So, after just two weeks back from their last hiatus, Superman & Lois has gone on hiatus again? That’s, what? Their fifth time this season?
I did get caught up on the episode I missed last week, though. Lana being let in on Superman = Clark Kent was an interesting development. But it doesn’t have quite the impact it should, because Clark and Lana haven’t actually spent much time together until now. And that’s largely because they’ve had the secret identity between them.
See, for a while I’ve had this theory that, depending on how many people know a hero’s secret identity, the effect that secret has on the story changes drastically. When their identity is truly a secret, something they hide from everyone, then there’s still a lot of value in their relationships with people who don’t know the secret. Such a hero will inevitably seem like quite a lonely soul, someone who can never fully confide in anyone, can never be entirely themself around another person. But that makes the limited extent to which they are able to connect with certain people that much more meaningful.
However, if you give the hero a decent sized supporting cast, all of whom know their secret identity? That changes everything. Now they have people they can talk with openly and honestly, people they can share their most important moments with. They’re no longer starved for human connection, so why should they (or the audience) become invested in relationships with characters who (as long as the secret’s in place) can never have that sort of bond? Knowledge of the secret identity forms a sort of clique, and unless someone can learn the secret and break into the clique, they can never be all that important.
That’s the unfortunate position that Lana’s fallen into. Her and Clark are supposed to be close friends, but it’s not like he can talk to her about meeting his evil half-brother, or being distrusted by the military, or training his son to use his powers, or anything else in his life that really matters. He has those talks with Lois, or his kids, or John Henry, or Sam Lane, or one of his hologram parents. His chats with Lana can’t help feeling banal in comparison, so the show’s barely bothered to portray their friendship. They’ve kept Lana in the picture largely by giving her family their own drama completely divorced from Superman and family.
Curious to see how that will change going forward.
We did have a new episode of The Flash this week, and it was a pleasant little surprise! Aside from a C-grade villain who bookends the hour, this was an entirely low-stakes affair. No world in peril or relationships teetering on the brink, no technobabble or big speeches about heroism. Just Team Flash going about their day, each having their own quiet bits of character development. After the last several eps focused on the big stakes of Deathstorm and Iris’s time sickness, an episode like this that pulls back and gives all of us a breather … it’s the tonic I didn’t know I’ve needed.
The format of this episode, where it’s broken up into different segments, each focusing on a different character having their own mini-story? That’s something I’ve wanted The Flash to do for ages! I’m a little bummed that, instead of wildly disparate stories, they had to all center around processing grief and honoring Frost’s memory (and that Barry indulged in some you’re-not-grieving-the-way-societal-expectations-say-you-should shaming), but it was still a nice break from the norm.
Oh, and if you put hummus on a sandwich, that makes it a condiment! Fight me on this!
Question of the Week: What’s your favorite Arrowverse funeral? (God knows there are plenty to choose from.)