Superman & Lois Is Starting to Realize It’s a Superhero Show

Clark’s distractions find him behind in the chase for Thaddeus Killgrave.

Clark’s distractions find him behind in the chase for Thaddeus Killgrave.
Image: The CW

This week’s Superman & Lois centers the classing superhero story push and pull—whatever is Clark Kent going to do about balancing his life with his family and his life as the Man of Steel? But while the episode has some smart approaches to an age-old trope, it finds itself asking a similar question of the show in the process.

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“Haywire” pulls on an increasingly messy tangle of threads that all eventually try to converge into a similar debate, revolving around Clark’s renewed focus on spending time with his family as he continues to perform heroics as Superman. Clark is the uncomfortable target of a visit from the in-laws—this case in particular being his kinda-sorta boss at the DOD and Lois’ father, General Sam Lane (Dylan Walsh), who shows up to support Jordan’s first Smallville High football game and then proceeds to spend the rest of his time whining that Clark is being Superman 90% of the time rather than 100% of the time. Meanwhile, as Jordan and Jonathan celebrate the first win of the season, the latter discovers that picked-on, injured teammate Tag (Wern Lee) is hiding a strange secret beyond his broken arm.

And then there’s Lois, who, muzzled by the threat of legal action from Morgan Edge, tries to take him on before a Smallville council vote to give him rights to the town’s mines—and loses, frustratingly so, momentarily fraying her relationship with Clark when he’s not there at a time she needed him most. Throw in villainous scientist Thaddeus Killgrave (Brendan Fletcher) briefly breaking out of custody because of Clark’s lack of focus on Metropolis, and you’ve got a recipe for impending disaster as Superman has to wrestle with the idea of carving out a part of his life that’s solely his own.

Those are the interesting parts of those beats, and the bits where “Haywire” doesn’t threaten to collapse in a heap of set up and promise that, soon enough, Superman & Lois will fall more in line with its siblings on the CW. But even with those moments, Superman & Lois is slowly but surely being pushed from the more grounded, character-driven arcs that have made the first three episodes so interesting, and into larger, more explosive, more comic-book-y realms.

Sam might have left his argument with Clark humbled by Lois—she’s furious that he would try to parent her children for her—but he does so to go set up that mysterious Anti-Superman project hinted at by Captain Luthor (remember Captain Luthor? Superman & Lois barely feels like it does, despite being four episodes in). Lois being unable to stop Morgan from gaining the Smallville council’s support means he’s suddenly found himself a convenient pile of “X-Kryptonite”—a gimmick from the comics accidentally created by Supergirl of all people, that temporarily grants non-metahumans Kryoptinan powers—hidden in the town’s mines. And Jonathan and Jordan’s arc seemingly ties into that when it’s revealed the secret Tag’s hiding from the team isn’t the result of resentment from his teammates bullying him, but because he’s started displaying erratic, uncontrolled, vibrating superspeed abilities.

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Image: The CW

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This all might be fine, but it means right now that every thread of the show is currently pushing toward comic book stakes. And in an episode that’s meant to be about Clark taking a stand that his priorities will favor his family more than being Superman, that’s not great, because it means those stakes are eventually going to require an escalation where the answer is decided for Clark. Yes, he can still be a goofball romantic and try his hardest for his boys, but no matter where he turns in the corners of his life, it’s all going to come down to problems that Superman has to solve, not Clark Kent. And that’s a shame, because the superhero side of things is where Superman & Lois feels the most aimless, like it’s slowly falling back into line with the rest of the CW’s DC oeuvre and not where it finds itself the most interesting. In spite of the encroachment by all the superheroic setup, there are beats and character moments in “Haywire” that really work, even if they are a little bit earnestly cheesy.

Every time Jonathan and Jordan’s relationship veers closer to setting the two on the arc of the former being jealous about the latter crowding his space as “the popular football kid,” it gracefully sidesteps to build out their relationship as brothers who genuinely, sincerely care about each other. Lois standing up to her father’s toxic helicopter parenting that she’s been through once already in her life—and emboldening Clark to take a firmer stand on his private life, too—is a fascinating twist in their usual distant, but still warm relationship. Hell, even the moment between her and Lana getting drinks together works beyond the “girl’s night” schmaltz; it gives us more insight into the latter’s relationship with Kyle, mirrored in turn by the goofy, lovably earnest move Clark makes at the climax of the episode, turning the Kent farm barn into a romantic fairy-light-and-candle-lit dinner date for Lois.

