Superman on Television

Legion of Super Heroes: Episode Reviews

Season 2 - Episode 4: "Chained Lightning"

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges

4Rating - 4 (out of 5): This episode did a lot of things right. It was only held back by ongoing problems that prevent it from reaching all I could ask for out of this show.

It gave us character development and depth for Garth (and even for Kell-El, with his concern for Garth and trying to cover it up with humor), back story, and it did it while tying into the overall arc of the season. This episode did everything "Cry Wolf" tried to do, only it did it in the right way without having to rehash old stories and add nothing new to the mythos.

It even had lasting changes, because even if we never see Ayla again (I was disappointed to see she hadn't aged at all, it would have been the perfect way to introduce Light Lass) Garth will still have his robotic arm, proving for once that there are consequences and providing the first real example of Imperiex being any sort of real threat.

It also introduced another Legion member to audiences in Shrinking Violet, who was full of character and personality, even if Brainy seemed a bit out of character in comparing her powers to Superman and not really believing she could be helpful. She was a lot of fun, though, and could easily become a big fan favorite if they give her more screentime.

And yet, for all of those great, wonderful things, the episode still couldn't reach its fullest potential.

The reason for Mekt joining with Imperiex was weak with a capital EAK. He wanted to be on the winning side? That's it? Let's participate in the planned slaughter of trillions of people simply so I can win? Weak weak weak.

And Imperiex apparently calls his robotic minions... Destructobots. Some stuffy suit at a toy company had to have come up with that name, because I can't see it appealing to anyone outside of five year-olds.

And if Imperiex is so all-powerful, AND has a seemingly unending army of... Destructobots (sigh), why did he side with the Dominators? WHO are the Dominators? How can they possibly help him? What purpose do they serve?

Ignoring Legion comic books and history, which you have to do to judge this show on its own merits, the Dominators are nobody. Nothing. They're more foot soldiers for the Legion to fight. More foot soldiers that Imperiex doesn't need because he already has more than enough.

What are the Dominators hoping to get out of this alliance, exactly? For that matter we STILL don't know what Imperiex's motivation is, other than to just "be evil!" and cause destruction, and that IS a problem.

I don't know why they had to have Superman off "saving the universe on the other side of the galaxy". He's been gone for two episodes, and I really see no reason why he couldn't have been in them. Sure, Kell-El has been there, but that's not the same. Then again, I suppose they think Kell-El's action figures will probably sell better. This is no slight on the character, who I think is actually interesting and shaping up decently, but replacing Superman with a more violent, angry version of himself (even if he IS learning to change that) just doesn't sit well with me as a Superman fan.

I don't know why Bouncing Boy would defer to Kell-El's judgment... asking "should we do X?" and letting Kell-El make the call. Bouncing Boy is still the leader of the team (they've not told us otherwise) and I can't see him letting someone else make the call for him, let alone Kell-El. The real Superman I could see him doing that for, or at least asking for advice, but this just made no sense to me.

And the closing scene of Mekt in prison was a horribly missed opportunity to show us Alexis Luthor, unless she escaped from prison a few episodes back and they just haven't told us about that yet. It would have been a good nod to have her in an adjacent cell, though. When's she coming back, anyway? Now THERE is a villain with promise.

Honestly, with a good villain with true motivations this episode could have been legendary. The action was as faboo as ever and the nursery rhyme echoing through the ship as they glided through the storm cloud was creepy as all heck.

This show excels at action and crafting mood and scenes, and this is probably just about the closest the writing has come to being where it needs to be. It's not without its problems, but this was really a fantastic episode.

Just give Imperiex some motivation and some character and keep writing them like this one, and this show could finally live up to everything it should be.

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