Superman & Lois Season 1, Episode 4 recap: The mad scientist arrives

Superman & Lois
Superman & Lois /

Seems like moving to Smallville is tearing the Kent family apart in Superman & Lois Season 1 Episode 4. Clark may have had the best intentions when he moved his family to his hometown, but in all honesty, they seem to be struggling with all the changes.

External factors aren’t helping. Morgan Edge is threatening to take down Lois, and Lois’ father, General Sam Lane, isn’t pleased about anything Clark does. Plus, there’s a new bad guy on the loose, and that’s kind of Superman’s fault.

The boys are finally fitting in at school and with the football team, but trouble’s brewing close by. The bonfire night that Jordan and Jonathan attended in the premiere episode of this The CWVerse show has repercussions that are surfacing now.

This episode makes us question how Clark and Lois have made their relationship and family work for all these years. Has Lois had to do all the heavy-lifting all this while? Because the toll is beginning to tell on her. And the first family of DC Comics could be on the rocks.

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Superman & Lois Season 1 Episode 4: We’re on Edge

Six years ago, Morgan Edge was tracking missile attacks in Canada. They may have some connection with his investments in Smallville, and other similar small towns. But what is it?

Before we find out, Edge is made out to be as smarmy as we expected in Superman & Lois Season 1 Episode 4. Kyle Cushing sees Edge as a golden egg for Smallville—he’s always suggesting improvements that Edge can fund. But Edge has his eye on someone else.

Edge invites Lana to an investors’ dinner and promises to give Lana opportunities that are more suitable to her skills and qualifications. Now, we know that Lana does feel insecure about returning to Smallville and being stuck there, so could we be seeing her falling for Edge’s tricks?

Surprisingly, she doesn’t. It was uncomfortable watching Edge try and coax Lana into accepting a new position, but Lana felt that too. Her husband, though, is so besotted with Edge’s potential, that he doesn’t care. Lana can’t believe it. It seems that she and Kyle are no longer on the same page.

Edge has more tricks up his sleeve. As we know, Lois is hell-bent on investigating his corrupt practices, but Edge has the upper hand. He prevents the Smallville Gazette from printing an expose by threatening Lois with a breach of contract (because she used to work for The Daily Planet, which Edge bought up).

Lois confronts Edge, but it backfires. He threatens to find out any secrets Lois may have in Smallville, and this ostensibly puts an end to her defiance. For now. She makes up her mind to find some way to stop the council vote that empowers Edge in Smallville—while Lois may be persona non-grata, Clark is the town’s golden boy.

She asks Clark to turn up for the town hall meeting and sway the vote. The only problem is that Clark is pre-occupied.

Superman & Lois Season 1 Episode 4: Trouble Everywhere

Tyler Hoechlin as Superman and Dylan Walsh as General Lane on Superman & Lois
Tyler Hoechlin as Superman and Dylan Walsh as General Lane /

General Sam Lane is unhappy with Superman being less visible. Apparently, Clark moving to Smallville to be closer to his family and coaching the boys’ football team is making the army anxious. The less the villains see the red cape in the sky, the more likely it is that crime rates will go through the roof.

And to prove Lane’s point, Thaddeus Killgrave (Brendan Fletcher), breaks out of his prison transport. A scientist ‘radicalized by Superman’, Killgrave has gadgets up his sleeve that are dangerous to Superman.

General Lane may have a point—Killgrave noticed Superman was missing, and he used it as an opportunity to amass his forces.

But Clark’s priorities are quadruple fold. He’s so busy fighting Killgrave that he misses the town hall meeting. The vote obviously goes in favour of Edge (the sole dissenter is Gazette editor, Chrissy). When Clark returns home to Lois, she is outraged that he couldn’t keep his promise to her about the vote.

What I love is that Lois knows she shouldn’t be angry at Clark because she knows what she signed up for when they got together. Lois also knows that of all the people on the planet, Clark’s the rare person who will always have a good excuse for missing date night—he’s literally out there saving the world.

Unfortunately, feelings are hard to understand, so Lois leaves to enjoy drinks with Lana. Both of them give each other perspective on their husbands. Lois knows that Kyle hates her, but she can see how invested Kyle is in helping his town. And Lois can see that he dotes on Lana—though that’s not how it appears to the audience.

Lana attributes Clark’s transformation from being a reticent kid from Smallville into a confident man to Lois. The writers really want us to believe these couples are made for each other.