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Image: The CW

A move cheesier than an entire dairy farm’s output? Absolutely. But it makes good on Clark inevitably being pulled away from said cheesefest in a way that doesn’t read as the typical balance of power in superhero relationships that “the work” will always come first, strongly pulling Clark’s arc over the episode together in the process.

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After all, what is the story of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, one of comic’s most iconic couples, if not earnest and cheesy? That remains Superman & Lois’ greatest strength now, even as its tone in these episodes so far has played with and inverted that lightness in equally interesting ways. Hopefully that human heart remains the dominating factor of the show, even as things inevitably ramp up on the superhuman side of things—otherwise the lesson about priorities learned by Clark here might ultimately go to waste.

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Kevin Feige Teases The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’s Mysterious New Marvel Comics Location

Sam and Bucky are going travelling.

Sam and Bucky are going travelling.
Screenshot: Marvel Studios

Morning SpoilersIf there’s news about upcoming movies and television you’re not supposed to know, you’ll find it in here.

Fede Alvarez teases his Texas Chainsaw Massacre follow-up. Work has begun on Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers and The Midnight Club. Henry Golding teases reshoots on Snake Eyes. Plus, what’s to come on Supergirl and The Flash. To me, my spoilers!

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Illustration for article titled Kevin Feige Teases The Falcon and The Winter Soldier's Mysterious New Marvel Comics Location

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

In a recent interview with Bloody-Disgusting, director Fede Alvarez described the next Texas Chainsaw Massacre film as “Old Man Leatherface, suggesting it will follow the recent trend of sequel-ignoring follow-ups in the vain of 2018’s Halloween. 

It is a direct sequel, and it is the same character. It is old man Leatherface.


Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers

Production has officially begun on the live-action Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers movie.


Peter Pan & Wendy

Coming Soon reports production has additionally begun on Disney’s live-action Peter Pan.

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A House on the Bayou

/Film reports Blumhouse is producing eight new horror films exclusively for Pennyworth’s EPIX. The first in the series, A House on the Bayou, comes from writer-director Alex McAulay and is said to follow “a troubled couple and their preteen daughter who go on vacation to an isolated house in the Louisiana bayou to reconnect as a family. But when unexpected visitors arrive, their facade of family unity starts to unravel, as terrifying secrets come to light.”

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Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

Reshoots on Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins are currently underway according to actor Henry Golding on Youtube.


Troll

NFI has our first look at Tomb Raider director Roar Uthaug’s latest film about a giant troll attacking Norway.

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Illustration for article titled Kevin Feige Teases The Falcon and The Winter Soldier's Mysterious New Marvel Comics Location

Photo: Netflix


The Falcon and the Winter Solider

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Kevin Feige hints that the show will utilize a location that was not “previously available” to Marvel Studios prior to the Disney-Fox merger:

There’s a setting in particular that people have already glimpsed in some of the trailers that is a setting from the Marvel Comics that was not previously available to us, but it’s more of an Easter egg in and of itself.

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Previous set pictures included elements of the Madripoor flag as set dressing, suggesting that Feige is teasing the infamous Southeast Asian island nation home to many of the Marvel Comics universe’s most notorious gangs and lucrative business dealings—and has many ties to the X-Men.

Meanwhile, in conversation with Comic Book Movie, series writer Malcolm Spellman appears to confirm Danny Ramirez plays Falcon’s successor, Joaquin Torres.


Supergirl

TV Line has photos from the March 30 season premiere of Supergirl. Click through for more.

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Illustration for article titled Kevin Feige Teases The Falcon and The Winter Soldier's Mysterious New Marvel Comics Location

Photo: The CW

Illustration for article titled Kevin Feige Teases The Falcon and The Winter Soldier's Mysterious New Marvel Comics Location

Photo: The CW

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Illustration for article titled Kevin Feige Teases The Falcon and The Winter Soldier's Mysterious New Marvel Comics Location

Photo: The CW

Illustration for article titled Kevin Feige Teases The Falcon and The Winter Soldier's Mysterious New Marvel Comics Location

Photo: The CW

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The Midnight Club

Production has officially begun on Mike Flanagan’s adaptation of Christopher Pike’s The Midnight Club.

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Sasquatch

Hulu has released a new trailer for the Duplass Bros.’s upcoming documentary series investigating a triple homicide allegedly committed by a Sasquatch.


Black Lightning

Painkiller enjoys his own backdoor pilot in the promo for next week’s episode of Black Lightning.

