Superman & Lois 1×09 Review: “Loyal Subjekts”

Loyal Subjekts Superman & Lois
Pictured: Tyler Hoechlin as Superman — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss

Things are really ramping up on Superman & Lois. After the Captain Luthor is actually John Henry Irons aka Steel reveal, I didn’t think we would get another bombshell like that, but “Loyal Subjekts” delivered on some pretty surprising twists.

I’m glad that “Loyal Subjekts” didn’t just handwave Clark being so heavily affected by the Kryptonite gas (like they did with Jonathan’s wrist – don’t think I didn’t notice he doesn’t have a cast anymore). That’s kind of a big deal, as evidenced by the fact that Lois basically disowns her father for his role in its creation. Of course, then he ends up using it to save Lois and Jonathan, proving that it’s necessary even if it’s awful.

The conflict over the gas played out really well. Lois was completely justified in her anger, because Sam knowingly endangered her husband and her son by having weapons like that in the first place – especially after his behavior earlier in the season. And Sam also has a point that Superman is the most powerful being on Earth, and having a contingency plan in case something happens (or, as we’ve seen this season, he’s not the only powered person on the planet) is just smart. But Jonathan was also right when he told Sam he should trust his family.

I believe this was the show’s way of acknowledging what Jonathan witnessed on the archival footage in Irons’s RV. I find it hard to believe he hasn’t yet told Jordan what he saw, but the fact that he essentially saw his father kill his mother in cold blood and still completely trusts his father is just incredible. I love the Kent family so much.

Not to mention, Clark’s reaction over having bruises for the first time ever was kind of funny. He’s just so nonchalant about it.

Loyal Subjekts Superman & Lois
Pictured: Bitsie Tulloch as Lois — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss

Lois does some hardcore journalism in “Loyal Subjekts”, as she and Chrissy get to work trying to figure out what Edge is doing with his leadership program volunteers, and why he wanted those people specifically. Clark, for the first time at all on this series, reminds us that he, too, used to be a reporter and aids them in their investigation. (This makes me wonder just what exactly Clark does all day. Is he working on the farm? Is he, I don’t know, practicing his needlepoint? I need to know these things.)

I love seeing Lois having her own arc separate from Clark, but I’ll admit that it gave me a thrill to see the two of them working on the case and figuring everything out. (I usually write my reviews as I watch, and I had entire paragraphs typed up where I theorized literally exactly what they just came out and said, so then I had to angrily sit here and delete things.) And I really like the three-person team of Lois, Clark, and Chrissy. I’d love to see them team up like this more in the future.

I’m still not sure how Lois realized that it wasn’t just about X-Kryptonite and that Edge was, in fact, putting a Kryptonian consciousness into a person. I feel like I’ve been watching pretty closely and I completely missed that until it was stated flat out in last week’s episode.

Nonetheless, that is what Edge is doing. As we saw in “Loyal Subjekts”, when Emily came out of the weird MRI-type machine seeming like a completely different person. Which, naturally, is exactly what Edge promised her. However, it seems that the consciousness is dormant temporarily, because when Clark “accidentally” runs into Emily later in the episode, she is completely herself. And then she is “activated” and the Kryptonian takes over. This is reiterated when Kyle explains to Lana that he blacked out and woke up in a field with bruised ribs.

Kyle being one of the subjects is not really the big reveal they probably expected. With Leslie making a point to approach him in the last episode and purposely letting him know that Lana lied about him not being considered for the program, combined with Sarah mentioning that he had given a speech about how he was a whole new man, it’s unsurprising that he underwent the procedure as well. I just didn’t expect it this soon.

Loyal Subjekts Superman & Lois
Pictured: Adam Rayner as Morgan Edge — Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss

The Edge reveal, on the other hand, was a bigger shock. I had seen people theorizing that he might be Zod, but I honestly didn’t expect that to happen. Not that him actually being Zod is confirmed, but him being from Krypton is. You know it’s about to get real when you see the black suit. H’el, perhaps? (Oh, dang, it just hit me. 7734 is “hell” upside down. I mean, I know that it’s also referring to Project 7734, but still. That would be a neat bit of foreshadowing.)

Of course, it explains so much about everything – what Edge’s plan is, how he knows so much about Kryptonite, why he’s building an army in the first place, how he and Leslie seem to know everything. (Does he know about Kal-El’s secret identity? He’s given no indication but if he’s legitimately always spying on everyone, how could he not know?) It doesn’t explain who he is (did he call Clark “brother” because they’re both Kryptonian or because they’re actual brothers?), but I suspect we won’t have long to wait now that the cat is out of the bag.

“Loyal Subjekts” also explains why Edge has decided to stick around Smallville. Clark mentions to Lois that there were meteor showers all over Earth for a week after his pod landed – the remnants of Krypton coming to Earth. That’s why there’s Kryptonite deposits on Earth. And apparently, the only known deposit of X-Kryptonite is in Smallville. Not just that, though – everyone in Smallville has had prolonged exposure to the material, which makes them more susceptible to it.

Which brings me to something that I feel has been underutilized until “Loyal Subjekts”. Clark has lived here all his life, and he very rarely interacts with anyone that he grew up with. Lois suggested that he could talk people out of Edge’s program because of who he is, but then they have scenes like the one with Emily, where he fake runs into her and she’s acting surprised that he’s back. A few episodes ago, there was a big ceremony where they dedicated a bench to his mother, not to mention that news travels fast in a small town.

Not that I don’t love the scenes of Clark being a dad, because his dork!dad energy is off the charts and I’m here for it, but I wish there were more scenes of Clark hanging out with the people of Smallville. It seems like he spends all of his time with his family – which, seriously, Dad of the Year – but he must have friends from high school that he could be spending time with. Perhaps I’d care more about what Edge is doing to Smallville if we knew more about the people themselves.

Superman & Lois
Pictured (L-R): Bitsie Tulloch as Lois and Jordan Elsass as Jonathan Kent — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss

Of course, we can’t discount the dad!Clark scenes, because they are phenomenal. I absolutely loved the scene at the Fortress, where Clark was so overwhelmed by guilt for what Jordan is going through. But as Jordan points out, it’s not like Clark asked to be a refugee from a dying planet and end up on possibly the one planet that would give him superpowers. That scene was extremely touching, and contrasted nicely with the scene between Lois and Jonathan where she expressed frustration that she wasn’t able to protect her children.

I was not expecting Jonathan to bust out Irons’s weapons, but I suppose it makes sense. He talked last week about how he felt powerless and wanted to help, so I guess it makes sense, although I have no idea how a presumably 14-year-old with no previous weapons knowledge was able to handle a weapon like that so well. (By the way… do we think that he actually doesn’t trust Clark, and his dig at Sam was just an act?)

Meanwhile, Jordan has developed another power in the worst way possible! With how slowly his powers are growing, I wonder how long it will take for him to be as strong as Clark.

On the subject of Smallville being a small town, I absolutely love that Superman stops crime in other countries instead of just the United States. We’ve seen snippets of this before, with him rescuing (I think it was) a bus somewhere in Asia, but we have an extended scene of him attempting to stop a bank robbery in Mexico in “Loyal Subjekts”. With some heroes, like Batman, it makes sense they work primarily in one location, but Superman can fly at super speeds, so he isn’t constrained by geography the way others are.

What did you think of “Loyal Subjekts”? Who do you think Edge actually is? Does Kyle truly have no memory of what happened? How long until Sarah figures out what’s going on?

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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