Absolute Justice

Episode Reviews (42)

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  • 4.5

    Absolute Justice

    By Canogaparkcindy, May 03, 2011

    If you don't know anything about the DC universe, and you're not in it for the Superman story, then well, this episode isn't for you. But that's not why this epsiode was bad though, I enjoyed the story, just everything else fell short in so many aspects.



    This episode contained some of the worst acting I've seen in a while, and who the heck is writing these scripts? At times, I couldn't believe that someone actually said what they said. We've got a lot of references to Superman which was just about the only good thing about this epsiode with the Justice League hinting.



    But other than that, this episode could have done way better in dealing with the Justice Society of America. The writing was weak, the acting was atrocious and it just wasn't up to Smallville's usual standard. This episode got way too much hype and it's definitely one of the most overrated episodes to this date.



    Just watch this episode, then watch "Justice" from season 6. In quality, this pales to the season 6 episode. I just want my 2 hours back, this "episode" which might as well have been a feature film was nothing special.moreless

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  • 1.0

    Gimcrackery:

    n. A cheap and showy object of little or no use; a gewgaw.

    By aphorism333, Mar 09, 2011

    The previous episode was going to be my last; but then they snagged my attention with about the only thing possible: Dr. Fate.



    How do you debase a character as epic as Dr.Fate? -- you have him be mentally deranged, and then when he puts on his helmet, the use of his power amounts to: opening a door, telling us what we already know and then restoring The Martian's powers; with a quite frivolous self sacrifice thereafter (a kid with ice powers could do nothing substantial to Dr. Fate).



    I had to chuckle when the antagonist assaults our heroes with Fate's mask; and for the first time in the series, Clark goes for the incisive heat-vision head-shot. But of course he, and everyone else, would aim at the invincible magic helmet on someone wearing no other armor.



    The dialog amounts to a mixture of arbitrary feel-good platitudes appropriated from other episodes, with smatterings of pop-culture buzzwords and phrases; and it feels like I'm listening to dialog produced by TMZ employees that play online video games.



    They were able to hook me for one last episode, so they deserve this one star; but an hour and twenty minutes of gimcrackery in no way renewed my interest. Corporations need to let these shows end while they are loved and admired, not milk them for every cent until the ratings drop below a certain point. The Office, Heroes and now Smallville... there isn't much worth watching these days.moreless

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  • 6.0

    The first time around, effects and sheer geek-gasm fest just overwhelms you.



    The second time around, separates the chaff to reveal not much wheat underneath.

    By Ultimate_Lex, Mar 09, 2011

    Right off the bat, I'll confess I was pretty stoked about this episode.



    Who wouldn't be? It had all the makings of a full-on superhero epic. A young hero, a group of over-the-hill heroes, and a shadowy government organization, who wouldn't be hooked?



    How did it all go wrong? * * *SPOILERS AHEAD * * *



    To be fair, it wasn't all bad.



    Amanda Waller was portrayed very well. Kudos to Pam Grier for hitting all the right notes with the character without seeming like a carbon copy of CCH Pounder's performance on the animated series.



    I loved how Geoff Johns decided to portray Dr Fate as a somewhat broken character by showing what wearing the helmet of Nabu has done to Kent Nelson.



    In fact, even the opening implied battle sequence between the Star-Spangled Kid and Icicle Jr. was a great lead into the story.



    However, things started to fall apart with Courtney Whitmore. The acting honestly felt a bit over the top. I almost felt no sympathy for her character and really hoped that Oliver kicked her butt when he caught her stealing her SSK's "glow stick".



    Add to that the seeming inconsistency of the JSA's timeline. If we follow the implied era of the Daily Planet's "archive footage" then, the JSA was active around the 1960s. However, if that's the case, why did the JSA members shown in the episode seem to have aged very little. In fact, in Hawkman's case, he seemed almost the same age as he was in the archive footage. Couldn't they have spared some make-up to age them up a bit more?



    Furthermore, Michael Shenk's portrayal of Carter Hall while so-so, was at least not half as bad as the "gruffy" voice he tried to use when he was Hawkman. It reminded me so much of what Christian Bale did in Dark Knight. Why did he even need to change his voice at all?



    Then there was the somewhat weak way in which Lois and Tess were woven into the narrative. Honestly, it felt like they were forced in there simply to tie-in the episode with the main story arc of the season.



    Oh, and don't even get me started on the crappy use of stock footage to reveal Clark's destiny. Reusing old footage by simply showing it in reverse is not a stroke of brilliance, it's actually quite irritating.



    Couldn't they have shot some quick scene with "Superman" saving some citizens or something? They could've left his face out and dove-tailed around him instead.



    Then there's the almost horoscope-like lines that Fate said to Lois when he told her of her future with Superman. Honestly, it was completely unnecessary for the story.



    Finally, while I realize that Waller was simply using Icicle to "rattle" the JSA's cage enough to make them come out of retirement, he might have gone about killing his victims in a more subtle way. Simply power-housing through them, especially if he was going after someone as potentially powerful as Dr. Fate is simply suicidal.



    I would've loved to see a bit more cleverness on his part.



    As a result, there seemed very little reason for the JSA and Clark's "team" to work together. Truth be told, Clark could've gone after Icicle on his own and taken him out without breaking a sweat.



    What it ended up feeling like was the JSA were used as a plot device to introduce Checkmate and Amanda Waller, and the only reason they worked with Clark and co, was because it was written that way.



    So while the episode does have a lot of Easter eggs and eye candy to dazzle the audience, the story leaves much to be desired.



    Rather disappointing since they had a full two hours instead of the usual one hour.moreless

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  • 10

    Simply the best episode so far.

