Saturday, January 22, 2022

Superman and Lois: Season 2, Episode 2 - The Ties That Bind

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


Clark reveals his visions to Lois and admits there may be only one person on Earth who can help him understand their meaning. Meanwhile, some surprising news sends Lana down a new career path, as tensions rise between Chrissy and Lois following an unpleasant revelation regarding one of Lois' old stories. Finally, Natalie begins to befriend Sarah, causing her to break her plans with Jordan, as Johnathan ponders a rival athlete's newfound strength.


The Death of Superman (appearance of Doomsday) and the Supermen of America series.


Alex Garfin has perhaps the strongest individual performance, showing Jordan Kent's true grit as he offers to help his father and stands against Tal-Rho.


The special effects for the fight between Jordan and Tal-Rho are good.

Super Trivia

The episode was directed by David Ramsey, most famous for playing John Diggle on Arrow.

While she is not given a first name, Dr. Faulkner seems to be based upon Dr. Karen Lou "Kitty" Faulkner, who was a supporting character in the post-Crisis Superman comics and, later, the villain Rampage. First appearing in Superman #7 in July 1987, Kitty was working on a pollution-free energy source. An accident transformed her into an orange-skinned Amazonian monster, who grew in size and strength as she was exposed to solar energy, but also became more uninhibited and angry. She later got a job with STAR Labs, became an ally of the Will Payton Starman and later became the director of STAR Labs' office in Metropolis.

The Arrowverse version of Dr. Faulkner is a geologist in the employ of AmerTek's mining operation in Smallville. She claims to have several degrees and is an expert in mineralogy.

A different version of Rampage appeared in the Adventures of Supergirl comic tying into the Supergirl series. This Rampage was named Caren Falqnerr and said to be a Byrnian - an alien species that had the ability to shapeshift into a monstrous form when angered once charged by the energy of a yellow sun. The name Byrnian is a nod to creator John Byrne, who created Kitty Faulkner.

AmertTek is revealed to be the company contracted to clean all the X-Kryptonite out of the Shuster Mines. This is the first mention of the company on Earth-Prime, but they have a long history, in the Arrowverse and the comics, for being dishonest.

In Supergirl season 4, AmerTek was a corrupt weapons manufacturer with connections to Lex Luthor, on Earth-38. The Earth-1 version of AmerTek showed up repeatedly in Arrow and in one episode of The Flash, usually in reference to some piece of advanced technology being stolen.

In the original comics, AmerTek was the corrupt military industrial firm which employed John Henry Irons before he went into hiding after trying to blow the whistle on the company's illegal activities. 

The drug dealer Superman tries to stop from taking hostages at an airport is identified as Phillip Karnowsky. This was the alias of a supervillain in the Superman comics known as Barrage, who lost his arm in a fight with police officer Maggie Sawyer. He later acquired a suit of power armor and an energy canon arm. 

A different version of Phillip Karnowsky appeared in S207, where he was a vigilante who framed Guardian for one of his own killings.

The Earth-Prime version of Phillip Karnowsky was shown to be using some kind of inhaler that temporarily made him as strong as Superman, in addition to his guns.

The idea of Kryptonians creating their children through genetic engineering rather than sexual intercourse dates back to the 1978 Superman: The Movie, although the original references to this were largely cut during filming. The idea was made more implicit in 2013's Man of Steel, where Clark Kent's status as a natural-born child marked him as unique.

This episode features the first Post-Crisis reference to Lucy Lane. However, the character described by Lois seems radically different from the one seen in Supergirl season 1.


Based on Sarah's description of her car and her dad's efforts to change the ignition switch, the starter and the battery, Natalie deduces the problem is a clogged fuel filter.

Anderson claims that Phillip Karnowsky somehow acquired some X-Kryptonite. Presumably this was part of the formula he inhaled that temporarily made him as strong as Superman.

John Henry has a seismometer among the gear in his RV, which measures the difference between a set point when the bedrock isn't moving and processes the variables once it starts shaking.

The '78 Firebird gets 280 horses and has dual exhaust.

