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Uh oh, Superman & Lois is going there

The season 2 premiere is yet another big swing for the CW’s best superhero show

Superman and Lois Lane stand side by side in a barn in Superman & Lois Photo: Bettina Strauss/The CW
Joshua Rivera (he/him) is an entertainment and culture journalist specializing in film, TV, and video game criticism, the latest stop in a decade-plus career as a critic.

Clark Kent can do a lot of incredible things: circumnavigate the globe before you can make coffee, bench press my apartment building, and flambé a steak just by looking at it. Yet the second season premiere of Superman & Lois wants to make it clear: None of that makes him a better Wife Guy.

[Ed. note: Spoilers for the season premiere of Superman & Lois follow.]

This is the main plot of “What Lies Beneath”, an episode that depicts Lois Lane (Elizabeth Tulloch) reeling from the arrival of a surprise visitor in the season 1 finale: Her daughter from an alternate Earth where she was married to John Henry Irons (Wolé Parks) and also murdered by an evil Superman. Her difficulty processing this, and her husband Clark Kent’s (Tyler Hoechlin) difficulty grasping her plight, results in some marital tension that baffles Clark. It’s the sort of intimate family drama that Superman & Lois has made its calling card, However, the episode ends with a tease of another thing Superman & Lois has established a rep for: Making audacious picks for the comic book plots the writers want to adapt.

Throughout “What Lies Beneath”, Superman is plagued by shockwaves that overwhelm his senses. Their origin is a mystery until the very end of the episode: Deep below the Earth’s surface, a gloved hand is punching its way out.

Comics fans will know that this is exactly how Doomsday, the monster that kills Superman in The Death of Superman comics epic, first appears in the comics. It’s an ominous tease preceding a rampage across the country that only Superman can stop, one that results in his death (and a story about multiple Supermen that Superman & Lois partially adapted last season).

The swagger on this choice is admirable. This will be the third time Doomsday has been introduced in live action, and the previous two times — as the monstrous alter ego of Sam Witwer’s “Davis Bloom” in Smallville and a dull CGI monstrosity in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — were big duds. This isn’t necessarily anyone’s fault: Doomsday isn’t really a character. He’s a force of nature, and his only narrative purpose is to kill Superman.

Because of this, it’s a surprising choice to see Superman & Lois bringing Doomsday on board this early in the show’s run. It’s something that feels like it would hit harder with more of the show behind it, to make the dread of Superman’s fate more sharply felt. However, the show’s writers have proven themself to be deft adapters of the comics canon, so the series has more than afforded itself the viewers’ good faith. There’s plenty of room for surprise here. Maybe Doomsday is merely coming to prove that he is the better Wife Guy.

Superman & Lois airs new episodes on Tuesdays on The CW. Episodes are available to stream for free the next day via The CW app.

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