Though Clark was distracted when Killgrave broke out, he eventually tracks him down. But Clark has to speed through his battle because he gets a sudden call from his sons. They need him. With a super-thunderclap, Killgrave and his goons are down. But we find out why Clark was hesitant to use this ability, medics need to be called in because bystanders have been hurt.

Superman & Lois Season 1 Episode 4: More Metas

Stacey Farber as Leslie Larr and Adam Rayener as Morgan Edge on Superman & Lois
Stacey Farber as Leslie Larr and Adam Rayener as Morgan Edge /

Ever since Jordan’s powers activated and started a fire, we’ve seen that fellow football player Tag Harris (Wern Lee) has been walking around with a cast around his arm. Tag is struggling with being out of the team, and Jordan’s rise to star defense on the team isn’t helping.

But Tag’s problems get worse when his injured arm starts vibrating at great speed. What is happening to him? While Tag struggles in secret, Jonathan is more open about having to take a backseat to his twin on the football field. Clark understands but reminds Jonathan that he has a different skill set than his brother.

As if the boys don’t have enough to deal with, General Lane strongly suggests that the twins step up when their father is away. He tells them to deal with their own problems themselves, instead of calling for their father, who is literally Superman.

Jonathan also notices that Tag is acting weird, especially after he magically breaks off his cast and is completely healed. When, during a celebratory party, Jonathan follows Tag into the woods, he sees that Tag has powers and they’re completely out of control.

Jordan tries to stop Tag, but his powers are no match for Tag’s. He’s blasted unconscious, leaving Jonathan on his own. Jonathan calls his father, and for a few minutes, it looks like Superman may not make it in time before Tag accidentally attacks Jonathan. But Superman saves the day, once again.

Tag is sent to a special school for the gifted and will be trained to control his new meta powers. Jordan is certain he was the reason Tag got these powers, but General Lane explains that while Jordan’s powers ignited the fire at the bonfire party, a separate sulphuric substance was also found, and that caused Tag’s powers.

Clark asks the boys why they waited so long to call him, and that’s when General Lane’s advice comes out. Obviously, Clark is incensed. I love that he says that his job is being his sons’ father and that’s his priority. Lois pretty much disowns her father—he has dedicated his life to the army, to the detriment of his family. Now Lane is trying to bring that into Lois’s life. She will not accept that.

General Lane leaves and secretly starts setting up a ‘contingency’ plan that is inspired by Captain Luthor. Meanwhile, back in Smallville, Kyle and Lana rekindle their love for each other, and Clark promises Lois that she is the most important person in his life.

Elsewhere in the town, Morgan Edge uncovers a mine of X-Kryptonite, a substance that imbues humans with Kryptonian powers. So that’s why he’s interested in Smallville.

Superman & Lois Season 1 Episode 4 really should have passed the Bechdel-Wallace Test

Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane and Emmanuelle Chriqui as Lana Lang Cushing on Superman & Lois
Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane and Emmanuelle Chriqui as Lana Lang Cushing /

The Bechdel-Wallace test is the most basic test for any female character interactions in pop culture, and Superman & Lois Season 1 Episode 4 was perfectly placed to pass it. Yet, the episode writing doesn’t even try. I felt like the writers were so busy trying to subvert one kind of expectation (that Edge would have a nefarious interest in Lana, or that Lois and Lana would start fighting over Clark) that they forgot to make these character interactions consistent.

All Lois and Chrissy talk about is Morgan Edge. All Lana and Lois talked about were their husbands. Sarah had one line with a female friend in this episode. We need to do better by female characters!

Throughout the entire episode, one can’t help but wonder how Lois and Clark have made it this far in their relationship. Part of me wants to believe that time and the sluggishness of a small town is weighing heavily on Lois, and therefore bringing the cracks in her family to the fore. But honestly, the writing seems to be hinting that she’s been carrying this family on her own, the whole time. I don’t like that dynamic.

Lois is almost at busy as Clark—we know she’s been covering major stories, and those take time. Just because Superman’s out saving the world, doesn’t mean Lois has nothing to do. We need the writing on this show to make it clear.

I am not sure why Killgrave was introduced and dealt with so swiftly. My guess is that he’s likely to return, but it all happened so fast. This show doesn’t need an episodic villain, especially not one who is a contrived inclusion to wag a finger at Clark. The conflict between the Kents and General Lane is so much scarier. He is flesh and blood, but he’s also protecting his world.

Despite the poor writing in this episode, Clark and Lois’s relationship continues to amaze me. They seem like such a natural fit. I wish they shared more screen time together on Superman & Lois because they’re the beating heart of this show.

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What did you think of Superman & Lois Season 1 Episode 4? Let us know in the comments below.

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