The earthquakes coming from inside the Shuster Mines are not seismic in nature, according to John Henry's readings. He concludes that something is causing the earthquakes.

The Lara hologram says Clark's visions are being caused by an invasive cosmological event - interdimensional kinesthesis. In simple terms, some other being is causing the visions.

Dialogue Triumphs

Lois: I know this isn't ideal, being back here around me.
John Henry: It's the best thing for Nat.
Lois: What about you?
John Henry: I'll make the adjustment.
Lois: You sure?
John Henry: (firmly) I'll make the adjustment. 

(Jordan and Tal-Rho are watching Superman and Lara's hologram talk from a distance.)
See how she favors him... your father?
Jordan: Well, yeah, he's not a genocidal sociopath who tried to destroy civilization.
Tal-Rho: And your mother... does she favor the weakling?
Jordan: From what I hear, Jon's probably stronger than you now.

Tal-Rho: Aren't you gonna thank me for reuniting you with your long-lost mother?
Clark: She could have been a mother to us both if you'd chosen a different path. |
Tal-Rho: There is no choice in this life, only the illusion of such.
Clark: I think you're wrong. She believes there's still good in you.
Tal-Rho: And you, brother? Do you feel the same?
Clark: No. But I want to.


As the episode opens, Lois has cooked a big breakfast for everyone. This is a surprise to Clark, Jordan and Jonathan.

Natalie has beaded her hair since the last episode.

Natalie is sleeping in Jonathan's room.

Natalie is a vegan and says she is not a breakfast person.

Clark has another vision and collapses in the kitchen. It is made apparent that nobody else knew about this. Clark says this is the third such spell he has had after the one while saving a submarine and the one during the earthquake in 201.

Clark says the visions showed him destruction of some sort and rocks crumbling, like a cave in. In the third one, he heard someone scream.

Lois suggests the visions could be residual memories of Krypton's destruction from when Clark was possessed by General Zod.

George Dean crashes the event that Lana organized for Daniel Hart.

George Dean has been Mayor of Smallville for over ten years and hasn't had anyone run against him in ten years.

Sarah is taking French as a foreign language elective.

Natalie is taking shop class in 5th period.

Sarah identifies the car her father got her as a '78 Firebird.

AmerTek is identified as the company overseeing the clean-up of the Shuster Mines. Lois and Chrissy are due to interview Dr. Faulker, the head of the project that morning. 

Chrissy informs Lois that a podcast devoted to journalist oversight has accused her of coercing some of her sources on an expose into Ally Allston - a self-help guru Lois painted as a dangerous cult leader.

Lois defends her story and her sources, noting that she made it clear in the first sentence of the article that one of the sources quoted was a member of her family.

Clark visits Tal-Rho in prison and asks if there's a chance the Eradicator could be responsible for his visions.

Tal-Rho says he hasn't had any flashes of memories beyond his own and he's had far more Kryptonians in his mind than anyone else. 

Tal-Rho tries to tal Clark into escorting him to his Fortress, where he has technology that could run some tests and make sure Clark is healthy.

Tal-Rho claims he is now completely powerless and that John Henry Iron's red solar flare took away his ability to metabolize sunlight. He is later revealed to be lying. 

Dr. Faulkner is the head of the AmerTek clean-up crew.

It has been 40 years since Kansas experienced an earthquake.

The epicenter of the recent earthquake was in the Shuster Mines and there have been multiple tremors.

Daniel Hart drops out of the race for Mayor, having been given a job offer in Bristol County.

Sarah forgot about her after-school plans with Jordan, having invited Natalie to help her with her car. She invites Jordan but he says he isn't a car guy and will text her later.

John Henry advises Lois to be herself and be patient to reach Natalie.

Lois asks John Henry for help analyzing the AmerTek site and figuring out what is causing the earthquake. He agrees, provided it is a one-time thing, saying he needs to focus on being Natalie's father and is done being Steel.

Clark hears gunfire and interrupts a hostage situation at an airport. Unfortunately, he has another vision spell during the situation.

