‘Superman & Lois’ Season 3, Episode 1: Recap And Ending, Explained: Who Is Bruno Manheim?

The third season of the much-beloved “Superman & Lois” starts with its familiar hopeful, inspiring note. While the Kent family enjoys a brief respite after successive cataclysms in the idyllic town of Smallville, a heinous conspiracy brews in Superman’s stately city, Metropolis. In the finale of the last season, Diggle informed John Irons that Prime Earth’s version of John Irons died at the hands of the villainous Bruno Mannheim, and the first episode of season three builds on the threat the character represents. The unexpected return of an old enemy sets the darker tone this season will likely adopt. Our favorite Reverse Flash, Tom Cavanagh, once again proves his merit behind the camera and keeps us fans wishing for more of his directorial ventures.


Spoilers Ahead

What Happens In Episode 1 Of ‘Superman & Lois’ Season 3?

The episode begins with Lois’ narration, and we are informed that 27 days have passed since Superman defeated Ally Allyston and separated the two merged Earths. Clark has introduced his family to the holographic AI of his Kryptonian mother, Lara, in the family’s own Fortress of Solitude. Sam has come out of retirement to rejoin the DOD and has sealed off the Shuster Mines, the source of concern in the last two seasons. The father-daughter duo John Henry and Natalie are gradually adjusting themselves to life on a new Earth. Lana is making progress as the town mayor, and her husband Kyle is trying to pick up the pieces after their separation in the last season. Clark has joined the Smallville Gazette, and his relationship with Lois has strengthened itself in a wholesome, passionate manner. As the couple discusses their upcoming schedule, Lois informs Clark that she is going to interview Bruno Mannheim, the leader of Intergang, the biggest dealer of illegal weapons in the country, and—as we learned earlier—the murderer of this Earth’s version of John Henry. Clark repeatedly asks her to drop the case for her own safety.


The scene shifts to show Jordan and Clark racing each other on their way to the new Fortress of Solitude, and it seems Jordan has mastered his powers of flight rather quickly. At the Fortress, Clark tasks him with sparring and entrusts him to return home all on his own. Things were not going so well for the elder brother Jonathan, who was grounded in the previous season for taking the blame for his girlfriend, who sold drugs. Unlike his superpowered brother Jordan, Jonathan now takes small, day-to-day victories like acing the exam as a way to his freedom. Lois teaches Jonathan to drive but gets excessively nitpicky and paranoid over it. At the Cushing household, things are going well, but the relationship between the parents is falling apart, as Kyle’s lawyers have already prepared the divorce papers for Lana to sign.

As Clark takes notes regarding his work from Chrissy, he listens to a situation at Kuala Lumpur and flies off. Reaching the spot, he finds out that an industrial crane is about to break under tumultuous weather conditions, and Jordan, who is surprisingly present at the spot, almost jeopardizes the situation even further with his hasty actions, something Clark has to rectify. Clark scolds Jordan for not complying with his direction, even though he has to gain a lot of control, and for acting out on his own, which almost endangered people’s lives and exposed his identity. At the Smallville school, Clark and Lana learn that the entire school’s architecture is infested with black mold and that Lana has to dig deeper into municipal funds to allocate a budget for repairing it.


At Metropolis, Lois goes to Prime Earth Henry Irons’ sister, Dr. Darlene Irons, to learn about her brother’s connection with Intergang. Even though she doesn’t get any new information, Darlene states that once Henry quit the forces, he became a changed man, and his actions of trading illegal weapons and tech with the likes of Bruno Mannheim and Lex Luthor probably became the end of him. Before leaving, Darlene also shares her assumption about Lois being pregnant.

Sarah and Jordan’s relationship goes on a downward slope, and Sarah finds it hard for herself to reciprocate Jordan’s feelings. Meanwhile, Sam tries to recruit Henry Irons into the DOD once again, but to no avail. Seeing Natalie’s genius as an inventor, Sam decides to befriend her instead of recruiting her into DOD; also noteworthy is that in John Henry and Natalie’s world, Sam used to be her grandfather. Sam tries to bond with Natalie by going to her favorite movie with her but is too blunt in his approach to ask her to be recruited, which makes Natalie think that the only reason Sam even wanted to know her was for selfish reasons. She returns to her home, and Henry Irons learns about this.


