Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 8 - Episode 21: "Injustice"Reviews:
InjusticeReviewed by: Neal Bailey
The thing about a Justice League filled with reprobates and an Inustice society filled with the easily dispatched is that it makes the myth a lot less persuasive and cool, to put a fine point on it.
When you see the Injustice types in this episode, you don't come away thinking, wow, that's like, the most amazing challenge Clark has ever faced! Which it should be, because it's essentially an early Injustice Society.
Instead, it's a group of idiots that Ollie took out without Clark's help. Clark, if anything, blundered from place to place with no impetus beyond, "Uh, killing's bad, mmmmkay?" until the plot resolved itself.
This is because the Injustice group not only share his stated goals, they also go about it with the same methodology of someone on his team, Ollie. Who, incidentally, is a murderer who can't figure out that no means no.
To say nothing of the fact that Tess wants to be Lex, and the show seems to be indicating she's a fitting replacement after a year of pretty much zero depth beyond the surface of "daddy beat me," "I love Lex," and "I like strange sex with men who lived on islands!" And the honest truth is that other than strange sex with men on islands (which is probably only because I haven't found a sufficiently strange man or can't afford a trip to an island), I'm just like Tess, and I'm no Lex Luthor.
Tess, I served with Lex Luthor. I knew Lex Luthor. Lex Luthor was a friend of mine. Tess, you're no Lex Luthor.
But apparently she is the savior of Kandor, whatever the hell that means.
To the blow-by-blow...
Clark goes from having Tess blow up a plane to try and ascertain his secret straight to friendly, concerted banter. He is also, in an out of character gesture, mad that Tess is pursuing Davis. The rationale seemingly being he's afraid policemen will get hurt trying to apprehend Davis. That would have been a great argument for a hypocrite NOT to make the week after he let the monster free and sent alone with a very small blonde girl.
Tess knows Clark's secret. Why doesn't she just blackmail him into doing what she wants. If she's willing to kill, she'd be more than willing to blackmail.
Chloe running through the forest is another one of those scenes they just do for shock value. The problem with this is the logic. First, if Doomsday is after her, she wouldn't be able to get away. He moves at super-speed. This leaves one option, that she ran away on her own and got a head start. Meaning she'd have a cell phone, which she'd use. Instead, she calls out for Clark, and Clark somehow hears it despite not concentrating, when that's been pretty well established as something he needs to do.
Clark arrives, after a "too long doe in headlights" moment where any rational person would have leapt to the side away from the truck, and saves Chloe just in time. He then, of course, neither scans the woods or asks any question. We know this, because the Injustice group is just a few feet away going NYAH! NYAH! NYAH! And making GIANT F-ING GREEN BALLS OF ENERGY FOR NO APPARENT REASON OTHER THAN TO ATTRACT ATTENTION.
Cut to Tess and some chimes. Oy. She's standing over the dead body of Neutron.
My... my god. Neutron?
You know how every fanboy has a character that they just love irrationally for no apparent reason? Like, for Busiek it must be Arion, because no one gives a tin crap about Arion and yet he was made the focus of the Superman run for like, ever.
It's a practical assurance that if I'm ever given any choice in the matter, Neutron will appear in one of my Superman stories. I love the character.
AND SMALLVILLE KILLED HIM BEFORE HE EVEN MET SUPERMAN.
My eyes... turning red. My skin... grey... My name... Ferrigno....
They killed Neutron? Are you serious? He's a LIVING BOMB IN A CONTAINMENT SUIT!
Except on Smallville, you know, he doesn't, uh, have a containment suit. They're just happy to throw out that name, so that people like me can go, "Oh, I know Neutron! Great!"
Just like they do with Martian Manhunter, Plastique, Livewire, and Parasite. Oh! And Emil. Because all of these characters look, act, and have origins that are nothing like their comic counterparts beyond a remotely passing sensibility.
The Smallville onus is such. We want to cast a hot brunette as Lana. So we'll just do that, and in order to assuage anyone who's angry, we'll create a bee lady nemesis and call her an insect queen. That's enough of an homage so that we can do what we want without having to be held accountable.
I can take that. I can take a lot of that. But you mess with Neutron, and you are messing with GOD, maaaaaan!
Livewire, who apparently works in green balls of plasma instead of, I dunno, ELECTRICITY, is also killed before she ever meets Superman.
I mean, seriously. Did they even try? Did they even think about this?
