How would you feel if your superhero dad could eavesdrop on you anywhere in the world? You could be getting wasted on cheap beer with your friends or perusing Tyler Posey’s Onlyfans page for strictly scientific purposes and he’d hear it all. Just thinking about it makes you queasy, right? Well, that plight hits the Kent twins in the third episode of Superman & Lois “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower.”
Warning: this review contains full spoilers for Superman & Lois: Season 1, Episode 3!
Clark eavesdropping is understandable even if it is wrong. His kids are in a new environment and one of them can shoot lasers out of his eyes, but Jonathan and Jordan are rightfully furious about this. Your dad using his super hearing and showing up at your school is the superhero dad equivalent of reading your diary and emailing your teacher about bullies. It is crossing a boundary and Clark promises to never do it again.
The whole theme of the episode is parents wanting to be close with their kids and know what is going on with them and the kids being like “Mind your own business.” Lana gets in on the theme and decides to be relevant for once by trying to push Sarah to talk to her about why she tried to commit suicide. Sarah eventually acquiesces and tells her she felt trapped and didn’t want to end up like her sad sack mother. It was way harsh, but Lana was understanding. She knows her life is so bad that it could be the inspiration for a women’s fiction novel that either ends with the heroine getting hit by a bus or marrying a carpenter named Grayson after leaving her abusive husband Chet. Those are the only two options in a novel like that. Death or new dong.
The Lana of this series is not the Lana of the TV series Smallville. She’s not a Mary Sue. She likes to pretend she is a Mary Sue and that everything is just perfect. I actually find this more interesting than I’ve ever found Lana in any medium. Projecting perfection or even normalcy is relatable. Either you’ve done it or you know someone who is masking the real hurt they are going through. I hope this conversation with Sarah is the push Lana needs to change the status quo. She does not need to stay with a husband she doesn’t even seem to like. If your daughter looks at your life and thinks death would be preferable, change needs to happen.
I know some fans tuning in are going to be turned off by all this teen drama. Jordan and Sarah can be annoying, but like teens in real life, just because they are annoying doesn’t mean they aren’t making valid points. Jordan is right to want privacy and the opportunity to fit in by playing football. Sarah is right to want better for herself than ending up with a man that I’m 100% sure has purchased truck nuts. I just worry Jonathan is accommodating Jordan too much.
Jonathan moved to Smallville because it was best for Jordan when it certainly wasn’t in his best interest to move. He’s convinced his father to let Jordan play football when football is his thing. I like that Jonathan is his brother’s keeper, but how much of his identity is going to be sacrificed for the good of his brother? Jordan Elsass does a good job balancing Jonathan’s mixed feelings about this situation. He wants to have his own life, but he’ll put Jordan first. I feel like this is eventually going to explode. Brotherly love only goes so far when you are constantly getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop.
On the Superman front, this episode only had two scenes of that, but they were both excellent. Superman saving the bridge in China wasn’t just an epic moment. It also served the larger narrative of why Clark has been so absent from the boys’ lives. Having adorable paint fights with your family is fun and all, but the world needs Superman. The other Superman scene was a very well-done fight scene between him and henchman Subjekt 11. If you are going to do anything with Superman whether it is a comic, series or movie, you need to have a scene where Superman saves Lois from a mess, she got in pursuing a story. It takes less than a second for him to show up to fight. That man is sprung to defend his wife.
One of the strengths of this series is how supportive Lois and Clark are of each other. Clark is very nonchalant about Lois’ car getting blown up and her going off to a cheap motel to meet a source. He knows who he married. A less confident series might try to make this some cheap drama and have him try to dictate what she does. This show doesn’t go there because that isn’t who they are as a couple. Like they said in the previous episode, she’ll do her Lois Lane stuff and he’ll do his Superman stuff. Though if there’s a man who is impervious to pens to the ear attacking her, he’ll be around to punch him through a wall.
The episode ends with Morgan Edge’s assistant/henchwoman Leslie Larr heat visioning Subjekt 11 to death. I think there’s only two possibilities: 1. She’s a Kryptonian. In the comics, Lesla-Lar was a Kryptonian and a Supergirl villain. 2. She’s a human who was experimented on and given powers. I’m leaning towards option two considering Morgan is clearly up to no good and he’s been doing more than just underpaying employees.
Your mileage may vary on this episode given the amount of teen drama, but I think it was another strong outing. Though I hope we get episodes this season where the Superman content is more than two scenes. I get that this is a family drama with superhero elements, but if you are going to be a series called Superman & Lois, you do need episodes that are heavy on Superman. It doesn’t have to be every episode, but it needs to be enough that you aren’t feeling cheated on Superman content.
Random thoughts about “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower”:
- I want more dorky dad Clark. Tyler Hoechlin is very believable as that. I’m really into Clark being the assistant coach of the football team.
- Arrowverse shows love Daniel Cudmore. He’s been Gridlock on The Flash, a Minotaur on Legends of Tomorrow, Jackhammer on Arrow and he was the motion capture performer for Amazo during the Elseworlds crossover.
- I did find it odd that a teen would know El DeBarge, but it is my head canon that Lois watches RuPaul’s Drag Race and the twins learned about him from the scenes where RuPaul told drag queen with a mullet Crystal Methyd about the famous mulleted singer.
- Now that Sean isn’t mad at Jordan about kissing Sarah anymore, is he going to continue to get occasional lines, or will he just become a dayplayer?
- I really want to know what was the most embarrassing thing Clark has overheard with his super hearing. I bet it involved furries or adult babies.
- I hope we get a Lucy mention this season. It would be nice for this show to remember that Lois has a sister.
- Give the wardrobe person who put Tyler Hoechlin in that white t-shirt a raise and a muffin basket. They were doing the Lord’s work.