Sunday, March 7, 2021

Superman & Lois, Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot

It's the first episode of Superman & Lois!

I gotta say, when I first saw the promos for this new series, I didn't have very high hopes for it. The CW's superhero shows have always been pretty hit & miss. Some, like The Flash, start out great before collapsing under the weight of their own continuity. Others like Arrow never grabbed my attention from the start. And then there's woke nonsense like the abysmal Batwoman, a series I wouldn't touch with a ten foot remote. So given the network's track record, I didn't have high hopes for the series.

And then there's the fact that the current Warner Bros. regime clearly has no understanding of the Superman character or how to handle him. One need look no further than the execrable Man Of Steel and Batman V Superman as proof.

Warner Bros., flush from the success of Christopher Nolan's highly successful reimagining of Batman, attempted to give Superman the same treatment. 
Rather than present the character as a beacon of hope and optimism, this "new and improved" version of Superman was a grim & gritty vigilante, who resented his powers and had nothing but disdain for those who depended on him for help. If ever there was a character who DIDN'T need "Nolanized," it's Superman.

Given all that, is it any wonder I had absolutely zero expectations for this series?

Fortunately it managed to surprise me. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Superman & Lois is the best Arrowverse series The CW has ever produced! Everything about it is top notch, from the writing to the acting and even the look of the show. It's incredibly cinematic, and could easily be played in a theater. The FX are incredible as well— especially for a CW series.

Kudos to series creators Todd Helbing and Greg Berlanti, for giving us the best live action Man Of Steel since Superman: The Movie. It's clear they understand the character in a way Zack Snyder never will. 

And for all those out there saying who say Superman's too old fashioned and irrelevant to work in the 21st Century— watch this series to see just how wrong you are.

Here's hoping The CW keeps up the good work and doesn't screw up this series like they have so many others.


The Plot:
The episode begins as Clark reminisces about his past in convenient flashback form. We see his Kryptonian spaceship land in Smallville, Kansas, where it's found by Jonathan and Martha ("WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME?") Kent. The Kents adopt him as their own child, and as he grows his powers begin to manifest. After his father Jonathan dies of a heart attack, Clark moves to Metropolis and becomes Superman.

Clark's hired at the Daily Planet, where he meets Lois Lane. They fall in love, he reveals his true identity to her, they get married and have twin boys, Jonathan & Jordan. Jonathan's outgoing and athletic, while Jordan's sullen and withdrawn. They all live in an apartment in Metropolis, as Clark tries to juggle his family life with being Superman.

In the present, a nuclear reactor outside of Metropolis is about to blow. General Sam Lane (father of Lois) is overseeing the evacuation and desperately pages Superman. Right on cue, Supes appears and seals the reactor with his heat vision. He then uses his super breath to freeze the nearby harbor and create a huge block of ice, which he uses to cool down the reactor.

General Lane tells Superman this is the second reactor that's suffered the same kind of damage, and says he suspects sabotage.

Superman flies home, where Lois welcomes him. Jonathan tells him he's the first freshman to become starting quarterback at his high school. This causes Clark to wonder if his son's beginning to develop powers like his own. He greets Jordan, who's angry that Clark didn't accompany him to his therapy session. Clark tries to apologize, but Jordan ignores him and concentrates on his videogame.

Martha calls and tells Clark his family needs him more than the world needs Superman. She coughs, and Clark asks if she's OK. She says she's just tired and needs to rest. Uh-oh. She's a goner!

The next morning, the boys wolf down a fraction of the massive breakfast Lois makes and dash off to school. She and Clark argue over whether to tell their sons that he's secretly Superman.

Clark and Lois report for work at the Daily Planet, where they discover that new owner Morgan Edge has ordered another round of layoffs. Clark's called into his boss Foswell's office, and discovers he's being furloughed as well! Yikes! Lois is furious, but before she can give management a piece of her mind, Clark gets a phone call from Smallville. Seems Martha's had a massive stroke.

