Superman & Lois review: “Holding The Wrench”

Superman & Lois dives deeper into the story of John Henry Irons (Wolé Parks) in this week’s episode, “Holding The Wrench.” As the audience, we know a lot more about his story than the actual characters, but this week the Kent family learns the truth.

It also opens the can of worms that is the multiverse, which is something the series has been tiptoeing around since it started. We saw Clark Kent/Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) and Lois Lane (Bitsie Tulloch) in the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover, but they haven’t mentioned that adventure much since. However, Arrow’s David Ramsey is set to make an appearance in one of the episodes this season, which means we can expect more about how everything connects in the world of Superman & Lois.

This week, Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) gets a major multiverse tutorial and learns that there is way more to his parent’s life than he could possibly understand. It’s complicated enough when your father is Superman, but it doesn’t help when you realize there are multiple Earths with alternate versions of him on it.

His mind was blown and he’ll be hard-pressed to view his parents the same way ever again. I love watching Jonathan arc, and that he’s still getting his moment in the spotlight even though he doesn’t have superpowers. His plight pairs nicely with Lois’, who can understand exactly what he’s going through.

This week’s episode of Superman & Lois is a great turning point for Jonathan, and as we inch towards the end of the season, I’m sure there is plenty more in store for him.

Jonathan learns about the multiverse

After last week’s encounter with John Henry Irons, the Kent family realizes they have a lot to learn about this mysterious guy. Who is he? Where did he come from? Why is he so hell-bent on attacking Superman?

They get all their answers and more after Lois and Jonathan take a look around John’s RV. It’s a jarring moment for Jonathan but brings them one step closer to learning the truth. John’s RV is equipped with an advanced security system, but Lois is able to gain access because she is one of its authorized users. Well, not this Lois, but the voice recognition system can’t tell the difference. Snooping around, the pair discover pictures of John with the Lois Lane of his Earth, to whom he was married and had a daughter named Natalie. Much worse, they stumble across footage of that Lois being murdered on live television by that Earth’s Superman. It’s not an easy thing to either of them to watch, particularly Jonathan because he knew nothing about the multiverse.

Jonathan returns to the RV later to see if he can learn anything else, but is faced with the wrath of the security system. He gets trapped inside the RV and is nearly shot to death before Superdad shows up to save him.

Needless to say, Lois is livid with Jonathan’s carelessness and goes off on him in a way we’ve never see her do before. Bitsie Tulloch does an astounding job in this emotional scene where she makes it evident that Lois is struggling with way more than just Jonathan’s behavior.

Lois opens up in therapy

One thing I genuinely love about Superman & Lois is that it talks about mental health. It never ignores it, it never pretends it’s not a thing, it faces it head-on. Learning everything she did about John’s life on his Earth was clearly a lot to take for Lois. But it wasn’t simply seeing a version of herself with another man, but that John’s daughter’s name was Natalie.

During a therapy session, Lois brings up a painful secret from her past: she had a miscarriage when the boys were very young. She and Clark were going to have a baby daughter and were going to name her after Lois’ grandmother: Natalie.

That memory, combined with the terror of almost losing Jonathan, caused her to lash out the way she did. In all the versions of Lois we’ve seen over the years, I don’t think we’ve ever seen her this mad. This is why I’m glad the series chose to explain what was going on internally and psychologically, and then use that to help Lois bond with Jonathan. It wonderfully written and executed by Tulloch and Elsass.

X-Kryptonite

The promised battle between Superman and John doesn’t take place this week. After being captured, Superman and General Lane (Dylan Walsh) attempt to question John, but to no avail. John simply won’t explain why he’s so determined to kill Superman. He just kept repeating that his Earth’s Superman was evil, and now this Earth’s Superman is likely to go down the same path. Even more so, this Earth is already heading down the same path that led to an evil army rising up on his Earth.

It doesn’t make much sense until we realize what John means by all of this. On his Earth, an army was created that ultimately brought death and destruction. Morgan Edge (Adam Rayner) is essentially doing the same thing with X-Kryptonite, so it doesn’t bode well for this Earth.

Also, General Lane has an entire room filled with Kryptonite-based weapons, so if push comes to shove the military has ways to take down Kryptonians. Considering his son-in-law is Superman, that’s a bit worrisome. But hey, it could help them out later if/when Edge’s army arises.

In any case, Superman realizes the extent of John’s fears when they team up to deal with one of Edge’s X-Kryptonite soldiers. With a common enemy, John sets aside some of his anger…for now.

At the end of the episode, John drives away in his RV, but I’m not so sure that’s the last we’ll seen of him…

The Lang family

There’s some activity with the Lang family this week as Kyle (Erik Valdez) learns that Lana (Emmanuelle Chriqui) didn’t want him to be a part of Edge’s project. Of course, Kyle doesn’t realize that Lana was just protecting him, and so, as expected, he goes off on a bender.

Sadly, this bender means that Kyle doesn’t show up for Sarah’s (Inde Navarrette) audition for the high school musical, which he convinced her to do in the first place. It’s yet another break in the father/daughter relationship, which might not recover this time around.

Luckily, in Kyle’s absence, Jordan (Alex Garfin) steps up and plays the piano while Lana sings. It was all sorts of adorable to see him do this for her, especially because he stopped playing piano in front of people due to his crippling anxiety.

Dare I say, new couple alert?

I truly enjoyed this week’s episode of Superman & Lois! I thought they covered so much in the hour and really propelled the story forward. I’m a mental health advocate, and truly appreciate how much they focused on it during the episode.

From Lois’ therapy sessions to her epiphany to Jordan confessing that his anxiety led to him walking away from his passions, it was all done very well. It’s what this show is excelling at week after week, and it’s managing to do that while still giving us an amazing story.

It’s all about family in this version of Superman’s life, and I’m so happy to see how well it’s come together. Well done, CW!

Grade: A-

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