REVIEW: Superman & Lois – Season 3, Episode 10, “Collision Course”

How they refrained from calling this episode “Cat’s in the Cradle” I’ll never know, but they resisted. “Collision Course” is another decent entry in the trying third season of Superman & Lois, with some good plotlines and payoffs for the cancer arc mixed with annoying or incomprehensible behavior from some of the characters.

Lois seeks answers from a captive Peia, who is scheduled to finally see Matteo. Clark wants to spend some time with the boys, but they’ve got other ideas. Kyle tells Chrissy about his suspicion that someone with superpowers is putting out fires in Smallville. Lana meets with the governor so that she has something to do this week.

The opening scene of “Collision Course” sets up what should be an interesting moral dilemma for Lois – or, at least, an extension of an already existing one. Lois thinks it’s wrong that Peia isn’t allowed to see her family, and she now regrets running that story she insisted Clark and Chrissy print. Her interview with Peia is, at least in part, an attempt to get the DOD to allow Matteo to visit his mother. I like this; the good guys are doing some ethically questionable things with Peia, and it’s been uneasy for Superman, but now Lois is feeling guilty over it too. Is it right to keep Peia from Matteo, or even Bruno Manheim, knowing she could die at any moment? What are they really preventing by doing this? It started as a coercive measure to get Manheim to give back the equipment he stole, but that isn’t working. Now, they’re just punishing a grieving family. Last week’s “The Dress” explored how Superman, John Henry, and Sam feel about this; now, it’s Lois’ turn, and that’s a great setup for an episode.


Unfortunately, “Collision Course” drops this like a hot potato as soon as Lois walks into the room with Peia. She begins with sympathy, and it’s fascinating to see the two women talk to each other as friends, bonded by the disease that caused Lois so much pain and is killing Pei. It’s like two old war buddies reminiscing about the battle one of them couldn’t escape, and for a couple of scenes, it’s handled very well. But as the episode goes on, things take a darker turn as Lois does exactly what she criticized Sam and the DOD for doing and holds Matteo’s visit over Peia’s head to get her to talk about Moxie’s murder and her other crimes. This could have been a rich avenue to explore, but “Collision Course” never explores it. No one ever mentions that Lois has become what she’s railed against, that her righteousness has given way to expediency. The closest it comes is having Peia argue that exonerating Lex Luthor – which will be the ultimate result of her confession – does more harm than good, but Lois’ tactics aren’t questioned. It’s disappointing because, for a while, I liked where this was going.

I also liked where the B plot of “Collision Course” was going, and even that stuck part of the landing. As Lois once again becomes a reporter, Clark decides to stay home and be a dad to Jon and Jordan, whom he feels he’s neglected during Lois’ ordeal. This is good because it’s both true and understandable; obviously, Lois needed him, but it also puts an unfair strain on the boys. So, Clark plans a wrestling night in Metropolis, but it’s obvious from the get-go Jon and Jordan aren’t overly enthused about it. And, predictably, they’ve got a party they’d rather go to and girls they’d rather romance than hang out with their dad. Also predictably, drinking and heartache ensue, plus a confrontation with Dad about absenteeism and sneaking off for beers. But in this case, the predictability isn’t bad because it’s executed well and feels in keeping with Clark, Jon, and Jordan’s characters.

Superman & Lois Collision Course

It also proves to be a good way to explore what each character has been going through in season 3. Clark is, once again, faced with a situation where being Superman can’t help him. His heat vision and indestructibility won’t make his sons feel better about him neglecting them, even if it was for a good reason. Jonathan, the son with Clark’s heart, feels it the most, and his escape isn’t about drinking or partying but about spending time with Candice, finding solace in someone the way he hasn’t been able to in his parents. Jordan, on the other hand, is adrift, watching the girl he loves move on before his eyes (and insult him while she knows he’s hurting because she’s an awful human being) while his brother is busy with his own girlfriend. So he drinks his troubles away, and when he goes home, he gets in trouble. Jordan may be the one with the powers, but he feels like he got the short end of the stick.

That isn’t all that happens at the party; the cops bust the place up, causing the teenage drinkers to flee. But Sarah and Junior get into a car accident that would have killed them if not for Jordan’s intervention. We don’t see what this does for Jordan and Sarah, but we do see how it affects Kyle. Kyle’s had suspicions about a superhero – other than Superman – who’s been going around town helping people, and Junior swears he saw someone who pulled them out of the car. Kyle reasons this is the only way their survival makes sense, especially since neither one has a scratch on them. But, of course, Lana (who’s spent the episode talking to the governor about nothing of consequence) speaks to him like he’s a child, and Sarah denies it. This is another story I like, but the ending puts a hamper on it; Kyle believes Jon is the superhero, and he goes to the Kent farm to confront him… angrily. Why is Kyle so mad and confrontational? This guy just saved your daughter’s life; shouldn’t you be thanking him? But when Clark flies off, it leaves Kyle as the 3000th person on the show to discover that he’s Superman. I like Kyle, and I’m interested in seeing where this goes, but his attitude in this scene is too silly.

Superman & Lois Collision Course

Speaking of which, the infantilization and condescension of men derail Clark’s storyline too. When he finds out about the party and sends Jordan to his room, he calls Lois, who immediately orders him to decrease his planned punishment, then overrules his next one with “We’ll talk about it when I get home.” It’s like he’s her third kid; this is Superman, for God’s sake, and he’s being chided and ordered around by someone who talks down to him. He then reveals that he hasn’t even attempted to find Jon yet, which is too stupid for words and not something Clark would do. But this is all so Lois can then order him to find Jon because he’s an idiot and needs Lois to tell him what to do at every turn. Must we treat Superman like every other icon nowadays? He’s stupid, he’s incompetent, he’s an overgrown child, and he needs a good, strong woman to tell him what to do. This makes them both unlikable, and I’m getting sick of that.

But the best part of “Collision Course” is the Manheim story, which is small outside of Peia. Matteo is finally allowed to see Peia, but he hasn’t come for a teary-eyed goodbye; he’s come to save his mom by administering Bruno’s cancer cure via a needle hidden in a cufflink. Peia promptly escapes, leaving a destroyed DOD in her wake, and reunites with her family. I wish the Manheim plot would get more prominence than it has because these characters are great. They’ve made me sympathize with them more than the heroes. Who wouldn’t do what Matteo did? And how do you not root for a kid trying to save his mom? This is part of why dropping Lois’ moral ambiguity is such a bad move: it would have complemented that of Matteo and Peia perfectly. This is what I’m most interested in seeing play out as the season comes to a close.

Superman & Lois – "Collision Course"

Plot - 8
Acting - 7
Progression - 9
Production Design - 8
Themes - 7



“Collision Course” is another quiet episode with some good storylines that fizzle out at the end, although the Manheims remain the best part of the season.

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