Clark instantly zooms out off to Smallville and arrives at Martha's house seconds later. Her physician Dr. Frye is confused as to how Clark got there so fast, and tells him that Martha's already gone.

At the funeral, Clark's old flame Lana Lang shows up with her husband Kyle Cushing and daughters Sarah and Sophie. The boys are both smitten with Sarah, who's the same age as them. Jonathan hits on her, but she ignores him and gives her number to the brooding Jordan and invites him to a bonfire.

Meanwhile, the adults chat in the kitchen. Kyle resents Clark for leaving Smallville. He says the town's dying, but is hopeful that Morgan Edge will save it with some sort of renewable energy plan. Lois warns that Edge ruins everything he touches, which starts an argument with Kyle. Lana tells Clark that they need to discuss the financial state of the Kent farm, and asks him to come to the bank in the morning. She maneuvers Kyle out of the kitchen before he starts a fight.

Outside, Sarah sees the wifi's down, and somehow knows that Martha's router is in her barn (???). Jordan notes that Clark always forbade them from ever entering the barn, but the teens do so anyway. Jordan sees the router bolted to a rafter high above. He climbs up to reset it, but accidentally slips and falls. A rack of huge pipes comes loose and falls on the two boys.

Sarah runs from the barn, shouting for help. Clark rushes into the barn, pulls the pipes off his sons and is shocked to see they're both miraculously OK. Later that night, Jordan wonders how they could both be undamaged, and wonders what really happened in the barn. Jonathan downplays the incident, telling him not to worry about it.

Lois finds Clark on the porch, staring off into space. He says the only way their sons survived is because Jonathan's starting to develop powers of his own. Once again he brings up telling them the truth. Just then General Lane arrives, and says he found something at the reactor site— a message scrawled in an unknown language. Clark recognizes it as Kryptonian, saying it reads, "YOU ARE NOT A HERO, KAL-EL."

General Lane tells Clark to suit up and deal with this superpowered threat. Lois puts her foot down and says the world will always need Superman, but Clark's family needs him more right now. Lane realizes he can't win and leaves in a huff.

The next day Clark & Lois go to the bank to meet with Lana. She tells them that Martha took out a reverse mortgage and gifted the money to various friends and neighbors. She says Clark's options are to pay off the mortgage or sell the farm.

Meanwhile, Jordan tells Jonathan that their dad's hiding something from them in the barn— possibly the answers to why they weren't hurt in the accident. They sneak into the barn and find a secret door in the floor. Naturally they open it and explore the storage space beneath. There they find the ship that brought Baby Kal-El to Earth.

Jordan touches the ship, and its surface ripples and reacts. An amber colored crystal emerges from it, and he pockets it. Jonathan says they need to get the hell out of the barn.

Clark & Lois drive back from the bank. He tells Lois that as he flew to Martha's sick bed, his super hearing picked up her last words— "It's time. Come home." Lois figures Martha wanted him to save the farm. Clark's unsure they can afford that, especially since he's now out of work.

They pull up to the farm just as the boys exit the barn. They confront Clark, demanding to know why there's a spaceship hidden under their late Grandma's barn. Clark says it brought him here from Krypton, then removes his glasses, picks up the truck and raises it fifty feet off the ground. Rather than being delighted that their father's secretly Superman, they both accuse their parents of lying to them for years. Clark tries to explain why he didn't tell them, but they won't listen. He says they think Jonathan has inherited his powers, and Jordan angrily runs off.

Just then Clark hears an attack on another reactor. Lois tells him to go and deal with it. Clark zooms away and arrives at the plant as Superman. A mysterious Stranger confronts him and says they share the same history. The Stranger claims he also came to Earth when his world was destroyed. Superman flies straight toward the Stranger, but at the last second the intruder grabs him and throws him through the wall, indicating he has super strength as well. The Stranger then takes off, flying straight into the air.

