The CW’s Superman & Lois takes a unique approach in fixing a major parenting mistake the Kents made with young Clark in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.
One of the biggest criticisms in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel was the parenting doled out to the young hero by Kevin Costner’s Jonathan Kent and to an extent, Diane Lane’s Martha. Convincing him to stay hidden wasn’t the problem; it was the idea of letting innocent people die that irked fans, which came up after Clark rescued a school bus from a lake.
It was not the inspirational advice Clark should’ve received, which is why he didn’t spend his teenage years being heroic à la Smallville. Fortunately, while the CW’s Superman & Lois initially embarks down this path, it quickly fixes this mistake by producing an independent thinker in young Kal-El.
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Tyler Hoechlin’s Clark is going through the motions with his son Jonathan, whose girlfriend broke up with him as she couldn’t do long distance from Metropolis. As Jonathan lashes out about being stifled and his identity being taken from him with the move to Kansas, Clark keeps remembering the times he spent with the late Martha. As a teen, he also rebelled against her wishes once Pa Kent died, and the audience discovers that this father, much like Snyder’s version, wanted him to stay in the shadows.
But donning a ski mask, young Clark (Dylan Kingwell) takes down some robbers, leading to talk around town about someone with super-speed who can dodge bullets. This scares Martha, causing her to tell Clark he’ll sell his secret out if he keeps throwing caution to the wind. He needs to follow Pa’s advice because if he engages in crimefighting with reckless abandon, when the government comes for him, she won’t be able to do anything.
Clark pushes back, though, admonishing her for wanting him to be a coward. He has a gift and needs to find his real purpose, which involves saving lives and ultimately, not being a Kent on a farm. It’s harsh and a bit ungrateful, as she’s doing her best, but when they reconcile, Martha agrees that he’s right. She needs to cut the cord early, giving him his crystal for the Kryptonian ship. A few days later, Clark leaves town, a bit younger than Henry Cavill’s did, and goes to find his destiny and what humanity needs from him.
It’s a nice change to see Martha accepting that Clark’s meant for great things and that he needs to go find his place among mankind. More so, it’s enlightening how she listens in the conversation as Clark educates her, causing her to embrace and support the path he walks. As he leaves, however, the weight of her sacrifice hits her, leaving her in tears.
Ironically, an older Clark is now relating as a father on the receiving end, finally understanding what his mom went through when she let him go. He does feel like he abandoned her, losing precious time, and now, she’s not there as he experiences the same struggles keeping Jordan’s powers secret too. It leaves Clark feeling a bit guilty, but he knows deep down that she did what was best.
Superman & Lois stars Tyler Hoechlin, Elizabeth Tulloch, Dylan Walsh, Alex Garfin, Jordan Elsass, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Inde Navarrette and Wolé Parks. The series airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
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