Superman & Lois Is Better Than Ever in Season 3 — Get the Story Behind That New Villain's Long-Awaited Arrival
By Andy Swift,2023-03-15
Spoiler alert: We’re breaking down the Season 3 premiere of Superman & Lois . Please visit your DVR of Solitude, then come back when you’re ready.
It’s good to be back in Smallville.
When Superman & Lois first premiered in 2021, critics were drawn to its refreshing balance of small-town drama and superheroics. It was as much a slice-of-life show about a rural community as it was about the fate of the world (and occasionally more) constantly resting on the shoulders of an alien from the planet Krypton. “ Friday Night Lights with superheroes,” we called it.
And that’s exactly what Tuesday’s Season 3 premiere feels like, with half the town showing up to celebrate Jonathan and Jordan’s birthday at the Kents’ farm. (Speaking of the twins, I noticed the Jonathan recast far less than I expected to. That transition feels relatively seamless, based on the two episodes I’ve seen.)
One consistent complaint from fans about Superman & Lois ‘ second season was the lack of interaction between its titular couple, which has been remedied ten-fold. Not only do we finally get to watch the iconic duo working side by side at a newspaper, but we also get a glimpse into some of their most private moments as a couple. (Hint: It’s the kind of thing Clark can’t even talk to Lana about without blushing like a school boy.)
“It was a goal to get them more intimate and to show them more as a couple,” showrunner Todd Helbing says, attributing the pair’s lack of screen time last season to COVID restrictions and related work-arounds. “The boys are also getting older, so we’re getting back to Clark and Lois as just two people who are in love and married.”
“This is a show that has joy and hope, and we’re fortunate to have Tyler [Hoechlin] and Bitsie [Tulloch], who have such real on-screen chemistry,” adds showrunner Brent Fletcher . “It’s an engine for a show, and we think we’ve got one of the best — if not the best — married couples on television.”
As disappointed as we are to learn in the premiere that the Kents won’t be welcoming another super baby into the family, that whole potential pregnancy storyline serves as a strong reminder of Lois and Clark’s bond as a couple, and their individual bonds with friends like Lana and Chrissy. Those relationships will certainly come in handy as the season progresses.
And what would a superb season of Superman & Lois be without at least one — or in this case, several — intriguing new foes? Let’s start with the black-hooded figure known as Onomatopoeia, a somewhat obscure DC Comics character created by Kevin Smith in 2002. Onomatopoeia nearly made its way onto The CW back in Arrow ‘s first season, but translating the character from page to screen proved unexpectedly difficult, and it was pushed to the back burner.
“Jai Jamison, one of our writers and directors, pitched using Onomatopoeia, like, the second or third week of Season 1,” Helbing recalls. “We had that same reaction, that it would be awesome if we could translate this villain into live-action. But how do we do that? We let it percolate for a couple of seasons, and with our overall story this season, that villain slotted in perfectly once we figured out how to make her cool.”
There’s also Chad L. Coleman, who not only commands the screen as crime boss Bruno Mannheim but also challenges the Man of Steel to reconsider what it means to really save people.
Mannheim, who “looms large” over this entire season, was selected as the show’s new villain because he’s “a worthy foe for both Superman and Lois,” Fletcher says. “This is also someone who has a point of view that’s not easily dismissible. Even though this person has done bad things, maybe there’s a reason behind it, or a circumstance that brought it about. Great characters have complications to them, and you need great actors to fill those roles. When we pitched it, Chad was at the top of our list.”
We’ll wrap things up with the premiere’s most unexpected, and potentially most polarizing, development: Chrissy and Kyle’s post-party hookup. Like, how could something so wrong… feel so right?
“You know, it’s a small town,” Fletcher reminds us, adding that “a random pairing can can have long-term benefits. We felt like their chemistry would be interesting, and having seen a lot of what they’ve done this season, I can say that it really works. They’re not what you’d expect, but there’s something the two of them share that’s real.”
(One more thing: If you were wondering about Sam taking Natalie to see a movie about a serial killer known as “The Carver,” the answer is yes, that was an intentional nod to Dylan Walsh’s days on Nip/Tuck . “The Sequoia’s marquee has become Easter egg land for us,” Fletcher says. “We put movie titles up there all the time just to amuse ourselves.)
OK, let’s talk: Are you also feeling the love for Superman & Lois ‘ new season after this first hour? Grade the premiere in our poll below, then drop a comment with your full review of the episode.