CREDITS: Written by Stan Berkowitz; directed by Curt Geda.
REVIEW: Who's ready to call Professor Hamilton a menace? Or at least take away his Kryptonian toys? I mean sheesh. Although, yes, fiddling with the Phantom Zone projector to get yourself a Mirror Universe episode is a clever use of continuity. And Mirror Universe episodes are fun, no question. In this case, it gives Lois the chance to shine, both as an action hero and a character.
This "darkest timeline" is a natural riff on Fritz Lang's Metropolis, and the Nietzschean Superman's connection to Hitler's Germany, though it does require us to believe Superman would innocently wear an S.S. symbol on his chest and let Luthor run wild with a fascist city-state, with Turpin and Mercy as Gestapo agents, all in the space of a few months or very few years. Lois can't have been dead too long in this reality. So there must have been other divergences. I mean, that Jimmy Olsen would grow a mullet, I can believe, but... In any case you're not supposed to look this kind of thing too closely. It will always fall apart. The real gauge is, do the differences freak the protagonist and the audience sufficiently? Does she then get a chance to make this dark world better? And the answer to both those questions is yes.
The alternate Superman says her death at the hands of Intergang precipitated all this, turning him from reactive crime fighter to proactive warrior. Because he was in love with her. Lois reacts by slapping him in the face, which is a perfect moment. He can't put this dystopia on her, first of all, and where a Silver Age Lois might have been overjoyed, the revelation only exposes Superman's weaknesses to this Lois. It shows what he's been keeping from her (if her own Superman feels the same) and that he would betray his ideals if faced with a trauma. She slaps him because he's betrayed all that, and her in the bargain. When she returns to her Earth, she's the one who asks him out, precipitating, perhaps, the relationship - he plays coy - and again, this is perfect Lois Lane, taking matters into her own hands and not waiting for the man to wake up.
IN THE COMICS: The costume the alternate Superman wears would eventually inspire Overman's, a Superman whose spacecraft landed in Nazi Germany on Earth-X, first seen in 52 #52 (2007). There are several alternate realities where Lois has died and Superman become the darker for it, most recently that of the Injustice game and its related comics.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A very good Lois Lane episode even if the story does little that's new with the parallel universe idea.