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Info:

  • TV Series: Smallville
  • Episode: Booster
  • Starring: Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Eric Martsolf, Keri Lynn Pratt
  • Written by: Geoff Johns
  • Directed by: Tom Welling
  • Network: The CW
  • Series:

Smallville: Booster

Two weeks in a row. Who'd have thunk it?

By Joe Oesterle     April 24, 2011


Smallville: Booster
© The CW/Robert Trate

 For possibly the first time this season, the team at Smallville managed to do what I had resigned to think was the impossible; they gave us back-to-back entertaining episodes. As those of you who read last week’s review, I was less than certain they would be able to pull that feat off, and kudos to those of you in the comment boxes who were much more convinced that this week’s scribe, DC writer, Geoff Johns would deliver an enjoyable episode. And that’s exactly what it was - enjoyable.

Of course right here at the beginning of this article is the time and the place to grouse about the powers that be seemingly not realizing they are up against the clock, and so far there has been precious little to advance and tie up a number of loose ends that need attending. We have been promised a wedding. We have been promised (and shown in a commercial break) the return of Michael “Lex Luthor” Rosenbaum. We have seen a bit of Earth Two Lionel Luthor, but not enough to feel his threatening presence at this point. We haven’t seen Oliver since he and Chloe made their wedded way to Star City (thankfully we also haven’t seen Chloe.) We haven’t seen the Red Queen (what a waste of time that was – inventing a secret identity for Martha Kent and then ignoring it altogether.) We certainly haven’t seen much of Martha, AND, we’ve seen very, very, very little of this season’s ultimate villain, (or ultimate disappointment, keeping in my the Doomsday debacle) Darkseid. So why, did these guys think it was appropriate to give us 60 minutes of characters not listed above? Again, it was enjoyable, but I keep feeling we might get a bigger bang for our finale buck if the story would continue down one non-tangential path here.

Typically, like or hate a Smallville, the list of negatives outweigh the list of positives. This week I’m happy to report that the only downside was the fact that they decided this was a good spot for a filler ep.

As superheroes go, Booster Gold has got to be one of the more difficult ones to pull off realistically from an acting standpoint, and while Johns did deliver a fun and consistent script, the real “hero” of this installment is soap opera star, Eric Martsoff. Martsoff was handed the unenviable task of making a preening, egotistical pretty boy like Booster Gold come off as a living, breathing, three dimensional character, and against all odds, he succeeded. Booster Gold has always been a bit of a clown in the comics, and he’s certainly been played for comic relief in his limited animated adventures in Justice League Unlimited. Credit must be given to Martsoff, who aside from the haircut, not only looked the part, came through with the depth required to portray a flawed but ultimately likable good guy. 

We were also treated to the physical presence of two Blue Beetles in this episode, as well as the mention of the original Beetle from 1939, Dan Garret. I’ve always been a Ted Kord fan, and still enjoyed his untimely death at the hands of Maxwell Lord in the comic pages. It would have been nice to see more of Kord, and explore the friendship he shares with Booster Gold, but it looks like in this universe, the two might just be getting to know each other. As for the other Beetle in this show, I couldn’t get over how much Jamie Reyes (Jaren Brandt Bartlett) looked a lot like a less toothy version of Howard Stern producer, Garry “Baba Booey” Dell’Abate.

I suppose we could all knock the CGI of Beetle’s costume, but it didn’t bother me at all. We’re all aware of the budgetary constraints on this show, and I for one am glad they decided to make Booster’s robotic sidekick, Skeets, nothing more than a voice on a 25th century Bluetooth. Not because I didn’t want to see Skeets bob up and down, but I assume they blew their FX budget on the Beetle costume, and they obviously needed every penny there.

Meanwhile, Lois is doing all she can to make Clark a bit dorkier, which obviously he resisted even more they he would have if Booster Gold wasn’t by contrast so much cooler than Clark. It’s come way too late, but finally, after years of teasing what they should have done long ago, it looks like Clark is finally going to earn his bumbling four-eyes reputation. That said I’d place the odds at even Clark is back to his two-eyed persona next week. These CW types seem to have a real deep-seeded fear that the audience will tune out in droves if their main character appears to have anything than 20/20 vision.

If I were to knock the content of this episode at all, I’d have to say it was really the guest stars who stole this show. I’d also stress that it wasn’t really a knock at all, and now and then we should expect to give the first team a break and concentrate on some outside help. Tom Welling and Erica Durance did just fine in what basically became back-up work, and the shout outs to the DC universe that Johns is famous for were still appreciated. (Clark in the phone booth and the mention of Steve Lombard.)

