blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Superman & Lois (2021) s01e04 – Haywire

Okay, the show’s getting to the family part of the family drama—not to mention real Superman action (James Bamford does a good job with it, despite the costume colors being too muted and Metropolis being a little too on the cheap)—and it’s the best episode. “Superman & Lois” is on the precipice of being genuinely (with qualifications) interesting.

The catalyst ends up being Dylan Walsh, who drops in unannounced to spend a weekend with the fam. Only Walsh actually wants to decide whether or not he can keep Tyler Hoechlin under control when all Hoechlin seems to want to do is be a good dad to Jordan Elsass and Alex Garfin. In this case, as their assistant football coach. Only since Garfin’s the star player and Junior Superboy, Hoechlin’s unintentionally paying too much attention to him. It’s making regular human son Elsass jealous, but it’s also giving Elsass time to bond with teammate Wern Lee. Lee was the kid hurt in the pilot when Garfin zapped a campfire, and it blew up, so Lee and Elsass are on the bench a bunch together.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Tulloch’s trying to convince the town not to side with evil gazillionaire Adam Rayner. Rayner wants to take over the Smallville mines (Shuster Mines, actually, but same idea) and is promising full wallets and bright futures. The episode manages to make local dickhead Erik Valdez sympathetic—he’s too imbued with toxic masculine pride to realize he’s being duped—in no small part thanks to Tulloch. She and Emmanuelle Chriqui have a girls night out to drown their recent wounds—Rayner’s taking a liking to Chriqui and creeping on her while Valdez sits by obviously while Tulloch’s mad about Hoechlin going off and saving the world or something for her dad—and even though the scene’s fairly standard stuff (doesn’t even try to pass Bechdel), both Tulloch and Chriqui put work into it. And it pays off for both of them.

Loudly for Tulloch, quietly for Chriqui. Family drama stuff. Real effective in Chriqui’s case, real good in Tulloch’s. Probably her best scene in the series so far. Even if the epilogue lessens the impact because it becomes about the “Superman” in “Superman & Lois” again.

Decent acting from Hoechlin helps too. He’s got to remain square-jawed but still develop. He oddly seems more comfortable acting in a cap than without, which is strange. But decent. Especially since Elsass is doing really well as the super-empathetic one.

Brendan Fletcher guest stars as villain Killgrave. Is he a comic book villain? Superman’s got less than ten memorable villains. Though he can get a lot more because we find out red kryptonite is the super-soldier formula. They call it X-Kryptonite, which is lacking. Where’s the panache? Apparently, over on “Supergirl” with Jon Cryer. Anyway, Fletcher’s good enough.

Rayner’s not, though. He’s a drag.

But the show’s starting to get somewhere. Even without MacGuffin season villain Wolé Parks making an appearance.

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