SMALLVILLE - 10.2 - 'Shield' Review -

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  • Title: Smallville
  • Episode Title: Shield
  • Writer: Jordan Hawley
  • Director: Glen Winter
  • Episode Cast: Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, Justin Hartley, Michael Shanks, Sahar Biniaz, Ted Whittall, Bradley Stryker, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Keri Lynn Pratt
  • Network: The CW
  • Series: Smallville

SMALLVILLE - 10.2 - 'Shield' Review

A Nice Episode If You’re Grading on a Curve

By Joe Oesterle     October 04, 2010
Source: Mania

SMALLVILLE - 10.2 - 'Shield' Review
© Mania

While Lois is throwing back a few belts with the reincarnated Carter Hall, Cat Grant is getting all kinds of cuddly playful in her new pad at the Daily Planet. Now I have no problem when a series rewrites certain characters to fit their particular spin on the DC universe, but while Cat Grant has never been a major player in Metropolis, I much prefer her as a forceful and confident sexual tiger (with more then ample cleavage) than this cute and wholesome innocent kitten. (With possible cleavage, but nowhere near the type they pencil in on the pages of Action.)

I also didn’t enjoy her buying into Smallville’s answer to Glen Beck – Godfrey. I will say this Godfrey character may be going somewhere, and let’s hope he does – I just never saw Cat Grant as an AM radio groupie. She seemed too much of her own woman to buy into that kind of propaganda. Godfrey however could become an interesting rabble-rouser as long as he doesn’t become a pawn of Checkmate or Lex, if only because it’s already too obvious. That said, I wager we’ll find out someone is pulling his strings very soon.

Speaking of obvious, I never thought for a second that bullet was meant for Cat. The letters, “ARNT” seemed pretty obvious to me our villain de jour was after Clark. Why the hell wouldn’t Clark just flatten out the bullet to make sure rather than make the assumption “ARNT” was a crumpled up shorthand for Cat Grant. Come on, it could have simply been the manufacturer of the bullet itself. Clark took a pretty big leap there for a flightless Kandorian. You know why he did that? Because these writers don’t think we’re smart enough to be offended at that kind of shove in the wrong direction.

That ploy works for exactly 5 seconds. It actually would have played much better had Clark looked at it, muttered the words, “Cat Grant” as if he were assuming it were her, and then we could have looked at a tight shot on his face as the camera then zooms in on the now smoothed out bullet (because that’s really what Clark would have done if he weren’t an idiot, or written by an idiot.) 5 seconds is all they get for us to not jump to the character they’ve shown us for ten seasons. It makes much more sense we’d expect it to be him then her if only because of our familiarity with him.

What else didn’t I like? How about Lois going shot for shot in a drinking game with a seasoned boozer like Carter Hall? I’m not saying Carter has a problem, but the guy has lived enough lives to build up a tolerance for straight whiskey in the hot sun. Just because Lois’ dad was a bad-ass general doesn’t give Ms. Lane the ability to play drinking games with someone whose been tossing back the sauce since the Sphinx was under construction. Let’s just look back to the Indiana Jones series from which they were so obviously trying to borrow. Marion Ravenwood could slam ‘em back with the best of ‘em, and yet she was still pretty soused after a night of competitive drinking.

This leaves me with two possibilities. The writers/director foolishly didn’t factor in the fact the Lois would be at least tipsy after swilling rotgut with a 3000 year old pro, or Erica Durance doesn’t have the acting chops to play drunk. I’m assuming it’s a little of column A and a little of column B.

Ohh, and I still hate Ollie’s stupid little voice-altering thing. Maybe think about a costume that makes it harder for people to figure out who you are than some annoying audio modulator.

OK, enough ragging. I actually liked this episode. It’s a shame they always give me enough to complain about, because like many other episodes, these flaws could have been avoided. I am forced to grade this program on a curve, and I don’t care who thinks that’s insulting, because time and time again I’m insulted by this show. Turn about is fair play.

Now on to the good stuff - Deadshot was great. There’s a character they changed on us from the comic book, and I think they actually improved him. Now of course he never wore a blouse that could barely manage to contain his undulating breasts, so that might have made the transition a little easier, but I agree wholeheartedly with this incarnation of the character. It was even fun to hear a little cowboy twang in his voice.

Traveling with the bullet in actual “bullet-time” was fun, and it really gave credence to our bad guy’s abilities. And how ‘bout all those stuffed animals in Cat’s little pink ride? Anyone wondering if Cat has a Plushie thing going on?

