Superman & Lois Ep 11 is the most recent addition to the first series of Superman & Lois, which is titled “A Brief Reminiscence In-Between Cataclysmic Events”, which may be the greatest episode title ever. This episode treated us to some amazing flashbacks of Superman’s early days in this new iteration of the CWverse, giving us some great nostalgic moments every Superman fan will love!
PLEASE NOTE there will be spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t yet seen Superman & Lois Ep 11, please watch it before reading this review.
After a brief recap of the end of last episode, we enter some flashbacks of Superman’s past, starting with his journey to the arctic and the construction of The Fortress as a young man. He wears an outfit very similar to the one worn in the Christopher Reeve films when discovering The Fortress and that’s not the only similarity. His crystal creates it out of a barren ice field, seeming to manipulate the topography and resources inherently available at the site to construct the structure, again as mentioned in previous reviews, a glorified cave. Absent are the crystals or any semblance of alien technology, save for the hologram of Jor-el which appears from nowhere in Superman’s new fort.
From here we are shown a rehash of Superman’s first meeting with Jor-El from Superman: The Movie, and a rehash of learning to fly and Clark’s homecoming from Man Of Steel. I’ve been pretty open about how I dislike this version of events, from the omnipotent Jor-El hologram, to the decade long home-schooling session Clark goes through at The Fortress. I understand this is paying homage to the most classic of Superman films, but it still feels so unnatural in terms of character arc and growth, and again we’ve seen this all before. It would really be nice to get a different take on this, or even adapt a different take from already established comics.
After this we see a slightly different take on Clark’s introduction to The Daily Planet and Lois Lane. We get to spend some real time with Perry White as Clark applies for a job, and it’s a great scene, where Clark really has to try to convince Perry to give him a chance. After which we see familiar footage from the first episode flashbacks, intercut with new footage fleshing these scenes out and extending them, which was really cool, I love stuff like that. Noticeably absent from these Daily Planet scenes are Cat Grant and Jimmy Olsen, both of whom have an established presence in the CWverse as well as a relationship with Lois and Clark. It seems like a very big missed opportunity not to have them cameoed or mentioned here in some way.
Superman debuts and everyone is enamored with him, except for a change, Lois Lane! Lois is kind of put off by the attention Superman is receiving as it draws attention away from systemic social issues she wants to cover, in favor of the flash-in-the pan problems Superman responds to. Her expressing these frustrations to Clark causes some reflection on Superman’s part, and some bonding between Lois and Clark. This is a very interesting departure from what we normally see from Lois in the early days, as she’s typically the one already on Superman’s trail before his debut or the one to break the first story about him, not to mention becoming smitten with him. Instead, in this show, she neglects to cover Superman in favor of what she was already working on, which leads to Lois and Clark spending long hours together, resulting surprisingly in Lois falling for Clark and not Superman, with no overlap! A truly original take, which was great to see. Sometimes Lois can come across as shallow in the comic books, especially the golden age era, so it was great to see the complete opposite of that.
Stemming from the issues of systemic racism that Lois was covering, Superman encounters Atom-Man, most recently seen in the Superman Smashes The Klan comic series, a Neo-Nazi hate based villain. It was very cool to see him brought to life on screen, as having read that series recently, I recognised him almost immediately. It’s here where Superman and Lois meet for the first time, and later, Lois interviews Superman LIVE on video, another unique and interesting take on a classic trope!
We then see a montage of Superman and Lois’s relationship ramping up, their engagement, their marriage, their first pregnancy, etc, using a lot of the footage from episode one, while adding few extra scenes here and there. It’s then that we realise these aren’t just flashbacks for us, the audience, no, Superman is experiencing these flashbacks in universe as a part of a brain scan initiated by his evil half brother Morgan Edge AKA Tal-Rho.
Thanks to the mind scan, Tal now knows all of Superman’s secrets, like who his family is, and he intends to exploit this knowledge to make Superman join his side. He nearly kills Superman’s family, but at the last minute, Superman agrees to join Tal, fulfilling John Henry Iron’s prophecy. Tal takes Superman back to his own (equally unimpressive) desert fortress, where he is apparently brainwashed by Tal’s own omniscient father hologram, leaving us on a cliffhanger as to whether or not John Henry’s future will truly come to pass!
Superman & Lois Ep 11 boasts excellent acting, effects, costumes and homages. The clear love for these characters and mythos are on full display and I would absolutely love to see more of these flashbacks and nods to the Superman mythos. If you like Superman and are not watching this series, what are you waiting for?