Lois shares the news of her pregnancy with Clark, who at first is a bit taken aback by the prospect of having a child while two teenagers are running around the house but nevertheless celebrates the moment. After a few instances of back and forth, both of them decide that they are willing to be parents once again and see this as a chance to start over even better. Jonathan nails the driving test perfectly, thanks to Lois’ strict guidance beforehand, and seeing his elated reaction after a significant duration, Lois and Clark get ecstatic.

The day of Jonathan and Jordan’s birthday approaches, and the entire town and close friends and family are invited to Kent Farm. During the gathering, John Henry Irons rebukes Sam for disappointing Natalie after giving her hope for what it could have meant for her to reconnect with her grandfather (not the same person, but essentially appearance-wise the same on Earth). Sam apologizes to both Henry and Natalie and tries to make amends by starting over. Chrissy Beppo and Kyle Cushing find common ground in their miserable conditions as adults.


As the invited guests, friends, and families enjoy watching the childhood memories of the twins in a beautifully set up projector film at the barn, Clark has to fly off to respond to a situation in Metropolis. Clark discovers that supervillain Henry Miller, aka Atom Man, one of Superman’s oldest enemies, is terrorizing the city. As Superman engages in a battle with Atom Man, he discovers he now has powers to match his own. After a prolonged battle through Metropolis, Superman asks Miller about the source of his powers, to no avail. Atom Man only remarks that someone is coming for him, and as they continue their fight in the alleyways of Suicide Slum, some unknown assailant riddles Miller with bullets. As Superman looks for possible sources, he is interrupted by the villainous Onomatopoeia, who misdirects Superman into thinking an emergency situation has arisen and thereby steals the corpse of Miller.

Clark finds out that Miller was released from jail three months ago to spend the rest of his life freely because he had a brain tumor. He speculates whether, during that period, someone experimented on and provided powers to Miller. Former Mayor Dean arrives at the Kent birthday gathering and threatens Lana about not messing with the municipal funds. Chrissy and Kyle hook up at Kyle’s place, and just before an awkward departure in the morning, Lana arrives and hands the divorce papers over to Kyle. At the Smallville Gazette, Lois gets informed by Dr. Darlene that her pregnancy suspicion was wrong, which disappoints both the couple. The doctor also adds that she might have a health condition.


In a subterranean location, possibly close to subway lines, Atom Man gets resurrected from his death by Bruno Mannheim and Onomatopoeia. Bruno remarks that they are getting closer.


The first episode of the third season retains the charm of the previous one and provides a solid start to the chapter. The beginning keeps the actions to a minimum and lets viewers soak in the wholesome, warm feelings often associated with the town of Smallville and its people. Michael Bishop replaced Jordan Elsass as Jonathan Kent but managed to fit right into the character. So far, the character of Jonathan has been caught in pretty miserable situations successively, so one wishes for a strong character arc of his own for the elder brother. Sam functions well when he is back in his element; unfortunately, his inability to socialize puts his interactions in the wrong perspective. Lois and Clark continue to be model parents, taking the utmost care of their children but being aware enough not to mollycoddle them. The chemistry between Tyler Hoechlin’s Clark/Supes and Elizabeth Tulloch’s Lois remains unmatched.


Now coming to one of the big bad of the episode, in comics, Bruno Mannheim is one of those eccentric villainous characters created by Jack Kirby, a hardened criminal who is the leader of the Intergang terrorist/illegal weapon smuggling group. Thanks to his ties with the tyrannical overlord, the New God Darkseid, Mannheim gets supplies from the high-tech Apokoliptian arsenal. Although Lois has set her mind to interviewing this notorious crime boss, the character might prove too extreme to be handled with regular measures. If his allegiance to deadly forces like Onomatopoeia was not bad enough, Bruno would be able to resurrect the dead. This season will focus heavily on the interactions between John Henry Irons and Bruno Mannheim, as their past connection in prime Earth was revealed already.

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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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