Well Smallvillians, it’s getting closer and closer to our hero journey to both end and begin. After two weeks of being pleasantly surprised, I have a renewed faith they won’t blow the finale. That renewal is up from 15% to 25%, but hey, it’s an upward trend. I’m starting to believe.

 

Follow Joe Oesterle’s book, “Weird Hollywood” on FaceBook. Lots of deleted and unedited stories from the book, but also plenty of genre discussions and some like-minded people. Daily updates.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Weird-Hollywood/129515117077132

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 27
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fatpantz 4/24/2011 12:09:41 AM

Joe, do you know if Mania id going to assign Game of Thrones to anyone to review?  It would be awesome for us to have somewhere to discuss the show each week.

PAGE 4/24/2011 12:18:56 AM

Nice review Joe. This episode was good. No, this is the episode I've been waiting for since "Homecoming" back in episode 4. In fact, the episodes in between that one and this one haven't been all that good, and this episode should have taken place immediately after that one. I could have done without all the VRA crapfest of a storyline. Definitely could have done without Chloe returning. Like you said Joe, the focus should have been on developing Darkseid more, the Lex Clones, and more stories about Clark developing his identity. Its like they knew they'd only need a certain number of episodes to really tell that story for this season, and they've been doing all they can to drag it on. They could have developed a stronger season than this. I'm looking forward to the return of Zod next week, even if it looks like a nod *cough..rip offcough* of Gladiator/Spartacus/300 rolled into one hour of television. Will be interesting to say the least.

Bryzarro 4/24/2011 3:57:06 AM

 Nice Review Joe....wow seems strange for me to write that after this tough season with you!!!  HAHA

I thought this was a great episode.  Booster was written perfectly IMO.  The cockyness, the gloryhound it was just great.  And the mannerisms is just what I would have pictured with a live Booster.  And I had no beef witht he CGI Blue Beetle.  Again it's Smallville (I know I know no excuses) but really for what it was I thought it was alright.  And Nerdy Clarke is coming across well too.

Can't wait till next week.

jfdavis 4/24/2011 5:50:02 AM

Booster was awesomely acted.  His costume was only about 80% what I hoped for but...  I loved Beetle's costume but the version of Jaime that appears on Brave and he Bold is better.

Nerdy Clark is coming along much quicker than I thought.  I may have been the only one to snort at the milkshake excuse but so what?

After watching/reading Superman for years, this is the first time it occured to me, Clark destroys just as many shirts as the Hulk if not as severely...

Duckbeaver 4/24/2011 9:22:00 AM

I had a feeling I'd be entertained by this week's episode, but like you said, Joe,  would be concerned about the lack of build-up to the main season arc.  But seeing bumbling Clark and Martsoff's Booster on screen made me completely forget that we're so close to the end.  It was just plain fun to watch.  Johns knows how to deliver a tight story and there were really no "logic leaps" to gripe about this week (aside from how Lois is able to conveniently find Jamie in the "huge" city of Metropolis twice in one day, but whatever!  It worked for the story).

Great to see Clark play the "lovable loser" persona.  Not knocking Christopher Reeve's portrayal (which is just as awesome), but Welling seemed to make the bumbling more natural.  Sure, he was stuttering nervously and knocking things over, but he did it enough to make people believe he's slightly incompetent and not a complete walking disaster.  That fare worked for the 1978 movie, but the tone of that film was slightly more comical, so of course they'd play up Clark's flops. 

Booster stole the show.  I was afraid he'd be too over the top (even for Booster), but Martsoff nailed it.  You really got the sense that he was secretly ashamed of his past and was overcompensating.  I especially liked the last interaction with Clark.  I laughed a little when he practically threw a replacement name for "The Blur" right at him and Clark STILL didn't get it.  How hard is it to come up with a name with the word "super" in it, really? 

The Blue Beetle looked good for their budget.  Maybe a little stiff and robotic, but that was the idea, I suppose, that the suit was in control and fighting Jamie's resistance.  Anyone else think Iron Man when seeing it in action (along with the close-ups of Jamie's face while he was in the suit)?  I half expected Jarvis to speak up.  ;)

All in all, a good episode.  I suppose it did tie in to the main journey somewhat.  We see that Clark's been seriously considering a public debut for a while and, after seeing how Booster was readily accepted, is ready to bask in a little of the glory that comes with being the hero of Metropolis.  The next few episodes should finally propel him into it.  Looking forward to seeing Callum Blue back as Zod next week...

