Around the release of Superman Returns, I started a thread with various questions about the Man of Steel and his incarnations in Superman, Superman II, and Superman Returns. Yesterday, I was reading our own Bad Astronomer’s review of Superman Returns, which included a link to this parody of the original Superman. The parody got me thinking about the plot of Superman and then I thought of something I had never asked in that thread: (I don’t know if I should do a spoiler warning for a 25-year-old movie)
In Superman, Lex Luthor has two assistants: Otis, a bumbling doof; and Ms. Teschmacher, apparently Lex’s girlfriend. Lex’s Evil Plan™: the Army and Navy are doing a simultaneous test of two nuclear missles. Lex will reprogram these missles so that they destroy portions of the United States. However, they will go in opposite directions to make it harder for Superman can’t stop both of them at the same time. The main target is the San Andreas Fault, so the blast will send western California into the sea, thus allowing Lex to become rich off of real estate on the new California coast (which he bought for cheap). The dud missle is going to Hackensack, for no other reason than Ms. Teschmacher’s mother lives there. After Tesch (I’m tired of typing out her whole name) hears this, she gets angry at Lex, and decides to help Superman by taking off the piece of Kryptonite Lex has tied to him if Superman promises to stop the Hackensack missle first. Superman makes good on that promise. However, in the start of Superman II, Tesch- in her only scene in the film- frees Lex from prison by flying a hot air balloon there (Otis is too fat).
Why did Tesch rescue Lex? Was she only pissed off that her mother was going to die, and now that Hackensack wasn’t destroyed, she’s going back to Lex’s side? Or was she never on Superman’s side in the first place, and she saved Superman because she’d rather live in a world in which Lex’s plan failed rather than one in which it succeeded but her mother died?