Superman on Television

Legion of Super Heroes: Episode Reviews

Season 2 - Episode 8: "Message in a Bottle"

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges

3Rating - 3 (out of 5): The obvious joy of this episode was the Kryptonian history that was provided, at least as far as this show's continuity is concerned. I found the idea of the Messenger interesting, though problematic.

Now, in this continuity, Brainiac is directly responsible for the destruction of Krypton. In a previous episode Brainiac also said he was Coluan, so how he can be Coluan AND the descendant of the original Brainiac I don't know. There's a continuity gaffe there, I think, unless I'm remembering Brainy's history episode wrong.

There's also the issue of there being enough matter from an exploded planet close enough to where the planet used to be to be able to re-form a new planet out of the material, thousands of years later... not to mention the fact that there's now 2.5 million other Kryptonians in existence, which Brainy erases Superman's entire memory of (and then gives the camera a sly look, just so we can all wonder if Brainiac 1.0 had more of an influence on him or not).

Superman was also incredibly quick to jump the gun and start accusing Brainy of being just like Brainiac 1.0 (which, mind you, is accusing him of genocide) based on the actions of his ancestor thousands of years ago, which was just to amp up some drama that otherwise would have been totally out of character for Superman.

And apparently in this continuity Kryptonians get their powers the second yellow sunlight touches them, because the people of Kandor sure seemed to. Perhaps yellow sunlight also brings with it information on HOW to use these new powers, because they were all suddenly flying perfectly.

Sure it was cool seeing an army of Kryptonians flying around beating up on robots, but it would have been nice if that made a little more sense or if at least SOME of them had trouble figuring out how to fly and the like. Instead it was just instant sun = instant powers with instant knowledge of how to use them, and that bugged me.

The nods to Krypto and Streaky were nice, but on the whole this episode only felt about half done and kind of haphazardly thrown together. And Imperiex is still just "evil" for no reason, and it makes absolutely zero sense why he'd want the Messenger... before he built a weapon capable of destroying a planet. Why not build another one? Why travel to earth, break into the fortress, shrink yourself, enter Kandor, find a "map" (which is called a map but is really just a... picture of a building) and look for a crystal just so you can turn other planets into... crystal? It makes absolutely zero sense and was just a contrived way to get Imperiex into Kandor.

Which, now that I think about it, is the explanation for this entire episode: contrived. From one thing to another, it was all contrived just to put the pieces in place that they wanted... which may have broken their own already established continuity with Brainiac 5 anyway, and included an out-of-character Superman.

Even "the messenger" was contrived, because why would a device that holds a planet together be called that? Simply so the title of the episode could be "Message in a Bottle", that's why. Contrived contrived contrived.

I dig what they tried to do, and the inclusion of Corey Burton as Brainiac 1.0 was fantastic, but the execution was sub-par on every level and this episode didn't even come close to living up to its potential.

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