Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Recap: Superman: TAS "The Last Son of Krypton, Part II"

SPOILER ALERT: Krypton was destroyed last episode.

In other news, Professor Snape killed Charles Foster Kane in the conservatory thirty-five minutes ago because Snape was secretly Tyler Durden the whole time.

And the ghost of Bruce Willis is Luke Skywalker's father, Keyser Soze!
Part 2 opens up with a recap of Part 1. Long story short...

In the very distant past,
Somewhere in time and space,
The evil 'puter "Brainiac,"
Was trying to ditch this place.

But there was guy by the name "Jor-El,"
Who tried to save Krypton before it went to Hell.
He could only save his son from this place,
So he put him on a rocket and he launched him into space.

Kal-El's ship emerges from a wormhole, followed by some green rocks that I'm absolutely positive won't be important later on. The ship falls to Earth as farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent spot it as they drive by. Most amazing of all, Kal-El's ship actually lands. Like, with mini-rockets. Makes sense; why would you build a spaceship that can't land? Step up your game, other adaptations.

Anyway, Jonathan and Martha stop to investigate.

Jonathan: "Holy Christmas, what was that?"

Well, hello, Mike Farrell. And that's his wife Shelley Fabares as Martha Kent.

Gonna warn you now, kids. Mike Farrell's presence means that I'm going to be making a couple jokes that you won't get, but your grandparents probably will. Serves you right for having pop culture I don't understand.

"You said this was a shortcut."
"It is a shortcut! Look how fast we got lost."
Take that, whippersnappers!

...Seriously, what the heck is "5sauce"? It sounds delicious, though.

Anyhoo, Martha stumbles upon the alien craft first, finding baby Kal-El inside. She immediately takes him into her arms, but Jonathan is more hesitant.

Jonathan: "Put that thing back! We don't know where it came from!"

Actually, Jonathan inadvertently raises a good point, Martha. Why did you just walk right up to the rocket? For all you knew, this was a Soviet nuke.

Jonathan: "Could be Russian. A Sputnik baby!"

And yet, you'd be all over adopting a little Korean boy, right?

"Ahhh! It's got me! Save yourself!"
But all Martha sees is a baby who needs parents. And because ain't no one telling her different, she decides to adopt him. This is breaking all kinds of immigration and child services laws, by the way.

Fair enough.
After debating some various names, she eventually decides on her maiden name: Clark.

We flash forward a few years, where a high school-age Clark Kent is daydreaming out the window as his teacher passes back the test he aced. Next to him, a hot redhead named Lana Lang stares dreamily at him. She didn't do so hot on the test. She was probably too busy studying Clark instead of math. After school, she and Clark meet up as usual. For some reason, he's all depressed and says he feels all weird.

Lana: "You've always been weird, if you ask me."

Shockingly, this doesn't cheer him up.

Lana: "Hey. It's Lana. You know, the girl who's had a crush on you since we were three?"

So, what, are you two dating? Just friends? Sweethearts? Or is Lana just trying to drop hints that Clark's not picking up? Based on my experiences with my own girlfriend, it's probably the last one.

Anyway, Clark explains that there have been... changes to his body lately. Not like that. To demonstrate, he overhears a faraway, whispered conversation and tells Lana what's being said. And he can see through walls, too.

Lana: "So, how many times have you peeked into the girls' locker room?"

So how... dang it, I was going to make that joke.

So, uh, Lana's really taking this well. Maybe she doesn't believe him, maybe she's not really thinking about it while staring into his dreamy, flesh-colored sclera.

But suddenly, his ears pick up a skidding vehicle. Clark tells Lana to call an ambulance and leaps into action as Farmboy! The out of control RV hits a gas station, causing an explosion. With no hesitation, Clark runs in and saves the day. Somehow, he has no burns, no scratches. Not even from the massive secondary explosion.

"Quick, get your shirt off, Clark!"
"But it's not on fire."
"Who said anything about a fire?"
Later at the Kent farm, Clark talks to his Pa about his seemingly random new superpowers. Because Jonathan Kent knows one of the wisest men this side of Seoul.

From the man who brought you such nuggets of wisdom as "Horse hockey!"
Anyway, Clark demonstrates a few of these new powers, like a gaze that heats things up, though I'm not sure what you would call such a heat-based vision. Martha comes along to tell Clark that Lana called again, but Clark won't talk to her. Not until he can figure out why he's suddenly developing powers.

Jonathan: "I think it's time, Martha."

They take Clark out to the barn and show him a chest that's been locked for a long time. Inside of it is the secret they never knew how to tell their son: the ship that brought him to Kansas.

Jonathan: "You know how some babies are found in baskets?"

Oh, yeah, the triannual baby giveaway.

Clark: "So, where did I come from?"

Well, when a mommy alien loves a daddy alien very much....

They hand him the strange box that came inside the craft, and it reacts to his touch. The box's surface moves a bit, realigning to form the famous "S" of Superman, the Crest of the House of El. Suddenly, it reacts by sending a holographic message into his mind. It doesn't even have to buffer! Truly, these Kryptonians are far beyond us mortals.

Jor-El: "Hello, son."

"Do you know that you look just like my father before he died?"
A mental projection of Jor-El and Lara explain that Clark is the sole survivor of Krypton, and draws strength from the yellow sun of the Earth to gain superpowers. Great power, great responsibility, etc.

The idea of having a Jor-El hologram mentor his son has been around since at least Superman: The Movie. I'm not the biggest fan (since it sort of diminishes the Kents in terms of being Clark's guidance), but it works well here. All it is is a message telling Kal-El who he is, where he came from, what's happening to him, and that they love him. It's pretty narratively convenient that Jor-El knows why the yellow sun is doing to Clark, but he is a scientist. A geologist, physicist, astronomer, engineer, and now biologist.

