Last episode ended with a major development in Superman’s life. Feeling overwhelmed by too many things going on, he finally decided to tell Lana the truth about who he is. It was a hell of a note to end on, with a lot of potential ramifications. As far as we know, this Superman doesn’t have the “amnesia kiss” ability that weirdly showed up in the Christopher Reeve movies, and he’s definitely not going to hurt Lana, so there’s no going back on this one. Personally, I think it’s part of the trend of doing away with secret identities that I really don’t care for, but that’s a rant for another time. You can get an idea how things are going from this with the title, “The Lies That Bind.”
The episode starts precisely where we left off, with Clark hovering and demonstrating a few of his powers for Lana, who is understandably stunned. Lana has a lot of questions, and we see a few flashbacks to various early portions of their lives. This sequence is also, to the best of my knowledge, the first mention of Clark’s other childhood friend Pete Ross, who has been conspicuously absent for the entire series so far. There are some difficult questions and memories, and finally Lana just says she has to go. Already drained, Clark gets home and endures a barrage of disbelieving questions from the boys. Jonathan is just genuinely curious, while Jordan is obviously seeking to turn this into a way to get back together with Sarah. In typical teen fashion, they also try and find an excuse to stay home from school, but Lois and Clark aren’t having it, and off they go.
At school, Jordan and Jonathan talk with Natalie for a bit. Jordan tries to get Sarah’s attention, but gets snubbed, and then Jonathan gets attention he could have done without as several of the jocks come by with assorted feelings of ill-will about the football season. Jonathan makes a few good points in rebuttal, and then goes off the deep end, with Natalie and Jordan scrambling to cover for him. Finally, they decide to skip school, because Jonathan isn’t in enough trouble, and Jordan, knowing it’s the wrong thing to do, goes along anyway. I’m more disappointed in Jordan than the other two in this scene. Struggling to process what she’s learned, Lana stumbles through a meeting with Kyle. He’s really trying to be considerate of her, and still be a good father to Sarah, and the poor guy is getting nothing back at this point. After a few painfully inadequate exchanges, Lana excuses herself and runs off with a lie.
Just to be confusing, Jordan Elsass plays Jonathan Kent, and he does double duty this week as the powered Jonathan from Bizarro World. Superman goes to talk to him, and despite his best efforts, B-Jon (I need a way to differentiate him. I’m open to suggestions that aren’t BJ for obvious reasons) refuses to help or share any information about Ally. The kid’s devoted to his cause, you have to give him that. Superman’s next meeting doesn’t go too well either, as he, John Henry, and Sam Lane talk about ways to destroy the pendant so Ally can’t use it. They can’t come up with anything, and move on to more controversial topics, like which world Superman should be worried about. The Man of Steel makes some good points and then speeds off. He’s a busy guy this episode, and has places to be.
Speaking of painful meetings, Lana comes by the Kent Farm (can we still call it that? Are they actually growing anything at this point? No one ever seems to be working the land) and has a talk with Lois. It takes some unexpected directions, and Lois goes from surprised to shocked as the conversation goes on. There were definitely some twists I didn’t see coming, and I feel bad for both women. Natalie brings the boys over (how are they getting around, since none of them have a car?) to show them a project she’s been working on. It’s an interesting idea, brings in some elements from the comics, and shows how both practical and generous Natalie can be. And brilliant, for that matter, as she drafts the Kent boys into helping her with something.
Next on Superman’s agenda is another family reunion, as he goes to see Morgan Edge/Tal-Rho in his isolation cell. I guess the special effects crew got tired of the red lighting, as it’s nowhere to be seen. Maybe his powers are being suppressed another way now? They talk about reading material before getting down to why Superman is here, and what Tal wants in exchange for possibly helping. I didn’t really like Tal before, but the way Adam Rayner has been playing him lately has been amusing me. I still wonder where his second-in-command got to. Ever willing to give someone a second (or third or eighth) chance, Superman goes along with at least one request, gets a frustrated rant from Lois when he gets home, and then shocks his wife with the next reveal. Lois is really having a rough episode. There’s an interesting conversation, and then things move on to the next issue at hand.
