“What Lies Beneath” finds several characters attempting to deal with a new normal while a couple of new villains and conflicts are teased in the meantime.
This recap of the Superman and Lois Season 2 premiere, “What Lies Beneath”, contains spoilers.
The first season finale of Superman and Lois was a great one, tying up a lot of loose ends, dealing with the Morgan Edge/Tal-Rho conflict, and setting up some interesting new dynamics for the second season to unpack. “What Lies Beneath” begins building on that strong foundation right away, in an opening hour that establishes the new status quo, does some solid character work, and teases a couple of intriguing new villains.
Superman and Lois Season 2 premiere recap
It’s three months later, for a start, and a lot has changed. John Henry Irons’ daughter, Natalie, crash-landed in Smallville, and ever since neither she nor Lois have adapted well. Lois is taking her frustrations out on her family and on applicants at the Gazette, while Natalie is taking hers out John Henry. It’s a complicated situation, obviously. While Natalie knows Lois Lane isn’t her mother in this world, she still looks and sounds like her, and in her most vulnerable moment, she wasn’t there for her. This is what eats Lois up. When it mattered most she froze, and in that action she sees her own mother, who abandoned her, in herself.
As it turns out, what Natalie and Lois both need is each other, though in precisely what way neither of them are sure about yet. But Lois proposes that they become friends, and she moves Natalie and John Henry onto the farm. I’m sure that won’t be the end of the matter, but it’s certainly a start.
Not that things on the farm are going all that smoothly. Even after Lois stops stomping around screaming at everyone, the Kent boys are still dealing with some romance difficulties of their own. Sarah has spent the entire time between seasons away at camp, and when she returns Jordan is exciting to see and charm her… but Sarah isn’t too keen. At this stage, it’s difficult to know whether she’s hiding a more specific development that occurred between seasons, or she’s just a bit put-off by Jordan’s clinginess and overblown sense of romance (he uses his heat vision to light a whole bunch of candles in a romantic spot of his choosing, which turns out to be where they got arrested). As Kyle explains to Sarah, she’s the alpha in this relationship, and it’s up to her to set the tone. As we’ve seen before, though, Jordan doesn’t handle emotional complexity very well, so we’ll have to see how that develops.
Jonathan, meanwhile, is growing up a little too fast, taking the first opportunity he gets to jump into bed with his new girlfriend, Candice, only for Lois to catch both of them half-naked. It leads to “the talk”, courtesy of Clark, which is a reminder of just how great these characters are together. Superman and Lois has always been as much of a family drama as it is a superhero show, and this is one of the scenes that reminds us of that fact. You could totally buy this cast as a real family, which is the point.
You can say the same, to some extent, about Kyle and Lana, too. They’re in a rough patch themselves because Lana is spending all her time working with a new mayoral candidate, Daniel Hart, and Kyle isn’t thrilled about it. But this dynamic is also grounded and compelling in a way that feels lived-in and authentic. This version of Smallville feels as close to a real place as any other setting in superhero fiction, and I especially like small details that are springing from the end of the first season, such as Kyle fretting that the place is going to turn into a tourist trap because of the highly publicised battle with Morgan Edge.
Speaking of battles, “What Lies Beneath” teases a few to come. One of them seems likely to occur between Supes and Lt. Mitch Anderson, Sam Lane’s DoD replacement, who sees Superman exclusively as an extension of America’s military might and flips his lid when he rescues a North Korean nuclear submarine and gives it right back to North Korea. As Superman reminds him, the whole point is that he stays out of geopolitics. This leads Anderson to create a team of superpowered individuals all branded with the House of El, which Clark is obviously fuming about, but beefing with Anderson means beefing with Uncle Sam, and that’s a last-resort kind of fight.
And then there’s the earthquakes. “What Lies Beneath” obviously pertains to something sinister in the Shuster Mines, which rumbles on and off all throughout the episode. It isn’t until the very final scene that a hand shoves its way through the rubble. Who might that be? Place your bets in the comments (it’s Doomsday, isn’t it?).
You can catch the Superman and Lois Season 2 premiere, “What Lies Beneath”, on The CW.