(Let us not speak of Man of Steel's data ghost of Jor-El, because then I would have to explain why I liked that part of the movie, and I really don't have the time to debate the entire internet.)

As the illusion fades, Clark keeps telling himself that he can't be a freak, this can't be real. He punctuates this by punching through one of the barn's support beams, just like any normal person. Then he runs away from the farm as fast as he can, no doubt while people debate over whether or not he's going faster than young Barry Allen is at this point.

Coming across a gorge, he instinctively jumps it. He forgets about his problems for a moment, and runs back to it. This time, when he leaps it, he doesn't come back down. The moral of the story is that being a freak is okay as long as you can fly. He flies all round town before finally returning to the farm. He hugs his Ma and Pa. Because he's not a freak, he's their son. He's feeling much better, too. He's just super, man.

A few years later, the Metropolis news reports on what is being described as a "guardian angel." The staff of the local paper, the Daily Planet watches and have a laugh over it. One of them, Lois Lane, makes fun of the whole story... only to discover that someone on staff wrote a story about it.

"I don't read papers much; I'm just a reporter."
So, let's pause for a moment and talk about this Lois Lane.

This Lois Lane is Lois Lane.

Not only is Dana Delany the perfect voice, with the perfect delivery, but the writing behind the character is top-notch. She's not as shallow as many critics of the character claim. She's not a damsel in distress, but she's not defined as a "strong, independent woman who don't need no man (finger snaps)." She's a reporter, and a darn good one. She's more than willing to stick her neck out to get the job done, and has the chops to bust large-scale crime organizations wide open. Speaking of organized crime....

Lois: "Chief! I spent a week on the docks with rats and frizzed hair exposing the biggest gun-smuggling ring to hit this town in ten years and what makes the front page? Some sprouty, New-Age, granola-crunching fluff piece on angels. What's next? Interviews with Bigfoot?"

Wow, this show from the nineties accurately predicted how shallow news would get in only twenty years.

Seriously, though. God, I love that line. Sure, it may look a little clunky, but Delany just sells that delivery. She actually reminds me of an old-school 1950's reporter, but, like, toned down. Which was apparently the goal, so you go right ahead and keep rockin' that mic.

"Clark, ya hear this hooey 'bout a flyin' man? Why, it's a heap a malarkey. Malarkey, I says!"
Anyway, the boss, Perry White, blows off Lois' usual bluster and tells her that he wants to introduce her to the new guy.

Lois: "Is he cute?"

She don't necessarily need no man (finger snaps), but if she sees one she likes, she's gonna try taking him for a test drive.

Speaking of which, yes, it's Clark. And yes, he's right behind her.

They go through the usual pleasantries.

Lois: "Smallville, huh? Never heard of it."
Clark: "Have you ever been to Kansas?"
Lois: "God, no."

It's okay, Clark. People say the same thing about where I grew up.

Perry wants Clark to hang around Lois for a bit until he gets acquainted with the city, but she complains that she's got that thing at Lexcorp to be at. So the boss says she should get going. With Clark.

Lois: "Look, Smallville, nothing against you, but even as a kid, I never liked babysitting."

She agrees, but tells him she won't hold his hand and baby him. On their way out, they run into Jimmy Olsen, the copyboy/photographer. Lois takes the opportunity to ditch Clark and leaves him behind.

Later, at Lexcorp Laerotories (hello, flagrant misspellings; glad you made it over from Batman: TAS), Lois makes fun of TV reporter Angela Chen for having to cover that angel hooey, and Angela counters that at least her channel only needs one reporter.

Yep, looks like Clark really... flew over here, huh? (Yes, I know this episode makes that joke, but I wrote that down before I got to that part. So nyeh.)

Lois compliments him and apologizes; he meets her approval. And that balance right there is why the character really works. She's compassionate, but still feisty. Serious about her work, but with a sharp sense of humor. She suffers no fools, but admits when she's been foolish.

But before I can compliment the character further, the event soon begins, as they get ready to unveil the Lexo-Skel 5000, a suit of military-grade armor.

"Behold, the Lexo-Skel 5000!"
"Now that's just precious."
The announcer hypes up the super-special alloy it's made out of while the armor shoots a bunch of targets in a video presentation. The creator himself, Lex Luthor comes out to talk about his weapon of peace, but Clark soon hears aircraft headed their way and excuses himself.

Pilot: "Time to crash the party, gentlemen."

How odd that they got Malcolm McDowell to voice a minor henchman that I'm sure we'll never see after this episode.

Anyway, said aircraft fires a few missiles and starts shooting the place up as Clark secretly undresses himself, revealing blue tights under his clothes. As the aircraft steals the Lexo-Skel, Lois trips and falls into the path of some debris. Luckily, she has a "guardian angel" to save her.

I'm sure this won't end up becoming a recurring thing.
And what's Lois's reaction to seeing this sculpted god save her with his mighty, manly muscles? Does she swoon? Does she beg him to take her away from the danger? Nope. It's simpler.

Lois: "...No way."

He flies off to deal with these thieves. Much like Lana's reaction to Clark's powers, these goons are not reacting much at all to this amazing feat of personal flight.

"Huh. Would you look at that, a flying man. You seeing this, Charlie?"
Superman quickly dispatches the two smaller crafts, and evades a missile from the larger aircraft. But it soon hits a nearby plane, blasting a wing off and sending it hurtling to the ground.

To be continued! Will Superman save the day? Will Malcolm McDowell return? What will Lois say about this "flying angel" malarkey now? Tune in next time!


  1. Loved all the captions, I think this is your funniest recap I've read in awhile.