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The Flash

Abra Kadabra returns in the trailer for next week’s episode of The Flash, “Central City Strong.


Superman & Lois

Captain Luthor hunts Lois Lane in the trailer for next week’s episode of Superman & Lois.


Snowpiercer

Finally, the second season of Snowpiercer draws to a close in the trailer for March 29’s two-hour finale.


Banner art by Jim Cook

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Superman & Lois Proves a Little Superdickery Might Run in the Family

Jonathan attempts to get through to his brother after another fight with their dad.

Jonathan attempts to get through to his brother after another fight with their dad.
Image: The CW

Welcome back to Smallville, where nothing is as it seems, everyone’s masks are slowly falling apart, Lois Lane is excited to do some Capital J Journalism, and Superman’s real enemy of the day is his own gut instinct. And maybe high school football?

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“The Perks of Not Being a Wallflower” feels like the CW’s Superman & Lois finding itself in a bit of a rhythm already. Lois (Bitsie Tulloch) is off digging herself up a seasonal storyline over at the Smallville Gazette in the B-plot, while over in the A-plot, Smallville’s finest himbo is once again learning that he’s not as perfect at this whole dad dealio as he’d hoped. While the show’s first two episodes were mostly about how Clark (Tyler Hoechlin) dealt with the ramifications of revealing his double life to his sons Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alexander Garfin), and how much that changes their relationship, his arc this episode is more human than it is really metahuman. Because, oh no: it’s time for school sports.

Clark tells the boys he’s spent his entire life tuning out sonic waves to hear only the sounds of distress he needs to, say, ditch painting up the Kent family farm to go stop a bridge from falling down on the other side of the world. But he inadvertently also reveals the direct opposite thing any teenager wants to hear: their dad is always listening. After Sarah’s (Inde Navarette) boyfriend turns his eye from harassing Jonathan on the field to just out-and-out bullying Jordan in the corridors at school, Clark comes super-running just before Jordan can accidentally expose his burgeoning powers as his anger overwhelms him. Good news? He doesn’t turn a poor kid into pulp thanks to being a quarter-Kryptonian. Bad news? He and Jonathan are pissed that Clark super-monitors them. Which is fair, because, holy invasion of privacy, Superman!

Sorry, wrong DC show.

While Clark might mean well, the fact that he at first doesn’t understand his boy’s frustration that—Superman or not—their dad has been keeping tabs on them their entire lives, we quickly learn thanks to Lois this isn’t the first time he’s done this to people near to him. While it’s framed as a lovey-dovey moment of Lois recalling what a dope Clark was for spending weeks of his salary on flowers to apologize for super snooping on her when they were dating, it establishes a pattern that the rest of this episode begins to pick up on, especially with Jordan. If Clark wants to set an example to his sons, especially one beginning to wrestle with his identity as a potential metahuman, well-intentioned but insensitive uses of his power, repeatedly, is not the way to do it.

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Image: The CW

Because like father, like son, Jordan decides to emulate his dad a little by signing up alongside Jonathan for the school football team. While Jonathan’s there because, as he later intones to his brother, football is his thing, Jordan is there explicitly to leverage his burgeoning abilities to get one over on his bullies. Rough tackle after rough tackle might impress the machismo-drenched environs of a high school football field, but between it and his own near-brush with fighting early in the episode begins to lay the groundwork for something more sinister for Jordan, as he wonders why he shouldn’t use his power for his own gain, whether on the field or through violence.

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There’s a stark difference, but there are still parallels between father and son: a confidence in that what they’re doing is the right thing for those they care about, undercut with the dangerous power that they believe it’s the right thing because they know they are something more than human. For Clark, it’s his loved ones, and for Jordan, it’s Sarah, as the two begin to fumble through friendship in a typically teen fashion. At the very least, Jonathan knows to temper his brother when things might go too far, even though he’s clearly a little upset that the thing he’s good at is being co-opted by his brother all of a sudden. Whereas Clark, discovering that his second son has joined football practice, immediately flies off the handle out of concern (rightful concern, in some ways!) that Jordan could expose his abilities for some pretty selfish reasons. Long story short, more arguments abound in the Kent-Lane house, and more wondering for our titular superhero about whether or not he’s cut out for this dad stuff like he is the superpower stuff.

