With its recurring themes of secrets and duality, Superman & Lois Season 2 could be preparing Superman to reveal his true identity to the world.
The following contains spoilers for Superman & Lois Season 2, which airs Tuesdays on The CW.
In an eventful Season 2, two particular themes have kept popping up on Superman & Lois: duality and the cost of secrets. Cult leader Ally Allston built a career and gained legions of followers with the idea that no one is complete until they merge both halves of themselves. The arrival of Bizarro Superman and the existence of Bizarro World both provide literal examples of this concept of dual selves. The keeping and revealing of secrets has created suspicion and potentially broken multiple relationships. While these themes are common to many superhero stories, they seem to be serving a specific purpose here. Superman & Lois may be building toward an adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis’s comic book storyline “The Truth Revealed.”
The third major arc from Bendis’s run on Superman, “The Truth Revealed” centered around Clark Kent revealing the fact that he is Superman to the entire world. With the possible exception of Jon Kent’s age-up, Superman’s public self-outing was the biggest event of Bendis era. The secret identity has been a major part of the Superman mythos since the very beginning. In many ways, it set the precedent for all of the superheroes with alter egos that followed. There is no Peter Parker without Clark Kent. Tearing down the wall between both halves of Clark’s life was a seismic shift in the comic book world, and it could be the same on Superman & Lois.
Ever since the pilot, the writers of Superman & Lois have been slowly expanding the circle of people who know that Clark is Superman. First, it was just Clark, Lois, Sam, and Martha. Then it was Jordan and Jonathan, then John Henry Irons, then Natalie, and most recently, Lana. How much bigger can this circle get before it includes the whole world?
Superman’s secret identity serves a purpose. It protects his friends and family, and it allows him to escape the public eye and live a semi-normal life. However, over the course of two seasons, it may have become more trouble than it’s worth for Clark and his loved ones. For Lois, it has meant compromising her journalistic integrity and garnering frequent suspicion from her friend and partner Chrissy Beppo. It led to the end of Jordan’s relationship with Sarah Cortez, and it may have permanently destroyed Clark’s oldest friendship. Even Lt. General Anderson’s distrust of Superman stemmed from the incomplete picture he had of the Man of Steel’s loyalties.
Lana wants nothing to do with the Lane-Kent family because she is unwilling to lie to her own family about what she knows. Sarah broke up with Jordan because he couldn’t open up to her. Lois’s issues with Chrissy are almost always related to her protecting Clark’s secret. If that secret became common knowledge, despite any initial fallout, it could help solve all of these problems.
Ally Allston’s insistence on the importance of people literally merging with their inverse selves is clearly misguided. In a metaphorical sense, however, she may be onto something. As either Clark Kent or Superman, Kal-El can’t be fully himself. When he isn’t at home, he has to spend his time hiding half of who he is. If he tells the world the truth about himself, he’ll be free to “merge” his two halves into a complete whole.
Superman & Lois creator Todd Helbing has said that viewers will get a definitive answer about the show’s place in the greater Arrowverse by the end of the season. He may have just been referring to the fact that John Diggle is slated to appear in the season finale. Then again, if Clark wants to go public, it would make sense for the series to mention Supergirl’s own recent unburdening in the Supergirl series finale. Exploring Kara’s example could provide Clark with a roadmap and let viewers get a glimpse of how the Maid of Might’s life has changed since the reveal.
If Season 2 ends with Superman showing the world who he really is, it could open up a rich vein of storytelling for Season 3 and beyond. How would it affect Jordan and Jonathan at school? Would public knowledge of the power disparity between the two cause friction? How would the town of Smallville react to the news that Superman grew up there and has been living there for at least a year? Would they celebrate it, or would they resent the attention it brings? The answers to these questions and countless others would provide Superman & Lois with a narrative shot in the arm and maybe even revive the flagging Arrowverse.
Catch new episodes of Superman & Lois Tuesdays on the CW.
Michel Bigelow is a once and future semi-professional opera singer who moved around a lot growing up but is more or less from Houston, Texas. He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Music and from Roosevelt University in Chicago with an MFA in Creative Writing. He has also written and performed in comedy pieces on the stages of both Second City and iO Chicago. He loves comedy, superheroes, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Indiana Jones, and he believes that the addition of Superman can make any story better. He has a blog that’s (mostly) about learning how to do things called The Process Process, which you can find here: https://theprocessprocess.wordpress.com/