Superman on Television
Lois & Clark: Episode Reviews
Season 2 - Episode 19: "Target: Jimmy Olsen!"Reviewed by: Rob Ó Conchúir
Originally Aired: April 2, 1995
Directed by David Jackson
Written by Tony Blake & Paul Jackson
Jim Pirri as Agent Dan Scardino
Michelle Phillips as Claudette Wilder
Claire Yarlett as Dr. Katherine Wilder
Meredith Scott Lynn as Sarah Goodwin
Erick Avari as Mr. Muunour
Tony Giglio as G.E. Mallow
Charles Napier as Salin' Whalen
Joe Ochman as Daily Planet Staffer
Alaina Reed-Hall as Nurse Berkey
David Sage as Dr. Alan Golden
Dr. Catherine Wilder works feverishly as she tries to break into a filing cabinet. Dr. Alan Golden bursts in and tells her that the Project Valhalla files were supposed to be destroyed. Claudette Wilder, Catherine's mother walks in and Catherine berates her for not keeping the man occupied.
Golden thinks that Project Valhalla is insane and threatens to get security. Claudette kills the man and picks up the files he was holding. One of the files has Jimmy's name in it as a guinea pig.
As Jimmy heads to work one morning, he is observed by Claudette and her henchman, Klaus. Klaus tries to grab Jimmy, but is interrupted by Hank, a coworker who catches Jimmy's attention just in time. Jimmy shows Lois a painful rash on his arm he gets around the same time every year.
Dan Scardino asks Lois out once again. She turns him down, stating that she's seeing Clark.
Perry explains to Jimmy that his doctor, Dr. Golden has been murdered. Perry sends Lois and Clark out on the assignment. Jimmy persuades Perry to let him join them. Catherine continues to work on a serum and tells her mother that buyers are interested but they need a demonstration of the mind-control killer serum first.
Lois, Clark and Jimmy visit different patients of Dr. Golden all born the same day as Jimmy in an effort to get more information on why he would have been murdered.
Lois and Jimmy find Sarah Goodwin just as she's about to be kidnapped by Klaus. Superman intervenes and catches Klaus. Jimmy notices that Sarah has the same rash as him.
Dr. Golden's other patient, G.E. Mallow has gone missing, so Clark invites Jimmy to stay with him and Lois invites Sarah to stay with her.
Claudette shows a buyer the findings of Project Valhalla. Catherine explains that the subjects were subjected to a dormant virus as infants. When given the special Tyson serum, they are subject to suggestion from the injector. Claudette then reveals the missing patient, proclaiming that she is sending him on a special mission.
Sarah, a psych major, analyses Lois much to her annoyance. Dan Scardino arrives at her apartment, stating that he's been assigned to investigate a shipment of a drug named 'Tyson' ordered by Dr. Golden. He leaves once Clark arrives.
Lois and Clark visit an Admiral who explains Project Valhalla to them. He directs them to Catherine Wilder, the doctor working on the project.
Lois retrieves info on Catherine Wilder and discovers that she works in the same hospital where Dr. Golden worked. A man starts shooting a machine gun through the streets of Metropolis. Superman catches up to him and destroys the gun. The man falls down dead. It's Mallow - the other patient of Dr. Golden, under the influence of the Tyson serum.
Lois and Clark visit the Wilders to ask Catherine about Project Valhalla, but she's very elusive. The two reporters opt to stake out her office. Clark initiates a conversation with Lois about their relationship but has to rush off to stop a crime as Superman.
Jimmy and Sarah bond at Lois' apartment. Sarah receives a phone call from Claudette who uses the code-word 'Warrior' that opens Sarah's mind to hypnotic suggestion. Sarah holds Jimmy up at gunpoint while Claudette injects Jimmy with Tyson. The next day he receives another call from Claudette who sends him to Lois' apartment.
