Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere recap: When you have a bad day

Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere
Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere /

The Man of Steel and the world’s most famous reporter meet their match in the Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere—parenthood and domesticity.

We begin the newest The CWVerse show with a quick recap of Clark Kent/Superman’s (Tyler Hoechlin) origin story. He was an alien who crash-landed on the Kent farm in Smallville and was adopted by the kindly Kents, Martha and Jon. He loved growing up in Smallville, but Clark’s attitude changed after his father’s sudden death when Clark was a teenager.

He later moved to Metropolis and became Superman. We see him recreate the iconic cover of Superman’s debut in Action Comics #1 while wearing a suit made by his mother (aww). He also got a job as a reporter at the Daily Planet and that was where he met the future love of his life, Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch). She’s confident and snarky; he’s awkward and shy. They’re a match made in Kryptonite.

Clark told Lois that he was Superman, and the two of them eventually married and had twins. But life as a family hasn’t been easy. Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere shows us why.

Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere: Bad news week

Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane and Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent in the Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere
Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane and Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent in the Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere /

Nobody dreams about the problems, but every life has them. Even the extraordinary ones.”— Lois Lane

If you came into this show expecting a boss fight-a-minute, yeah, you’d be disappointed. All the promotional material about this show has been clear that the central theme of the show is Clark and Lois’ need to juggle their heroic duties with their family life. And that’s what we see in the Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere.

Superman’s been doing overtime as a mysterious figure keeps breaching nuclear plants in the city. His time away from home means he’s missing out on being with his sons. While Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) is a star quarterback and perfect, Jordan (Alex Garfin) has always been a troubled child.

At the age of 13, Jordan was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder, and he is awkward and reticent a year later. He’s pulling away from everyone, especially his father, who continually misses his therapy appointments.

However, Clark’s in for a lot of bad news in the Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere. A big corporation has bought up the Daily Planet and has been laying off staff. One of those staff members is Clark. Then, Clark gets a call informing him that his mother has died. Clark is crushed. But the hits just keep on coming.

At his mother’s funeral, Clark meets his old flame, Lana Lang (Emmanuelle Chriqui), who seems to be in an unhappy marriage with local firefighter Kyle Cushing (Erik Valdez). Lana works at a bank and informs Clark that Martha re-mortgaged the Kent farm to help pay off the debts, loans, and bills of her neighbors. She was Smallville’s Superwoman (ugh, who’s chopping onions?).

Now, Clark has two options—sell the house or pay up. But the Kent family isn’t exactly rolling in the green stuff. And then, there are the boys to worry about.

Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere: Double Trouble

Alexander Garfin as Jordan Kent and Jordan Elsass as Jonathan Kent in the Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere
Alexander Garfin as Jordan Kent and Jordan Elsass as Jonathan Kent in the Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere /

Jonathan and Jordan do not know that their father is Superman. They see him as a reporter and a bumbling fool (apparently Clark can’t hang a star on a Christmas tree without tripping on the ladder). So, in their eyes, Clark is little more than an absentee father.

At Martha’s funeral, the boys appear to be nonchalant. In fact, Jordan is quite distracted by the arrival of Lana’s older daughter, Sarah Cushing (Inde Navarrette). They joke about the bad WiFi and follow her into the barn.

Now, any Superman fan knows that the Kent barn houses Kal-El’s pod from Krypton. It’s no wonder then that Clark has forbidden the boys from entering. But who’s going to stop two teens from snooping?

Sarah and the boys enter the barn and find the router way up on a pylon. Jordan climbs up and fixes the signal, but the pylons he’s standing on give way. Jordan crashes to the ground, and the pylons follow suit. Jonathan runs to his brother but isn’t able to get them out in time. The two boys are buried by the pylons.

Sarah calls for help and Clark immediately rushes in and frees his sons in the Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere. They’re alive and well. Surely this must mean that Jonathan has powers and he protected both of the boys from grievous harm?

When Clark lies to them about their injuries, Jordan insists on investigating the barn further. The brothers find Kal’s pod and retrieve a crystal from within. Incensed, the boys confront Clark and Lois about his origins.

Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere: Revelations

Content warning: discussion of suicide

Clark reveals everything, finally demonstrating who he is by lifting the family truck. This moment is, of course, a throwback to the first Superman film in 1978. This revelation drives the boys further away from their father in the Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere.

Jordan is convinced his mental health issues are tied to Clark’s alien DNA. And he’s even more gutted at the realization that his parents believe Jonathan—the apple of their eye—is the one with superpowers.

