Saturday, October 02, 2010

Smallville Review: "Shield" (Airdate 10/1/10)

There were three basic plot-lines this week: 1) Lois and Cartar (Hawkman) Hall in Egypt drinking whiskey and having a heart-to-heart; 2) Clark meets his new partner at the Daily Planet (Cat Grant) and saves her from an apparent attempt on her life by the wanted criminal "Deadshot"; 3) Oliver (Green Arrow) Queen searches for Chloe who has gone missing and has apparently been erased from the digital record.  Finally, we were introduced to "The Suicide Squad," a group of crime fighters who use kidnapping, torture, and assassination and are determined to keep costumed heroes out of the spotlight.  So far, the viewer has not seen them do any actual crime fighting; just the kidnapping, assassination and torture.

The Lois/Hawkman plotline was well-done and important to the overall development of the relationship between Clark and Lois.  That Cartar discerned almost immediately that Lois knew about Clark and they were able to have an open and honest conversation was very cool.  Michael Shanks did a great job conveying the bittersweet aspects of the Hawkman character and the cycle of life, love, loss, death and rebirth he has to live through.  He sees more clearly than either Lois or Clark the importance of their relationship to Clark's destiny (really Lois's destiny too).  We also learn, almost poignantly, that Hawkman's days in this life are numbered.   This season's portrayal of Hawkman is leaps and bounds better than the bitter (no sweet) old warrior they gave us last season.

Oliver's search for Chloe was well thought out.  He does a pretty good impersonation of Batman in this episode; sneaking around, searching for clues, putting a hurting on the bad guy and figuring it all out in the end.  I was more impressed with the fact that, even though she was not even in the episode, Chloe was represented well.  We may have a better-written Chloe Sullivan this season than we've had for years, and she's only signed on for something like 5 episodes.  Oliver discovered she had traded her freedom for his, faked her own death, and erased all evidence of having ever existed.  This is cool because, in the comics, she has never existed.  Her first appearance in the comic books happened/will happen this month.  As a Superman fanboy, I'm hoping they use this device to at least attempt to bring some of Smallville into the comic book continuity.

Clark's new look
I could have done without the irritating and insipid characterization the show gave us of Cat Grant.  The character had a decent back-story and could have been very sympathetic, even if we disagree with her stance regarding "vigilantes," but the way she was played made me hate her and want Deadshot to take her out.  I loved the remote control bullet and the exploding car rescue.  I even liked that Cat's aversion to vigilantes who skulk around in the shadows helped Clark ditch the black trench look and go back to red and blue.  I thought Deadshot was a cool badguy, and that his attempts to kill Cat were misdirection while his real intention was to "tag" Clark was a cool angle that tied this episode into a broader plot-line.

Altogether, I liked this episode and found it enjoyable despite an utterly irritating portrayal of Cat Grant.  In it, Clark and Lois took a couple tentative steps toward their shared and utterly awesome destiny while and supporting characters like Hawkman, Chloe, and Oliver were moved in positive directions as well.  The introduction of the Suicide Squad means we have another shadowy group gunning for the nascent Justice League.  Hopefully, they will be more compelling than Checkmate was last season.

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