Clark attempts to hack into the Fort Truman database, by typing in hundreds of different password possibilities at super-speed. He eventually succeeds with the word 'Odin', discovering useful information about 'Project Valhalla' and its mind-control properties.
Jimmy arrives at Lois' apartment and attempts to kill her. Sarah tries to shoot Clark, who catches the bullet and gets her medical help. Superman stops Jimmy just as the Wilders arrive. Claudette instructs Jimmy to jump out the window - Superman saves him and Scardino stops the Wilders.
Jimmy and Sarah are admitted to hospital where they make a full recovery. Clark attempts to get through to Lois and once again has to dash away as Superman. Lois agrees to go on a date with Scardino.
Review Rating - 3 (out of 5): Another above-average, enjoyable enough episode that just doesn't strike gold the way others in the season do. Nevertheless, it's fun, gives the characters something to do and continues the story arc of Lois and Clark's troubled romance.
Some of the dialogue in this episode was great. I love how Clark refers to Scardino as 'Inspector Gadget'. There's so much venom in it and it's made even more enjoyable by how baseless it is - we've never seen Scardino use any gadgets, Clark just wants to belittle him because he doesn't like him. It's typical of a country boy who wouldn't typically make a pop culture reference like that.
While I continue to dislike Scardino and while I admit he's once-again shoehorned into this episode (he was on temporary assignment in Metropolis in previous episodes, and now he just so happens to be investigating the Tyson drug... ) he isn't overtly annoying in this episode and I like that the episode makes Lois' acceptance of his advances credible and acceptable. Some might see her actions as a betrayal of Clark, but I see it as a perfectly human thing to do, given Clark's continued absence of intimacy. I will admit that the episode doesn't do a strong enough job of giving Superman proper reasons to be absent from conversations with Lois. In the context of this series, we rarely see Superman get random cries for help or deal with everyday street-crimes... why do they suddenly start piling up when the plot demands it?
Michelle Phillips and Claire Yarlett are another entry in the long-list of forgettable "Lois & Clark" villains that only appear in one episode. Yarlett is eye-candy that is only barely plausible as a medical researcher. Phillips is a gaudy mutton-dressed-as-lamb cougar-type who wants money, power, riches, yada-yada-yada 90s villain. They're fine, they service the plot, I'm unlikely to ever mention them again.
It was nice to see recognizable character-actors Erick Avari and Charles Napier in this episode. Both men have made countless notable appearances in TV and film but since this is a review about a superhero show, I'll make a special note that Avari played Dr. Suresh on "Heroes" as well as Elektra's father Nicolas Natchios in the under-rated "Daredevil" movie. Charles Napier appeared as a henchman in "The Incredible Hulk Returns" TV movie (the one that featured Thor and also featured numerous references to 'Valhalla' - like this episode of "Lois & Clark"!).
Special effects-wise, there's nothing that blows my mind, but I did enjoy Superman's game of chicken with grunting 'Ken-doll' henchman and Michael Bolton lookalike, Klaus. It was a realistic wire-shot aided by some decent blue-screen work. I have similar praise for Superman's air-rescue of Jimmy later in the episode. It's not stellar, but it looks fine for the time and at least they tried (which isn't always something I can say about the effects in this show).
An interesting tidbit about this episode lies in one of its opening scenes when Jimmy first meets plucky would-be-psychologist Sarah Goodwin. They discover that they were both born in Fort Truman, they both have the same mystery-rash and they both just recently turned 20. This is a major lapse in continuity as Michael Landes' Jimmy specifically states his age as 21 in "All Shook Up" (still my favorite episode ever). It doesn't really bother me that much as Justin Whalin's Jimmy is clearly supposed to be a more specifically youthful incarnation of the character, but it was an interesting admission of change by the series, intentional or not. I just wish we could return to the alternate universe where Jimmy is Michael Landes and a year older.
Next week we see Superman tackle his inner laziness as the sinister crimson glow of Red Kryptonite forces the first of many bizarre effects on the Man of Steel in "Individual Responsibility".
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