Superman & Lois 2×04 Review: “The Inverse Method”

The Inverse Method Superman & Lois
Pictured (L-R:) Tyler Hoechlin as Clark Kent and Wole Parks as John Henry Irons — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — (C) 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

“The Inverse Method” could almost be called “What the F!%*?” This is an episode where every character makes phenomenally bad decisions that have farther-reaching consequences than expected. Some of those decisions are very in-character, but some of them just had me shaking my head going, “What are you doing, you idiot?!”

Two of those poor decisions in “The Inverse Method” belong to Clark and John Henry. Now, I can understand that Clark feels a duty to the world, and he doesn’t want to put others in danger so he shoulders a lot of it himself. But after last week, it’s obvious that he cannot go up against Bizarro because he’s adversely affected by his proximity. Attempting to cut everyone else out of the fight is not in his best interests. I know that’s just how he is, but even Superman needs help sometimes.

It’s hard to fault John Henry for recognizing that and going after Clark. He doesn’t want to sit by and let others get hurt when he can do something to help. He already warned Clark that fighting Bizarro on his own would end badly. But at the same time, he promised Natalie that he wouldn’t be involved anymore – a promise that he’s already broken. And his suit was damaged and wouldn’t be able to adequately protect him.

Another bad decision is both forming the superhero team in the first place, then sending them after an untested adversary. Anderson may have known that something attacked Clark at the mines, but did they do any sort of reconnaissance on him? Did Clark tell them anything? This is just very poor communication. I’m sure Clark doesn’t trust Anderson, but he had to at least suspect that Anderson would keep him out the loop. He already said that if Clark didn’t want to join the team, he wouldn’t be part of their missions.

Also, shouldn’t Superman be outside any chain of command? I mean, really.

I can appreciate the introduction of Ally’s cult as a way to introduce Lucy into the Superman & Lois canon, and if Ally ends up being related to Parasite, all the better. But it bothers me that Chrissy has made such a big deal about Lois not checking her sources and how this would ruin the paper. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Lois is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who worked for a reputable paper. Obviously her sources would be vetted. 

The fact that Lois is being portrayed as biased for not believing what her sister “saw” while she was overdosing is a little ridiculous. Chrissy acting like that completely changes her opinion of her is absolutely insane. Yes, this is the second big story where Lois hasn’t been entire truthful. It does make her look bad that she purposely withheld information. But both of those stories involved aspects of Lois’s personal life that aren’t really Chrissy’s business.

Not recognizing that she was seeing an out of context conversation after clearly being lured there under false pretenses is, I guess, understandable. Chrissy probably felt called out and on the spot. But that was quite obviously a setup to make Lois look bad, and Chrissy fell for it. It was taking advantage of Chrissy already questioning Lois’s credibility.

Lucy claiming she saw what Ally promised is not something that can really be verified, can it? After all, the members of Heaven’s Gate weren’t trying to kill themselves either. They believe they were ascending into a higher plane of existence. But what was Lois supposed to think when she found her sister overdosing on pills? And a person did die. Lois’s assumptions were reasonable.

There are two ways this could be going. First, Chrissy is going undercover, specifically keeping Lois out of it so as to remove all evidence of any bias on her end. Ally is seemingly clever and possibly has access to knowledge or memories others don’t. She might be able to tell if Lois is involved. Second, this entire plot line is meant to reiterate that anyone can be brainwashed. It isn’t just about being weak-minded. That’s why cults are so dangerous.

The Inverse Method Superman & Lois
Pictured (L-R): Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane and Jenna Dewan as Lucy Lane — Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW — (C) 2022 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Now, as for the cult in general, I am very curious if “ascending” somehow ties into accessing pre-Crisis memories. The world completely changed after the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event, something that is almost never acknowledged on this show. And it makes sense why Lucy, in particular, is super into it. Her life is arguably worse now than it was then. They did make it a point to keep Jenna Dewan, who played Lucy on Supergirl, rather than recasting. It also might explain the very precise wording of, “I saw my other self.”

“The Inverse Method” would seem to imply Bizarro World, particularly with the introduction of Bizarro. But I think it would be less effective in getting people to join. If all people in Bizarro World are like Bizarro, I can’t imagine many people willing to kill themselves to get there. But if they were shown an alternate universe where they were more happy and successful, I can see that happening.

Jordan made a dumb decision, but he’s a teenager and he wants to help his friend. It’s like the saying goes, “Pure of heart, dumb of ass.” I like that this is an opportunity for him to learn that he needs to be more aware of his surroundings. He made a split-second decision without having the wisdom necessary to ensure optimum results. I am fairly convinced that, at some point this season, someone is going to uncover Jordan’s secret. 

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Sam last season, but that was probably because of his role with the DOD. His loyalties were split. Now that he’s retired, he seems more invested in keeping his family safe. I like the idea of him training Jordan, or at least giving him tips as to how not to reveal his superpowers all the time.

When the episode started and Jon was hesitant to take the X-K, I thought that meant he was just looking into it. But then he was an idiot who not only took some, he took it in plain sight at practice! Jon has been suffering since the move to Smallville, and I feel like no one has adequately addressed it. I’ve said it before, but poor Jon gets the shaft a lot. He gets pushed to the side, sometimes even by himself. I feel like he’s desperate to get back to some sense of normalcy.

Lana’s subplot still seems removed from everything else, but I almost enjoyed it in “The Inverse Method”. I appreciate that she and Kyle confronted Dean and talked about how he was seemingly going after their children to dig up dirt for a small-town mayoral campaign. (Speaking as someone from a small town, we didn’t even have a mayor, so… Does Smallville even need one?) I was quite surprised when the dirt Dean dug up was on Kyle. But then, I feel like I shouldn’t be.

Kyle last season was not a pleasant person. This season, he’s almost a completely different character. In retrospect, it makes me wonder if the infidelity happened either during or just after the events of season 1. It might explain why Kyle, who has not really seemed very supportive of his family in the past, is suddenly an ideal husband and father.

I also suspect that Lana’s conversation with Sarah – about how Jordan should forgive her kissing someone else or he doesn’t really love her – will come back to bite her.

Overall, “The Inverse Method” is a bit weaker than the other episodes so far this season. All of the characters are on their own separate journeys and so far nothing really interacts. Unfortunately we have to wait until the 22nd to find out where everyone goes from here. Set-up episodes are necessary for moving the plot along, but this was an unfortunate episode to go into break with. Still, there are a couple of plot threads that are keeping me interested.

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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1 thought on “Superman & Lois 2×04 Review: “The Inverse Method”

  1. It would be VERY ironic if Lana’s speech came to bite her in the ass and honestly…I want to see that.

    And I am curious as to what will happen with Lucy. She was a completely different person in Supergirl so I don’t know if this is a retcon or just a complete reimagining of the canon. Your theory about the cult accessing Pre-Crisis memories is intriguing so we will just have to wait and see.

    And I am happy that Jon is getting a storyline even if it does involve drugs. His character has definitely been shafted so it’s about time he gets SOMETHING of his own.

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