Synopsis: How fast is Superman? Faster than a speeding bullet? How strong? Stronger than a locomotive. Luthor puts him to the test.
Review: Lois and Clark continues to incorporate Superman mythology creatively--not parodying but paying homage to. In Neverending Battle, Luthor puts Superman to a series of tests that establish he his faster than a speeding bullet and stronger than a locomotive. But this episode goes beyond that. It also establishes the limits of Superman. He cannot be everywhere at once. It is debatable whether an episode with Clark doubting if he should be Superman would have been better now after he has only been Superman for two episodes or later in the series, but for better or worse, the producers put it here. Clark's limitations weren't physical but mental. He was concerned for the people he could not help.
Paralleling Clark's struggle in this episode is Jimmy. Jimmy wants to be a journalist, but Perry seems to view him as the kid to fetch donuts and fix his foot massager. His limitation isn't intellectual--he can do the job of a journalist--but mental. It is Clark who encourages him to stand up to Perry. This series isn't content with Perry as a stereotypical editor who yells a lot. We peer into his character and find that he is an Elvis fan.
The Lois and Clark interaction in this episode is what was disappointing. Lois' sister Lucy makes another appearance and again seems useless other than delivering a line about Lois crying over stealing a story from Clark. Lois' cutthroat chase after the Superman story seems in character for her, but Clark's rather vindictive practical joke on her seems out of character for this mild-mannered reporter. Is that it's okay to play mean-spirited practical jokes on people to get back at them a message Superman really wants to portray to children? It doesn't seem to fit with Jesus' command to turn to the other cheek either.Neverending Battle returns to the formula that made the pilot so great. There is a mystery for Clark to solve. Who is testing Superman? Super strength can't help you solve a mystery. The theme of Clark yearning to be average is revisited. Clark insists to Lois that "except for the flying and the uniform, he could be any ordinary guy." If it wasn't for Clark's out-of-character vindictiveness, this episode would have rated much higher than its 4 out of 10. One question that bugged me the whole episode, "Why does the Daily Planet restroom look like a supply closet?"
Objectionable Content: There is an innuendo-drenched conversation about having sex with Superman at the beginning of the episode, and Clark sets a bad example by getting revenge on Lois for stealing a story.
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)