Superman and Lois: All Is Lost

Man, Natalie’s shop class is a lot more advanced than I thought.

I’ve been a fan of superheroes as far back as I can remember. I read comics, watch the shows, go to the movies. I think at this point I’d call myself an expert on the genre. That said, Superman and Lois is one of the best shows about superheroes I think I’ve ever seen, and this is a fantastic version of both Superman and Lois Lane. My only complaints about the show are that it seems to have weirdly isolated itself from the rest of the Arrowverse, and the seasons are too short. The current story with weird cult leader Ally Alston, whose evil bridges two worlds, has taken a lot of unexpected turns. That continues with the not exactly optimistically titled episode, “All Is Lost.”

The episode jumps back and forth between five years ago and the present. We see some of how Lucy got so deeply in Ally’s clutches, and Lucy’s very skewed perception of her family. I really think this version of Lucy has some mental health issues. I prefer the original Arrowverse version of the character that was on Supergirl, but that was before the big Crisis event let everyone rewrite pretty much everything.

In that five years ago period, we see Ally giving a talk, and this proves to be the night she meets Lucy. From the start, Ally knows who Lucy is, and is eager to seize on, and manipulate, her. In the present, given how long Ally has been gone, many of her followers abandon their odd, rural headquarters. At the farm, Superman returns, having been unable to find Ally, and he and Lois talk about some more of the fallout from his long absence and Lana’s recent decision to cut the Kents out of her life. Lois steers Clark to an unpleasant task, and I don’t envy the man, vast powers or not.

At the Irons’ home, there’s some banter about breakfast, a more serious discussion of the peril Ally now presents, and then John discovers a secret. Given the off-hand way he trips over this, I’m a bit surprised it hasn’t happened before. Also, now that they’ve named the AI, it seems to have more personality. In their kitchen, Sarah is enjoying the video her dad made of her performance, and Lana is impressed, at least initially. As a few more details come out, she goes from impressed to annoyed, and things are looking a bit less rosy for the young singer. On the porch of the Kent farm, Clark breaks some bad news to the boys, who aren’t at all happy about it. There’s some low-level arguing, and Clark reverts to the lovable, overly earnest guy that he is, baffled when people can’t see things his way. This is something you wouldn’t see in the darker version from the recent movies.

The weight of lies has been lifted with Lana, although that didn’t work out well, but it’s still there with Chrissy. Lois and Chrissy are digging into information on Ally, and Chrissy has a few things to say about the cover story for Clark’s month-long absence. This awkward scene gets interrupted when Sam Lane shows up with some information on where Ally might be. He actually has a reason for not calling in the DOD that makes sense, although he’s less happy when Chrissy insists on coming along, and Lois supports her. I’m really not sure if Lois thought this was fair given what Chrissy has been through, or if Lois is trying to mend fences with her work-friend.

On the Bizarro-Earth, Ally gives a rousing speech to the people of her world. The dopplegangers of various familiar faces watch with widely differing reactions. Closer to home, Nat brings John Henry coffee, and he’s not happy about what he’s learned. They argue, and both of them have some valid points, although I agree a lot more with Natalie. He delivers an ultimatum and she leaves in that emotional huff that teenage girls, no matter how smart or mature, are masters of. Sam, Lois, and Chrissy arrive at the secluded headquarters of Ally’s group. Does this cult have a name? I don’t think I’ve ever heard one for it, which is a bit odd now that I think of it. Lost people who want to belong, Ally’s favorite prey, are big into something to give them identity and membership. You’d think someone would have come up with something. At any rate, Sam lays out the rules, Chrissy is annoyed, and Lois just sort of shakes her head. The Lanes go in, find Lucy, have more arguments about family history and Ally, and then Sam does something that shows he’s not going anywhere without both of his daughters.

In the Kent barn, which has seen so many dramatic scenes in its various incarnations, Clark engages in the old standby of using his powers to help with chores while he and Jonathan talk about what’s going on with their family and the Cushings. Jonathan gives some perspective, and Clark feels even worse about what his secret is costing. They have a great talk, and Clark comes out with some quotes that are more in keeping with the version of Superman who inspires people, rather than the one that (justifiably) scares people. At the end of their task, Jonathan finally shares where Jordan has gone. Jordan’s errand is ill-advised on many fronts, but anyone who remembers being a teenager in love can probably identify with it. Instead of the understanding he hoped for, Jordan gets verbally savaged, and leaves in tears. I feel bad for the kid.

Once again stepping back five years, Lucy shows Ally her new apartment. There are a few amusing lines, but Ally has her hooks deep in Lucy’s mind, and the girl doesn’t even know it. Lucy worries about the future, and Ally seems overconfident, although the way things are going, she might have reason to be. Back to the present, Sam’s stunt has angered the cultists, and they are growing increasingly annoyed. Lois points out some of the really ugly things Lucy has done, and Lucy fires back with her own delusions about her family history. Uneven dynamics and family issues continue as Clark finds Jordan after his ugly discussion. Clark, ever the optimist, shares his point of view with Jordan, and offers something new, both to distract him and because it’s needed. Kyle and his crew are loading up on snacks when Sarah finds him. She relays what happened with Lana, and is worried about what’s coming next. Kyle, while he screwed up hardcore earlier, and I couldn’t stand when he first appeared, has come a long way, and is clearly trying hard to make things as easy as he can for his family, even under the strained current circumstances. Whatever his other failings are, Kyle is being the best father he can, and doing a pretty good job of it.

