Previously on SUPERMAN & LOIS

“The enemy is in front of us, the enemy is behind us, the enemy is to the right and to the left of us.”

The quote from Gen. Douglas MacArthur feels apt for the show’s fourth episode, as it seems that the Man of Steel is collecting enemies at a pretty rapid pace.

The alternate Earth Luthor is still out there, in hiding, and hasn’t been seen since the show’s SECOND episode, searching for kryptonite in an attempt to take our Superman down. Morgan Edge is still a heavy presence in both Metropolis – where he now owns the Daily Planet – and in Smallville, where he’s building support to take over the towns’ mines. If it were just those two major threats, Superman would have his hands full. But it’s pretty clear there’s more on the horizon after this episode.

Probably the biggest threat to Superman’s safety on this show is going to be his own father-in-law, Gen. Sam Lane. When the series PREMIERED last month, I thought it was refreshing to see a take where Clark and Lois had a good relationship with the general, so much so that he knew Clark was secretly Superman. Most representations of Sam and Clark’s – and Sam and Superman’s – relationship are standoffish at best. The show is clearly bringing us down the path of making Sam Lane an antagonist for his son-in-law. From the moment Clark told twin sons Jonathan and Jordan that he’s actually Superman, Sam has acted like a kid jealous that his best friend is spending time with other people.

He has repeatedly chastised Clark and Lois for allowing Clark to prioritize his family over his duties as Superman, and in this episode, he goes so far as to tell Jonathan and Jordan to not bother their dad because he should be focusing on saving the world. And he ends the episode opening up a new protocol – Project 7734 – based on the seeds of doubt planted by Alternate Earth Luthor.

Project 7734 – which spells HELL upside down on a calculator screen – has its roots in the 2008 Superman: New Krypton comic book storyline crafted by Geoff Johns, JAMES ROBINSON and Sterling Gates. The project ultimately led to the destruction of New Krypton and an interplanetary war that tested Superman’s loyalties. I enjoy these little nods to Superman’s history in this show, though I’ll admit to not being a fan of the New Krypton story arc.

Maybe it can be the next James Robinson mess I deep dive on at the Geekery now that I’ve finished CRY FOR JUSTICE.

Sam Lane’s chastising the twins led to them hesitating before calling on their father to help football teammate Tag Harris, who broke his arm when Jordan used his heat vision to cause an explosion at the keg party. Tag’s arm started to heal faster and his body seemed to start moving super-fast, as the explosion (mixed with a weird yellow phosphorescent substance) unlocked his meta-human gene. Superman was in the middle of a battle with escaped criminal genius Thaddeus Killgrave, who had the upper hand on the Man of Steel. The added motivation of needing to help his sons, though, helped him put away the threat.

Finally, we learn that Morgan Edge’s machinations have more to do with bleeding all the money out of Smallville and into his offshore bank accounts. It turns out the mines in Smallville are hiding a curious amount of what Edge called X-Kryptonite. The substance can give non-Kryptonians superpowers, which explains some of the other super-powered beings we’ve seen on the show so far. Hey, maybe that’s what gave Tag Harris his powers…

We can also probably assume the X-Kryptonite will be used to drive a further wedge between Superman and his sons, or maybe just a wedge between Jordan and Jonathan.

I’m really digging this show and I’m upset that it’s going on hiatus after the next episode because of a COVID lockdown, with Supergirl coming back to kick off its final season. But we still have one more episode, and it looks like we’ll get the return of Capt. Luthor before the show takes a break.