Recap / Superman The Animated Series S 2 E 22 The Late Mr Kent

Clark Kent is believed to have been killed while trying to clear the name of a thief who claims to be innocent of the murder he's about to be executed for. Now he not only has to find a way to save the innocent and catch the real culprit but also find a way to explain his survival without revealing that he's Superman.

Tropes:

  • Angst? What Angst?: Invoked when Superman spots Lois leaving the in-progress funeral.
    "Well, so much for sentiment."
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: The episode begins with Superman off in the distance watching a funeral. That's when it's revealed that the funeral is for Clark.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Fortunately, it turns out that the fisherman who saw Clark's bombed car fall into the ocean has extremely poor vision and wasn't wearing his glasses, thus providing a plausible explanation for Clark to turn up alive. Lana Lang, who knows about his dual identity, claims that she'd been taking care of him while he recuperated.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': The one time Clark tries to do something for himself ("I wanted this to be Clark's victory, not Superman's"), he ends up trapped as Superman for a while.
  • Clear Their Name: Clark is trying to do it when someone "kills" him.
  • Death by Secret Identity: Detective Bowman figures out Clark Kent is Superman right at the end of the episode, the very moment he gets executed.
  • Easy Amnesia: How Clark explains away his survival in the end.
  • Eureka Moment: Detective Bowman figures out that Clark Kent is Superman but is unable to use this for anything since he's seconds away from being executed by then.
    • Also for Clark Kent himself. At the newsroom, just before he was about to eat the pizza a co-worker left behind, he remembered that the thief claimed to have eaten pizza at the night of the murder, which he could use as evidence to clear his name.
  • Faking the Dead: Clark survives a murder attempt but initially has no way to explain his survival without revealing that he's Superman.
  • Frame-Up: Ernest Walker was framed for murder by Bowman. He was the case's lead investigator, which was how he was able to plant the evidence and make the accusation stick.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you look closely at the figure in shadow as Clark drives out of the parking lot you'll notice that it's Bowman.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Lois is clearly displeased that Clark (according to his cover story) remembered Lana's name and phone number rather than hers when he (supposedly) needed help. Lana clearly enjoys rubbing it in her face.
  • Honor Before Reason: Had Lois not been in Clark's apartment at the time, Superman was fully prepared to go to the governor and reveal his secret in order to save Ernest from execution.
  • How We Got Here: The episode starts with Clark's funeral and then it goes back to the beginning of the events that led Detective Bowman to want him dead.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Nearly happens. Ernest comes within seconds of being executed for a murder he didn't commit.
  • Living Lie Detector: As Ernest pleads his innocence, Clark notices the steadiness of his heartbeat. Based on that, he's certain he must be telling the truth.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Clark Kent clearly would have been killed if he were a normal human, and can't reappear until Superman finds some way to explain his survival without revealing his secret.
  • Noir Episode: It's essentially a noir mystery with Superman. He even engages in a Private Eye Monologue throughout.
  • Noodle Incident: Bowman's motive for committing murder is left open for the viewer to speculate.
  • Oh, Crap!: "He's Superman!"
  • Returning to the Scene: Superman spots Detective Bowman on the street right after Clark's apartment is blown up, which points him toward the real killler.
  • Revealing Cover Up: Bowman's attempt to prevent Clark from digging up evidence to exonerate Ernest leads to him being implicated as the real killer and the perpetrator of the frame-up. There's no real indication that he would have been in danger if he's simply let Clark prove Ernest's innocence, even if this led to a new cold-case investigation which he could have sabotaged if necessary given his position in the police department.
  • Secret Identity: Discussed. This episode clearly establishes Superman considers his Clark Kent identity as essential to stay in touch with humanity, and would go completely insane without it.
    Martha: Well, this is a fine mess.
    Jonathan: It's not like he's really dead, Martha. He just can't be Clark anymore.
    Superman: But I am Clark. I need to be Clark. I'd go crazy if I had to be Superman all the time.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Discussed.
    Lois: [looking at a picture of Clark] I always teased him, but I had so much respect. [cries] And I liked him too, I really did. I wish I'd told him.
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