At Club Ally (I need to call it something), Lucy continues her outpouring of what she thinks everything was like growing up. Both Lois and Sam are surprised at the very least, and try to persuade her of how they actually feel. Lucy does seem to actually listen, and Sam takes a step towards trying to show he trusts her. Which, if you ask me, is a mistake given her recent behavior. Who drugs their dad? In a touching moment, Lucy and Lois unite to correct their dad about something he’s been feeling for a long time. It could have been a great family beat, but the rest of the cult has some really bad timing and interrupts as something new is happening. As the cult and their unwelcome guests deal with a new development, Clark brings Jordan to the ruins of his Fortress for some special training. Clark shares his early attempts to master his powers, and Jordan, initially doubtful, jumps in eventually. It’s a great scene, and a nice father/son moment, although there’s a weird line that doesn’t really fit with how I understand Jordan’s character. Sarah had a similar exchange with Lana earlier.

Ally has returned, and is using some different pronouns, which could be a matter of her new circumstances or just plain being unbalanced. Or both.  Lois and Sam try to hold on to the gains they’ve made, but Lucy isn’t listening. Ally speaks grandiosely, and lies more, and reveals her new objective, which really should have been a clue for Lucy. John Henry learns something he set out to do isn’t at all as easy as he thought, and finds out just how much work Natalie has put into her own project. He goes to his daughter, impressed if still worried, and they reach a kind of working truce. Poor Kyle goes to see Lana in her office and walks into a minefield. Lana is shaken, realizing how badly she’s done with several things today. Kyle does his best to be supportive, doesn’t press for answers, and offers what he can to help. I don’t know if they’ll ever get back together, but Kyle’s grown a lot recently and I like who he’s becoming better than who he was. He makes a suggestion she’s skeptical about, but eventually agrees to.

Ally demands answers, and Lois is cool and evasive, even making a passing reference to the old Batman tv show. Lucy, however, is firmly under Ally’s spell again and once more betrays her family. Clark and Jordan return to the farm, and we see Jordan has some things to work on. So does Clark, as he gets a lot of well-earned snark from Jonathan, who leaves them to go inside. Ya know, Clark, Jonathan became a supervillain on that other Earth, and you’re not exactly doing great with him here. Just sayin’. At this point, things kick into high gear, and a jam-packed episode has even more things happen.

Lucy makes her choice and not only turns her back on family, but does something that might have even more serious repercussions. Superman arrives, but instead of saving the day, he falls to Ally’s power. Lois made an off-hand comment about Ally earlier which, now that I think about it, might explain what character she’s become a version of. That one was on Supergirl, but there’s very little continuity between the shows. Ally is in full villain mode now, and even Lucy is starting to see it. The cavalry arrives in the form of Clan Irons, but even that doesn’t go to plan. Steel’s big attack doesn’t work at all well, and Natalie isn’t ready to fight someone this powerful. Ally, utterly indifferent to anyone else’s concerns at this point, takes a moment to blast Sam with her power as well, finally making Lucy realize “Hey, maybe this isn’t a good thing.” Finally getting more or less what she wants, Ally leaves, with a lot of wreckage behind her. Steel and whatever we’re going to end up calling Natalie take off, each carrying someone on dire need of medical attention.

Back in the past, Lucy shares some concerns with Ally. Ally is supremely unconcerned, and Lucy laments some more about her family life. Ally takes a trope that is very popular in modern fiction and family dramas and twists it to bring Lucy even more fully under her control. In the present, a shaken Lucy is at Sam’s bedside as he wakes up. She appears remorseful about what’s happened, but I don’t know how far I trust that at this point. Sam is fully forgiving, but is rocked by some bad news. Speaking of bad news, Superman looks horrible and is in a very fancy med-lab, where no one apparently has any idea how his powers actually work. They’re doing a lot, but ignoring the one thing he probably needs more than anything else. John shares some upsetting developments with Lois, and things are looking bad for the Man of Steel. In better news, the Cushings have a great night out with some friendly banter. Lana is playing concerned mother, but has some of her facts wrong.

The show starts to wrap up with a series of quick and poignant scenes. There’s a very different kind of family meeting in the Kent kitchen. A small band of worried but committed people agree to do the best they can against the major new threat confronting them. One of the dopplegangers on the Bizarro-Earth gets sent on a mission that’s going to be problematic for our heroes. And then we see the scope of the new threat, and it’s not going to be easy to deal with this.

What I Liked: Pretty much everything. This show has great action and is true to the character of Superman in a way that makes him modern but still the major force of inspiration he’s generally shown to be in the comics. I disagree with everything Lucy has said, but I know how emotions cloud perception, and it’s not unbelievable she’s built this narrative for herself. The family scenes were great, and I like that they take the time to include these elements. I’m thrilled to see the Natalie/John Henry rift didn’t get dragged out. Lana, usually perfect or close to, screwed up a lot this episode, but in believable ways, especially with everything she’s going through.

What I Didn’t: Jonathan is getting the short end of the stick a lot, even though he caused some of his own problems this season. The family isn’t handling him well.  Lois is playing fast and loose with Chrissy, and that’s going to come back to bite her. I’m also not sure Lois told Clark about her newest lie, and that’s going to potentially get complicated.

I am loving this series and this was a great episode. I’ll give this a 4.5 out of 5. It’s going to be interesting to see how this gets resolved.