Episode 6 Review
Despite being kidnapped, Jimmy Olsen and his conspiracy theories are validated in the sixth episode "My Adventures with Mad Science" from a pair of lonely geniuses but the history lesson they've lived provides more clues about the mysterious Task Force X. Clark and Lois put aside their quarrel to rescue Jimmy but end up activating a decades old threat. Can the three best friends mend fences in time and fight mad science with mad science?
Lois agrees to help look for Jimmy after Clark comes to her apartment in desperation. They both learn their phone calls went unanswered and despite using his powers, Clark could not find Jimmy. Lois uses tracking skills taught to her by her father and picks up a trail then stumble upon an area of forest masked by a machine. They catch site of a lone building with a peculiar hole in it. Jimmy wakes up strapped down and about to be killed by machinery. To his captors' surprise, Jimmy thanks them because he's happy he at least got to meet a super intelligent French gorilla which meant he was right about everything else even though his so-called friends would never know. He implored them to open his brain since that mean someone cares what he thought. The gorilla turns off the machines and asked him if he wanted to talk about what was troubling him. The other captor is shocked. Clark and Lois find an old Cadmus minefield littered with the remains of army vehicles, soldiers, and floating objects. An object activates after Clark grazes it on the descent to the field. "Cadmus" sounds familiar so Lois plays some of Jimmy's streams and finds out the place they're at is called Area 52, where alien technology is kept. They watch another video where Jimmy hypes their trip. They feel guilty but watch in horror as Jimmy is abducted. Clark believes he was really kidnapped by Bigfoot.
Lois finds out Clark didn't tell Jimmy the truth about himself either and confronts him. Clark emphasizes he told her more about himself than anyone else and asks in frustration what else she wants to know. She asks him if his feelings for her were a lie, too. He's shocked she thinks that but they are suddenly attacked by machines. Jimmy is ecstatic to see all of Cadmus's creations and Monsieur Mallah is more than happy to answer his questions. The Brain... is not and paranoid about other people coming, too. He does not get why they're giving their prisoner a tour and doesn't want to be destroyed. Mallah chides him for always thinking the worst and points out they were alone for decades with no one to talk to and admire their work. Mallah mused the world might finally be more accepting unlike last time. Jimmy inquires what he means by "last time." Brain tries to stop him but Mallah tells Jimmy about of fall of Project Cadmus 22 years ago. Project Cadmus was the U.S. government's top secret science agency and along with the military division Task Force X, they were given strange technology and ordered to make them into weapons. Task Force X relished the challenge but Cadmus was not interested in destruction. Instead, they used the technology to create. Mallah was just a normal gorilla given super intelligence in an experiment. He began to work with another young scientist and it bloomed into a wonderful partnership. The government sent Task Force X to eliminate Cadmus. A black hole experiment was disrupted in the chaos. Task Force X assumed there were no survivors and moved on. Mallah survived. Brain lost his body and but mind and heart remained. Jimmy sees parallels with his story about his friends standing him up on a camping trip. They stare at him. Jimmy emphasizes he, too, was abandoned by people who were supposed be support him and wasn't taken seriously. Mallah advised him to speak his mind and if they cared, they would want to know... otherwise he could live with them. Brain wanted to eliminate Jimmy. Mallah and Brain quibbled. Jimmy discovered the black hole experiment was still going on.
Clark without hesitation shields Lois from a flurry of bullets despite being weakened for some reason and not knowing if he was still bulletproof. Mallah confesses to Jimmy the deliberately blew up the back hole to fake their deaths but assures him since then they lived a life of peace trying to figure out how to generate a wormhole to explore the Multiverse and find a place where they are accepted. They are alerted to a breach. Jimmy holds off Brain and Mallah and Clark and Lois from fighting each other. Clark apologizes to Jimmy about the trip and decides to tell him the truth but to everyone's surprise, Jimmy already knew because they were friends since freshman year in college and he put two and two together on his own. He figured Clark would tell him when he was ready and can't believe he told Lois first. Clark emphasizes they should take a deep breath. Eavesdropping, Brain tells them the machines chasing them were not from Cadmus but from Task Force X. They quickly try to barricade themselves from the machines, Mallah sics mutants to destroy them. Mallah admits they got bored after the first year and made some mutants. They are forced further in to the black hole room. Clark finally admits he just wanted to be normal and didn't want to tell the truth and be treated like an alien. Jimmy and Lois assure him they would not have done that. Mallah gets an idea from the conversation and opens the containment field so the black hole can reach critical mass. They form a human chain and barely avoid being pulled in before the black hole stabilizes into a wormhole. The Brain deduced Clark was somehow part of it all – waking up the O.M.A.C. Machines, being affected by the omega field and warned him about "The General," a man who would blot out the Sun if he thought his country demanded it and would never stop if he saw you as a threat. He invited Clark to come with them but he chose to stay and help get Earth to a place where everyone was accepted. Brain wished him luck and departed into the wormhole with Mallah. Some time later, Task Force X checks out the building after tracking a signal from their old technology. The General takes the captive Dr. Ivo to the black hole room so they can take down Superman together. Ivo agrees to take a look at the technology.
