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.
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