Livewire's wooden acting was a pump to the stomach, followed quickly with the Parasite's suitably (and probably purposefully) cartoonish:
"Thanks for the power-up." Oy.
The Parasite is also, notably, not a parasite. He doesn't steal energy. He derives features of his host. That's a mimic, not a parasite. And, just because anything like anything in the comics would be too $#%@ing much for this show, he takes the power and keeps it forever instead of losing it slowly over time and the host recovering. And the victims don't turn into shells, they just lose their powers. Kind of. Meh.
Parasite is Rogue.
The idea of Black K to take care of Davis is actually one of the few things that might have salvaged what they're doing with the character. I actually enjoyed that. But sadly, it's couched in all this crazy and bad. This, among a few other things, is what actually gave this an extra point five. Not for any real character work, just for simple plot engine ingenuity, which I can admire as much as the next guy no matter how ridiculous black K really is.
A line from Clark Kent in this episode which is worthy of giving a 1 to the entire run of the show: "We need to kill Davis Bloome."
Clark pulls out a clear crystal, but I have no idea what the hell it is or what it does. That means that things in the show have been clearly hard to remember and boring, given that I remember stupid minutae from season one.
Despite the fact that Chloe was not Chloe in this episode, her dialogue is Chloe dialogue. This is cheating.
Clark now knows and is working with Emil. Why? Dunno. It's a good device, but it needed an introduction beyond the Toyman episode. They trust each other an awful lot.
Chloe and Clark get the call that Doomsday has struck again. They arrive (in Chloe's car, which we see), and are told that John Jones is stalling the authorities from the murder scene. FOR THREE HOURS? They also tamper with a crime scene pretty hardcore.
I did, however, love the part when Clark turns to Chloe and goes, "See? SEE? Two more people dead because of your stupid obsession with a pretty face! You're dead to me!" WHOOOSH!
Oh, wait. That didn't happen. Point of fact, Chloe isn't scrutinized, nor is Clark, for keeping the creature who killed NEUTRON (cough) in our society.
Wonder how long the mourning over those deaths will go for these two mains who are obviously thusly bereaved.
I might forgive it more were it not Neutron.
But Neal! Tess killed Livewire!
I have a soundtrack shirt. My friend Sion Heaney gave it to me for Christmas. I can play the theme to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly whenever someone agitates me. Or make ambulance noises. Or crowd laughter. Or boos. But I can also program it myself, and I want John Cleese from 2:25 in this video going "SHUT UP!" half the time I read an internet critique.
"Buh, what about-"
But Neal! Tess killed Livewire!
SHUT UP! YOU WON'T BE SO GLIB WITH A BANANER IN YOUR WINDPIPE! Logic! Logic! Chloe let Doomsday free, Tess killed Livewire in pursuit of Doomsday. It's Chloe's. Frickin'. Fault.
Clark's too, though he was just passively doing nothing, like a good German. Which to my mind is almost worse.
Clark actually says, "I don't like you going outside alone. Not when Doomsday could be nearby." Seriously? He really says it. AND THEN HE DOESN'T USE HIS EARS TO LISTEN TO HER TO MAKE SURE SHE'S SAFE.
Emil line that sums up the biggest flaw in the show: "When it comes to affairs of the heart, everyone uses secrets and lies to protect the ones they love."
No, you see. No. That's what idiots and bad people do. I once knew a family with a kid who had a baby kitten she loved. The kitten went out into the street and got smashed by a car. Brutally. They took the dead cat, put it in a shoebox, and buried it in the back yard.
The next day, the child was playing, saw something in the street, and picked up the cat's paw, and had to live the horror not only of the dead cat, which was bad enough, but the fact that the people she loved the most lied because they didn't think her brave or honest enough to handle the truth.
Now, quite fairly, after this pattern continued for a period of a decade (at times involving human death and divorce), this gal I know can't stand her family or be around them. Nor should she.
And when we idolize this s$#t, this absolute s$%t as a way of solving interpersonal conflicts in the television shows we sit our kids in front of to learn right from wrong, we do them a disservice.
Secrets and lies just t'ain't the way to go. Removed the apostrophes and you'll see where it belongs.
Nor, to the point, does it make especially compelling dramatization.
Who is the other flashlight in the background at the crime scene with Emil, Chloe, and Clark?
