Superman & Lois 2×03 Review: “The Thing in the Mines”

The Thing in the Mines Superman & Lois
Pictured (L-R): Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent and Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — (C) 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Holy cow! I thought I knew what we were getting with Superman & Lois season 2 after the first two episodes, but “The Thing in the Mines” completely upended my expectations. 

Obviously, we have to start up with the titular revelation of what “The Thing in the Mines” actually is, and it isn’t what we thought! At least, it isn’t what thought. Considering the way they teased what was in the mines, and after reading through some episode discussions, I was fairly positive that we would be dealing with Doomsday and all that entails. Imagine my shock when it turns out that it’s actually Bizarro! That throws my suspicions about the overall arc of this season totally out of the water.

In retrospect, though, it makes sense. Of course, Clark is adversely affected by the thing in the mines if it’s a mirror of himself. I also loved how the reveal happened, because it reminded me a lot of Luke’s “dream” in The Empire Strikes Back, where he chops off Vader’s head and it’s his own face inside the mask. I don’t know if that was an intentional shoutout, but I’ll take it.

Of course, that just opens up a whole new thread of questions. How did Bizarro get there? Where did he come from? How did anyone know he was there? (Also, I mean, if they wanted to find out if this was something affecting Kryptonians, why didn’t they call Kara? I can respect the show for being independent of the rest of the Arrowverse, but it’s still really weird to me that in 18 episodes there has been no mention of Kara at all.)

Also, can we talk about how unbelievably awesome John Henry getting into his suit was? The special effects on this show can sometimes be iffy (Clark crashing at the beginning of the episode was low-key hilarious), but that whole sequence was incredible. It just looked so cool.

Clark’s moments of rage were really well handled, I thought. The way he lashed out at his sons was obviously not cool, but I appreciate how they handled his apology to them. (Well, Jon got the shaft, but I’ll go into that later.) I especially like how willing he was to listen to Jordan’s feelings about the situation and acknowledge that while he knows what it’s like to keep a big secret, he doesn’t know what it’s like for something to be kept from him. I like that he made a fairly reasonable deal that Jordan wait a year, because you absolutely should take some time and think about life-altering decisions. (Particularly when they affect more than just you.)

The Thing in the Mines Superman & Lois
Pictured: Tayler Buck as Natalie Irons — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — (C) 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Natalie is slotting into the Kent family dynamic very well, but I do hope that she eventually gets more to do. I like that she seems to really want to help the brothers. It must be weird for her to suddenly have siblings that aren’t really her siblings, and I think she’s doing a bang-up job adapting to a frankly bizarre situation.

Bringing Sam back was great. He seems to have mellowed out now that he’s retired. I actually agree with him that having a potentially-evil alternate Superman wandering around is absolutely a matter of national security, but I also agree with Clark that sending in an untested team of essentially children is not the best solution to the problem. I also liked the father/daughter moments between Sam and Lois. Lois has a great point about not taking a side is taking a side.

Now, this show does a lot of things right, particularly with interpersonal relationships. However, I am supremely disappointed in how they are handling the issues with Sarah and Jordan. I don’t like how dismissive Sarah is of what happened; her repeated insistence that what happened was “no big deal” completely disregards Jordan’s feelings, as though he isn’t allowed to be upset. Why is he the one scrambling to repair their relationship, when she is the one who made the mistake?

I don’t like how it’s being framed that Jordan is unreasonable for being upset that his girlfriend kissed someone else. (Lana saying that if Jordan doesn’t forgive her, he doesn’t deserve her is definitely a narrative choice I disagree with.) I also don’t like how Sarah kissing a girl while in a relationship is being framed as empowering, like she’s just exploring her sexuality. They’re making it sound like Jordan is angry that she’s bisexual, and he’s not. He’s angry that she kissed someone else and is acting like it’s no big deal. 

I’m not sure whether Lana running for mayor is the slowest of burns in tying into the main plot, or if they just wanted something for Lana to do. It has the potential for some decent political commentary, especially considering how closely it ties into the dynamics of a recent US Presidential election. But right now it seems divorced from the main story in a way that kind of kills the momentum of the episodes.

The Thing in the Mines Superman & Lois
Pictured (L-R): Alexander Garfin as Jordan Kent, Jordan Elsass as Jonathan Kent and Dylan Walsh as Ret. General Samuel Lane — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — (C) 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Jon seems to be getting the shaft again this season. I love the relationship he has with Jordan, but I wish this boy would put his own needs first sometimes. He was clearly dealing with something, and Jordan was willing to sit and talk to him about it, but Jon insisted that he go see Sarah. Not to mention that he didn’t get the apologetic heart-to-heart with his father that Jordan did.

He also seems to be getting the shaft with girlfriends. Oh, hey, it turns out that not only is your girlfriend a drug dealer and lying about it, but she’s selling those drugs to your football rival, which means you get shut out again this season. (Side note: Jon says he doesn’t want to “ride the pine again this season”. Has it already been a year? What kind of timeline is this?)

I’m not sure how I want this storyline to go for Jon. On the one hand, he deserves something meatier. There could be some great potential in the ethical debate Jon would have with himself for taking X-K. Is it just because he wants to get back to some semblance of who he was before his family moved to Smallville? Is he secretly jealous of Jordan and the bond he has with their father?

On the other hand, I think I would like it much better if this was more about Jon trying to figure out where the drugs are coming from. I waffle back and forth about whether I think Jon should eventually develop powers or not, but I do like the idea of Jordan being like Clark and Jon being like Lois. This could be a great way to lean into that parallel, with Jon doing some investigating just like his mother.

I’m still not sure how Ally Allston and her cult factors into this season. It’s apparently been confirmed in interviews that while the two villains aren’t working together, they will “converge”, so I’m wondering if Allston’s preaching about being incomplete has to do with people finding their mirrors.

Anyway, after the reveal of the thing in the mines, I have no idea what to expect this season. But I’m very excited to see where it goes!

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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