‘Superman & Lois’ Season 3 Ep 9: Recap & Ending Explained
Welcome to the ending explained for Season 3, Episode 9 of Superman and Lois. The ninth episode, titled “The Dress,” was the most emotional episode so far. We saw Lois struggling with her body image, something that all of us can relate to, at least to some extent.
Bruno Mannheim struggles between keeping his power and seeing his dying wife. And John Henry Irons was finally brought to the edge and pushed. It was probably the best episode so far in this season, so let’s move on with the analysis.
Bruno Mannheim is stuck between a rock and a hard place
In last week’s episode, we saw that Peia almost died during her confrontation with John Henry. We’ve also seen Nat’s and Matteo’s relationship falling apart because they finally realize they are a superpowered version of Romeo and Juliette.
We know that Peia, aka Onomatopoeia, is still alive, but she is kept inside the D.O.D. building for the time being. Bruno and Matteo are denied access to her until Bruno returns the stuff he stole from the D.O.D., namely, the corpse of Bizarro Superman & Clark’s blood that he uses to give criminals superpowers.
John Henry has his way of getting what he wants, while Superman wants to be sympathetic, considering that he is also going through the whole cancer thing with Lois. John Henry accuses Clark of being too emotional and talks to Bruno and his lawyer.
Bruno refuses to deliver what he stole but promises that he will see his dying wife “one way or another.”
After returning home, he is confronted by Matteo, who wants to know when he can see his mother. He also asks Bruno whether he and Peia ever killed someone. Bruno tactfully denies this without denying it directly. He lies to him by omission and plays on the fact that Matteo could never imagine his mother and father killing anyone.
This only proves how Matteo has been naive about the whole thing and never knew about his father’s affairs, and this has the potential to blow up in his face in the long run.
John Henry Irons is trying as hard as he can to protect Natalie
Natalie is under house arrest, forced to carry weapons for self-defense, and John Henry is tracking her every move. Considering everything that took place, this is completely understandable, but she is frustrated, and her hormones and youth are clouding her judgment. She voiced her frustrations while she was with Sarah, Jordan, and Jonathan, and Jonathan said that dating Matteo is probably not a good idea in the first place, considering who his parents are.
Natalie argues that who our parents are can’t dictate what we will become and mentions that Candice, Jonathan’s girlfriend, whose father is a criminal, physically attacked Jonathan at one point. Although I would usually agree with Natalie on this one, you can’t compare Candice’s dad, who is a local deadbeat, and Bruno Mannheim, who is responsible for the deaths of numerous people and a significant measure of misery being spread around.
Matteo has significantly more potential to turn villainous like his father than Candice.
Bruno Mannheim makes his move on John Henry, and he will regret it
Just hours after Natalie and Jonathan argue, Bruno’s goons jump John Henry Irons and Natalie. Luckily John Henry uses Natalie’s self-defense weapon and manages to scare them away by making a huge scene in the middle of Smallville. No one is hurt, but John Henry is ready to have a go at Bruno for endearing his daughter once again.
At the same time, Superman is trying a peaceful approach and goes to Bruno to talk him into giving the D.O.D. the stuff he stole. Bruno is just about to accept when D.O.D., followed by John Henry, storms Bruno’s house with a warrant to search everything.
Superman is pissed and tells Sam Lane that they shouldn’t have done that. He was about to resolve the whole issue peacefully. Sam wasn’t aware that Superman would try to talk some sense into Bruno and is angry at John Henry for not mentioning that to him.
Sam tells John Henry to stay away from the Bruno investigation from now on as his emotions are starting to cloud his judgment negatively. All this mess could have been avoided only if they’d given Bruno a chance. I tend to side with John Henry on this one because Bruno had enough time to do the right thing. Bruno also threatened to kill or severely hurt multiple family members.
Jonathan reunites Natalie and Matteo
Feeling bad for the argument he started with Natalie, Jonathan manages to reunite them in Smallville. The two are aware that they don’t have much time and confess their love for each other but not before the accusations start dropping.
Natalie is incredulous because of the fact that Matteo doesn’t feel horrified about his mother having superpowers and hurting people, while Matteo can’t believe that Natalie is ok with the fact that her father is keeping him from seeing his dying mother. Matteo is in the wrong here, and despite never knowing what Bruno was up to, what makes him think that Bruno is now all of a sudden honest about everything?