By the way, it was nice to see where all of Metropolis goes during the day since they are clearly never on the streets. They all hang out at the bus station.

I’d like to also hand it to this team for working in a fresh Nietzsche reference. I always said Nietzsche would never have called Clark “The Red and Blue Blur.”

And finally, who else got a little excited when Clark showed up on the rooftop of the Daily Planet. Standing there heroically, dropping his plane ticket, a big S emblazoned upon his chest, the American flag flapping behind him in the bright sunlight. Only two things wrong with that image; Clark wouldn’t have littered, and his hands could have been positioned into fists at his waist… but that’s just nitpicking.

Like Cat said, we need a hero in red and blue, fighting the good fight away from the shadows. Could it be, after 9 seasons this show is finally going to get it right? Seems a little late in the game to finally give us what we’ve wanted, and this show has needed for at least 4 seasons already, but it’s coming soon. We can all feel it. The super underwear should be out of the Fortress Dry Cleaners any week now. Hope it’s soon.



Joe Oesterle’s latest book, “Weird Hollywood” hits book stores Oct 5. It’s full of urban legends, Hollywood ghosts, roadside attractions, celebrity interviews and he got to sit in the Adam West Batmobile. Follow the book on Twitter:

And if you live in the Los Angeles area, write him at for book signing events.


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steakguy 10/4/2010 2:05:04 PM

Good God, why does Mania and Joe Oesterle continue to even bother reviewing Smallville? Clearly both the reviewer and the site hate the show. Either stop, or each week just put up a brief, one-sentence review, "This was crap, too," mark it a D and move on. Just look at this review. The episode gets a B, but Oesterle then spends three-fourths of his space griping about minor quibbles like the smashed up bullet and Lois' alcohol tolerance, but then says "I actually liked this episode." If that's the case, how about you flip that and spend more space on what you liked and less on the quibbles. You obviously hate the show and your reviews are predictably snobbish.

Smallville is far from a perfect show, and I've had many problems elements of it over the years, but they are minor compared to what's good about it. Great performances by Welling, Durance gives one of the most dead-on portrayals of Lois Lane I've ever seen, and the way they've weaved all the details of the larger DC Universe throughout the show during its entire run is very impressive.

I too would have preferred the sex-bomb, gossipy Cat Grant rather than this goody-two shoes portrayal, but it's one episode and she's gone. I like how they are moving fast on this season with turning him into Superman and not dragging it out. That final scene with him on the roof in the new costume gave me goosebumps. When he dropped that plane ticket it would have been perfect to finally let him fly, right there. Oh, but of course we have to read more nitpicking about littering and that his hands weren't in fists by his waist. Good god, give me a break. 

EnderWiggin825 10/4/2010 2:51:00 PM

I agree with Steakguy, Joe, if you hate the show so much why bother? Must be tough to get work as a second rate hack writer. Then again can writing for this site actually be called work? No, I don't think so. I find your reviews to be more insulting to the fans than the writers of the show. I also frequent another site where the reviewer of Smallville seemingly tuned in JUST to bitch and complain. That guy no longer reviews for the show but I think that his body probably was going to fail because of how worked up he got. Do everyone a favor and stick your finger in a lightsocket.

I forever have been a diehard Superman fan, my mom tells me as early as two years old I was dragging around the oversized red blanket we had tucked into my tshirt and saving her from all sorts of disasters. This show is not perfect and I myself have groaned about the treatment some of the heroes and villains and other supporting cast has been given. But there is also so much more good about this show. You don't have to love the show but don't insult the fans of it by writing flip floppy reviews. Btw, hope you liked the email I sent.

PAGE 10/4/2010 3:38:24 PM

 sorry for the bad grammar and run on sentences but im typing from my cell. mania how about an app for android phones. anyway, i liked this epusode.i liked the lois in africa thing and the conversations with carter hall. loved the new costume. about damn time they got rid of the black. fdeadshot was awesome.. my only complaint is, while i enjoyed the kitten cat grant as joe called her, they, the wonderful writers of smallville, already introduced cat grant in epsiode 9.6, crossfire, who was more closer to her comic character. wtf smallville writers, i know this cant be the real cat grant because she said as much when clark discovered she changed her name., or is she the real cat grant. wtf writers, dont introduce the character 1 season and reintroduce her again the very next season. thats bad, no excuse me, horrible writing. however, i am looking forward to the return of kara this week.

wesleywells1 10/4/2010 3:41:15 PM

I have to agree with the two guys who posted above me. I've been reading your Smallville reviews for quite a while, and you do seem to have a bit of a vendetta against the show. I'll admit it has its fair share of writing problems, but the good outweighs the bad in my opinion. If you are going to review a show based on a comic book franchise, you need to do so from the point of view of the show's fans- comic book readers and Superman fans in general.

