Reviewed by: Michael Bailey
Originally Aired: May 9, 2023
WRITTEN BY: Aaron Helbing
DIRECTED BY: Gregory Smith
Tyler Hoechlin (Clark Kent/Superman)
Bitsie Tulloch (Lois Lane)
Michael Bishop (Jonathan Kent)
Alex Garfin (Jordan Kent)
Emmanuelle Chriqui (Lana Lang Cushing)
Inde Navarrette (Sarah Cushing)
Wolee Parks (John Henry Irons)
Tayler Buck (Natalie Irons)
Erik Valdez (Kyle Cushing)
Inde Navarrette (Sarah Cortez)
Sofia Hasmik (Chrissy Beppo)
Chad L Coleman (Bruno Mannheim)
Daya Vaidya (Peia)
Spence Moore II (Matteo)
Dylan Walsh (General Sam Lane)
Allegra Fulton (Older Chemo Patient)
Angel Parker (Dr. Charlene Irons)
Rating – 4 (out of 5): I will admit that I was slightly worried about how the show was going to deal with Mannheim as the main villain of this season after how they portrayed with him in the previous episode. The writer and the cast did such a good job of making him sympathetic that I thought the show might gloss over the fact that Mannheim is a killer and the head of a criminal organization. Having him use the money made from those crimes to revitalize his neighborhood was one thing. Showing that he was doing what he was currently doing because he loved his wife was another.
It turns out I didn’t need to worry about that because not only did we have Mannheim as the stone-cold killer return, but Peia got in on the action as well. To be fair, both characters did not revert to two-dimensional villains. Watching them, especially Peia, fuss over their son before meeting his girlfriend and the banter during the dinner scene showed that both Bruno and Peia are still layered characters, but at the end of the day (or the episode in this case) it doesn’t change who these characters are at their core. They can be loving parents all day long but if Bruno’s first move after seeing John in the restaurant is to have his men pull guns on him despite their being two teenagers in the room, then he’s a bad guy. Peia seemed more reticent to join in, but she did try to kill John in the alley.
It didn’t end well for her, but it still happened.
Watching Clark, Chrissy, and a reluctant Lois dig further into Bruno’s background and continue to chase the story also assuaged my “fears” about over humanizing him. It made sense that Lois would have a crisis of conscience given her illness and her friendship with Peia. She’s not at her best at the moment, so her acting against type worked and added some great drama to the episode. Clark having to step up as the member of the family going for the story gave us some more of him as a reporter, which, as I have mentioned, I love. I also dug seeing Clark and Chrissy have some scenes and her being excited at the idea of them flying to Metropolis was a lot of fun. The good cop/bad cop routine with the older chemo patient was a good moment for Chrissy. It was an uncomfortable scene, which meant the writing and the acting were coming together just right.
It was nice to see Superman in this episode. To be fair, I didn’t miss seeing Clark in the suit in the last episode because it was so good, but this season has been great about setting up situations that require the Man of Steel to go into action. John Henry suiting up was welcome as well and the fight with Peia was so well done, especially the end where Superman’s main concern was getting Peia to the hospital even after she tried to kill both him and John. I know I’m a bit of a broken record on this, but this show is so good at showing how compassionate Clark is and how he’s not in the game to beat up the bad guys. To be fair, the hospital Clark took Peia to was inside the DOD, but the overall idea still stands.
The sub-plot with Jordan and Jonathan was great as well. I really feel for Jon because Jordan is being a bit of a jerk about Jonathan training to be a fire fighter. Their fight at Sarah’s felt authentic as did the apology Jordan gave later in the episode. I’m not sure how I feel about Kyle doing the whole investigating thing, complete with scratching his chin as he looks over the photos from the fire, but the show has garnered metric yards of slack with me, so I’m just going to roll with it. I’m curious if this is going to end in him thinking Jonathan is the one with the powers and maybe even finding out about the big secret of the Kent family.
This was another great episode. Matteo and Nat have some serious Romeo and Juliet vibes and it’s sad that their relationship might end up being a casualty to Bruno’s criminal enterprise. It was good to see Matteo reject his dad at the end. The conversation between Lana and Sam was great as well and it was fun to have another episode end with Lana and Sarah bonding over something, in this case The Cure. The choice of Lovesong (or Love Song, depending on your preference) was a tad on the nose, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It has different meanings for different characters.
It also shows that Clark and Lana were into mopey music in high school, which is seriously on point for both characters given their respective issues.
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