Superman & Lois is back from its almost two-month hiatus with “Broken Trust”, an episode that inches things along in terms of plot but goes miles and miles in terms of character development – an episode that seems to truly understand the core of what makes Superman who he is.
“Broken Trust” gets its title primarily from a fantastic speech that Clark gives Jordan near the end of the episode. In it, Clark explains that he needs to be able to control his emotions all of the time because he needs the people he has chosen to protect to trust that he isn’t going to hurt them. Trust, once broken, is extremely difficult to repair.
This is just such a phenomenal speech. Superman is often presented as this perfect character, above reproach, but what Superman & Lois does – and what Tyler Hoechlin does with his performance – is give us a Superman that is human. He gets angry and wants to hurt people sometimes, too, because who doesn’t? But he doesn’t give in to those impulses because he isn’t human, and he has to be aware of that constantly.
Jordan is learning this the hard way. I still find it hard to believe that playing football is suddenly a life-long dream of his, and I’m even more skeptical after seeing that part of the reason he wanted to play was to get back at all of the kids who tormented him throughout his childhood. His anger at being taunted manifested into aggression and he ended up badly injuring Jon, who was trying to stop the fight. Now Jon, for whom football actually was a life-long dream, may not be able to play again.
Jordan’s anger is nicely paralleled with Clark’s to hammer home the notion that this is an important lesson to learn. When Clark realizes that the DOD is not only using live ammunition but also Kryptonite rounds on a scared teenager, he is truly terrifying in his anger. The broken trust that the title refers to also fits here, with Clark realizing that perhaps he can no longer trust Sam or the DOD to act in what Clark feels to be the public’s best interest. He was so upset that Sam referred to Tag as a monster; Tag is just like Jordan – does that mean Sam considers his own grandson a monster? Or Clark himself?
But you know what is also paralleled is how much the Kent boys both mirror their father. In the overlapping scenes as Jordan faces down the Metropolis football team and Clark faces down the DOD, both boys are represented in Clark’s actions. Jordan has his father’s abilities and his emotional reaction – giving Superman the red eyes that Jordan had earlier was a nice touch. Jon, meanwhile, has his father’s protective instincts.
We see the great familial dynamics throughout “Broken Trust”. Jon originally agrees to keep Jordan’s headaches a secret, but when he finally tells Clark, Jordan isn’t mad at him. Jordan is trying to downplay his abilities and act like it’s no big deal even though it definitely is and more people than Jon have been injured because he can’t control them. Control has to be learned, but he’s a teenager and like most teenagers, he’s tired of being told what to do.
Likewise, the rest of the family doesn’t try to lay blame on Jordan because of this. Jon is obviously angry, but he has a reason to be; he’s the one who didn’t want to leave the hotel room, and he tried several times to talk Jordan down. He saw Jordan punching the log, so he had to have known that he would get hurt if he took the punch, but he did it to protect his brother. He has a broken arm, but his intervention prevented something much worse from happening.
I’ll admit, I was so sure for a couple of seconds there that at that moment we would discover that Jon also has powers, but sadly I was wrong. I’m still holding out hope for that to happen, which is why I’m so glad that Jon is allowed to be included in Jordan’s training sessions with Clark. Aside from keeping him involved and preventing him from feeling like an outsider in his own family, it will also help if he ever does develop powers, because he’ll have a basic idea of what to do with them.
“Broken Trust” teaches Jordan that superpowers aren’t the boon he thought they were. So far he’s been using them to be really good at football and very little else, but in this episode, he learns that he has the potential to hurt the people he loves even though he doesn’t mean to and that he has to lie to the people he cares about. Sarah suspects that something is up, but I love how she told Jordan that she trusted Tag to not hurt her and that even if he suddenly had these abilities, he was still Tag. You could tell that she was hoping Jordan would open up to her, but Jordan has the contradictory message of keeping everything secret from his family, so he had to lie to her.
Lois took a bit of a backseat in this episode, but she has finally made some headway in her investigation of Morgan Edge. Her attempts to elicit help from Lana and Kyle are rebuffed, as the two of them don’t want to risk something happening to further cripple Smallville. Therefore, Lana turns to Marcus aka Luthor. I appreciate that she was a little suspicious of him basically the entire time, even if she didn’t really understand what kind of person he was until he broke out the army-grade weapons.
Essentially, Lois now knows that the mine is full of X-Kryptonite and that Edge’s assistant Leslie is another person who was given powers. Unfortunately, she still doesn’t have any solid proof. Fortunately, after what happened with Tag and Sarah, Lana is appropriately skeptical of Morgan Edge (again) and has agreed to utilize her new position with Edge to help Lois get information.
Two things about this. First, I am really glad that “Broken Trust” showed that Lois would 100% drop a hot lead on a story because her family needed her. I think this harkens back to a few episodes ago when Clark risked hurting civilians in order to rescue his sons. Second, I really hope that Sarah knowing that something is up with Jordan and the whole investigating Edge thing leads Lana to realizing (or at least suspecting) that Clark is Superman.
But really, how are we six episodes into this season and still no mention of Supergirl – even vaguely?
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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