Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Superman & Lois episode "A Brief Reminiscence In-Between Cataclysmic Events." Read at your own risk!
John Henry Irons warned Superman that the events of his destroyed world would come to pass on their Earth, but even Superman & Lois fans had to believe that was outrageous. The Man of Steel is one of the noblest and most powerful heroes in the DC Universe, so the idea that he'd break bad and turn his back on humanity unless it was literally beyond his control was ludicrous. Well, some folks may be eating crow after this latest episode, because Tal-Rho found a way to turn his half-brother on humanity.
The moment came during a seemingly innocent and sweet episode in which Superman & Lois viewers got flashes of Clark Kent's humble beginnings as Superman. We saw his first heroic act in Metropolis, how he got his job at the Daily Planet, and the beginning of his romance with Lois Lane. In all honesty, it seemed like a very enjoyable throwaway episode, right up until the Jor-El brought that to a jarring halt.
The AI of Superman's father instructed his son to escape, which soon clued Superman and the audience into the fact that this was not normal. Soon, Clark realized the events of his life flashed by regardless of whether he participated in them, and that his memories were being scanned for information. Slowly, but surely, Tal-Rho emerged in the visions, and finally found the way to checkmate his brother. He learned Kal-El's secret identity was Clark Kent, which meant he knew he could manipulate him through Lois, Jonathan, and Jordan.
Tal-Rho destroyed the crystal with Jor-El's essence, and after a thorough thrashing of Superman, went to Smallville to punish his family. Superman arrived just before things got ugly, and agreed to fully submit to Tal-Rho provided his family would be safe. Tal-Rho then took Superman to his equivalent of the Fortress of Solitude (in the desert) and subjected him to some red light that left Clark looking exactly like the evil Superman in John Henry Irons' world. The episode ended with Lois making a call to Irons that he was right, but what's next?
Unfortunately, Lois Lane will probably have to call on her father Sam as well as John Henry Irons for help. The good news is both have shown they have the power to hurt Superman. The bad news is that both have a real ax to grind against the Man of Steel, and Lois will need to convince them that despite how things look, her husband truly is a good person who can be trusted.
Full disclosure, I'm not expecting Superman & Lois to end Season 1 with Clark still evil or that he'll be killed in order to protect humanity. Still, the fact that Season 1 has already devised a scenario in which the characters must unite to bring down Superman opens the door to some exciting development for the supporting characters and a chance for Superman to work to regain the world's trust following this incident. The back half of this storyline has some real potential, though it remains to be seen whether or not The CW series will stick the landing.
Superman & Lois just became must-watch television, so it's a shame that the next episode won't air on The CW until Tuesday, July 13 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Definitely catch up on this series if you fell behind, because it's totally worth it.