This article contains Superman & Lois episode 10 spoilers.
Superman & Lois Episode 10
Superman & Lois episode 10, “O Mother, Where Art Thou” picks up literally at the moment where we left the show last week, with Morgan Edge revealing to Superman that he’s not only a Kryptonian, but that he may very well be his brother. There was just enough ambiguity in that reveal to leave us wondering if Edge meant it metaphorically or literally, but as this episode explains, he really did mean it. If nothing else, he is biologically the half-brother of Kal-El.
But that’s somehow not even close to the biggest thing that went down in this episode of Superman & Lois, so let’s get down to it…
Tal-Ro and Zeta-Ro
Just to get this out of the way up front, as far as I can tell, neither Tal-Ro (Morgan Edge’s Kryptonian name) or Zeta-Ro (his father) are names from the pages of DC Comics. In fact, the concept of Superman having a literal biological half-brother like this, one that doesn’t involve any kind of fakeout (or a dream/hoax/imaginary story) is completely new.
But, it’s important to note that the show points out one key difference between Lara’s previous family and the one she started with Jor-El later on. Lara (while in the body of Lana Lang) explains that she had been “genetically matched” with Zeta-Ro, and Tal-Ro was their offspring. She makes it a point to mention that she fell in love with Jor-El and “gave birth” to Kal-El. Why is this significant?
When John Byrne rebooted the Superman comics in 1986 (before “reboot” was a word we all threw around a lot), one of the key changes he made to the mythology was making Krypton a society seemingly devoid of love, and one that had possibly even moved beyond the pursuit of sex as the primary means of reproduction (let alone recreation). Partners were matched based on their genetic compatibility to produce the most suitable offspring, and children were conceived and carried to term in a kind of high tech birthing matrix. Jor-El and Lara were unique in that they actually fell in love, and their love influenced their decision to send baby Kal-El away.
Sound familiar? There were elements of this in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel movie. But that film took it a step further, where Jor-El and Lara conceived Kal the old-fashioned (and more fun) way, and Lara gave birth to him in the traditional manner, as well. The excellent (and sorely missed) Krypton pointed to this as well. So just the shift in those couple of words in Lana/Lara’s exposition points out the fact that while yes, Edge may technically be Superman’s half-brother, it doesn’t quite carry the same weight.
Nature vs. Nurture
Ah, the tale as old as time in Superman stories. Is a potentially all-powerful Kryptonian inherently good, or only as good as the environment in which they are raised?
But this episode takes it a step further. It isn’t that Tal-Ro was raised by an evil version of the Kents, it’s simply that he ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time, and only saw humanity’s less noble characteristics. Again, it’s subtle, but it’s a hint that in Superman’s world, nobody is truly beyond redemption…although Edge sure is making a solid case for himself in that regard. Jerk.
So, it turns out that the secret ingredient to Edge’s infusing of Kryptonian souls/consciousness into human bodies was something called the Eradicator. What is the Eradicator? Folks, I sure am glad you asked!
The Eradicator was arguably the single most important macguffin in Superman comics (if not all of DC Comics) from the late ‘80s through at least the mid-90s. It’s a millennia old device that was created to preserve Kryptonian culture, albeit with the “eradication” of others. Uh-oh.
The Eradicator survived the destruction of Krypton and eventually came into Superman’s possession, and the device decided it should protect Krypton’s last survivor…sometimes by trying to turn Earth into New Krypton (whoops) and other times by altering Superman’s mind to make it more Kryptonian (double whoops), and ultimately by evolving into a humanoid form that looked like Superman after the Man of Steel perished at the hands of Doomsday (ok, that part’s understandable).
It’s serving a pretty similar purpose here, this time with the added bonus of having been corrupted by Zeta-Ro. Between that and the fact that Edge is basically carrying on the Eradicator’s comics mission for it, I have to wonder if we’re headed for a scenario where Edge merges with the device and basically becomes the Arrowverse equivalent of the humanoid Eradicator/Krypton Man/what have you down the road.
Although it’s pretty cool that this thing is going to be housed in the Fortress for a while, and that opens up other story possibilities.
The Solar Flare
Admittedly, the how and why Superman’s solar flare is able to help “fix” all the Smallville residents who were housing Kryptonian souls is a little fuzzy. But it IS the first time we’ve seen this particular power used in any media outside the comics.
Superman is often described as a living solar battery. All of his powers are a result of his cells absorbing solar radiation like they’re batteries, and as long as he’s in proximity to a yellow sun, it’s basically an inexhaustible power supply. Almost all of his powers are manifestations of that solar power in some way, with perhaps heat vision being the most tangible representation of it.
But in recent Superman comics, it was revealed that when necessary, Clark can release all that excess solar energy stored in his body in one massive blast. When he does, he’s out of gas for days or weeks, but it can be done where necessary. I have to appreciate how it wasn’t used as a video game special attack for a boss fight here, and was instead used in a healing capacity. Good lord, this show gets it.
The Fortress of Solitude…and Another One?
This is why at the end of the episode we see Superman crawling to the Fortress, clutching the Eradicator like a football. He used the last of his power to get there, and he’s so weak he can barely walk. Cut to Morgan Edge and Leslie Larr…
…who appear to have a Fortress of Solitude of their own, this one in the desert. It’s kind of cool that these Kryptonian fortresses always seem to have an elemental quality to them. How much do you wanna bet that Edge’s fortress is powered by the stolen Kryptonian sunstone crystal that houses Lara’s knowledge and memories?
And none of the above even gets into all the other great bits in the episode!
- Another standout episode for the Kent sons, particularly Jonathan, who once again shows that he doesn’t need powers to be an awful lot like his Dad.
- Or what about that genuinely chilling performance from Erik Valdez?
- Or the introduction of Dabney Donovan to the Arrowverse! Another Jack Kirby creation joins Morgan Edge…this guy is one to watch if you know the comics.
- Tyler Hoechlin spent more time in costume in this episode than several other episodes combined, and I can now safely say that nobody has embodied the character this perfectly since Christopher Reeve. It was all about the quieter moments, particularly his chat with Lana.
- Speaking of quieter moments (and Lana), Elizabeth Tulloch and Emmanuelle Chriqui’s heartbreaking scene when Lana volunteers for the Eradicator process sure was something, wasn’t it?
Got any questions about this momentous episode of Superman & Lois? Spot some deep Superman lore that we missed? Let us know in the comments!