Superman and Lois season 1, episode 9 recap – “Loyal Subjekts”

June 23, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Weekly TV
3.5

Summary

“Loyal Subjekts” delivers a huge reveal about Morgan Edge and his plans as both Clark and Jordan fall worryingly ill.

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3.5

Summary

“Loyal Subjekts” delivers a huge reveal about Morgan Edge and his plans as both Clark and Jordan fall worryingly ill.

This recap of Superman and Lois season 1, episode 9, “Loyal Subjekts”, contains spoilers.


It’s pretty difficult – okay, it’s impossible – to really know where Superman and Lois is going at this point, which is a good thing, obviously, but also a frustrating thing, since it’s hard to write smug recaps about a show that’s continuously twisting and turning. And Superman and Lois episode 9, “Loyal Subjekts”, has enough twists and turns that I can just about forgive its appalling spelling practices, including the big one, which is that Morgan Edge is actually Superman’s brother.

I’m not sure how much sense this necessarily makes in established Superman canon, but superhero storytelling is always moving the goalposts in that regard anyway, which is the only way to keep it fresh. And this show certainly feels fresh, even if it doesn’t always feel consistent. The unceremonious exit of John Henry Irons after pretending for a few episodes that he was Lex Luthor was odd; the evolution of Edge from a smirking corporate busybody to a literal Kryptonian trying to upload the consciousnesses of his people into the residents of Smallville is… well, quite something, isn’t it?

And it’s not bad, either. The self-serving businessman archetype is a drag anyway, so having that really be a cover for a melodramatic extra-terrestrial sibling rivalry is probably a good idea. And it retroactively means Edge’s schemes with the X-Kryptonite and such are less coincidental. Smallville isn’t important just because it’s where Superman and his family live, but it has an in-universe significance to his plans. That lets “Loyal Subjekts” have its cake and eat it when it comes to the big superpowered punch-ups but also the small-scale “capitalism corrupts a small town” thematic through-line. Making Kyle’s eyes glow with heat vision is an explicit metaphor for the fusion of those two ideas.

In other words, Superman and Lois episode 9 can continue being a family drama even as it becomes more of a superhero one. The kids still get plenty of attention. Jordan gets sick here because of the lingering effects of the synthetic Kryptonian gas that Sam was cooking up on the sly. The show is really good at this kind of thing. What starts out as a classic “how ill are they really?” family sit-com setup – there’s even physical comedy around it! – becomes a matter of life and death that ties into Superman’s whole mythology since the Fortress of Solitude is the only place where the kind of life-saving super-treatment Jordan needs can be provided.

And then, as ever, there’s the intersection of superheroism with traditional rural American parenting. Clark and Lois are both feeling guilty but in ways that are illuminating about their respective characters. Clark feels worse that Jordan is sick, for instance, because he has never been sick and can’t relate to what he’s feeling; Lois’s fears of not being able to protect their children now that the cat is out of the bag regarding their father ties into the difficulties of being married to Superman in the first place. The show has a familial ecosystem within which every beat and plot turn feeds into the development of the characters and the show’s underlying themes. It’s really well written in a way that it probably won’t ever get credit for.

At least the attention-grabbing aesthetics help to get peoples’ attention. Superman and Lois season 1, episode 9, like all of the prior episodes, looks great, and it helps to dispel the notions of chintzy dress-up that usually follows around the CW’s superhero shows. Smallville but for grown-ups is still the best capsule summary, I suppose, but “Loyal Subjekts” is much more than that – perhaps “Superman for parents” is a better way of putting it. I’ll just be over here grappling with the fact that I rather neatly fit into that demographic now.

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