Elsewhere, Jonathan and Jordan show up at the bonfire. Jordan bonds with Sarah, who admits she halfheartedly attempted suicide the year before. Jordan consoles her by telling her he's messed up as well. He tries to kiss her, and she asks what the hell he's doing. He awkwardly apologizes, realizing he completely misread the situation.

Just then Sarah's boyfriend (!) Sean comes over and pushes Jordan. Jonathan tells him to knock it off, and before you know it there's a big old fashioned brawl at the bonfire.

Superman pursues the Stranger across the globe. He catches up with him over Metropolis (natch!), and the two have a big action setpiece battle. The Stranger accuses Superman of craving the love of a world that can't accept him (?), and then stabs him in the shoulder with a Kryptonite dagger. Immediately weakened, Superman falls thousands of feet to the Earth below.

At the bonfire, Jordan watches as a mob of teens violently beat his brother. Suddenly heat vision flares from Jordan's eyes (GASP!), causing the bonfire to explode and hurl everyone to the ground.

As Superman falls, he experiences a brief recap of the episode, including his mother calling him home. This gives him the strength to pull the dagger from his shoulder. He regains his strength at the last possible second and stops inches from the ground. He then hears the commotion at the bonfire and speeds away to Smallville.

Superman arrives and changes back to Clark. He sees firefighters— including Kyle— tending to the injured. He finds Jonathan and Jordan and hugs them.

Back at the farm, Jordan admits he's the one who saved Jonathan from the falling pipes. Great, the unstable teen turns out to be the one with god-like powers! Clark sits down and tells Jordan about his own father. He says he didn't always know how to be a good parent, but he was always there for him. Clark promises he'll be there for Jordan from now on.

Clark tells Lois he now understands what Martha meant— she wanted them all to "come home" and live on the farm. He says it'd be a huge adjustment, but he thinks it's what's best for the family. Amazingly Lois agrees.

The next day Lana's shocked when Clark tells her they want to buy the farm rather than sell it. Lois asks Lana if she was aware that Morgan Edge bought her bank. Lana's blindsided by this news, wondering what Edge would want with a small town bank (FUTURE PLOT POINT!).

Clark & Lois tell the boys they've decided to move to Smallville and live on the farm. Amazingly the two are OK with leaving all their friends and the only life they've ever known.

Elsewhere, the Stranger flies to a large spaceship parked in the Arctic. He tells the ship's AI that he needs upgrades to his armor. The AI says, "We'll need more Kryptonite, Captain Luthor." GASP!

• First things first
— where does this series take place? Does it take place on Earth-Prime, like most of the other Arrowverse show? Or is it set in its own separate universe, ala Stargirl? Honestly at this point it could be either, as there's evidence to support both theories.

We've seen this version of Superman & Lois before— he popped up numerous times over on Supergirl, and he & Lois both appeared in Elseworlds and Crisis On Infinite Earths. That would seem to indicate they're residents of the Arrowverse.

On the other hand, if they are in the Arrowverse, then why was there no mention of Clark's cousin Kara or any other superheroes in the episode? At one point Lois forbids Clark from rushing off to deal with a disaster, saying his family needs him more than the world needs Superman. Clark could simply let Supergirl deal with the situation. The fact that he doesn't implies that he exists in a completely separate world.

And then there's the Luthor situation. In the Arrowverse, Lex Luthor regularly clashes with Supergirl and her cast. Superman & Lois features a Luthor as well, but this one is a completely different version— one who claims to be from another planet. Seems like it'd be way too confusing for the audience to have two different Luthors on the same Earth.

Given all that, until we're told otherwise, I'm going to assume that Superman & Lois takes place on its own separate Earth.

• If I had one complaint about this episode, it would be the lack of a memorable musical score. In fact I can't remember a single note that played during the entire runtime. Was there even music in it?

