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'Superman & Lois' season 1 episode 5 review: The Best of Smallville

Harvest Festival week!

Elizabeth Tulloch and Tyler Hoechlin as Superman and Lois.
(Image: © The CW)

Our Verdict

An ultimately ineffective mid-season finale with some really solid, heartfelt moments sprinkled in.

For

  • 💥Loved seeing the Smallville Harvest Festival.
  • 💥Shout out to Sarah Cushing for calling out the Kent boys for being huge babies with no real problems.

Against

  • 💥Jonathan Kent's story this week was so early-2000s CW predictable that it hurt. We've evolved past these storylines, make it stop.
  • 💥The brief Superman moment feels kind of shoehorned in. Don't force the suit if we don't need the suit!
  • 💥Captain Luthor plot-twist feels unearned.

This post contains spoilers for Superman & Lois.
Check out our season 1 episode 4 review

Jordan and Jonathan Kent have no real problems. Bless Superman & Lois for finally addressing this fact five episodes in. The problem is, all four episodes prior tried to make it seem like they did. All the same, we finally see a well-earned callout amidst this week's mild melodrama. The only major thing that this episode has to offer is Smallville's Harvest Festival, but let's break down the friends we made along the way. 

Sharon Powell's (Jill Teed) son has mysteriously returned from the dead. It's a lovely shift for the grieving mother, but it also means that she has no interesting in continuing the story to help Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) take down Morgan Edge (Adam Raynor). Derek Powell's (Clayton James) return, however, is short-lived. While accepting donations for the Harvest Festival, Derek loses control of his mysterious new powers. Clark's (Tyler Hoechlin) able to return in time to help the fire fighters put out the blaze caused by Derek's heat vision, but not before one of Kyle Cushing's (Erik Valdez) men  gets seriously injured. It's also worth mentioning that Clark is running around doing all of this — using both super speed and ice breath — in public as himself. It rings especially ironic in an episode that takes time to flash back to Clark's younger and more reckless self before he left Smallville. 

While the fire would have been the ideal moment for Superman to make a guest appearance in "The Best of Smallville" his cameo is saved for an odd battle with Derek himself. Clark listens in on Lois' phone call that confirms Derek's location and crashes in as Superman without another question. There's a moment in this episode where Supes made sense and another moment where he felt shoehorned. His actual appearance occurs in the latter. 

When we're not dealing with the Morgan-Edge-Metahuman-Machine of it all, we're with the Kent boys as they navigate their apparently very complicated teenage lives. The beginning of the episode sees Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) experience a breakup that the world saw coming the moment his family moved to Smallville, and a textbook reaction to boot. When folks roast the CW, they're typically dragging the early 2000s shows like the OC for their stereotypical drama. Superman & Lois gave them a more contemporary example tonight. Jordan was, at the very least, a little bit more palatable this week. And, if there's one thing these two boys have going for them, it's the fact that they're very good brothers. No matter what happens, they always seem to come back together. I might not enjoy anything else about them, but that part is pretty solid.

This week's drama may have felt forced, but it shined in its sincerity. Clark's earnest excitement for the Harvest Festival is palpable as he plays with his family in the beginning. All of the wonder and kindness that was promised is on display when the festival finally occurs, even if it is a product of more Morgan Edge lies. I'd be lying if I said the bench dedicated to Martha Kent for being the Best of Smallville didn't make me tear up a little bit. Added bonus: The Harvest Festival is where Sarah Cushing (Inde Navarrette) finally puts Jonathan Kent in his place.

The episode closes with one final twist. Captain Luthor (Wolé Parks) spent his time in "Best of Smallville" zeroed in on Lois Lane. At first, we assume it's to kidnap her so he can lure Superman into a trap. Instead, it's revealed that on his world he and the reporter were married. It's a strange twist, one that ultimately feels unearned and whose sole purpose is to drive more friction between him and Kal-El. All the same, they needed a "mid-season" surprise, and they dropped one.

Amelia is an entertainment Streaming Editor at IGN, which means she spends a lot of time analyzing and editing stories on things like Loki, Peacemaker, and The Witcher. In addition to her features and editorial work, she’s also a member of both the Television Critics Association and Critics Choice. A deep love of film and television has kept her happily in the entertainment industry for 7 years.