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Episodes 18 Review

"Lois and Jimmy confront Kara and make a plan to rescue Clark. Meanwhile, Brainiac delves into Superman's mind to figure out what makes him tick...and how to tear him apart!" The eighth episode of season two "The Death of Clark Kent" is the epitome of darkest before dawn. Lois, Jimmy, The Brain, Monsieur Mallah, and Kara attempt to rescue Superman but they're too late. The fate of Earth and the universe hangs in the balance...

My Adventures With Superman is nearing the conclusion of season two and just in the nick of time it appears we have been introduced to a MacGuffin: this show's version of the Black Mercy from the comics. Rather than a freaky parasymbiotic alien creature, it is a psionic device that traps your conscious mind inside of it. It is used by our big bad, Brainiac to steal Superman's body and trap him in a simulated perhaps idealistic Krypton. But Lois does one of the most impulsive and dangerous things she's done on the show, slapping it on herself with no hesitation to roust Superman out of his perfect illusion. I wonder what the odds are this thing will be used to defeat Brainiac and trap him in the finale?

Just when we thought everything got spilled, this week we are given more context from Brainiac. He is effectively dying. The Kandor station is falling apart. I guess its irreparable otherwise Brianiac would have raised Kara to be a true Kryptonian mechanic. But the main caveat, the machine that houses Brainiac's A.I. Is dying and so he needs a new body. And it ties to how the Kryptonians reproduced, through genetic engineering and making each generation better than the other. Brainiac considers himself a Kryptonian but he was never given the benefits they had and felt infected by their emotions; answering once and for all why he was so keen on having Superman brought to him. And he gets exactly what he wanted. Going black suited and bare-chested, Brainiac takes full control of Superman's body and handily dispenses of Kara, Jimmy, and Lois like sweeping out the trash. To make things worse, Jimmy loses the Kryptonite.

The part from this week that was the low tide of shockers, Kara joins Jimmy's rescue team and everyone else quickly keys in on the awkward romance going on. Shipping aside, a small seed is planted for Kara's arc. She does not see any other life than that of being a warrior for the empire, but Jimmy succinctly points out there is a whole universe out there (Or translation, "with me on Earth and all that ice cream and hot dogs). The straight forward rescue plan is a gut wrenching feint. Too good to be true that everything would go off without a hitch. They get in while the drones are offline and Brainiac is busy cycling his artificial consciousness and get out with Superman. No way that was going to work. And so we watch as it gets worse and worse then their only ace in the hole is rendered useless: Kryptonite will kill Superman and Kara but Brainiac could just jump bodies.

Even though the clip show is one of the most reviled types of episode formats, it was done here in the more tastefully and palpable way. Brainiac is basically playing the role of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and commenting on and analyzing Superman's memories from the battle with Leslie Willis in "Adventures of a Normal Man Part Two" to Ivo in "Zero Day Part Two" with his irksome commentary then it gets dark and gut wrenching when Brainiac starts attacking his fears: being different as seen when he eavesdropped on part of Sam and Lois's talk at the end of "Two Lanes Diverged," feeling betrayed when he saw Jimmy blow him off and running off with a girl (who was Kara) in "Most Eligible Superman" – and Brainiac concludes love, friendship, and kindness made Superman weak. Then he starts manipulating memories to corral Superman into capitulation when he brings up a real one, Lois breaking up with him and pontificates he will never belong and never be trusted by people on Earth.

"The Death of Clark Kent" sets up final two episodes of the season with a battle on two fronts: one mental where Lois attempts to save the trapped consciousness of Superman in a simulated Krypton and one physical, where Jimmy, The Brain, Mallah, and Kara race back to Earth in vain to stop Brainiac before he can destroy the planet and taint Superman's reputation and legacy. But also waiting for them are the forces of Task Force X / the Human Defense Corps, armed with the means, the will, and the desire to put down Superman once and for all. But even then... Earth has countless things for Brainiac to cheat death with and transfer himself into. Season two has definitely raised the stakes this week and placed everyone on a collision course that won't end neatly with a bow on top.

DCAU Resource's rating: 9.6/10