Think back to Superman: The Movie, and how integral John Williams' epic, majestic score was to that film. The music was practically a character in itself. Sadly that's all completely lacking in this episode. 

• The opening flashback/montage is an absolute gold mine of Superman comic book and movie homages and shout outs. In particular it heavily references 1978's Superman: The Movie. I
n fact this prologue is virtually a condensed retelling of that film. Here are all the ones I spotted:

— Kal-El's spaceship lands in a cornfield, much like it did in Superman: The Movie.

— Jonathan Kent suffers a heart attack and dies, which again is similar to Superman: The Movie.

— When a car flies off an elevated highway, Superman catches it and gently lowers it to the ground. 

This is a VERY obvious, yet very cool recreation of the cover of 1938's Action Comics #1, which featured the very first appearance of Superman. They even used a green PT Cruiser to try and match the 1930s style car on the cover. The main difference is that in the comic Supes was throwing the car 

matched the green color of the car, and used a PT Cruiser to match the 1930s style of the auto. The only difference is that on the cover he was using the car as a weapon, while here he's saving the occupant.

— During this flashback, we see Superman wearing a different-looking costume.

This suit he's sporting is virtually identical to the one he wore in the brilliant Max Fleischer cartoons. If you've never seen those, I highly recommend them. They're still awesome, even after almost eighty years! And unless I'm mistaken, this is the first time we've seen this particular costume in live action.

By the way, I've mentioned this numerous times, but I much prefer Superman with the red trunks, as opposed to his current look. His costume really needs that splash of red to break up all the blue, and to my eyes it just looks wrong without them.

Also, when the kid he saves compliments his costume, Superman says, "Thanks! My mom made it for me!" This 
earnest, "Gee Whiz" attitude is similar to the version of the character played by Christopher Reeve in Superman: The Movie.

It may be a reference to John Byrne's Man Of Steel comic book miniseries, which revamped Superman for the 1980s. In it, Martha Kent did indeed whip up her son's superhero costume on her sewing machine.

— Clark's first day at the Daily Planet and his meet cute with Lois are similar to their introduction in Superman: The Movie.

— Superman proposes to Lois in front of what looks like an icy cave. I assume this is his Fortress Of Solitude, seen numerous times in the comics and movies
— including, once again, Superman: The Movie.

— After revealing his true identity to Lois, Superman takes her for a romantic flight through the clouds. This is a very obvious reference to the infamous "Can You Read My Mind" sequence from Superman: The Movie.

— At one point Lois walks past a bank of TV monitors, all of which are displaying footage of Superman saving the world in various ways. One of the monitors shows him rescuing the Space Shuttle.

This is likely a reference to 1986's Man Of Steel #1, a six issue comic miniseries by John Byrne, which simplified and revamped the character of Superman. In the first issue, he saves a malfunctioning "Experimental Space Plane" in much the same way as seen on the monitor.

• The references and shout outs aren't confined to the prologue. They're peppered throughout the rest of the episode as well:

— When Clark's talking to his mother on the phone, there's a chalkboard in the background with several messages written on it: "Dr. Donner," and "Call Siegel And Shuster."

Dr. Donner's a reference to Richard Donner, director of Superman: The Movie. Siegel And Shuster refer to writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman.

— Martha's doctor is named Frye. That's yet another reference to Superman: The Movie, in which that version of Martha Kent tells her husband Jonathan, "Remember what Doc Frye said about that heart of yours."

— When the Kents travel to Smallville for Martha's funeral, Jonathan and Jordan bunk in Clark's old bedroom. At one point we see the walls are decorated with a Smallville Crows pennant, as well as a Metropolis Meteors poster.

The Crows were the name of the local football team in the Smallville series. I've no idea where the Meteors reference is from.

See, over on Smallville, they attempted to explain why there were so many superpowered residents in such a tiny burg by saying the area had been inundated with Kryptonite meteorites, which mutated the population. So it would make sense if Smallville's team was the Meteors instead of Metropolis. Was there some major meteoric event that happened in Metropolis?