The Supermen of America step in and save the hostages and Superman.

One of the Supermen of America agents is Tag Harris, last seen in 106. Clark later notes that he is barely 18 years old.

The Department of Defense still has dedicated Kryptonian physicians on the payroll, who give Superman a check-up after the fight with the drug dealer.

The DoD team Lt. Anderson runs is officially known as the Threat Reduction Agency.

Lt. Anderson identifies the hostage-taker as a drug-runner and arms dealer named Phillip Karnowsky. He claims he stole X-Kryptonite from the Shuster Mines before AmerTek moved in to it.

John Henry sets up a seismometer at the Shuster Mines.

Lana considers several other people to run for Mayor. These include Denny Brooks (a former councilman who quit to spend more time with his family), Ted Hargrove (a man who isn't well liked) and Del Mason, who runs the 4H festival every year, but is moving to Edgerton.

Timmy Ryan, one of Jonathan's teammates, boasts that he's doing much better thanks to his new training regiment. He is later able to deadlift 315 pounds while working out with the team, to Jonathan's shock.

Clark tells Jordan that he's going to go to Tal-Rho's Fortress. Jordan insists that he come along to watch his back.

Jordan tells Clark that things with Sarah aren't going well and he'd like to think he could do some good helping him. He also offers to teach Clark how to manage an anxiety attack so he can ride out his fits better.

Tal-Rho reveals that he has a hologram of Lara Lor-Van, his mother, made from before the destruction of Krypton. This is different from the record of her personality in the Eradicator, which briefly possessed Lana in 110.

Lara expresses disappointment in Tal-Rho, describing the Eradicator as her greatest regret and lamenting that it was left in the hands of a monster.

Lara says she had no idea Tal-Rho existed until it was too late to do anything, given the way Kryptonian children are raised apart from their parents until reaching a certain age. When Clark asked how this was possible, Lara revealed that he was the first live-born baby on Krypton in generations and that all the babies before them were genetically engineered. 

Natalie is able to get Sarah's car to start.

Sarah asks Natalie if she's ever had a secret she was afraid would change how people see them. She says yes, but doesn't clarify what it is. She does say, however, that she should be honest with Jordan or get better at hiding whatever it is that is making things weird between them.

Clark has another vision fit, during which Tal-Rho reveals he has not lost his powers after all.  Jordan moves to protect his father and holds his own, showing that his powers have increased in the last three months, as Lois noted earlier.

Lara persuades Tal-Rho to let Jordan go, saying that he is not his father and she sees the good in him.

Something inside the Shuster Mines attacks one of the workers as the Earthquake is going on. A worker named Joe is able to blow up the mine, trapping himself with the creature.

Clark returns Tal-Rho to his special cell.

Chrissy tells Lois that the podcast went viral and the next episode is interviewing someone who is recanting her story.

Lois tells Chrissy that the mystery family member in her story was her younger sister Lucy, who Lois saved after she swallowed a bottle full of pills and almost drowned in a bathtub while trying to "find her other self."

Los hasn't talked to Lucy since the expose was published.

Kyle tells Lana that she should run for Mayor, and tells her he already got her the signed support of the entire Smallville Fire Department. Lana had the same idea, and already filled out the paperwork to run.

Jonathan voices his belief that Timmy Ryan is using steroids or something to Jordan, noting that he was the biggest slacker on the team but is suddenly super-strong.

Sarah tells Jordan that she kissed a girl named Aubrey at camp. 

Clark confirms that he's had five visions in the past few days.

John Henry determines that each vision coincided with the tremors coming from the Shuster Mines.

Dr. Faulkner confirms something came through the mines, and describes it as more powerful than they had hoped.


An unidentified airport.

Tal-Rho's Fortress of Solitude, located in The Badlands

The Bottom Line

Another solid episode, which builds the mystery of what is in the Shuster Mines effectively enough, though long-time Superfans can guess based on the glimpses we get. Great character moments for the entire ensemble and all the subplot plates are set to spinning well.

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