To take his mind off things, Jordan joins Sarah at a bonfire. The two of them have something in common, just as Jordan is in therapy and on pills for his disorder, Sarah’s been to therapy after a suicide attempt a few years earlier. It seems that a certain “sadness” besets people in Smallville. This is a young person’s attempt at rationalizing her parents’ unhappy marriage and coping with her own maturity.

Jordan misreads Sarah’s attempts at friendship and kisses her, only to find out she has a boyfriend. Sarah was going to tell him but never got the chance. Said boyfriend and his friends start beating up Jordan, and when Jonathan appears, he’s pummelled too.

In the meantime, more nuclear plants are damaged and General Sam Lane (Dylan Walsh) insists that Superman come and help. Lois puts her foot down and informs her father that Clark is going to be with his family because he’s just lost his mother and his sons need him.

Apparently, General Lane is not a fan of his daughter marrying Superman. He needles her about how she’ll always have to share Superman with the world, and that the couple can never have the normal life that Lois craves. But Lois seems to know what she got herself into.

Lois gives Clark a little pep talk about how having problems and insecurities makes him human and then she sends him off to stop another nuclear breach.

Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere: Family

Alexander Garfin as Jordan Kent, Jordan Elsass as Jonathan Kent, Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane and Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent in the Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere
Alexander Garfin as Jordan Kent, Jordan Elsass as Jonathan Kent, Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane and Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent in the Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere /

Superman arrives at the plant, but the Stranger is impossible to track. How does the mysterious villain know Kal-El’s name and his origins? Worse, when the Stranger shows himself, why is he impossible to defeat?

The armored and helmeted man has a vendetta against Clark, even stabbing him with Kryptonite to leave him for dead. But we won’t know who he is till the last moments of the episode.

While Superman falls to his impending death, his sons are in crisis. With Jonathan and Jordan almost incapacitated, Jordan suddenly ignites his heat vision and breaks up the fight. Thankfully no one sees him, but the mines that the bonfire is at is literally on fire.

Lois signals Clark and it’s enough for Clark to regain his strength, yank out the kryptonite and return to his sons. It’s been… quite a week in the Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere.

Jordan explains that he protected Jonathan from the falling pylons and that he feels a lot more in control now that his powers have been activated. Jonathan is not upset that he doesn’t have powers, instead, he appears to revel in the fact that his abilities are all his own.

Clark and Lois don’t want to lose the Kent farm. Clark grew up there and has fond memories of it. He suggests that the family move to Smallville. The change will be good for them, but more than anything, they’ll be able to spend time together. Clark believes that’s what his mother would have wanted.

Lois agrees without hesitation. I think she’s more excited to stay because she can smell a story—Morgan Edge (Adam Rayner) has been secretly buying up properties in Smallville, including Lana’s bank. He’s a capitalist who appears to be setting up businesses to support the Smallville townspeople, but Lois smells something fishy.

Clark and Lois break the news about the move to the boys. They take it surprisingly well, but we can imagine that over the course of the season, there will be a lot of adjustments for the family.

The Kents are all smiles as they head to the barn to explore the beginnings of their new life. But they don’t know that a threat is coming. The Stranger returns to his ship in the mountains and is revealed to be Captain Luthor. Is this Lex Luthor from another Earth? Or is it a different Luthor? Part of me believes time travel is involved, but we’ll have to wait and find out.

Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere is a melancholic start

For a superhero show, Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere was subdued and somber. Clark was despondent for the majority of his screen time—which Hoechlin excellently portrayed—but it’s certainly not the kind of feeling you’d expect from this show.

I was surprised at how little screen time and character growth Lois was given. I worry that, after all the promises made by series creator Todd Helbing, he’s not going to give Lois the same amount of respect as Superman, even though her name is in the title. And the controversy around some of the writers’ room events seems to come to the forefront in the Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere.

There are woefully few people of color, though the Lang-Cushing family is supposed to count since they’ll be recurring characters. The Stranger, who we learn is a Luthor, is played by a Black actor, Wolé Parks, and it does make me wonder why that choice was made.

I think this show is going to be very different from the rest of the CWVerse shows, but they need to expand the people being represented, and maybe move away from so much navel-gazing. This is a story about Superman and Lois Lane, let’s celebrate these characters!

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After watching the Superman & Lois Season 1 premiere, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

New episodes of Superman & Lois Season 1 air every Tuesday on The CW.