Superman and Lois season 1, episode 3 recap – “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower”

March 10, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Weekly TV
4

Summary

“The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower” raises the difficulties of superpowered parenting while Lois digging up dirt introduces new enemies.

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4

Summary

“The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower” raises the difficulties of superpowered parenting while Lois digging up dirt introduces new enemies.

This recap of Superman and Lois season 1, episode 3, “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower”, contains spoilers.


Parenting is hard at the best of times, but as it turns out, parenting as Superman is a nightmare. As if it wasn’t enough trouble moving your whole family back to a no-account little town in the middle of nowhere, not to mention your wife determinedly aggravating someone with the power and resources to cause all kinds of professional, personal, and bodily problems in retaliation. There’s a lot going on for Clark Kent in Superman and Lois episode 3, “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower”, but perhaps chief among them is his relationship with Jonathan and Jordan.

When you think of Superman, you think of laser eyes and icy breath and flying and stuff – I do, anyway. I certainly don’t think about how being able to hear basically everything at all times would breach the privacy of your teenage children, but here we are. Jordan is struggling since the revelation that he has powers, but relatively weak ones; he feels alienated because he’s different but also a bit worthless because he’s not different enough. Sean is still giving him grief at school, and when it looks like his powers might manifest again, Clark arrives out of nowhere to dorkily de-escalate the situation. He’s doing the right thing, but the boys realize that the only way he could have done it was by listening in on what they were up to. Right reasons or not, he’s breaching their privacy.

I love this stuff in a Superman story. When you have a character so powerful, with only one real weakness, it’s important to reframe what “power” actually means. Ultimately, Superman, just like any other parent anywhere in the world, has no special ability to quell teenage hormones. That makes him relatable, and he has to be relatable as a parent since he’s a flying alien. This is why Clark Kent’s persona has always been a hapless aw-shucks small-town dope. When he’s not in the spandex, he has to be aggressively normal just to take the edge off. Superman and Lois season 1, episode 3 allows some of that idea to bleed into the actual Superman persona, too. The hearing is great for foiling supervillains, but it’s not ideal for the mental state of a concerned parent.

Teen melodrama seems par for the course for the CW, but it’s much better than you’d expect in “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower” thanks to the strength of the relationship between Jordan and Jonathan. When the former takes up football to get some of his frustration out and give Sean a taste of his own medicine, Jonathan is initially bummed that his little bro is stealing his “thing”. But he comes around quickly, realizing that Jordan developing a way to express himself, even if he’s expressing a potentially dangerous amount of aggression, is more important than his feelings. It’s Jonathan who defends the decision to Clark when he tries to pull Jordan off the team, even if Clark insists on being an assistant coach.

We’re also getting a sense of Smallville itself, viewed mostly through the lens of Lana and Sarah; that crushing small-town mentality, which is currently weighing on the Kent boys, almost drove the latter to suicide, and Lana isn’t exactly having the best time of things either, especially not while trying to keep up appearances. It’s no wonder, then, that Lois digging around into the Morgan Edge story marks her for retaliation – it’s always a thing with tight-knit communities that the status quo has to be maintained, which is why a perceived outsider turning up dirt gets a Molotov cocktail tossed at their car. But whatever Morgan’s up to, it’s hardly a quaint little affair. A superpowered assassin sets about Lois and Sharon Powell, a woman who approaches her claiming her son Derek went missing after going to work in New Carthage, and then Morgan’s assistant Leslie barbecues said assassin with her Superman-style heat vision to close out Superman and Lois season 1, episode 3. Lex Luthor was nowhere to be seen in “The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower”, but it looks like he’s the least of Superman’s problems.

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