— In order to prove to his sons that he's Superman, Clark lifts a pickup truck over his head.

This is another very obvious reference to Superman: The Movie, in which Baby Kal-El effortlessly lifts up the Kent's farm truck.

— Sarah invites Jordan to a bonfire at the old Shuster mine. Joe Shuster co-created Superman in 1938.

— General Lane stops by to alert Clark of another break-in at a nuclear power plant. When Clark's reluctant to get involved, Lane says, "I'm sure there's a phone booth in this podunk town where you can suit up."

This of course is a reference to the trope from the comics, in which Clark would duck into a phone booth to change into Superman.

— At the bank, Lana tells Lois a story about how she, Clark and "Pete" were in a car accieent as teens, but were miraculously unhurt (due to Clark's powers, of course).

The Pete she mentions would be Pete Ross, who was Clark's best friend in the Superboy comics.

— Lastly, there's even a non-Superman reference in this episode. Near the end of the episode, Superman confronts Luthor at a nuclear power plant. Amazingly, Luthor picks up Supes and hurls through the wall of the plant.

If you look closely, you can see this is the Hudson Nuclear Plant. In the comics, that's where the Firestorm character experienced an accident that gave him his powers.

• In past Arrowverse appearances, the actress who plays Lois was always billed as "Bitsie" Tulloch. In this episode it appears she changed her mind and is now going by her full name of Elizabeth Tulloch. That's probably for the best. It's hard to take someone seriously when their name is "Bitsie."

• At one point we see a flashback to Pa Kent's funeral. As is typical in virtually all movies and TV shows, this graveside scene is filmed from above and in the rain. It's State Law.

• Let's talk age, shall we? When I first heard that this show would feature Clark, Lois and their teenaged sons, I was a little puzzled. Just how old is this Superman supposed to be, anyway? Wouldn't the fact that his kids are teens mean he & Lois would have to be well into their 40s? In the comics and most other media, Superman's traditionally been 30 years old.

We're told that Jonathan and Jordan are both 14 (even though the actors playing them are clearly older than that). Let's say Clark graduated from college when he was 22 and was hired by the Planet a year later, at 23. Give him and Lois a couple years to meet, get to know one another and eventually marry, and we're up to 25 or 26. Add 14 years to that and this particular Superman can't be any younger than 39. Actor Tyler Hoechin is currently 33, so he's playing a bit older than he really is.

Lois must be even older, unless she was some sort of child prodigy. When Clark reports for his first day at the Planet, it's obvious that she's already been working there for quite a while— long enough to know the ropes and have a reputation as a famous reporter. If we say it took her four or five years to reach that level, then she'd now be 43 or 44! Elizabeth Tulloch, who plays Lois, is currently 40, so she's playing a bit older as well.

As I said, this makes the characters much older than they're typically portrayed. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I just thought it was worth pointing out.

• In order to cool down the malfunctioning nuclear reactor, Superman uses his super-breath to create a huge iceberg in a nearby lake. As he lifts the massive chunk of ice from the water, his hair's clearly wet and plastered to his forehead.

Approximately ten seconds after tossing the berg into the reactor, Superman mhas a walk & talk with General Lane. Amazingly, his hair's now completely dry. Not only that, but it's combed and styled again as well!

I guess maybe Supes has a little-used "hair drying/styling" power we've never seen before?

• This episode gives us not one, but TWO Superhero Landings!

• Clark comes home after a hard day of superheroing, where he tries to connect with Jordan, his sullen teen son. Jordan ignores him, as he's engrossed in the Injustice 2 videogame— which features Superman as a playable character! Clark's unnerved when he realizes Jordan's playing as Raiden, and is mopping the floor with his alter ego!

