Previously on SUPERMAN AND LOIS…
After a stellar episode last week where it was revealed that the “Captain Luthor” from another Earth that had been tormenting both of our titular characters was actually that universe’s version of John Henry Irons, the latest chapter of the show’s first season shows us the kind of chaos we can expect from its back half.
Irons – who in the comics was one of the men who tried to fill in for Superman after he died fighting DOOMSDAY – is not the same man who fought alongside the Man of Steel in the comics. After watching his world get completely destroyed by a Superman gone rogue – alongside other Kryptonians – he made his way to this Earth with an eye on revenge. But his revenge isn’t just for the destruction of his world. His Superman killed his Lois Lane – Irons’ wife and the mother of their daughter, Natalie, who was also killed.
After trying and failing to take out Superman with red sun lamps and his trusty hammer last episode, Irons has been placed in a holding cell within the Department of Defense, under the supervision of Lois’ father, Gen. Sam Lane. If you think that would be a safe place for a prisoner, well, you clearly haven’t been watching any other ARROWVERSE shows.
The fear of the Kryptonians – and Superman joining them – that drove Irons to try and take down our Man of Steel is being somewhat realized in Smallville. Morgan Edge is harvesting X-Kryptonite from a mine in the town and using it to create a super-powered army. He has Clark Kent’s boyhood crush Lana Lang identifying candidates for a “leadership program” that includes being dosed with the X-K and taking on the soul of a Kryptonian. And one of Edge’s previous candidates was a soldier inside the DoD who tried to get Irons and Superman to kill each other in the DoD’s PROJECT 7734.
Despite copious amounts of Kryptonite in Project 7734, Superman and Irons manage to stop the evil Lt. Rosetti, but it’s only the timely intervention of Lois that keeps Irons from killing Superman with a Kryptonite spear. I wonder if Rosetti’s mother’s name is MARTHA. After Irons stands down, Lois and Clark agree to let Irons go learn more about the new world he’s in, which opens the door to his return later.
Irons has a lot of trauma to unpack, but this episode reveals that Lois has some, too. Investigating Irons’ mobile command center with son Jonathan brings a lot of it back, especially when Jonathan sneaks into the vehicle to further look into Irons’ past and its AI tries to kill Lois’ son. After yelling at Jonathan pretty intensely, Clark pushes her to have a session with her shrink. There, she discusses the miscarriage she had about 18 months after the twins were born, a daughter Lois and Clark were going to name Natalie.
I don’t think this was the kind of episode I would call a game changer. It certainly was impactful, but coming off the heels of last week’s amazing episode, this was a little bit of a step down. It wasn’t much of one, though, as it sets the path for what Superman is going to face towards the end of the season: an army of X-Kryptonite powered men and women under Morgan Edge. And it’s entirely possible Sam Lane may not end up on Superman’s side. Hopefully the tension between the two is just a feint.