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Superman & Lois Season 3 has been hailed as a captivating and thrilling addition to the superhero franchise. However, amidst the excitement and praise, there arises a controversial character that has divided fans and garnered an overwhelming amount of hate. But should this character truly be the target of such animosity? Let’s delve into the reasons why this character, despite being divisive, doesn’t deserve the hate they’ve received.
Editor’s note: The below contains spoilers for Season 3 of Superman & LoisOn The CW’s Superman & Lois, the titular duo (played by Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch) pick up their lives in Metropolis and move back to Clark’s hometown of Smallville with their teenage twin sons Jon (Michael Bishop) and Jordan (Alexander Garfin), reluctantly, in tow. However, since the series began, the Kent-Lane family has not been alone on our screens. We also see the very different family life of the Cushings — Lana Lang (Emmanuelle Chriqui), her now ex-husband Kyle Cushing (Erik Valdez), daughter Sarah (Inde Navarrette), and occasionally their younger daughter Sophie (Joselyn Picard). While fighting crime and supervillains is difficult, the series has also shaped its formula around the struggles of parenting, which has primarily come from the Cushing family throughout its run thus far.
Sarah Deserves Some Compassion in ‘Superman & Lois’
The result of this has caused much of the audience to grow tired of the Cushings’ antics, though this is an understatement for just how much people currently despise the character of Sarah. Simply put, she deserves more effort from those in her life (and the audience watching) to understand what she’s going through or how current events are impacting her life. Since the series premiere, Sarah’s parents have gotten divorced, the result of Kyle’s years-long and tightly held secret of his affair coming to light. Her mother became so wrapped up in the aftermath of this, and the impending doom of her marriage, that Sarah sort of fell to the wayside. Lana’s focus is all on her job as the Mayor and/or how she feels about Kyle moving on with his life, while Kyle has been infatuated and enamored by Chrissy Beppo (Sofia Hasmik) in Superman & Lois Season 3.
Sarah also started a romantic relationship with Jordan, messed up, and subsequently called things off, but Sarah hasn’t actually been able to deal with that. In fact, it’s kind of hard to deal with it when she’s only allowed to associate with Jordan, Jon, or their pseudo-sibling Natalie (Tayler Buck). So, in every interaction, Jon and Natalie have to toe the line between Sarah and Jordan and try not to take a side, while Jordan constantly mopes and actively tries to make Sarah feel guilty for breaking up with him or talking to other guys. Nobody is on Sarah’s side, not even her parents, and the show constantly paints Jordan as the person “in the right” in their situation (which is sad for many reasons, but especially considering Jordan’s behavior has often been downright unhealthy). Sure, Sarah hasn’t had the best behavior of late, but can you blame her? She’s going through a lot, and she receives so little support from anyone around her, but she is always expected to pick up the slack in her relationships and, essentially, “give in” to what they want. No one really cares about what Sarah wants or needs.
‘Superman & Lois’ and the Audience Show Little Empathy for Sarah
Considering Sarah’s presence on Superman & Lois, it feels a little antithetical to say that the series pays her very little attention. She is constantly around, though this doesn’t always matter much. When the series does focus on Sarah, it feels a little underwhelming. The show doesn’t even seem to understand what is going on with the character or how to properly address her woes. So, it’s not solely on the audience for feeling little to no empathy for Sarah but is a general misstep in the writing that has hurt the character’s development and the connection with the audience despite her very relatable struggles. Whenever we take a step forward, we take three steps backward, leaving Sarah in a more precarious position. Season 3, Episode 11 is the perfect example of this.
After being charged with a DUI, and nearly dying in a car crash (but saved by Jordan at the last moment), Sarah is feeling blue. She feels like she has ruined her life, as a DUI stays on your record for five years, which is going to make getting into college — and out of Smallville, as she has desperately wanted for years — nearly impossible. She’s depressed, unmotivated, and clearly struggling, which causes Lana to worry majorly given Sarah’s past attempt(s) with self-harm. Lana attempts to make an appointment with a counselor, but Sarah shrugs it off. So, Lana pleads with Kyle to help her, as she’s worried there’s something seriously wrong with Sarah, and they need to intervene immediately. They bring her to the local diner, where Kyle explains to Sarah how he relates to what she’s feeling on some level, which contributed to his alcoholism. To round the story out, and give Sarah a sense of purpose, they essentially force her to get a job as a waitress at the diner.
Considering Sarah’s history, this is baffling. She’s depressed, has a history of self-harm, and is stuck in Smallville for at least another year (if not more), so working a minimum wage job at a diner is the solution? Simply put, it’s a terrible example of how to handle a child’s mental health problems, but it also, ultimately, does nothing to help fix the issues Sarah is facing. She is struggling with being in a small town, and working at a diner isn’t going to do anything to help that. Sure, having some money would be nice for her, but that hasn’t been an issue for the character. It’s particularly frustrating because, if the show actually tried, we could get a great story from Sarah working with her mother, the Mayor of Smallville, and helping to create change that makes living in this town more enjoyable and bearable. All in all, this episode is the perfect depiction of how the series doesn’t even take Sarah’s struggles seriously. In addition, it doesn’t do her parents any favors either, making Sarah’s rebellious nature and occasional disdain toward Lana and Kyle a little more understandable.
Given Sarah’s situation and the many things she has gone through that greatly reflect the teenage experience in a small town, it’s a bit frustrating that neither the series nor the audience gives Sarah even an inkling of empathy. It’s a bit ridiculous how harshly she’s treated when she, at worst, has made very simple mistakes (as any teenager does). Yet, she is almost always painted out to be the “bad guy” in a situation and nobody cares to see where she’s coming from, which has grown to be quite tiresome considering Sarah’s role on Superman & Lois is nearly equal to Jon and Jordan’s. It’s also astounding that Chrissy, as Kyle’s new girlfriend, has put in more effort to understand Sarah’s perspective this season than anyone else has. There are ways to improve this, like expanding on her relationships and having people truly be on her side with real effort behind it, or having her parents do something other than yell at her and have late-night chats at the diner. But, it’s likely too late considering how harshly the audience treats her and the odds of the show going on for much longer.
Superman & Lois continues Tuesdays on The CW.
In conclusion, it is evident that the most divisive character in “Superman & Lois” Season 3 does not deserve the hate they received. While opinions may vary among viewers, it is important to remember that the portrayal of characters is subjective and often intended to elicit strong emotions. It is unfair to solely blame one character for any perceived shortcomings in the show, as there are multiple factors contributing to its success or failure.
Furthermore, character development is a complex and nuanced process, and creators invest substantial time and effort to create multi-dimensional personalities. The so-called divisive character may serve a purpose in the larger story arc or provide a contrasting perspective that enriches the viewing experience. It is important to approach television series with an open mind, embracing the diversity of characters and storylines, even if they challenge our personal preferences.
Additionally, it is crucial to remember that actors, writers, and production teams work tirelessly to bring these characters to life. They deserve respect and recognition for their commitment to their craft, even if their portrayal of a character may not resonate with everyone.
Ultimately, while it is natural for viewers to have differing opinions and engage in healthy debate regarding the characters in “Superman & Lois,” it is essential to cultivate a discourse that remains respectful and constructive. Rather than directing unfounded hate towards a particular character or individual, we should focus on appreciating the overall storytelling and the incredible efforts made in creating a captivating television series.
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