Episodes 14 Review

"Jimmy gets invited to the S.T.A.R. Labs Symposium; Clark joins him for support, but Lex Luthor takes over; the General flees and Lois chases after him, struggling to reconcile past experiences with the present situation." The fourth episode of season two "Two Lanes Diverged" takes Superman, Jimmy, and Lois into emotional nosedives while Task Force X gets stronger than ever before while the big threat of the series shows up at Earth's door step. Only four episodes in and things aren't looking good.

The season-long issue of Clark and Lois just not having time to talk to each other about their arcs comes to a head this week. Clark accompanies Jimmy to the 23rd annual S.T.A.R. Labs Symposium where the latter is going to give a keynote speech. The who's who in the scientific and defense contractor industries show up, including the debuts of General Wade Eiling and someone that could be Emile Hamilton, but it turns out Jimmy gets hoodwinked and the keynote speech is about the "Superman problem." To make matters worse, Lex Luthor is also part of the keynote and he quickly (and rather easily) sways the audience against Superman. And to make it even worse, Task Force X's battle with the Lanes spills into the building but by the time the symposium goers come outside, it's just Superman and wrecked displays. And he hears, albeit out of context, Lex thanking Jimmy for that advice (from the season opener). It all plays into Task Force X's hands and Hank Henshaw, General Eiling from the Pentagon, Mayor Fleming, and Senator Sackett throw in their support. Even worse so, Superman doesn't stay to hear the whole of Lois and Sam's conversation about him. Then Lois leaves a voicemail asking for a rain check on their roof top meet up. Feeling lower than low and completely alone, Superman activates the Beacon and calls out to Kara. The episode instead ends on the big bad seen in the season 1 finale show up to Earth.

As for Lois Lane, she grapples with confronting Sam Lane about always living on the run and not being completely open with her. While it seemed like she finally gets through to him, they are hunted at every turn by Damage, Atomic Skull, and Slade Wilson. Sam is driven by his desire to keep Lois safe that he's blind to how much she wants him in her life no matter the cost. He sees her battle scars from the battle at S.T.A.R. Labs and ultimately flees. The flashbacks to the camping trips Lois alluded to back in season one when she and Clark went to look for the missing Jimmy are the cornerstones of Lois's scenes and underpins how long it was just her and her dad and the slow build up of resentment and frustration she felt – not being told what was wrong with her mother, her mother's death, moving constantly, not having any long lasting friendships with anyone, and Sam closing up – all led to the schism talked about off and on in season one. And while it seemed like progress was finally made, Lois finds herself right back to where she was for the past couple years – on her own. WELL, NOT REALLY!!!

It was a frustrating episode for the fans as well. The trio has been pulled apart but they let it happen even though they should know they're at their strongest when they're together. Clark was right that Sam makes Lois feel small, and she totally should have been leaning on her boyfriend and Jimmy but she didn't and as a result, she got abandoned and burned for the umpteenth time. The passage of time is murky between these 4 episodes so it's hard to gauge the incredulity of Clark and Lois having no time to discuss using the Beacon to call out to Kara or not using it. They couldn't just text? Speaking of incredulity, on one hand you can give credit to Lex's silver tongue but on the other hand, the people at that symposium were really that gullible and after one out-of-context battle, are ready to ally themselves with Lex and his shady government pal? While sure, the citizens of Metropolis love Superman but we've had no real view point of him by big business or the government other than by the bad ones to justify this plot point. The private sector's been afraid of Superman this whole time? Shrug, guess so. Lex's twists Ivo's fall from grace as Superman's fault? Where the heck was Curtis, the board member Superman saved, at that symposium to refute Lex's lies? Or bring up Thomas Weston, the guy who almost blew up the city? Bottom line, if you didn't hate this show's Lex yet. By this episode, you should...

Yes, Jimmy was hoodwinked but he was a deer in headlights. He didn't think of outing Task Force X as the real reason for the 'parade of freaks and destruction'. Or how about mentioning the mercenary Leslie Willis who stole from them and started this whole mess? Sure Jimmy would be saying this without proof but Lex was talking in subjective hypotheticals catered right to the people in the audience. Jimmy was in a lose-lose situation the moment he accept the invite and he was hoisted on his own petard. Hopefully he learned a very important lesson that his position this season also made him a target and pawn of others. It's not all about self-indulgent purchases and he better pick himself up and be ready to play for the rest of the season.

Looking ahead, stands to reason our three leads will reunite, apologize profusely to each other, and deal with the threats at hand. But with 6 episodes to go, feels like the showrunners are going to keep torturing them before that happens. With the arrival of the Kryptonian warrior, I hope Lex literally eats his words "Task Force X has an alien solution" and they are totally outgunned and left in a lurch. As for our big bad, what will he/she/they/it do? What or who is the target: Superman or Earth? We saw Brainiac and the warrior razing a planet in the season one finale but are they more intrigued by Kryptonian tech being used to send out a signal across space than planetary conquest? Will Kara come? Is Kara really this armored warrior? Is she brainwashed by Brainiac? It feels like revelations are just around the corner... Oh yeah, and they remade Toyman into a mustache grandpa war buddy of Sam's who runs the pawn shop that Heatwave tried to knock over in season 1, ha ha!

DCAU Resource's rating: 9/10