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Review

SUPERMAN & LOIS 1×01 “Pilot” Review

Matt reviews the pilot of DC Comics SUPERMAN & LOIS calling it “an incredibly solid opening episode” for the new series.

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Superman & Lois (Warner Bros. TV/The CW)

Synopsis

After years of facing megalomaniacal supervillains, monsters wreaking havoc on Metropolis, and alien invaders intent on wiping out the human race, the world’s most famous Super Hero, The Man of Steel aka Clark Kent (series star TYLER HOECHLIN) and comic books’ most famous journalist, Lois Lane (series star ELIZABETH TULLOCH), come face to face with one of their greatest challenges ever – dealing with all the stress, pressures and complexities that come with being working parents in today’s society. Complicating the already daunting job of raising two boys, Clark and Lois must also concern themselves with whether or not their sons Jonathan (series star JORDAN ELSASS) and Jordan (series star ALEXANDER GARFIN) could inherit their father’s Kryptonian superpowers as they grow older.  Returning to Smallville to handle some Kent family business, Clark and Lois are reacquainted with Lana Lang (series star EMMANUELLE CHRIQUI), a local loan officer who also happens to be Clark’s first love, and her Fire Chief husband Kyle Cushing (series star ERIK VALDEZ).  The adults aren’t the only ones rediscovering old friendships in Smallville as the Kent sons are reacquainted with Lana and Kyle’s rebellious daughter, Sarah (series star INDE NAVARRETTE).  Of course, there’s never a dull moment in the life of a superhero, especially with Lois’ father, General Samuel Lane (series star DYLAN WALSH) looking for Superman to vanquish a villain or save the day at a moment’s notice.  Meanwhile, Superman and Lois’ return to idyllic Smallville is set to be upended when both a mysterious stranger (series star WOLÉ PARKS) and impassioned self-made mogul Morgan Edge (series star ADAM RAYNER) enter their lives.

Review

Thanks to the chaos that was 2020, the Arrowverse heroes sadly all got swift endings and cliffhangers so it is nice in early 2021 to be slowly eased back into this world with Batwoman, Black Lightning and now Superman & Lois.
 
Superman & Lois comes across as a minor reboot for these characters who were originally introduced back in the Supergirl series.  2019’s ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ crossover however has made some major changes to this entire universe and it’s heroes, for Clark (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois (Bitsie Tulloch) they went from having a newborn son to having two angsty teenagers.  I did find it odd how at the end of Crisis, Clark was confused when Lois calls him and says their boys are acting up, however this may have been retconned for the sake of allowing new people to join rather than rely exclusively on the large Arrowverse fanbase for its numbers.  

It seems CW have severely upped their budget with this show, putting this side by side with all the other CW shows really displays a vast difference in quality, hopefully this remains for the rest of the season as it felt like watching a really amazing ‘Superfam’ Movie! 

So the show starts with a very brief breakdown on this Superman’s classic origins, it’s a well known and rarely changed story (dead planet, crashed ship, super powers ‘somebody save me’ music) and similar to Batman and Spiderman’s it’s something almost everybody knows verbatim, so it’s great that the writers quickly covered what we needed to know about this Superman and then take us to the present. 
We do however see Superman in his original outfit, a clear callback to his original costume from the comics (awkward S symbol included).  Present day Superman is at his peak, putting in the hours and saving the day across the world, his home life however is shaky at best.  His son Jordon (Alex Garfin) deals with Social Anxiety Disorder and feels like an outcast while his other son Jonathan (Jordan Elsas) is enjoying his life and is a polar opposite of his brother.  (Side note, the Injustice games exist in the Arrowverse!?) Clark is clearly having trouble balancing his two vastly different lives and while it’s quite humanising to the character he does not help himself with his decision to hide his alter ego to them which never works out in the long run for anyone. This is a man who can stop a nuclear power plant from exploding single handedly but struggles to communicate openly with his kids.  
His life takes another blow when his mother passes away in her sleep, this leads to an incredible performance from Tyler Hoechlin. All the performances in this episode were fantastic but this moment really hits hard and you can honestly feel the pain he was experiencing, this again shows how even someone as powerful as Superman can’t save everyone. 

At her funeral we are then introduced to a few Smallville residents including his childhood crush Lana Lang (Emmanuelle Chriqui) along with her family.  She briefly mentions their childhood friend Pete (potentially a character to appear down the line).  This is when the boys are first made aware of their potential powers which will obviously be the main focus of the show going forward and understandably they were not happy their parents lied to them.  Not the best idea to not tell your kids about your true origins when they are hormonal angsty teens but far be it from me to judge parents. 

Obviously with the title of the show, Lois is also given her own story thread to follow throughout the season and hers is the wealthy sleaze Morgan Edge who was a character from Supergirl but has been recast in this series (post Crisis stuff).  What his overall role in the series we will be we’ll have to wait to see but rest assured Lois is right on his trail. 
Not to be left in the dust, Superman has his own plot to deal with, a Master Chief lookalike with incredible strength able to go toe to toe with Supes himself and who happens to also know everything about him. Surprisingly unlike other Arrowverse shows though we are let in on who the masked baddy is and this might just be the first link to the Crisis on Infinite Earths special.  This bad guy is a big bald and very angry Luthor.  Now based on what he has said this could be a Lex who somehow survived the Crisis but whose world was not restored after.  Obviously one episode in this is pure speculation but time will tell what his endgame is (this does mean though that Earth Prime has two Lex Luthor’s in it!).

Verdict

Overall this was an incredibly solid opening episode to a series and certainly the highest quality pilot the CW has produced in these overlapping superhero shows. While I do wish we had more suggestive links to the expanded Arrowverse and a heavier commitment to the Crisis events that got us here, we do have enough plot threads to keep us coming back and the performances from all the main cast had me invested enough to return each week.  I look forward to seeing where these budding young heroes end up and with Superman and Lois as their parents they are obviously destined for great things!

Next Episode

Superman & Lois stars Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tullock who return as the titular characters. They will, in turn, be joined by Emmanuelle Chriqui as Clark’s ex-girlfriend, Lana Lang, Erik Valdez as Lana’s husband, Kyle Cushing. Dylan Walsh will portray Lois’ father, General Sam Lane. Jordan Elsass and Alexander Garfin also co-star in the series as Superman and Lois’ sons, Jonathan and Jordan Kent.


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