Superman & Lois (2021) s01e11 – A Brief Reminiscence In-Between Cataclysmic Events

So, A Brief Reminiscence In-Between Cataclysmic Events confirms a question I didn’t realize I had—who’s the perfect director for a Superman movie? Small Soldier turned “Everwood” star turned TV director Gregory Smith. This episode’s chock full of Superman: The Movie references, most of which fail earnestly, and then some genuinely excellent Lois and Clark stuff for Elizabeth Tulloch and Tyler Hoechlin. I’m sure it wasn’t the intent of the flashback episode, but it really does show how they could’ve made a damn good “Superman” show.

Flashbacks also mean there are weird dodges to preserve some sense of continuity between “Superman and Lois” and the Arrowverse, like Jimmy Olsen getting a mention but not appearing because Mehcad Brooks? Then there’s a scene where young Adam Rayner, played by Ben Cockell (who’s impressively terrible but just doing a pissy evil British white kid, so it’s fine), asks hologram dad A.C. Peterson about other Kryptonians sent to Earth. Peterson starts his torture training immediately, skipping having to say there’s just Hoechlin, but also maybe “Supergirl” Melissa Benoist or her evil Kryptonian counterpart Odette Annable. Rayner’s Fortress of Evil Solitude is in a desert, too, just like Annable’s. Strangely, they don’t seem to be recycling the CGI models—the Fortresses are jank compared to “Supergirl”—it’s just part of the “Superman Family” show bible. A little bit of The Movie, a little bit Man of Steel, a little bit “Supergirl.”

Peterson’s also terrible, but he’s like doing a lousy Ian McDiarmid impression, so it’s kind of funny.

Rayner’s actually better as the all-out megalomaniac Kryptonian villain than I was expecting. It’s not particularly good or special, but he’s pretty dang effective.

The episode’s split into extended flashback, then resolution to last episode’s cliffhanger, then some Smallville stuff, finally another cliffhanger. A terrific cliffhanger. “Superman and Lois” probably binges well.

The flashback also reveals, unfortunately, Michele Scarabelli isn’t very good opposite Hoechlin and Tulloch. Scarabelli was good in her last flashback episode, but it was a younger version of Hoechlin. The problem’s mostly she and Hoechlin lack chemistry.

There are some good moments for Jordan Elsass and Inde Navarrette too. Not great moments, mainly because it’s rushed. The episode races through the resolution to Smallville’s brainwashed supervillains to get to the next cliffhanger; there’s some good character development for Erik Valdez, as he’s one of the recovering. Not the best acting Valdez has ever done (and needs to be), and the script—credited to Brent Fletcher—doesn’t go far enough, but it’s narratively responsible.

But, yeah, give Gregory Smith a Superman movie.

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