blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Superman & Lois (2021) s01e14 – The Eradicator

This episode picks up three weeks after last episode’s hard cliffhanger, which had Adam Rayner escaping the Army and zooming off to the sun to suck in its energies. He’s still at it three weeks later. Apparently, it takes a while to charge a Kryptonian flesh battery. We also hear all the voices stuck in his head because he assimilated the Eradicator device (becoming The Eradicator, sans bitchin’ sunglasses). The voices aren’t great. The sun-sucking effects are surprisingly good. But the voices… I mean, I hope it’s the crew of “Superman and Lois” doing the recordings just so there’s an excuse for them being terrible. Without a cute story, however, they’re just awful.

The three-week jump is only important because it’s enough time for Smallville to start going under. Four businesses have closed. You think construction on your street is bad, wait until Dylan Walsh moves the Army in and encamps. The episode starts with Walsh pissed off the local newspaper is calling him on his shit, but it’s too little, too late from newspaper publisher Sofia Hasmik, who’s going to have to sell the paper anyway.

Three weeks is also enough time for Emmanuelle Chriqui and Erik Valdez to have given up on trying to stay in Smallville. Even though Tyler Hoechlin tries to talk Chriqui out of it and Victoria Katongo appeals to Valdez, it seems set. It’s important because Inde Navarrette doesn’t want to move away from Alex Garfin. The show’s really lost track of their character relationship; it doesn’t help Garfin’s kind of bad this episode, but there was an effectiveness to their bond the show’s lost. But seems to know it shouldn’t have.

There’s also the interesting detail Valdez was the only person at the Smallville Fire Department who wasn’t either sexist or racist to Black woman Katongo when she started, which might not be the message to send about this town we’re supposed to care about. Even though everyone’s basically a shit. Though not Kayla Heller, it turns out. She explains to Jordan Elsass she’s really from Central City and the daughter of a convict (so “The Flash” meets Spider-Man: Homecoming maybe?), so they moved to Smallville to get away from it all.

At least Elsass is good. Especially given he and Garfin go to an ill-advised house party, just as Rayner’s ready to invade Earth or whatever.

Hoechlin and Wolé Parks fight Rayner in (Chicago) Metropolis. It’s a good action sequence, with Chicago used for most skyline shots, then clearly Vancouver for the close-ups, and has some tense moments. It takes Elizabeth Tulloch to figure out Rayner’s evil plan for the good guys. Hoechlin and Parks rely too much on punching. And also on Walsh, who has no idea what’s going on either and just postures. But some good scenes for Walsh this episode. It takes him out of his element.

And then the cliffhanger’s great.

Oh, and Hoechlin and Tulloch get this great “parents’ worst nightmare” scene. It’s screwy because of Hoechlin’s Superman muscle suit, but the emotions come through.

Next episode’s season finale ought to be a banger.

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