Warning: SPOILERS for Superman & Lois Season 1, Episode 2 – “Heritage”
In Superman & Lois episode 2, Jordan Kent (Alex Garfin) learned that he may never be as powerful as his father Clark (Tyler Hoechlin), but he could still get far stronger if he simply changed his lifestyle. Superman & Lois intriguingly upended the usual tropes of the Man of Steel; in The CW’s new series, Clark and Lois (Elizabeth Tulloch) are the parents of teenage twins, and they relocated the family to Smallville.
One reason why the Kents moved back to Clark’s Kansas hometown was to give Jordan a chance to learn how to use his new powers, which manifested when he saved his brother Jonathan’s (Jordan Elsass) life. Jordan showed “elevated strength” and he later fired heat vision from his eyes, which Clark described as an “ocular blast of energy”. However, he hasn’t been able to call upon his abilities since. Meanwhile, Jonathan has not shown signs of having his own powers like his father and brother. Clark isn’t certain of what happens next for his boys since there haven’t been hybrid children of Kryptonians and humans before in the Arrowverse, so he brought Jordan to the Fortress of Solitude in Superman & Lois episode 2, “Heritage”.
At the Fortress, Jordan received a history lesson of what doomed his father’s homeworld of Krypton but he also heard some discouraging news from the A.I. hologram of his Kryptonian grandfather, Jor-El (Angus Macfadyen). At first, Jor-El was excited to hear that Jordan has superpowers since it meant that the Kryptonian race – and the House of El – could continue on Earth. But after running tests on Jordan, Jor-El’s analysis was grim: Jordan doesn’t have “1/100th” of Kal-El’s strength, and Jor-El was also unimpressed that Jordan fired an ocular blast of energy because “since then, he’s been unable to repeat it.” The Kryptonian scientist determined that Jordan’s display of powers were “random occurrences… He’ll never have enough power to produce his abilities on command. His human DNA is just too limiting.” While it’s very likely that since Jordan isn’t a full-blooded Kryptonian, he’ll never be the equal of Superman, Jor-El could also be mistaken about the boy’s potential.
Neither Clark nor his birth father considered the impact Jordan’s lifestyle has on his powers: the boy has mental health issues and he spends most of his time indoors playing video games. But Kryptonians are living solar batteries and they derive their god-like powers from the light of Earth’s yellow sun. Both Superman and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) have shown how vital solar exposure is to igniting and recharging their abilities even depleted. The fact that Jordan is not the “outdoors type” means he’s not getting the all-important exposure to the sun’s rays he needs to fuel his latent powers.
By contrast, Jonathan is an athlete who relishes playing football, which means that he’s outdoors and exposed to the sun. It’s curious that Jon hasn’t manifested powers yet, but it doesn’t mean that this will always be the case. The fact that Jordan has powers and Jon doesn’t is also a compelling img of drama and competition in these early episodes of Superman & Lois, but Jonathan could join his father and brother in the superpowers club at some point in the future.
One of the main reasons Clark became so powerful as Superman is because he spent his formative years outdoors on the Kent Farm soaking up the yellow sun’s nourishing rays. The key to Jordan unlocking what powers are within him is for the black-clad teen to spend copious amounts of time outside. This is where Lois and Clark moving to Smallville is so important since it gives both twins the same type of upbringing their father had. If Jordan Kent wants to be as Super as he can be, he’s going to need to change his lifestyle, ease back on the video games and moping in his room, and get out into the sun. Although, as Superman & Lois is already proving, this is easier said and done for the Kents’ troubled son.