• When I first heard there was going to be a Superman & Lois series, I wondered how they'd handle Clark & Lois' jobs. Traditionally they've both been reporters for the Daily Planet. Unfortunately newspapers are in sad, sorry shape today (something I know all too well, as I used to work for one). How would they reconcile the two of them working in such a dying industry?

Amazingly they actually acknowledged the sorry state of print! As Clark & Lois report to work, we see the Planet's suffering another round of layoffs. Even more surprising, Clark actually loses his job as well!

I gotta say, I was NOT expecting that! But I'm perfectly fine with it. The Daily Planet's been a part of Superman lore for over EIGHTY YEARS now (!), so it's high time for a change. Eliminating the Planet will give the characters and the series
 a much-needed new spin.

• Right after he's fired from the Planet, Clark receives even more bad news— his mother Martha ("WHY DID YOU SAY THAT NAME?") has suffered a massive stroke. He immediately speeds to her bedside in Smallville.

For some reason, Martha's physician Dr. Frye is played by Gates McFadden. She's best known as Dr. Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I guess her appearance here as another doctor was an in-joke?

• As regular readers (both of you) of my reviews know, I like to try and figure out where the various Arrowverse shows shoot their exterior scenes. As most of them are filmed in Vancouver, it's usually not hard to pinpoint the locations.

I'm probably not gonna be able to do that with Superman & Lois. Although the series is filmed in Vancouver, most of the locations are actually elaborate sets built just for the show!

Like the Kent family farm, for example. According to the show's production designer, the house and barn are actually large "sets" built in Delta, a city twelve miles or so outside of Vancouver.

And Smallville's main street is an elaborate backlot, built in Surrey— another town just outside of Vancouver. The Surrey City Council signed a three year contract with the production, allowing them to construct the Smallville street on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. 

The large set includes dozens of store fronts, a post office and even a train station.

If the Daily Planet newsroom looked particularly authentic to you, there's a good reason for that. The Planet scenes were filmed inside the actual offices of the Vancouver Sun & Province newspaper, which were sitting empty while the real staff worked remotely during the Covid lockdown!

• After the funeral, Jonathan & Jordan hang out with Sarah, who tells them the Kent farm's wifi is down. The three locate the router inside the barn.

What the hell? Do farmers routinely stick their routers inside their barns? Is that really a thing? Why string an internet line out to a musty old outbuilding when you could just stick it inside your house.

And even if one had a good reason for putting it in the barn, why in the name of sanity would an elderly woman like Martha Kent stick her router on a rafter fifty feet off the ground? Did she really shakily climb up there every time it needed reset? 

Even more preposterous, the router's next to a rack of large drainage pipes. Why the frak would anyone in their right mind store dozens of super heavy pipes like that fifty feet off the ground? How'd they even get 'em up there?

The real world answer to these questions is obvious— so Jordan would have to scramble high up inside the barn, fall and knock the pipes onto him and his brother. 

• General Lane tells Clark there's been an attack on another nuclear reactor, and shows him an image of strange symbols they found at the site. Clark looks at the symbols and nonchalantly announces they're Kryptonian, and spell out, "YOU ARE NOT A HERO, KAL-EL." Clark seems completely unimpressed by this.

Wait, hold up. Why does Clark take this news so calmly? He's supposedly "The Last Son Of Krypton," right? This should be a HUGE deal to him, as he's possibly discovered a previously unknown survivor from his long-dead world. A survivor who somehow knows his true name. Instead he reacts with as much excitement as he would if he received a billing statement from his bank.

Since this is the first episode of the series and it begins in media res so to speak, I guess it's possible he's encountered other Kryptonians before, in stories we didn't see. If so, then that would explain his lack of astonishment here. If not though, then I'm calling this a plot hole.

• Under the barn, the twins discover the ship that brought Clark to Earth. Jordan touches its surface, causing it to ripple and emit an amber colored crystal. Jordan pockets it and that's the last we see of it in the episode.

I assume this crystal's gonna be a major plot element in a future episode?

