Home Blog My Adventures with Superman: “The Death of Clark Kent” Episode Recap

My Adventures with Superman: “The Death of Clark Kent” Episode Recap

Brainiac holds Superman's face

Previously – Kara had taken Superman to Kandor, Brainiac’s space station. Brainac failed to sway Superman to his way of thinking, so he decided to change tactics. Kara realized that Brainiac had been tampering with her memories. Back on Earth, Lois and Jimmy enlisted the help of The Brain and Mallah, and the four of them stole the Amazo jump jet. They blasted off into space only to run straight into Kara, who has begun questioning her entire life.

Brainiac uses a device called the Black Mercy to trap Superman in an unconscious state. He enters Superman’s mind and reveals that Kandor, and thus his robot body, is falling apart. Brainiac wants a new body and intends on using Superman’s. Superman’s memories bring him to his first fight with Livewire in Metropolis. Brainiac watches on, saying he will find Superman’s weakness. He declares that Superman’s death will be the rebirth of Krypton.

Jimmy, Brain, Mallah, Lois, and Kara aboard space shipAboard the Amazo ship, Jimmy is excited to see Kara while Lois is infuriated. As they argue about whether or not to let her aboard, she simply enters the vessel. Jimmy blushes as he introduces Kara to Lois, but Lois makes it clear she doesn’t like Kara because she kidnapped Superman. Kara is no fan of Lois because she rejected Superman. Kara explains that she thinks Brainiac is malfunctioning and that Superman is in danger so they need to work together.

Superman defeats Livewire, and Brainiac is disappointed that Superman merely overpowered her. Brainiac then calls up the memory of Superman fighting Parasite, his most powerful villain yet. Brainiac notices the memory versions of Lois and Jimmy say that they need to save Superman, and he becomes intrigued.

The scene changes, and Superman fights the robots in his ship. Brainiac wonders why he Superman attempts to attack Brainiacis fighting his own ship and concludes that Superman is fighting to protect people. He decides he needs to examine who these people are to Superman.

Back on the ship, Kara says that Brainiac needs to regularly depower his robots for maintenance and that they can sneak onto the ship when that happens. She tells Lois and Jimmy where she last saw Superman. Mallah and Brain stay behind to repair the ship. Kara insists on talking to Brainiac and says that Lois and Jimmy can go get Superman. Jimmy wonders what’s next for her, but all she knows is being a warrior for the Kryptonian Empire.

Lois and Jimmy, wearing space suits, board Kandor along with Kara. The robots are depowered just as Kara said. Kara shows Lois and Jimmy a map of the ship and directs them to the observation deck. Before Lois and Jimmy leave, Kara struggles to admit her feelings for Jimmy. She manages to say she has admiration for him, and she hugs him. Lois notes that Kara thinks he is leader of the planet, and Jimmy says he will explain that later.

Brainiac continues to probe Superman’s mind and locates Lois and Jimmy. Superman tries to hide them from his memory, and Brainiac realizes Superman is trying to hide Lois and Jimmy from himself. Superman loves and protects Lois and Jimmy, but he fears they don’t love him back.

Brainiac probes Superman's mindBrainiac reaches into Superman’s mind and replays some of his more painful memories. Superman has to relive Jimmy failing to defend him at the S.T.A.R. Labs symposium, Lois telling her father that Clark is different, and Jimmy declining to answer Clark’s call. Brainiac says after the rejection and betrayal, Superman doesn’t belong on Earth. Superman returns to the moment Lois stepped off the Daily Planet building to expose Clark as Superman. Brainiac says Superman’s love for others may drive him but it’s also his weakness. Brainiac believes that Superman is physically strong but he mentally weak. Superman insists love, kindness, and friendship make him strong, but Brainac says he can’t deny what’s in his own mind. Brainiac shows Superman an altered memory of Lois telling him he doesn’t belong on Earth.

These few scenes are some of the most intense in the entire series. Superman’s entire struggle has been about finding people he cares about on his adopted world but also fearing they may not consider him one of them. Many episodes this season have been building to this moment. While there are some painful memories of Lois and Jimmy, this episode does ignore any memory Superman has of Jonathan and Martha.

Jimmy and Lois get to the observation deck, but they only find collapsed robots and no Kara leads Jimmy and Lois onto Kandor space stationSuperman. The robots reactivate, so Lois and Jimmy have to run. Kara finds Brainiac hovering above Superman’s unconscious body. Kara tells him that he is malfunctioning, but Brainiac says that Kara is the disappointment. She wanted to bring other planets into the Kryptonian Empire but Brainiac ordered her to destroy them because they didn’t live up to his expectations. Brainiac is tired of having this same conversation with Kara and tells her to “comply”, the trigger word used to alter her memories. This time, Kara actively fights Brainiac’s control. Brainiac admits it was easier to manipulate her when she was younger. He says it’s fortunate they found Superman when they did because Brainiac wants to take over Superman’s body and has no more use for Kara. Kara goes on the attack.