PS- that Lex teaser was pretty sweet.  Looks to be an interesting reunion with Clark.

rogue188 4/24/2011 9:43:40 AM

Ha, told ya so, Joe. Great review. This episode really should have come earlier, but it was great fun and had the best tones of Smallville. I truly hope they can keep it up. For some reason, this show is sporadic at best. I think when they decided on the order the show is broadcast, they probably saved the best few episodes for last instead of using logic. But hey, as long as I am having fun watching, I'll suspend my  common sense.  

monkeyfoot 4/24/2011 11:05:32 AM

Agree with everybody that this was a great episode. It was fun, well entrenched in DC lore and even advanced further to the ultimate destination of making Clark the real Man of Steel.

Booster was well done, again mainly as a fun character whose purpose was to unintentionally nudge our hero along. I actually didn't know Blue Beetle was going to be used in this episode so that added a great bonus for me. I knew Johns was working on a pilot but had no idea he was going to set it up on this show.

Again for me, a highlight was the inspiring talks Clark gave to some of the characters, especially Booster which not only spurned him but also Blue Beetle indirectly on to heroic greatness. I'm gonna have to say it: Junior Jesus is on the job!

As much as Clark just wearing specs and bumbling around is setting things up, I cannot possibly see how this is going to make the residents of Smallville, the staff at the Daily Planet, the multiple characters and guest stars who have appeared over the years, and even the returning Lex Luthor not recognize our  former Smallville High quarterback on sight once he dons the cape. Either they intend to do some Bizarro show logic ("Gee, I'd never think geeky Clark could be Superman.") or I'm hoping the Legion or Jor-El will do some time travel magic and make everybody only remember Clark in glasses.

Also, Joe, what do you have against Chloe? On all the early episodes where Clark pinned over Lana leaving poor Chloe fighting back tears for being ignored, me and every fan I talked to adored her. She had ten times the personality of Lang and cute as a button, too. At least she's gotten over him and our hero has smarten up enough to go for a pretty woman with equal spunk in Chloe's cousin Lois.

Moz72 4/24/2011 6:44:55 PM

Well here we are, another series review by Joe coming to an end. First Lost, now Smallville. Wonder if this is some kind of curse? (Just kidding Joe!)

I completely agre with your second paragraph. There were so many opportunities to expand on other plots/stories, and either for reasons of time and/or budgetary constraints, were shoved into a closet. Sad really.  I would of have enjoyed a whole season of bringing together the League and watching them work together to save the world from super villains. As Karas pointed out in another review, that would be too many chracters for writers to focus on, but I disagree. If a comic book can tell a good story with numerous characters in only a few pages, why can't  the same be done in an hour long episode?

Yes, Smallville suffers from getting lost in it's own mythology. The writers keep bogging themselved down on dragging out Clarks development on being Superman, that they forget that they are letting the clock run out. To use a sports metaphor,:they should be playing offense and try to score, instead of constantly playing defense.

Still, can't wait to se the finale, just to see how this wraps up. I still BELIEVE!

monelonmonday 4/24/2011 8:29:10 PM

hoping for the best on the finale ,was good to see a nod for the man of steel since that appears to be the title of snyders movie,thought it was a good episode though,is anyone else catching micheal rosenbaum on christian slaters new show "breaking in" pretty good turn for him,good to see him on tv again

GreatOne 4/24/2011 10:36:27 PM

Decent episode, and great job by Martsoff as Booster Gold. But the poor writing that has, at times, strangled this series showed through again. (1) Booster Gold is on earth less than a day, but he already has a group of well-choreographed dancers (ripping off IM 2); (2) Booster Gold says his motivation is to steal the spotlight from Superman. Really?!?! Saving the people that "the Blur" saved is going to prevent (a) Superman from going public and/or (b) people from looking up to Superman once he dons the suit and goes public? Seriously ridiculous; (3) Why is Booster Gold hitting on Lois Lane? If BG is from the future, he knows they're devoted to each other. Dumb attempt to try to keep Lois Lane in the story; (4) Get rid of Cat Grant already. Horribly miscast, and horribly written as liberal's view of what a right-wing conservative is. Adds nothing to show.

 

I could go on, but I'll stop there. Was an enjoyable episode, but these ever-present flaws are what prevents me from even thinking of watching re-runs. Too bad, because I really like Welling, and Durance has definitely grown into her character as well.
 

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