Superman & Lois’ Clark Kent hasn’t aged, explaining his unique challenges and proving the adage “you can’t go home again” may prove especially true for him. While he feels moving back to his hometown may help him repair bonds with his sons, he may face other issues he hasn’t considered yet. At his mother’s funeral, Clark reunites with former classmate/girlfriend Lana Lang Cushing who remarks that Clark never seems to age and looks almost the same as he did when they were in high school. Clark brushes off the remark as having good genes, but now that he’s moved his family back to Smallville on Superman & Lois, he’s going to have to get more creative in his responses.
Of all the differences between human and Kryptonian physiology, the one least often explored in both the comics and the Arrowverse is that Kryptonians age at a much slower rate under a yellow sun. That’s a fact that Superman explains to a befuddled Winn Schott in season 2 ep 1 of Supergirl, “The Adventures of Supergirl.” By Arrowverse standards, Clark Kent should be in his 40s on Superman & Lois, yet due to his good Kryptonian genes, he looks to be in his early 30s.
That fact could cause problems as the Kents move to Smallville, meaning Clark needed a ready response to the prying questions of his old classmates and neighbors. It took just moments for Lana to notice that her old friend didn’t look any older. While Clark could have brushed things off with a joke, he attributed his youthful appearance to his genes. Lana and other Smallville residents are already reminiscing about Clark and his family’s extraordinary “luck” during his time growing up there, which included Clark, Lana, and their friend Pete (likely Pete Ross, Clark Kent’s best high school friend from the comics) not being injured in a serious car accident, so Clark’s quick thinking to downplay his ageless looks was smart.
The good genes excuse will work only so far when former friends and classmates notice that Clark seems to be aging slower than his wife. Added to that is the fact that at least one, if not both of his sons seem to have inherited his “lucky” streak about not getting hurt after both boys survive a barn accident with just minor concussions. With Jordan’s powers manifesting now, Clark will undoubtedly explain to him that there are other issues he will face by having Kryptonian genes, possibly including the danger of Kryptonite itself. Both Jordan and Jonathan are half-Kryptonian, which, regardless of powers, could affect their physiology or aging. It will be a somber discovery for the boys that there is the possibility that one of them will age slower and likely outlive the other. Superman & Lois’ Jonathan has been portrayed as being the protector, trying to smooth Jordan’s edges and help him with his anxiety. Now he may wonder if his brother will still need him now that he has superpowers and a likely longer life span.
While moving to Smallville suggests a simpler life for the Kents, a small town presents plenty of challenges. It is much easier to blend in and conceal unusual physical traits in a large city like Metropolis than it is in a small community like Smallville. It may not have occurred to Clark yet, but that may be one of the subconscious reasons he never returned to Smallville like others; he knew coming back meant constantly deflecting probing questions from well-intentioned neighbors.
With just a brief throwaway line about aging from Lana, the door opened to bigger problems facing the Kent family on their return to Smallville on Superman & Lois. How many more seemingly innocent comments reveal potential problems that foreshadow the Kent family’s future? Maybe Clark can go home again, but it will be much harder to navigate that homecoming than he thinks.