It takes Jonathan being a really good kid for both his brother and his father to come to their heightened senses. Thankfully, Superman & Lois doesn’t immediately dive into a brotherly-jealousy arc with the siblings, even though the potential is there. After all, Jonathan is presented as the athlete star of the family, and now Jordan’s encroaching on his young life’s livelihood just because he has latent powers to make up the deficit. Even outside of football, their increasing friendship with Sarah—herself going through some familial strife with her strained relationship with Lana (Emmanuelle Chriqui), who, like Clark, just wants to know what is up with her kids, even if that frustrates them—sees him pushed a little to the wayside while Jordan and her bond over their mental health issues.

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Image: The CW

And yet, Jonathan’s arc doesn’t go there. Instead, he goes to bat (sorry, wrong sports analogy) for Jordan with his dad. He begs his father to do what his namesake grandfather couldn’t do for Clark as a kid—allow him to play sports—because he sees how happy Jordan has been being able to start bonding with other boys on the football team. It’s incredibly sweet, and an act of love more powerful than whatever Clark thought he was doing super-spying on them and trying to keep their secrets hidden—even though two teens are unlikely to really be able to express that to each other in such a manner. Ultimately, it means both boys get to bond over a shared interest, and Clark…well, he learns there are other ways he can look after his sons without leaning on his powers to do so, signing up to manage the football team so he can look after the boys as a dad first, and as Superman second.

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Which is a good thing, because he’s probably going to have to save his Superman-protection for his wife before he goes back to snooping on the kids. While the Kent-Lane men go through metahuman Friday Night Lights, elsewhere in the episode Lois quickly finds herself getting in the deep end with her investigation into Morgan Edge. When a lead from another small town Edge set up shop in (only to abandon) puts her in the sights of a metahuman assassin—who starts by burning Lois’ car to prove a point before just trying to straight-up kill her source and her—she finds herself truly in her element. Not only is her hunch proven right, something dodgy is up with Edge, but she also sets the stage for Clark to have even more problems than he already does with the mysterious Captain Luthor. After failing to silence Lois, her mystery assailant himself is offed by another shadowy figure: a woman who uses a very Kryptonian-looking ocular blast to do the deed.

It turns out Clark might have a few more problems than football kids to deal with in his immediate future, then. But at least he knows now that if he does have to keep his eye off the football field, Jonathan and Jordan will have each other’s backs, powers or otherwise.

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On Superman & Lois, No One’s as Special as They Thought They Were

Nothing’s quite as simple as Clark and Lois thought it was going to be, for better or worse.

Nothing’s quite as simple as Clark and Lois thought it was going to be, for better or worse.
Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

Superman & Loisdebut last week was all about bringing the CW’s own Man of Steel back down to earth a little bit, with familial struggles that he couldn’t solve with a punch or an eye beam blast. But when certain revelations about his family life brought the Kent-Lane team back to Smallville, the show presented the idea of a special little family in a small little town…before promptly skewering that notion in some interesting ways.

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Much of “Heritage” is about, thankfully, taking a bit of a handbrake to the pilot episode’s superheroic escalation, which saw Clark reveal to his teen sons Jonathan and Jordan that he is indeed Superman, and that the latter of the brothers—in spite of his parent’s speculation—is the one that inherited Clark’s powers. It seemed to wrap up rather abruptly: that in revealing his secret Clark had immediately begun the path to being the better father he was questioning his capability of, that in being the one who inherited his powers, Jordan would be able to open up and connect with his father after years of struggles with his mental health and his ability to understand himself. Problems over!

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After an episode that had largely focused on a more human side of the DC’s CW material, the indicators were there that we’d be neatly wrapping it all up in a bow to get to the Superman-Superboy power hour. But for now, Superman & Lois is at least thankfully intent on taking as slow a burn as possible in turning its main family into the network’s latest superteam. The second episode takes a little step back to instead knock a little of that special Kryptonian wind out of basically everyone’s sails in the Kent-Lane unit, to remind them that they’re still just as fallibly human as the rest of us whether or not they know (or are) a certain red-caped man of tomorrow.

Initially, Clark and Jordan bear the brunt of this, as the two are quickly eager to re-established their frayed bond with frequent trips to the Fortress of Solitude so that Clark can a) introduce Jordan to his holo-grandad, and b) begin learning the extent of his powers. At first, everything’s going well, and the distance between father and son that had dominated so much of the pilot feels like a distant memory. But when early tests by Jor-El’s monitoring systems seemingly detect that Jordan cannot store energy from the sun like his father can—that, as Jor-El puts it, his humanity is holding back what Kryptonian is within him to truly manifest abilities—father and son face huge blowbacks again.