Superman might have a way to destroy the pendant, but both John Henry and Sam are unalterably against it. There’s a discussion that goes towards bickering before Lois uses her mom voice to end it, tell them to figure things out and work together, and leaves to take care of something. While Sam and John reluctantly listen, Natalie takes the boys on a field trip and they do some specialized gathering, as well as commiserating about adults treating them like kids. Back in town, Kyle picks up Sarah and they have a chat about Lana. Kyle is getting concerned, and leaping to some wrong, but understandable, conclusions.
Natale and the boys (not to be confused with The Boys) finally find what they’re looking for. Then they proceed to show that they aren’t, in fact, really ready to be out on their own as they take a shortcut, near-disaster ensues, and they realize they screwed up something important. John and Sam have reluctantly been won over, and that plan begins to move forward. Tal makes an amusing point, and there’s some more distrust among the men. Kyle comes back to his austere apartment, and he and Sarah talk about one of her budding interests. After some more Lana talk, Kyle leaves, and appears to be up to something that’s a really bad and selfish idea.
Not one to take things lying down, or take things at all, really, Lois goes to see Lana. Lois tries to explain a few things, gets an initially frosty reception, and then shares some heart-felt truths and disturbing facts. Superman and a new ally try to carry out an important mission, and banter about the location. They make some progress but then an old enemy shows up and things get chaotic. It’s a complicated fight with a late arrival and some new abilities on display. The heroes more or less win, but make a really bad decision at the end of the battle. By the end of it, the heroes have done some good, but the villains get away.
Lana gets home after a rough day and gets a pleasant surprise for a change. Sarah shows she’s a great kid, and helps out on several fronts, as well as bringing up an awkward but necessary topic to talk about. Lana almost does something that could have made a lot of lives easier and cut down on Teen DramaTM, but The Incredible Vanishing Younger Daughter makes a rare appearance and gives Lana something else to consider. Lana then decides to do something that comes across as a bit hypocritical, and Sarah gets a surprise of her own. Clark and Lois drop by to talk things over with Lana, and tensions mount again. The Three Musketeers are at the Irons home when John Henry gets in to find the kids laughing about their earlier adventures and lying about school. There’s a dinner invitation and some assigning of tasks and chores, which, judging from Natalie’s reaction, isn’t the first time. Jordan goes to carry out his job, and then stops and looks oddly at his phone for reasons never really made clear.
Sarah makes plans to go out with her dad, and surprises the adults, who are deep in conversation in the garage. She leaves, and Lana makes some surprising declarations. Her decision pains the Kents, and while I get where she’s coming from, and points to her for also acting like a good mayor, I don’t see how what she is proposing is going to help anything. I’d argue it would make things more complicated. We get to see what Kyle had planned for Sarah, and it turns out to be a good thing. The man left a lot to be desired as a husband, but he really does seem to be trying hard as a father. It’s actually a cool little scene, and there’s some great lines in it. The final scene is bad guys plotting, multiversal duplicates, and a powerful character essentially serving as a redshirt. Things are going to get even harder for the good guys before we get to the end of the season
What I Liked: This show continues to impress me on every level. The writing, acting, directing, special effects; all of it is fantastic. Lana’s reactions to everything make a lot of sense and show some real maturity from both the character and the writer. While Jordan’s tendency to keep bringing the conversation back to him and Sarah seems a bit selfish, it’s understandable given everything going on and remembering he’s still just a kid. Kyle is redeeming himself as a father, and you can see how hard he’s trying. I don’t blame Sam and John for not liking this plan and having their doubts about it. I’m really enjoying Adam Rayner’s Tal-Rho lately.
What I Didn’t: Sure, it’s a picky detail, but how are the kids getting around so easily? Jordan’s powers aren’t exactly reliable and it’s been established that at least the brothers don’t have their licenses. Lana’s decision near the end seems like it’s going to cause more problems than solutions. Natalie’s secret project is cool, but we’re supposed to buy that genius John Henry didn’t notice any of this?
This series constantly impresses me. I’ll give this episode a 4 out of 5. The heroes are in for a lot of trouble in the coming episodes.