The guy lied to you your entire life, and your mother killed numerous people. She is not held at the D.O.D. because she is Bruno’s wife. She is held at the D.O.D. because she is as complicit as him and responsible for quite a lot of deaths and horrible things that happened in Metropolis.
Why did John Henry Irons kill Atom-Man?
After Bruno’s house was raided and he still couldn’t see his wife, Bruno decided to bring out the big guns. He went to his lab and resurrected Henry Miller, aka Atom-Man, and sent him on his way to do his dirty business for him for the last time.
John Henry was working in his lab when Atom-Man literally exploded through his wall and started rag-dolling him all over the place, and the fight soon erupted in the streets of Metropolis as well.
Atom-Man received orders to make John Henry suffer and to kill him slowly. Luckily Superman arrived on time and saved John Henry’s life, but not without receiving a severe beating himself.
At the last moment, John Henry summoned his Kinetic Hammer, the one capable of harming Superman, and dealt a killing blow to Henry Miller. Superman tried to stop him from killing the Atom-Man, but it was futile. John Henry was dead set on finishing this.
The fact that John Henry killed someone in the middle of Smallville shocked everyone, including Sam Lane. Everybody is convinced that John Henry has some deeper mental issues to deal with, which is not fully about Bruno Mannheim. It’s about everything that John Henry went through in the last couple of years.
After Atom-Man’s death, Bruno showcased the Bizarro Superman to Matteo, revealing that he is a secret to keeping Peia alive.
Lois is avoiding Clark, and for a good reason
Much of the episode focused on Lois’ ongoing fight with cancer. At the start of the episode, we find out that chemo has gone well, and they can now plan for the surgery. This means that Lois will likely undergo a double mastectomy, and even though the operation will save her life, her identity and body image will take quite a hit.
We can see a couple of flashbacks, Lois being nominated for the Journalism award by the Metropolis Press Club, and we also see that she refuses to go to the ceremony because she struggles with fitting in and doesn’t feel “attractive enough” to attend the fancy dress-up dinner.
Clark sells his baseball card collection to buy her the most amazing dress, the fancies Lois has ever owned, and he talks her into attending the award. Lois ultimately didn’t win the award, but she realized she was the most important and beautiful woman Clark had ever seen. So how is this related to Lois’ current issues?
Lana organized a charity drive for second-hand clothes, and when Clark saw “The Dress” in the giveaway box, he was shocked. The dress held sentimental value, and he was convinced that Lois would keep it forever. Clark confronts Lois about the dress, and she explains that she has only worn it once and someone else should enjoy it instead cause it seems unlikely that she will ever wear it again.
Clark is hurt, but he honors Lois’ wishes and takes the dress to Lana. Lana is fascinated by the dress, and after Clark explains the history of the dress, she figures out what is Lois’ problem and offers to talk to her about it.
Lois struggles with body image as a large part of her feminity will be gone
Lana confronts Lois, and Lois explains that she can’t believe that she will lose her breasts now that she started to accept them. She feels like she will lose much of her femininity, and Clark will not find her attractive anymore.
Everyone who knows Clark knows that he is not that superficial and shallow. Still, this is not only about losing breasts and being attractive to others. It’s about accepting yourself. Losing any part of the body is extremely hard, and losing breasts for a woman. This means that a great part of “what made her a woman” will be lost, which is ultimately what she struggles with.
You might perceive it as “being silly,” and of course, breasts don’t make a woman, but frankly, it’s not our place to comment on other people’s insecurities, especially when losing body parts is concerned, and I think this episode summarized this masterfully. No one tried to reassure Lois, and no one offered empty comfort. They simply listened to her and offered their own perspective on the issue without trying to push their own view on her.
At the end of the episode, Lois bares her soul to Clark and tells him what’s bothering her. Clark says that nothing will change. She is still the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, not because of her body but because of who she is and what kind of person she is.
Lois worries about their sex life, and Clark gives her the perfect answer “We’ll figure it out.” Lois finally decides to wear “The Dress” again, and Clark takes her flying.