Wole Parks as John Henry Irons in Superman & Lois

‘Superman & Lois’: John Henry Irons’ Twist Could Mean Trouble for Team Superman

The CW’s Superman & Lois season 3 has been packed with surprises and bombshell reveals. While it hasn’t been perfect, particularly in its execution of Lois Lane’s (Elizabeth Tulloch) storyline, it does know how to pack a punch. From announcing Lane’s cancer diagnosis to revealing Onomatopoeia’s true identity to reintroducing surprise villains like Henry Miller (Paul Lazenby) and Bizzaro (Tyler Hoechlin), the season has definitely kept viewers on their toes with all its twists and subtle connections between characters. Still, season 3 episode 9, “The Dress,” managed to top all of the previous surprises with its John Henry Irons (Wolé Parks) twist.

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Irons has been around since season 1 and has grown to become one of Superman’s (Hoechlin) greatest allies and friends. He aids Superman in saving the world with his Steel suit and chooses to settle down with his daughter in Smallville, near the Kents. His dealings with the Kent family weren’t always so pleasant, though. Due to coming from an alternate universe where Superman went rogue and killed Irons’ wife, Irons initially sought to prevent the same situation from happening in the main Superman & Lois world by killing its Superman.

After realizing that this Superman was different and would always seek to protect Earth rather than destroy it, Irons changed his tune, and things have gone smoothly between the former enemies since.

However, Irons’ shocking decision in “The Dress” may change his relationship with Superman forever.

Paul Lazenby as Atom Man in Superman & Lois
(The CW)

Henry Miller made his surprise return to Superman & Lois in season 3. He had previously been introduced in season 1 as one of Superman’s earliest opponents. In season 3, he returned again to attack Superman before being killed and then resurrected by Onomatopoeia (Daya Vaidya) and Bruno Mannheim (Chad L. Coleman). In “The Dress,” Miller’s character once more met his demise, but at the hands of an unexpected character.

The Mannheims have a long and complicated beef with Irons, largely because of their experiences with his doppelganger. As a result, he has been one of the primary targets of Bruno. In the latest episode, Bruno succeeds in catching Irons off guard by sending Miller after him in a surprise attack. Irons is caught in a tough situation as he is without his suit and already rattled from Mannheim’s previous organized attack on his daughter. While defending himself with his kinetic hammer, he ultimately deals a fatal blow to Miller, killing him before Superman arrives on the scene.

What this dark Superman & Lois twist means

Tyler Hoechlin as Superman and Wole Parks as John Henry Irons in Superman & Lois
(The CW)

What’s shocking about the scene is that Team Superman doesn’t kill. Whether it’s Tal-Rho (Adam Rayner), Bizzaro, or Ally Allston (Rya Kihlstedt), Superman and Irons have shown surprising restraint throughout the series in the face of quite despicable villains. Even Parks has admitted that his “mind was blown” when realized the show had his character kill someone.

Meanwhile, given Irons’ past and Superman’s deep convictions to never kill, the twist is bound to start some conflict. As soon as Superman arrives on the scene and sees what Irons has done, tension creeps over the episode. Despite Irons explaining that he didn’t have a choice, Superman angrily declares, “You always have a choice.” Natalie (Tayler Buck) and General Sam Lane (Dylan Walsh) also express judgment towards Irons over his choice, showing that trouble is brewing within Team Superman.

With the looming threat of Mannheim, the team needs all the help it can get. However, this disagreement, and Superman’s inability to see Irons’ perspective, could weaken the team internally. Additionally, there are some concerns about how Irons will deal with his choice. It’s expected that he’ll likely feel regret regardless of the circumstances. At the same time, though, the no-kill rule has always been more of a Superman thing. We can’t forget that Irons once wanted to kill an innocent Superman lest he turn evil.

Given his past, there’s some concern that this fatality could send him spiraling if he chooses to depart wholly from Team Superman’s convictions and do what’s necessary to protect his family. His feud with Mannheim is getting particularly heated and makes one think that maybe this is his stepping stone towards more purposefully putting an end to a threat.

As for Parks, he mostly sides with Irons’ decision and expresses that the other characters’ responses are a bit extreme. Superman, especially, may be a tad self-righteous since he doesn’t actually know what it’s like to be vulnerable. Parks has indicated that he doesn’t think Irons will go any further than killing in defense. However, he did tease a Bruno and Irons face-off. He told Entertainment Weekly:

But we definitely will see some resolution between John and Bruno, because that’s been brewing and simmering, and that’s just not going to stop. Either they’re going to kill each other or they’re going to have some resolution where they’re going to see eye-to-eye. Those are your options, and one of them will happen.

Only time will tell how Irons and Bruno resolve their conflict and what the fallout will be for Irons’ difficult decision to kill Miller in self defense.

(featured image: The CW)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.