Does Todd Helbing think the audience is of below average intelligence? It is a legitimate question to ask because this episode featured Jonathan almost perishing in John Henry Irons’ “Die, Superman! Die!” camper. Lois was furious at him when she should have been furious with herself and her hubby for not giving the non-powered son an ELT AKA the emergency beeper. Lois had to use her beeper to summon Clark to save the day. Jonathan was helpless.
If you’ve been reading my reviews, you know I’ve been harping on this since the second episode when Clark gave Jordan an emergency beeper and not Jonathan. It didn’t make sense then. It doesn’t make sense now. Why would Lois and Clark not want him to have a beeper? There’s no logical in-universe explanation for this. The only explanation is Todd, and the writers don’t want him to have one for plot reasons.
The stupidity of this is compounded when Jonathan doesn’t get a beeper after almost dying. Lois rails at her son for his stupidity while overlooking the very obvious point that she left her son helpless in this situation and then didn’t give him one after almost dying! Watching these scenes, I was expecting Jonathan to bring this up and yell at his parents for leaving him vulnerable with no way to contact his father, but nope. That would make too much sense.
I don’t think the writers realized this was going to make Lois and Clark look so terrible. The scenes with Lois talking to the therapist about Jonathan almost dying and her miscarriage and her fears about her son getting hurt were very touching. However, it is immediately undercut when you remember neither she nor her husband gave Jonathan the one thing he’d need to summon help in a second. Am I supposed to buy that she really cares when she saw her son almost die and didn’t think about this very obvious thing?
Clark already is neglectful of Jonathan spending the bulk of his time with Jordan and teaching him about his powers. Not giving Jonathan a way to contact him in an emergency just says that Jonathan is superfluous. They’ve already underlined the blatant favoritism going on. I don’t think Todd and company intended for Clark to seem callous about his own son’s life, but that is the result of decisions they made way back in episode two and in this episode. This was an avoidable situation. They could have addressed it in this episode and had Lois and Clark give him one and apologize for not giving him sooner. Instead, it was played like it was Jonathan’s fault which is infuriating.
It becomes even more frustrating when you have Lois asking about how she’s going to keep Jonathan safe in the promo for the next episode. I had to stop myself from yelling “Uh, maybe give him a beeper, dummy!” If I noticed this problem, I could promise you that other fans did as well. This isn’t some silly nitpick like complaining that Lana isn’t a redhead. It hurts the show to have the two main protagonists looking like wildly irresponsible parents. Leads on shows shouldn’t be infallible, but I shouldn’t be wondering if Superman and Lois secretly want their son to die.
It is really unfortunate because this episode had good scenes like the aforementioned therapy scenes and Lois apologizing to Jonathan. All of this was tainted by ignoring the emergency beeper. I know some of you might be thinking this is a minor complaint, but let me ask you: Do you think it makes Clark and Lois look like good parents to not give Jonathan the only way to contact him right away? If your answer is yes, I really hope you don’t have kids because I think if you saw them eating Tide Pods you’d give them chocolate syrup to make yummier.
The small things matter in writing and one bad decision can tank what would otherwise be a good episode and turn it into the worst episode of the series. When I think about this episode, I won’t be thinking about Sarah having a beautiful singing voice or Irons deciding to not kill Superman. I’ll be thinking about Jonathan terrified with no way to contact his father and then getting yelled at without the very clear points that could be made. Todd Helbing might have a plan for why he doesn’t want Jonathan to have an ELT, but was it worth it to make Clois look like they don’t give a damn about their son’s safety? We’ll see.
Random thoughts about “Holding The Wrench”:
- Elizabeth Tulloch and Jordan Elsass did the damn thing in this episode. Beautiful work. And I like that they had Lois go to a therapist. Clark would listen to her obviously, but some things are just easier to admit to a neutral party. I also like the non-powered members of the family bonding.
- I’m glad they are already starting the transition with Irons from antagonist to potential ally.
- Jordan was barely in this episode, which was a good thing considering he was the focus for episodes 6 & 7.
- The writing is on the wall about Kyle becoming a subjekt. A drunk with clear PTSD getting Superman’s powers! What could possibly go wrong?
- I really wish this show would settle whether or not Lucy still exists.
- It seems that Evil Alt Superman wore the black suit prior to melting people. I guess he was more of a goth than our Clark.