• Not a nitpick, but an observation: In the comics, Lana Lang has traditionally been portrayed as a redhead. Not anymore! This version of her's a brunette for some reason. 

• At the bonfire, Jordan's superpowers manifest when he loses his temper and fires a blast of heat vision from his eyes. Sometime later Clark arrives to pick him up, and we see Jordan's eyes are red and irritated— looking very much like they've been burned.

So... Jordan's vulnerable to his own powers? Does that seem right?

• I know Jordan's a moody, unpredictable teen, but his attitude in this episode deserves some scrutiny. 

When Clark reveals he's secretly Superman, Jordan rejects him and stops just short of shrieking that he hates him. Cut to Jordan developing his own superpowers, and he instantly forgives his dad and is fine with him again.

In other words he's got no use for his father till he thinks he inherited his powers. What a warm, loving and grateful child.

• At one point Superman and Luthor fly over Hong Kong, zipping between skyscrapers as they battle one another. I gotta say, I was having serious traumatic Man Of Steel flashbacks during this scene. Any second I expected Superman to grab Luthor and savagely snap his neck!

• Nice attention to detail: During one of Superman's battles with Captain Luthor, he's stabbed in the shoulder with a shard of Kryptonite. This causes Supes to lose his powers, and he plummets to the Earth far below. Fortunately he manages to recover inches before hitting the ground in downtown Hong Kong. 

Note that it's daytime there. He then rockets back to Smallville, where it's nighttime! It's a little thing, but I appreciate that the producers understand that it's not daylight everywhere at the same time!

• So to no one's surprise, the Mysterious Stranger who battles Superman all through the episode turns out to be Lex Luthor. Er, excuse, me, I mean Captain Luthor.

This isn't your grandfather's Lex though, laws no. This one's quite different from the traditional character, as he appears to be black, and claims to be from another planet as well.

So why fundamentally alter every aspect of the character, especially when there's a perfectly good Luthor (played surprisingly well by actor Jon Cryer) over on Supergirl? Why not just use him, since he's already established?

Welp, apparently that's the problem. According to the producers of Superman & Lois, Luthor's currently embroiled in his own plot elements and storylines over on Supergirl. They didn't want to use a character who came preloaded with a ton of baggage, so they decided to create a NEW version of Luthor. One who's actually a mystery to the audience. Smart!

By the way, not that anyone probably cares what I think, but normally I'm not a fan of race-swapping characters. You want diversity and inclusion in your series? Fine. Go nuts and create as many BRAND NEW characters of color as you want. But don't take an old established character and change their race. That's just lazy writing, and the least creative solution possible.

And that's just what they did here. This Luthor is a new version we've never seen before, so I'm perfectly fine with his ethnicity.

• Apparently this new version of Luthor buys his battle armor from the same place as Master Chief! Seriously, that helmet & suit couldn't look more Halo-ish if it tried.

• Unlike Supergirl's Luthor, this version is powerful enough to go head-to-head with Superman. If you look closely though, you can see he doesn't appear to have any actual superpowes of his own. He's wearing a battle suit equipped with a jetpack and rocket boots, which allow him to fly.

Believe it or not there's actually a precedent for Luthor's armor. Back in the 1980s, the comic book version of Luthor traded in his costume for a green & purple battle suit, armed with an array of high tech, anti-Superman weapons.

See, at one point Luthor got fed up with Superman constantly foiling his schemes, so he  abandoned Earth entirely. He fled to the planet Lexor (sure, why not?), where he gained the trust of the natives and quickly became their most celebrated citizen. He used Lexorian science to create his battlesuit, and eventually returned to Earth with it.

I have to assume the battle suit we see in this episode is an homage to the one in the comics.

• Several times during the episode, Captain Luthor mentions he comes from a planet other than Earth. At the end of the episode we see him returning to a spaceship parked in the Arctic. I assume this ship is how he got here.

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