After last week's cliffhanger, I was coming into this episode thinking it would be a simple bottle episode. Clark and Lois team up to save Jimmy, endure some hardship, but remember the redeeming qualities of each other and make up. Well, that happened. But the episode also gave a lot of context, history, and food for thought regarding the mysterious recurring threat of Task Force X! The sheer irony of Jimmy stumbling upon probably one of the biggest secrets of the series, Area 52, while looking for Bigfoot. Man! We got a range of the timeline. The Cadmus minefield seems to be the field from the flashbacks Superman has been seeing all season. Some 22 years ago, two divisions got the Kryptonian tech from the odd flashbacks Superman's been getting from touching them and Task Force X was the military side. Project Cadmus went against the parameters and were wiped out except for two scientists. The Brain has some important warnings about Task Force X's leader. Definitely feels like a big bad. Worse yet, now a vengeful Dr. Ivo is in the mix! What I thought was going to be a small one-off episode gave us a big puzzle piece in the ongoing series arc and I loved every second of it!
What I also loved and applauded was the parallel romance story arc going on. Clark and Lois's budding romance hit the wall with Lois forcing Clark to tell the truth. Brain and Mallah are a long-time couple who just want to be safe and accepted after living in hiding for decades. They love each other truly but know the other's nuances down pat to the point of quibbling. In the end, it made total sense that Clark's compassion and ability to put himself in danger to save another life without question is what Lois loves about him and Clark kept his powers a secret because he just wanted to be safe and accepted, too. At the core of both couples are people in love with the other and just want to come to a place of acceptance. Mallah and Brain literally want to find that place together. Clark and Lois figuratively reach that place with each other.
The sort of offbeat nature of this episode and the revelations as well as the humorous beats were a real joy. Jack Quaid really delivered Clark's wholesomeness with "Oh my gosh. Bigfoot kidnapped Jimmy!" Jimmy totally throwing Mallah and Brain off by thanking them before they killed him. Mallah sparing his life just because he wanted to socialize with someone new. Italian chef finger kiss to the crew on this episode. Andre Sogliuzzo gave such an entertaining performance as Monsieur Mallah and his deliveries. 'We lived a life of peace.' Is that a black hole. 'We lived a life of peace and opened a black hole.' Mutants? 'We got bored after a year okay. We made mutants, made a black hole, and lived a life of peace!' Or revealing the Loch Ness Monster was just a mutant they lost in Scotland? Oh, man, Mallah had me rolling. Just might be my new favorite character of the series. Jesse Inocalla perfectly complimented and augmented Sogliuzzo as Mallah's more perturbed half, the Brain, with his inclination to just eliminate everything. It goes without saying but this was a brilliant Jimmy episode. We all thought things were dire last week, but turns out Jimmy was fine and all his crazy theories were basically proved to be right. He was like a kid in a candy store and was just the pal Mallah was aching to hang out with all these decades. Even funnier all this time, Jimmy knew Clark was Superman! Even meta to a point, Jimmy recalled he figured it out because of Clark's recurring problem with reinforced door handles. The balance and execution of humor, drama, and action this week was just perfection.
It was mixed feeling of both satisfaction and sadness that not all the answers are spelled out this week. A lot comes out thanks to Mallah and Brain but there's still an equal amount more left to discover with just 4 episodes left in season 1. But it felt like just enough was revealed to allow us to start connecting the dots. Feels like my ongoing theory that a bunch of Kryptonian tech got mistakenly sent to Earth parallel to baby Kal-El but the U.S. military mistook it for an alien invasion and begun preparations to defend themselves against the next attack sort of like in the style of the ID4 sequel and adapting the tech into their arsenal. So fear and misunderstanding is the core of Task Force X's conflict with Superman. And to make matters worse, the General was there when it happened and he's colored by the experience – molding him into a hardened, merciless, and tenacious military official. There's still the question of how and why all this Kryptonian tech ended up on Earth at the same time Kal-El happens to arrive. Again, the Krypton flashback from episode 2 showed a Kryptonian fleet in space fighting someone or something. Maybe a wormhole was engaged for a last second escape attempt to Earth that was somehow known to Krypton? We learned one of the alien tech Cadmus got to work on was a black hole generator to make a wormhole. Maybe it's the equivalent of a warp drive on an interstellar space ship. The Kryptonians were probably explorers... or based on the range of tech, colonizers at the time Krypton got destroyed. But something struck back against them? Something they could not stop... hmm. There's definitely one classic Superman villain from the comics with that kind of power set. And if you paid attention to a bit of news that dropped before this show premiered, in a video interview, a certain actor mentioned his previously undisclosed role on this series. Hmm!
"My Adventures with Mad Science" vindicates Jimmy Olsen and everything he's been saying on this show but that turns out to be the tip of the iceberg. The episode also explores the ideas of true love and acceptance and being other with the introduction of Monsieur Mallah and The Brain and through Clark and Lois mending fences. Not only that but some big answers and clues about the current main villain Task Force X comes to light. All presented and executed brilliantly without bogging down the episode's main story, structure or pacing! Another week of perfection and peek entertainment from My Adventures with Superman as we get just a little more closer to the end of the season and undoubtedly even more answers and revelations.
DCAU Resource's rating: 9.6/10