In Superman’s mind, Brainiac continues to alter his memories so that Lois tells Superman she doesn’t need him. Superman brings up the memory of Lois saying she loves going on adventures with him and the proceeding kiss. Brainiac shows Lois holding Sam Lane’s gun on Superman and then another memory in the Arctic where Lois tells Superman that him not being human bothers her. Superman insists these memories are fake, and then Brainiac shows him the real memory of Lois breaking up with him.

Kara continues to fight Brainiac externally while Superman fights him in his mind. Kara Child Kal-El hugs Lara, Jor-El, Zor-El, and child Karabeats Brainiac and Superman seemingly does as well. Superman wakes up, rips the Black Mercy off his head, and flies to Smallville. He cries out for his parents, saying he’s home. As he runs through a cornfield, Kryptonian architecture appears in the distance. He sees the Els, alive and well, and once again says that he’s home. As he runs towards them, he becomes the child Kal-El could have been. He embraces his Kryptonian family.

Superman is still under the control of the Black Mercy, but Kara has, indeed, defeated Brainiac. She apologizes over his inactive body. However, Superman’s body rises. A black costume forms over him as Brainiac’s symbol appears on his chest and forehead. Speaking through Superman, Brainiac asks if Kara is apologizing for being weak. Lois and Jimmy enter the room just as Brainiac in Superman’s body easily knocks Kara away. Brainiac says there is no more Kal-El. Before he can attack Lois and Jimmy, Kara rushes to their defense.

Brainiac explains that due to genetic engineering and Kryptonian advancements, Superbrainiac vs. KaraKryptonians aren’t born. They are built. Brainiac has made himself into the ultimate Kryptonian. He was built to embody the ideals of Krypton but realizes that he has come to love Kara like a daughter, which is a weakness. He says that he needs to purge his love for Kara for the good of the empire.

Jimmy takes out the piece of kryptonite Lois brought along. It hurts Brainiac, so Jimmy continues to use it despite the pain it also causes Kara. With a gesture, Brainiac opens a window in the ship. Jimmy drops the kryptonite as he, Lois, and Kara are sucked out into space. Kandor teleports away.

Kara retrieves Jimmy and Lois, and then their space ship shows up. Mallah and the Brain bring Kara and the others aboard. They quickly realize that Superman isn’t with them, and Kara wonders what to do next. Lois has taken the Black Mercy device and says she can use it to go after Superman. She puts it on and then screams and collapses.

The episode moved along at a quick pace, and it ended on an intense note. This is the closest we’ve got to a clip episode, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. Brainiac managed to break Superman in a logical way, and while he believes Superman’s love for others is his weakness, it seems that Superman’s weakness is actually his own insecurities. With Lois using the Black Mercy, she may be the only one to get through to Superman. Although with Superman’s mind having regressed into that of a child’s, he thinks he is home with his Kryptonian family, so Lois may be too late.

Brain, Mallah, Lois, Jimmy, and Kara on shipThe previous episode was a comedic break from Superman’s space drama. Since the show has returned to a more serious tone, that apparently means Brain and Mallah have to stand on the sidelines. Or maybe it’s because between the Brainiac in Superman’s mind and the physical one Kara confronts, it is confusing juggling another character with the word “Brain” in his name. Lois insisted Brain and Mallah repair the ship and not make any improvements. This could payoff with some comedic bits down the line if they decide to alter the ship in any way.

The Black Mercy is from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ 1985 Superman story “For the Man Who Has Everything”. In that story, the Black Mercy is an alien plant that traps its victims in an ideal fantasy world. Here, the Black Mercy is a Kryptonian memory device. We have seen Superman and Kara use Kryptonian memory technology before, but with it causing Lois pain, it may only be something a Kryptonian can use safely.

Kryptonians struggling with emotion seems to be a pattern. Kara comes close to expressing her feelings for Jimmy, but all they can seem to do is make each other blush. It’s interesting that Brainiac did admit to feeling paternal love for Kara. Seeing as how he is a Kryptonian invention who has grown beyond his programming, it does raise the question of whether he is malfunctioning or not. Can Kara recover the father figure she loves or is it too late and Brainiac has to be expelled from Superman’s body and be destroyed?

While exploring Superman’s inner mindscape, the question of identity comes up. The Brainiac watches Clark's memoriesepisode is called “The Death of Clark Kent”. This echoes the famous “Death of Superman” story, and Clark does actually die in this episode. His mind reverts back to the child Kal-El while his body becomes Brainiac (or Superbrainiac as the captions call him). The only trace of Clark that’s left is Kara insisting on calling him “Clark” and not “Kal-El”, the only name Brainiac calls him. A previous episode title gets shouted out, as Brainiac declares himself “The machine who is empire”.

The end credits begin with the Superman who is transformed into Brainiac and then becomes a space landscape. It zooms in on Superman’s imagined Krypton and shows young Kal-El with his family. Rather than end the credits on the contented look on Kal-El’s face, the final shot is the cold visage of the robotic Brainiac.

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