Thursday, March 11, 2021

Superman and Lois: Season 1, Episode 3 - The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower

For a summary of the episode guide layout & categories, click here.


As Lois and Chrissy dig deeper into the truth about Morgan Edge's interest in Metropolis, Clark tries to take a more active role in his sons lives. This leads to strife as Jordan tries out for the football team against Clark's wishes and, to Jonathan's dismay, proves to be pretty good at it.


Gremlins (Jonathan references this with his joke about not feeding Jordan after midnight.), Frozen (Jordan refers to the Fortress of Solitude being Elsa's castle), Friday Night Lights (the show's producers admitted the show's football team subplot was inspired by this show, including the coach's last name being Gaines.) and the book/movie The Perks of Being A Wallflower.


If there were any doubts about Tyler Hoechlin being a great Superman, the opening sequence this week in which he waves to a fisherman while holding a collapsing bridge and then looks horrified and relieved at the revelation that he's holding up the bridge one-handed, eliminated those worries.

Again, we see another great performance from Jordan Elsass playing Jonathan Kent with wisdom beyond his years.


Another cinema-quality action scene opens the show, with Clark stopping a bridge collapse.

There's something symbolically perfect about Lois Lane stabbing someone in the face with a pen.

Super Trivia

While appearing in earlier episodes, this episode gives a new prominence to Smallville High School's football coach. His name, Coach Gaines, is a nod to the coach from Friday Night Lights, which was a spiritual inspiration for the small town football fueled plot of Superman and Lois.

When Clark is dropping off some paperwork at the bank, a local business, Teague's Hardware, can be seen in the background. This may be a nod to the Teague family, who were major supporting characters in the Smallville series. (Perhaps it's not a coincidence that Jason Teague was the assistant football coach at Smallville High School on Smallville, and Clark takes up the same job at the end of this episode.)

The man who attempts to kill Sharon Powell and Lois is identified in the credits as Subjekt 11. This is similar to Subjekt 17 - a Superman villain who was an alien that was experimented on from birth by the Russian government in secret.

The woman with the heat vision who kills Subjekt 17 in the final scene is played by Stacey Farber and is credited as Leslie. Earlier press releases gave her character's name as Leslie Larr. Leslie Larr seems to be an adaptation of Lesla-Larr - an obscure Supergirl villain, who was an evil scientist from the city of Kandor that stole Supergirl's powers out of jealousy.


Clark doesn't hear every sound in the world at once; he hears all the fluctuations taking place in the collective sonic frequency. It took years of training for him to learn the difference between a shouting person calling for help and someone trying to hail a cab.

Dialogue Triumphs

The largely wordless sequence in which Superman holds up a collapsing bridge, stopping it from hitting a Chinese fisherman. As the astonished fisherman waves at Superman, he smiles reassuringly, waves back, and the looks frightened for a moment at what he's done before realizing that, thankfully, he's still holding the bridge up with one hand. The fisherman then laughs at Superman's relief, though it's unclear if Clark did this intentionally to make the man laugh.

Jordan: I would've much rather had super hearing than crazy-ass laser eyes.
Clark: Hey. Let's just stick with calling it heat vision for now, okay?

(Clark defends his checking up on his sons with his super-hearing.)
Clark: I was just making sure that you were okay.
Jordan: Yeah, you could've said something this morning, but instead, you lied to our faces.
Clark: It wasn't a lie. You just didn't ask.
Jonathan: How long have you been doing this? Since we moved here? Our whole lives?
Clark: It's not like I'm listening all the time.
Jonathan: That is... that is the wrong answer! 

Lois: Do you remember the first time I caught you listening in on me?
Clark: How could I forget? Thought I was gonna lose you forever.
Lois: You almost did.
Clark: Pretty sure I spent about a weeks' salary on flowers just to get you to talk to me again.
Lois: (smiling softly) It was two, and you got off easy because I was still madly in love with you.

