blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Superman & Lois (2021) s01e15 – Last Sons of Krypton

Since I never got comfortable recommending the show, it’s fitting “Superman and Lois: Season One” finish on something of a fail. It’s not terrible. I don’t think it’s the worst episode, but it’s definitely in the bottom three. Not because there’s anything particularly wrong with it; there’s just nothing particularly right with it.

It’s a paint-by-the-numbers conclusion to all the unresolved plot threads, dispassionately directed by Tom Cavanagh. Cavanagh stars on “The Flash,” which must take place on another Earth for sure since none of the superheroes are helping with the end of the world as we know it. So his directing is like a vanity thing? Because it’s not because he’s got some intense connection with the material (the show has that director in its pool with producer Gregory Smith) or because Cavanagh’s good at full episodes. Once the middling action resolves, the episode’s a more and more tedious series of epilogues for each character.

There’s nothing good in any of said epilogues. Like, there’s no actual resolution for Alex Garfin and Inde Navarrette. We don’t see them reuniting when she thinks he is dead. Instead, they’re just hanging out at her parents’ latest barbecue, where everyone goes to have a good time. Narratively it’d make so much more sense to have it on the Kent farm, but why bother. Credited to Brent Fletcher and Todd Helbing, the script is just as unambitious as Cavanagh’s direction.

The episode ends with a big surprise for season two, but it’s predictable and not just because it’s the same season finale surprise as “Supergirl”’s first season ended with. Given how understaffed the episode appears to be, they could’ve used a surprise guest star or two. Over-stuffed but empty describes the episode overall, which is a bummer since the season had otherwise been doing a good conclusion arc. They just didn’t have an ending. Or not enough of one.

Especially for poor season villain Adam Rayner, whose most memorable scene where he’s got a medium shot and probably isn’t a CGI model is him doing jazz hands. “Superman and Lois” entirely copped out on a good villain. The less said about A.C. Peterson, the better. He’s easily the worst casting of the series, and they’ve had some iffy moves.

None of the special effects sequences are very good. The energy plasma stuff is fine. But they cheap out in other places, like having all the bad guys this episode be nameless, brainwashed, super-powered soldiers in full uniform, including helmets. Seems cheap.

I also just realized, given the setup for next season, they wasted at least one of the epilogues in the episode and instead could’ve wrapped it all up together. Or maybe just plotted it differently. With a good script and good direction, there are a couple episodes worth of plot points here.

With this script, with this direction, they went on about five minutes too long. Especially since there’s no pay-off at all for the regular cast.

Some better music than usual from Dan Romer. Not with the action stuff, but in the epilogues and only because he plays with the themes. Hoechlin gets two big monologues, and neither of them land because they’re so poorly contextualized.

The episode seems intentionally neutered. Creatively speaking, the only reason seems to be that they had Cavanagh directing and knew he couldn’t do anything else. It’s disappointing as heck, especially since I thought it’d be a banger.

This episode is very much not a banger.

It is a bummer. And it shouldn’t be one.

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