Oh, and that "Godfrey character" you referred to is obviously Glorious Godfrey, henchman of Darkseid. It seems that he is spewing propaganda in order to turn (or try to anyway) the people against Clark and the other heroes in anticipation of Darkseid's coming invasion. I hope we get to see more agents of Apokolips and maybe even some of the heroes of New Genesis.

BTW, I'm not saying you should be replaced as a reviewer or anything, just that you need to try to watch the show from the perspective of its fans. Just have fun with it.

jppintar326 10/4/2010 3:50:15 PM

I'm usually a big Smallville defender, but here a little of Cat Grant goes a long way.  She never seemed to stop talking and I actually wish someone had succeded in killing her.  She was always a minor and somewhat disposable character in the comic book and here she's not much better.  Maybe she'll grow on me but I miss Lois and Clark together.

CaptAmerica04 10/4/2010 4:47:10 PM

 Joe nails it again.  Well said, sir, on all points.

JoeArtistWriter 10/4/2010 4:49:58 PM

@steakguy, I don't see how the crumpled bullet or Lois' drinking is minor. I personally believe if you're going to make a fantasy show, you better be rooted in realism, and the realism of Clark just assuming "ARNT" is Cat Grant is ridiculous. It would be as easy for Clark to uncrumple that bullet as it would for you or I to flatten out a wrinkled piece of paper with letters scibbled on it. Are you going to assume what the letters may represent or will you flatten out the paper?

I want the show to be better than it is. These opinions are mine, but I'd just prefer less sloppiness from this team. By the way, Erica Durance has yet to give a "great" performance in my esitimation. She's hot, she's charismatic, but as an actress, i'd say she's servicable, and leave the word "great" for Hepburn, Streep, Foster and Blanchett.

@EnderWiggin, I don't buy that I insult the fans of this show. Now you obviously know insults, because you were more than happy to hurl a few my way, but that's cool. I assume I'll get some of that. It goes with the gig. Stick my finger in a lightsocket? That seems kind of harsh but I have to say I'd prefer it to some of the episodes I've watched. That said, again, i enjoyed this ep. It's just that I have a hard time with the gaps of logic this show continues to let slip. I review the good with the bad. That's what a reviewer does. If something bugs me, I comment. Here's another comment, you seem angry. Seek help.

@PAGE, yeah I remeber that ep with Cat from last season. I wonder why they decided to soften her up. Oh well, I did like their version of Deadshot.

@wesley, I am a huge Superman fan, that's what annoys me now and then abut this show. I'm not convinced they care for the character. I do have fun with it... it's just hard to enjoy the entire ride when they spoil it so often with mistakes that don't need to be made.

@jppintar, agreed.

JoeArtistWriter 10/4/2010 4:57:44 PM

@CaptAmerica, thanks man. Nice to see someone on my side. It's harsh out there today.  ;)

hanso 10/4/2010 5:01:13 PM

 Joe - Share the email EnderWiggin sent you with the rest of the class. I could use a good laugh.

citrafreak 10/4/2010 5:17:11 PM

Good Review Joe, I just gotta say that it is a review people, you don't have to agree with the reviewer.  If you don't like it that's okay you are entitled to your own opinions.  I have to say I enjoy your reviews, I never know what's gonna come out or your mouth next.  But I digress I really liked this episode, I liked dead-shot and the reintroduction of the Suicide Squad.  I thought that some of the things in this and many other episodes the writers try to spoon feed us, but I guess I'm getting used to it by now.  I really thought Clark was going to take off and fly at the end of this episode when he dropped the ticket.  That would have been awesome, guess that's the Superman fan in me and the fan-boy in me really likes the new outfit.  I liked that Lois was the first one to say Superman, and the stuff with Carter Hall is always fun.  I thought that Cat did what Cat does best annoy Clark then fall for him.  I just have to say in closing that I loved the final shot of Clark standing on-top the building in Superman form with the American flags watching the world from above.  Great image to close out an episode and keep us all hanging around till the series finale 

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