Jonathan: Why'd you lie to Dad?
Jordan: Why are you whispering?
Jonathan: I'm... (a little louder) I'm not whispering.
Jordan: And I didn't lie to him. I'm following his example.
Jonathan: Okay, well, now that you've made your stupid point, you're done playing football, right?
Jordan: No, the team needs me. (sarcastically) And besides, Coach Gaines may even send me a valentine.
Jonathan: Jordan, football is my thing, not yours.
Jordan: You don't own football, you egomaniac.
Jonathan: The only reason that you're even playing is 'cause you have your little super strength. Or whatever.
Jordan: The only reason I'm playing is 'cause your little football buddies need to back off. You're welcome. And besides, I don't have super strength. I'm just a little stronger than before.
Jonathan: What if someone gets hurt?
Jordan: You know, I'm getting a little tired of everyone treating me like I'm some sort of ticking time bomb. 
Jonathan: (scoffs) You know Dad's gonna find out.
Jordan: So what? I'm not doing anything wrong.
Jonathan:  Guess you got nothing to worry about then. 

Jonathan: You glad Dad found out? Now you can just go back to hanging out with Sarah and listening to LP remix Morrissey, or whatever.
Jordan: Morrissey's a xenophobic has-been.
Jonathan: Well, you hate football, right? So who cares? You don't have to pretend anymore.
Jordan: (blandly) Yeah
(Jordan's phone buzzes but he doesn't look up from his game. Jonathan glances at it and sees it's from Malcolm, another player, and he wants to talk defense. Jordan heads downstairs to the kitchen, where he runs into Clark.)
Jonathan: You were right. I-I should've said something. That's my bad, I know I'm not a perfect person
Clark: (chuckles) Trust me. We all make mistakes.
Jonathan: Yeah, but what if Jordan joining the team wasn't a mistake?
Clark: Not sure I see your point.
Jonathan: Trust me, this... this feels really weird to say, but maybe Jordan needs football. I mean, he's been a really messed up kid for a really long time. And, I don't know, what if joining the team's a good thing?
Clark: I appreciate you sticking up for your brother...
Jonathan: No, look, it's not even like that. You should've seen him out there, he's making friends. He's been happy for the first time in... forever.
Clark: Jonathan, there's nothing I want more than for you guys to be happy, but we have to be careful. And him using his strength like this, it... It could raise suspicion.
Jonathan: Yeah, but he doesn't have super strength like you. That's what Jor-El Debarge said, right?
Clark: Just because his strength isn't like mine doesn't mean it's not elevated.
Jonathan: Okay, so maybe that puts him on the level of the other kids. Okay, maybe he's a little stronger, but maybe that does even the playing field for a kid his size.
Clark: You don't know that.
Jonathan: Neither do you. I know that having powers is a total game changer, but what's the point of having something special if you're not actually allowed to be special? 

(Lois holds up her Superman signal device.)
Subjekt 11:
That won't help you.
Lois: No, but he will.
(There is a loud whoosh as Superman flies through the wall and sends Subjekt 11 flying.)

Chrissy: Stories this important don't usually happen in Smallville.
Lois: But, see, that's where I was wrong. Stories like this happen in small towns everywhere, and stories that need to be told, but they get missed because there aren't enough reporters looking for them.


The family start repainting the kitchen in the Kent farmhouse, but can't decide on a color.

Clark favors a shade of brown called Huntman's Tribute, which Jonathan thinks looks like poop.

Lois is favoring an off-white/blue mix.

Clark leaves to save people when a bridge in China collapses. 

Clark discusses how he trained himself to identify certain noises from a distance with his super-hearing. He refuses to discuss the most embarrassing thing he ever heard with his sons, as it is inappropriate for a 14 year old to hear.

The Cushings are escorting Sarah to therapy in secret, causing her to miss first period class some days.

Sarah refuses to discuss her therapy with her parents as its meant to be private.

Sarah's therapist is Dr. Lawrence.

Jordan and Sarah are in the same class first period.

Sean, Sarah's boyfriend, threatens Jordan after he sees her talking to her.

Jordan's eyes briefly flash red as he's pushed against the lockers.

Clark uses his super-hearing to listen in on his sons and overhears them about to get into a fight, spurring him to show up at the school.

Jonathan and Jordan figure out what happened almost immediately and are annoyed that Clark is spying on them.

Lois is having a hard time getting people in Smallville to talk to her about their reverse mortgages. 

Lois almost broke up with Clark over his spying on her with his superhearing.

Clark promises the boys he won't listen in on them anymore.

Lois is approached by a woman named Sharon Powell who lives in New Carthage.