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Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

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Jordan returns to lashing out at the world around him, his family included, believing this as further proof he’s some sort of freakish abnormality. Clark, meanwhile, already stressed out at having to deal with a new villain who knows discomforting levels of things about him, once again finds himself wracked with self-doubt over whether or not he’s doing the right thing, either as Superman or as a father to both his sons. But it’s not just one Kent-Lane sibling who’s struggling with a reckoning over whether they’re as talented as they’d been lead to believe.

As Clark and Jordan begin spending more time together (and Lois is off doing her own thing, which we’ll get to), Jonathan, formerly the athletic wunderkind, finds himself in a strange spot of not being held upon high by his new school peers or even at home. Fallout from the fight at last week’s party has put many of his new teammates on Smallville High’s football team on a warpath to make Jonathan’s life on and off the field miserable, leading to his performance there suffering. That, combined with his parents’ focus on Jordan in the wake of his manifestation, leads to an explosive outburst with the brother at their rawest, screaming about how focus on the other is undermining the sacrifices they’ve all made relocating to Smallville.

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Lois—who thankfully gets much more of a plot thread this week compared to the pilot’s focus on Clark—faces a knockback that is a bit more professional than it is personal, but it’s still one that galvanizes her in her new quest to expose Morgan Edge’s myriad wrongdoings. Already on the hunt over Edge’s plan to pump venture capital into Smallville’s failing economy, Lois decides that she—embracing the figure of the know-it-all out-of-towner coming in to fix all the dumb boonies’ problems persona that’s been lobbed at her by people like Lana’s husband, Kyle—is the only one who can expose Edge’s sliminess after his takeover of the Daily Planet. Instead, she quickly learns what any journalist whose workplace is owned by private equity does: sometimes the people with infinitely more money than you will in fact hold all the power over you, and are willing to exercise it in some very petty ways.

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After Edge orders a radical re-write of a piece Lois filed about his predatory funding practices in small towns before his interest in Smallville, Lois is shocked to discover that she—intrepid reporter, bright star of the Daily Planet masthead, a woman who has never faced a re-write in her entire career!—is just as easily screwed over by Edge as anyone else, whether at the Planet or in Smallville (even if, like Kyle, people are desperate enough to risk a chance on Edge potentially screwing them). It all leads to a moment of climax that blows out on the Kent family farm’s staircase of all places. Lois, frustrated by Edge’s sliminess, Clark, pulled between the mysterious stranger’s growing threat and new revelations day by day about Jordan’s superhumanity, the siblings both being pushed further and further about their own stresses, everyone lets the mask slip a little, the kids especially. That is, until Lois has to remind them all that no matter what setbacks the family faces, they’re not problems that can be solved with superpowers, but problems confronted and challenged by standing together as a family.

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Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW

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It seemingly works, at least for a little bit—Jordan and Jonathan apologize to each other for not having their brother’s backs like they have their whole lives. Lois, meanwhile, realizes that she can’t do what she needs to do at the Planet anymore, handing in her resignation to become the, uh, second employee of the Smallville Gazette to continue investigating Edge on her own terms. As for Clark, it remains to be seen, as a Lois Lane pep talk really doesn’t get him any step closer to uncovering what we the audience know about Captain Luthor’s true identity in the first place. At least, on the home front, he’s beginning to get a better grasp on the problems his family is facing and decides that its time for him to be there as much as he can. Handing over a pocket receiver to his sons, he decides to let them call him—him being Superman specifically, obviously they all have cellphones—whenever they need, just as General Lane can summon Superman to save the day.

And speaking of the General, he’s going to need Clark more than ever—after Captain Luthor’s quest for more Kryptonite (and, after a scrap with Clark along the way, materials for a new suit) puts him on a collision course with the DOD. But instead of just leveling the building and getting what he needs, the “Stranger” gives General Lane a warning that someday he’ll become like the Sam Luthor knew on his own world—just as Kal-El will, too, Luthor darkly wonders. Here we’re treated to a flashback of a dark-suited Superman on Luthor’s alternate earth, eradicating a unit of soldiers (Captain Lane, included) with his heat vision with a cold emptiness.

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Turns out not even Superman’s so special for now—in a world of multiverses, he’s not the only last son of Krypton. But in revenge, Luthor’s now got plans for him to be exactly that, and it might take a bit more than Lois, Jonathan, and Jordan standing beside him to prevent that from happening.

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