This article may or may not contain spoilers for Superman and Lois season 1, episode 9, “Loyal Subjekts”.
Superman and Lois is an unconventional Superman story — at least by recent standards — because it’s a very conventional family drama. Thus far, all of its strongest moments have been nothing to do with superpowered punch-ups and everything to do with parenting, grief, teenage angst, and warring responsibilities. In the latest episode, “Holding the Wrench”, these themes crystalized in defusing the conflict between Superman and John Henry Irons, who we learned the week prior was not actually Lex Luthor, as he claimed. (Irons’ superpowered alter-ego is Steel, who was played by Shaquille O’Neal in a 1997 film about the character.)
Just because Irons has driven off into the sunset in his AI-controlled trailer, though, doesn’t mean the war he was going on about won’t come to pass. Whatever Morgan Edge is really up to, and whatever his interest in Smallville is, it’s probably related to Irons’ fears. Superman turning evil is still a possibility, as is the death of Lois Lane, which is what prompted Irons to travel between universes in the first place.
Superman and Lois season 1, episode 9 release date:
“Loyal Subjekts” will air Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW. Here is the official promo:
There are a couple of big takeaways from this promo that lead to further questions. First is an obvious focus on Lois attempting to keep Jonathan specifically safe, and finding it difficult to do so. In “Holding the Wrench”, Jonathan made a rash decision that almost got him killed. He justified it as an attempt to acquire a weapon with which to defend his family since he seems to be the only member of it who doesn’t have built-in superpowered defenses (neither does Lois, which nobody pointed out to him, but whatever.) So, to me, this looks like the logical continuation of that arc. Jonathan is determined to both not feel inadequate compared to his brother and father, but also to feel like he can defend the people he loves, as we’ve seen him do with both Jordan and Superman time and again. I still reckon we’re on the verge of Jonathan developing powers of his own, so this seems like a logical way to get to that point.
The Superman and Lois season 1, episode 9 promo also includes a brief scene of Jonathan talking to Sam about the experimental Kryptonite weaponry that was revealed in “Holding the Wrench”. More focus on Project 7734 would position Sam as more of an antagonist, and that’s probably what we’re building towards here. I’d say it’s not a coincidence that this snippet was included in the promo.
And finally, there’s the idea that the war Irons talked about has either begun already or is about to. With the official episode description — “Lois, Chrissy and Clark team up to piece together the significance of Smallville to Morgan Edge” — this seems intimately tied to Edge’s plan, and gives the back half of the season its stakes and shape. Hopefully, it’ll also justify the reappearance of Irons, who clearly has a bigger role to play in the story.