Superman & Lois Ep 12, ‘Through The Valley of Death’ is finally here and we get some closure after the ending that left us hanging in the previous episode.
This episode really was a tour deforce in pretty much everything that makes the show great, the acting, the effects, the cinematography, and the comic book lores! It all shines in excess here, as we get some amazing resolution to long running plot threads, which is always great to see as a viewer.
In this episode, The Kent family searches desperately for Superman to rescue him from his fate, while the military conspires to kill the Man Of Steel to prevent worldwide destruction. Meanwhile, the Kushing family (Lana’s family) is ostracized by the residents of Smallville, being blamed for allowing Morgan Edge to gain a foothold in the community.
As always, spoilers will be discussed, so go watch this episode and then come back to the review if you haven’t seen it already!
We open on John Henry Irons, still cruising the country in his super RV. Apparently he’s tracking down this universe’s version of his sister, who is studying at MIT (Metropolis Institute of Technology). Perhaps this mystery woman will be the Natasha Irons we were hoping for, instead of Natalie Irons of John Henry’s earth. John is called by Lois, and zooms back to Smallville to assist with the crisis at hand. Soon after opening, we find out that Superman is not simply being turned to the dark side, no, like many of the Smallville residents before him, he is simply playing host for a Kryptonian consciousness, this one being (of course) General Zod.
I’ve ranted about the old Smallville possession trope in previous reviews, so you can read my full thoughts there. But it’s sufficient to say, I’m not the biggest fan of this plot development, however it continues to highlight the power of The Eradicator and I do love that this has sparked the opportunity to bring in one of the most famous Superman villains.
Back at the farm, John Henry is convinced that Superman must be killed, and there is no hope for his rescue, and The Kent boys attempt to use Jordan’s new super hearing powers to locate Superman. Lois interviews the Kushing’s about their possession experiences, and finds that there is indeed a chance for Superman to resist the mind control, something she really wants to John Henry Irons to believe. However, John Henry is busy convincing General Lane to use an experimental Red Sun missile of his own design to take away Superman’s powers so they can kill him. It’s here we find out that the Red Sun missile is apparently the reason (perhaps only coincidentally) for John Henry’s jump between universes. We also learn that it’s unclear whether the evil Superman from Henry’s earth is dead or alive, which I thought was an interesting development. Perhaps we’ll see more of the evil Superman in the future, we can only hope!
We get a surprise visit from John Diggle from the Arrowverse in Superman & Lois Ep 12, as he’s the one who delivers the components to John Henry’s missile. We see that it’s abundantly clear this show does indeed exist in the Arrowverse canon, as Lois and Diggle know each other, and Diggle references the fact that he’s fought alongside Superman before. We also learn that Diggle is very familiar with General Lane, both of them having worked together in the military. Diggle also makes reference to a “glowing box,” something we saw (a green glow by the way) in the series finale of Arrow. The glow line was a little weird, vague, and out of place in the context of the conversation, but it was cool to hear the reference, and hopefully we’ll get some payoff for this soon!
After describing her interviews with the Kushing’s, in an effort to dissuade a still unconvinced John Henry’s ambition to kill Superman, Lois decides to confess to him that Superman is her husband. This was a fantastic scene, with powerhouse acting by Lois and John Henry, I was really impressed with this and it really showed how high the stakes were for Lois.
Jordan is finally able to locate his dad and reports his location to General Lane. And Jonathan once again comes in as MVP when he speaks to a still unconvinced John Henry Irons about Superman. This added conversation is the tipping point that allows John Henry to show compassion on Superman during their battle, and gives him the fuel he needs for an epic motivational speech that breaks Superman out of his funk. This was a great moment for John Henry, and a real turning point for the character.
The battle between Superman and Steel, and the subsequent battle between both of them and Tal-Ro were both great with some excellent visuals. Though I did want to see Tal-Ro/Morgan Edge put up a little more of a fight. In the end Superman is freed, and John Henry and General Lane make amends with with The Kent Family. It’s in this moment, where I think John Henry finally reflects the personality and temperament of his comic book counterpart, and I couldn’t be happier. Here’s hoping this version of the character continues and grows into the true Steel. I would also love to see his suit get a revamp… with added cape and Superman emblem upon his chest.
Lastly, in his new kryptonite jail cell, it looks like Tal-Ro has become the host of the Eradicator itself! And if this is the case, we’ll be getting those payoffs we talked about a lot sooner than I thought! Though this episode went a long way to resolve a lot of the plots from the series so far, it also went a long way to open up new possibilities for the series, which I am very excited about.
Superman & Lois Ep 12 keeps the hits coming in epic fashion, both figuratively and literally! This is shaping up to be a truly unique show in the Superman television pantheon and I am loving every moment of it.