Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman: Season 1, Episode 18

Vatman (13 Mar. 1994)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Drama
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 108 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 1 critic

Superman saves a crippled jet near Paris... while Clark Kent is in the newsroom of the Daily Planet?!? How can Superman be one place, and Clark another, since they are the same man? And yet... See full summary »

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Title: Vatman (13 Mar 1994)

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Episode cast overview:
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Lane Smith ...
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Dr. Fabian Leek
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Messenger
Sam Rubin ...
Newscaster
Wil Albert ...
Delacroix
John McMahon ...
Cop
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Superman saves a crippled jet near Paris... while Clark Kent is in the newsroom of the Daily Planet?!? How can Superman be one place, and Clark another, since they are the same man? And yet, this new Superman seems to have the costume, the powers... everything Superman has. Except, perhaps, the solid moral background of Jonathan and Martha Kent. What he does have is a quite different set of moral codes, taught him by an old adversary of Superman's who means to use the young look-alike to end Superman's career permanently. Written by CommanderBalok

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13 March 1994 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Michael McKean who plays Dr. Fabian Leek would later play Perry White on Smallville. See more »

Quotes

Lois Lane: When I was talking to him, it was like he didn't recognize me. In fact, he smirked at me. Superman doesn't smirk. It's like...
Clark Kent: What?
Lois Lane: I don't know. It's just bizarre.
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Could've easily been fantastic...if not for the horrible, horrible ending
17 March 2015 | by See all my reviews

Ugh. I was all set to LOVE this episode. I was sold immediately on the Superman clone's cute and childish yet amoral character. Everything was so perfect, from his absolutely adorable (in an evil way) relationship with his "father" Lex Luthor to the way he reacted to Lois Lane. Clark's reaction to this "copycat" was also quite well-handled. It was just so wonderful in so many ways. Even the "humorous subplot" (a feature of this series that I find tiresome) was okay.

But then they ruined, ruined, RUINED it with the awful excuse for a resolution. Okay, spoiler alert: Superman kills the clone. Really. (By throwing him into the sun...which you think would heal him or something because Superman gets his powers from the sun, but it doesn't.) But it's okay because he was dying anyway, and he asked Superman to kill him, and he had to make sure Lex didn't just take a hair from the clone and make a new clone! Right?

Um...NO. No, no, no, NO. I'll be blunt, Superman killing people is pretty much never okay with me, but the way it was handled just makes it all the more egregious. See, Superman just takes the clone's word for it that he's dying and DOESN'T EVEN TRY to find a means of saving his life. Seriously?! Does that sound like Superman to you? How come Superman is instantly 100% sure that THE ONLY WAY to handle the situation is to commit murder? He has no proof that his "brother" is guaranteed to die, and yet he just accepts it like that? And as for making sure a new clone isn't created - hello!! Just destroy the corpse after he dies, IF he does die!

The idea of Superman doing a mercy killing of a sentient being is very bothersome to me, even if it was handled better. I can understand why some might be able to accept it, but for me it just completely flies in the face of the idea of Superman being a symbol of hope. He's supposed to be the person who points us to there being a better answer than just, well, death! He's the person who's supposed to inspire us, to make us think that maybe there's a chance things could turn out better...not the person who throws in the towel and says "Oh well, I guess there's no hope, better make this quick".

And yet, even I might have been able to accept Superman doing a mercy killing if it was handled very well. But clearly, as I just detailed, it wasn't! This is just a slap in the face for those who love the values Superman stands for, and it's lazy, LAZY writing that just plain makes no sense considering what's established about the character. It's just falling back on a stupid cliché even when it makes no sense. How could anyone think for a minute that it was OK to portray Superman this way?

And it makes it all the more painful considering how much potential the episode had. Yes, this episode had other flaws as well - the clone's rebellion from Luthor and "turning good" wasn't really that believable to me, and they had the clone discover Superman's secret identity and didn't bother to bring it up again except for one brief vague comment to Luthor that's never followed up on...and the subplot, for all it's okay-ness, was SO much inferior to the "real plot" that it was still annoying...but all these can be forgiven. I just think the depiction of the clone and his "brotherly" dynamic with Superman were spot-on and so well-handled. Too bad they had to ruin it...

(Okay, one last complaint while I'm at it: I have to say, the very common sci-fi trope of clones being the same age as the person they came from for NO REASON is a definite pet peeve of mine. Even some silly thing about a special growth-accelerating whatchamajig makes it tolerable, but to just act like that's what cloning normally does bothers me. This, and the idea that clones are "bilogical machines" (even though actually ALL living things can be classified as biological machines...there's clearly a different connotation) and "not real". It just seems to perpetuate the idea that clones are somehow "different" from "normal people", and if human cloning ever becomes a reality in real life, this kind of thinking is going to be problematic...)

In summary, this is an episode that will make you laugh and cry: laugh with joy when it's good, and cry tears of anger when it's bad!


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