nice nod to Superman history. There was a great one-line reference to a huge Superman fan that was a great touch.

What I didn’t: I’m really sick of Ally at this point. I’m hoping we see the end of her soon. There’s also my recurring complaint about all the other Arrowverse characters who should at least be getting a mention from time to time.

I thought this was a really well-done episode. I’ll give this one a 4 out of 5. It will be interesting to see how they resolve things over the next few episodes.