Sharon Powell says that her son Derek worked for Morgan Edge for six months but disappeared mysteriously after being offered "the opportunity of a lifetime." She has no idea what this was, but it involved him filling out a lot of paperwork.

The last Sharon heard from her son was a phone message where he said the opportunity wasn't what he thought it was and that he wasn't sure what was happening, but he wanted her to know he loved her.

A man with a camera watches Sharon and Lois from his car as they talk.

Sarah breaks up with Sean. Jordan overhears part of the conversation where this happens.

Later that same day, Sarah quits the cheerleading team.

Lana works at Smallville High School as a cheerleading coach, in addition to her job with the bank.

Jonathan is the back-up quarterback of Smallville High School's football team. His number is 12.

Jordan decides to try out for the football team. He is given the number 24.

Jordan proves to be a natural defensive player and is able to knock down every player that rushes against him, despite being one of the smallest players on the team.

Coach Gaines makes Jonathan run five laps for not saying anything about his brother being a great football player.

According to Sarah, her father sleeps on the couch every night, Lana can't go to bed without pills and her sister Sophie is bullying all the other kids in her class.

Chrissy Beppo is skeptical of Sharon Powell's story, as Derek Powell had a checkered past and Sharon Powell seemed to have been drinking recently when she made her statement.

Lois' car is set on fire.

Lois is quick to blame Morgan Edge for the fire, but Kyle Cushing is skeptical. So is Chrissy Beppo.

Jonathan tries to talk Jordan into quitting the team.

Clark encourages Lois to keep pursuing her story.

This is not the first time someone has blown up Lois' car because of a story.

Lana admits to Clark that she's afraid of her family falling apart, saying that she and Kyle barely talk, they only fight when they do speak, her youngest daughter has become mean and she's afraid she's lost Sarah completely. 

Lana lets it slip that she heard Jordan was doing really well at practice.

Sean calls out Jordan to do a rushing challenge at practice.

Jordan knocks Sean down, but apologies for kissing Sarah and offers Sean a hand up. Sean seems to accept the apology.

Clark goes by the football field and sees Jordan playing.

Jordan and Clark have an argument about him playing football.

Lois goes to New Carthage to meet with Sharon Powell to discuss three other Morgan Edge employees who have gone missing under mysterious circumstances. 

Jonathan tells Clark that he thinks football is good for Jordan personally and could help him work out his issues.

Lois discovers Sharon Powell, near strangled to death in the bathroom of the hotel room they were going to meet in.

Lois activates her signal device as she's attacked by the man who was watching her earlier.

The man who attacked Lois is strong enough and durable enough to trade blows with Superman. He is, however, not able to do anything when Superman blasts him with his frost breath, freezing him in place long enough to start pummeling him with blows at super speed. 

Superman rushes Sharon Powell to the hospital.

Sarah admits that her suicide attempt was prompted by feeling trapped and growing into a life she didn't want - one exactly like her mother's.

Lana admits she isn't happy with her life, but she was raised to always be smiling even when you hurt, which isn't really healthy.

Clark admits to Jordan that he really wanted to try out for the baseball team when he was Jordan's age, but his father wouldn't let him. He almost did it anyway, but decided against it when he realized it was less about playing a sport and more about impressing a girl.

When Jordan says he really has come to enjoy football, Clark agrees to let him keep playing.

Clark takes a job as an assistant football coach at Smallville High School, working for free.

Sarah agrees to come watch the football game to see Jordan play.

Chrissy apologies for no believing in Lois and encourages her to pursue the story.

Chrissy sets up a murder board, with photos of the man who attacked Lois she got from the security cameras at a nearby gas station.

In the final scene, the man who attacked Lois and Sharon Powell talks to his boss on the phone and asks how someone named Larr is going to fix this situation.

The man who attacked Lois and Sharon Powell is killed by a woman with heat vision, who informs someone over the phone that she will call the team.


Pingtang Bridge - Guizhou, China
New Carthage

The Kryptonite Factor

You'd think Lois Lane of all people would know better than to display her murder-board in a room with big open windows facing the street. 

The Bottom Line

A wonderful slice-of-life episode which emphasizes the personal triumphs of Clark and Lois' sons, while giving Clark a challenge he can't fight his way through even as the plot around Morgan Edge thickens. Slowly but surely, this is growing into the best of the Arrowverse series.

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