Chloe/Ava (not a big shock there, honestly, I knew they were covering something with no explanation of what happened with Davis. Convenient that Clark doesn't know his own best friend) pulls the Injustice guys aside, and says, "Tess has a thingie in your head that goes blewie if you talk about her bad."
Problem 1: Her head doesn't go instant blewie, even though it does later when she's even slightly insolent.
Problem 2: A group of street rat kids suddenly turn to her and say, "Pshaw, kid! She can be trusted! Tess would never do us wrong! Rich people are on our side!"
What's that unemployment rate at again? 8.9? Oh yeah. But that's minus all of the things they disqualify as a sign of unemployment, like giving up completely on ever finding work again, working part time, or French fries as a vegetable. No, wait. That's another rant.
Ollie Tess ship ship vomit vomit nuff nuff said.
Clark makes no attempt to get Ava to the hospital.
Plastique starts angry at Clark despite the ending for her last episode that indicated she surrendered because Clark was putting trust and faith in her. They became such ideologically similar people that they didn't even fight any more, and now it's NYAH NYAH NYAH!
Clark uses a PSP to GPS. Look at it. And I don't even own one and have never played one.
It seems odd that they would take Clark's powers when he's on their side, just against them killing Tess. It didn't work for me.
Ollie in the bed as a hiding place seemed like a cool switcheroo, until I realized that as soon as that guard wakes up, Tess knows Ollie's secret. Wonder if next week will reflect that? Pah.
"Looks like your freaks have come home to roost!"
How does this show not win awards?
Clark can't run to Metropolis. THAT loophole they cover with a Lamborghini. Because all scientists are RICH RICH RICH!
Why do they keep Tess alive instead of killing her? How does that make any sense?
Lex's K ring is a neat thing to see. The big problem here is that PARASITE IS NOT A KYRPTONIAN. K wouldn't work on him. He stole the powers. He's still a human. Same issue they had with the other guy who stole Clark's powers through lightning, and the next guy who used that device, etc. Or was it Lana? God, it was, wasn't it?
Why is Ollie so enraged with the Parasite that he almost kills him? Completely out of character.
Parasites can choose to give power back? That's not how parasites work.
Clark goes to find his crystal and OOOOOOOOH! It's gone! Not like, you know, he has a whole Fortress and a guy who can explain to him how to open a portal to the Phantom Zone or anything. Not like he doesn't have an S shield that sucks people into the Phantom Zone. Not that...
I f*$#%*@ give up. This episode almost made me give up reviewing this show again.
There was a moderately good speech between Clark and Ollie whereby he is actually forced to face the fact that he killed someone. And yet Clark doesn't take him to the authorities, negating its moral presence.
Tess is suddenly the savior of Kandor. How? Why? Who knows. But it said Kandor, so I'm interested. But knowing this show, and knowing that Neutron doesn't have a suit, I'm not holding my damned breath.
1.5 of 5.
Letters will come next week, with the finale, as I am in LA this week signing and bumming on Jeffrey Bridge's couch! Go check out the update KO Count. Be well!
InjusticeReviewed by: Douglas Trumble
Supershort Run on Sentence Summary: Lady Lex's super goons are unleashed in a hunt for the Paramedic of Doom, Clark tricks Oliver into stealing some Kryptonite ammunition for his coming fight with the beast which causes Oliver to lose his pants, and Clark comes face to face with the Parasite for the first time.
This one had something for just about everyone. Clark Kent acting like Superman? Check. Villains with names like Livewire, Parasite, and Plastique? Check. Logical use of Kryptonite? Check. Justin Hartley without a shirt? Check.
Just about everything you could have asked for in an episode yet... I just can't shake the feeling of disappointment with it.
Originally I thought maybe the twist with "Chloe" was throwing me off. I admit, I believed it was Chloe initially so I spent some time irritated at her sudden motivation switch before I caught on that there was an imposter. I was totally ready to rip this one apart during the initial act but I was pleased to see them pull off the switch in a believable way. I went back and watched the episode and sure enough it all fit. The Faux Chloe was very silent, obviously taking in as much information about Clark and his involvement before speaking. So no real problems there yet my feeling of irritation didn't go away.
I just felt disappointed.
So after some thought, soul searching, and a throw down fist fight between my Id and Ego I figured it out. What was bugging me was the total belly flop of the Injustice gang story line. Total Splosh.
Why? Not really because of what was there. It was because that was all it was. It was such a cool plot point they introduced earlier in the season and then just left it hanging there for so long. Then when they finally do bring it back they do so by cramming it into one episode and then wrapped it up as if it was just random filler.
Such a huge disappointment for something that had so much potential.
I suppose having to be ready for the series end in case there was no season 9 had something to do with it. Or maybe they never intended it to be a very big deal when they introduced it earlier in the season and it was just me taking it for more than it was supposed to be. Whichever reason this viewer was disappointed. Not crushed or destroyed, but disappointed.
Parasite, Livewire and Plastique together and this was all we got? Livewire dead before even facing off with Clark? What? Are you kidding me?
Even the Clark vs Parasite match up was pretty weak. I am okay with the idea that Parasite can reverse his power drains but they could have done a whole lot more to that match up. At least it forced Oliver to reveal he had Lex's Kryptonite Ring which I suppose was a good thing. How he knew to use it though is an entirely different complaint.
And Livewire? I am not saying she's a classic Superman villain but what's the point of bringing a Superman villain on the show if she's not even going to, you know, face Superman?
There is just so much more they could have done with these villains. If only they hadn't wasted two full episodes on Lana... Whoops. Sorry. I promised I wouldn't go there again.
Let's just say I was extremely disappointed with the Injustice Gang's place on the show. So much wasted potential. Maybe... No... HOPEFULLY, they will bring them back next season. At least the ones who are still alive.
With all that said, the episode was not a total loss.
Clark was spot on Superman and you know I always love to see that. Not only did he come up with a good plan to defeat the creature last week, we see him continuing with that plan this week. It was so nice to see him not giving up on it. Heck, he is even altering the plan to account for the possibility that Chloe is right and Davis can be saved. I am not sure if I am buying Chloe's view, since I don't think Davis is anything more than the creature's camouflage but it is good to see Clark is willing to at least give saving him a try.
Plus I have to admit that I may very well end up being wrong about Davis. They may end up proving to me that he is something more than Doomsday's birthday suit. I don't know but I am okay with it if that turns out to be the case. They just need to make sure they show me a good reason. There is nothing wrong with a fun twist so long as they prove it.
I think Clark's plan is a smart one. Black kryptonite is established on the show as having a certain effect on Kryptonians so it makes it a logical weapon to use on the creature. The only dumb thing Clark was doing was using the same old hiding spots in the barn for all his Kryptonian tech. Dude. Just lock the stuff up in the Fortress already will ya? Everyone knows you hide stuff in the barn.
I also really liked how Clark tricked Oliver into stealing the black kryptonite for him. Oliver had that coming. There was a flash of anger on my part initially when Clark pretended to go along with the Oliver Doctrine of Heroing, but only because I thought they were doing a flip flop with him. I was pleased to see he was just playing the Archer.
I found Oliver's quick thinking when Tess walked in on him amusing but it was something I could see others being bothered by. When a guy you turn down shows up at your house naked in your bed that is usually grounds for arrest, lawsuits, or at the very least restraining orders. They need to be careful they don't take the pretend playboy thing too far. They will end up turning the Green Arrow into a creepy stalker.
Oliver is already in need of some redemption after this season. Let's not add the need to register as a sex offender to that okay?
I was pleased to see the whole Justice League is on alert for the creature. Sure they were not all shown but we learn through Oliver and Dr. Hamilton that others are actively involved. Even J'onn seems to be a full time member now which is nice to hear.
So far I am pleased with Dr. Hamilton's place on the show. I do wonder why Clark referred to him as Dr. Emil though. That seemed rather weird. It was nice to see him working with Clark investigating the scene of a recent squishing. Having a doctor/science guy on the team helps explain some of the deductive leaps the story requires and so far they have been using the character well.
I found myself interested in what they are trying to do with Tess. The whole Kandor thing was an out of left field surprise but it was certainly a pleasant surprise. I am very curious to see what they plan on doing with that. How the magic ball connected her to Kandor is still a mystery but I am guessing they are just setting something up for next season. With the final next week I highly doubt, and hope, they do not plan to cover that too much.
So in short this episode was a mixed bag. Really disappointing wrap up for the Injustice Gang story line but there were some good points throughout the episode. Showing Clark being proactive and making some intelligent plans to stop Doomsday is worth at least two points. Plans that do not involve him setting out on a mission to kill which is also worth something.
So I am going to give it a 2.5 out of 5.
Next week is the final. Doomsday vs Clark - Round Three! Oh yeah.
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