    By Chironade, Mar 09, 2011

    A complete story, well done, the acting is fine. The story itself is complete but leaves a few ties to whatever is supposed to come. A few hints and clues do help keeping me waiting for the continuation. And finally nothing about kryptonians.



    I would love to see more of the "Justice League" to be", but with all the members there are so far. And maybe a few more.



    And I would love to see more about the rest of the JSA. Would be nice to see who and what they are in this time-line. And of course more of the LSH would be nice as well.moreless

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  • 9.5

    Absolutely AWESOME!

    By lenzinoH20, Mar 09, 2011

    Absolute Justice-A man named Sylvester asks Chloe for help but ends up getting attacked and killed. Clark is led to the former headquarters of the Justice Society of America where he meets up with Dr. Fate, Hawkman, and Stargirl. Later, Clark, John Jones, Green Arrow, and Chloe team up to help the JSA stop the killer before he murders someone else in the group. Meanwhile, Lois receives a package from a mysterious agency called Checkmate.



    After a disappointing return to Smallville last week, fans, critics and audiences alike are treated to Smallville's first (and hopefully not the last!) 2 hour movie event and quickly revives not only the season, but themes on Smallville we haven't seen in years. "Absolute Justice" may not have been given Clark the big push to becoming Superman, but this was episode focusing on how important super heroism is to the world, how it will continue to be stay important and how Clark will play a major role in all of this of course. I loved that this episode gave us lessons for a good amount of the characters to learn to help them grow. Once again, Geoff Johns makes the impossible possible by introducing a DC comic superhero team, the Justice Society of America, and integrating them to series so well to the point where Clark, Oliver, Chloe etc, are much better from meeting them.



    Out of the JSA's impressive rooster we are given Carter Hall aka Hawkman, Kent Nelson aka Dr. Fate and Courtney Whitmore aka Stargirl. They are introduced skillfully by Johns but as far as the actors portrayal's of each character, it really varied. Micheal Shanks's Carter Hill was awesome, but his Hawkman was sometimes grating (what the hell was up with the Christian Bale Batman voice?) Luckily, Hawkman's interaction with Oliver made for it. Man, was the banter between between those two hilarious with Oliver calling Hawkman "Big Bird" and Hawkman making comments like "Think of me as your own parole officer...with a mace." Brett Strait was riveting as Dr. Fate. I could watch that scene of his crazy rant while clutching onto to his bag (that holds Nabu) over and over and never get tired of it. We really only get two scenes with Kent Nelson and man, did Brett hit it out the park. He conveyS everything about Neslon's struggle, personality and fears in such a limited time. I wish we got to see more of the man inside the mask. But then I realize that Dr. Fate himself was by far the finest adaption of any comic book hero on Smallville yet. From his geektastic transformation to his individual scenes with other characters, Dr. Fate's presence was so strong and effectively thought-provoking. I could go on praising him more, but he was the bench mark of what comic book heroes should be portrayed in live action. Brittany Irvin was the weakest of the three, giving a lackluster performance as Courtney overall. I mean her first scene at Metropolis Gen. where she finds out Star-Spangled Kid died was simply unbearable. She does have a few good scenes like the ones with Clark and Chloe, but overall, Stargirl's finest moment was her fight scene with Icicle, which involve limited acting.



    Speaking of Icicle, he was a rather weak choice for the main antagonist of such big movie event involving two major superhero teams coming together. I get that Icicle's powers of cold manipulation are pretty deadly, especially killing two JSA members at the beginning of the movie but he came off as more of an annoying brat than a major threat. Not to mention, he was given some pretty "Batman and Robin" worthy dialogue ("Anyone up for some ice cream?") Obviously Johns was having a little too much fun writing this script. But of course, we should factor in that Icicle was simply a puppet whose strings where being pulled by a more opposing nemesis in the form of Amanda Walker and Checkmate. It's an excellent development here, as Checkmate are now being set up as the second half's season villain(s) and it doesn't hurt that Amanda Walker herself is played by 70s superstar Pam Grier. While her first appearance was a bit awkward as Pam literally seemed stiff when she moved around, this is Jackie Brown we're talking about!! The whole set up about the upcoming apocalypse (or Apokalips?) was exciting and has my full attention for the second half of the season.



    Three pretty lengthy paragraphs and I still haven't even scratched the surface of why "Absolute Justice" was beyond amazing. There are the dozens of DC references thrown at us throughout from Hawkgirl's helmet, Wildcat's gloves, down to even the JSA's former maid. There are tons of great character development moments between Courtney and Chloe, Clark and Courtney, Oliver and Carter etc. that involve both teams trying to understand each more effectively. Great cameos from other JSA members like Star Spangled Kid and Sandman. There are the impressive special effects like Hawkman's flying, Dr. Fate's magic blasts, Stargirl's staff lighting up etc. Dr. Fate's prophetic and thought-provoking allusions about the sentient power that Clark will become. Phil Morris's return as John Jones was everything fans had been waiting for (a glimpse of his true form and his powers reinstated) Lois getting involved, learning her vague importance to Clark and meeting Amanda Walker. Agent Mercer? Tess...and Checkmate? I'm was very intrigued! The brilliant direction by Glen Winter in Part 1, which was surpassed by Tom Welling in Part 2 who shows that his directing skills are growing remarkably (That superhero team-up against Icicle at the end was some of the finest mix of SFX/editing/direction I have ever seen from the series!) The overall epic scope of the movie with some stunning storytelling (those JSA archive footage scenes were beautifully done!) and Johns fully realized work being executed to near perfection. While there are some faults again (Chloe...cause she's Chloe!), "Absolute Justice" is quite the masterpiece for this long running series. This is what Smallville should be every week, an action adventure, superhero thrill ride (We even had Oliver back to form and flipping around as Green Arrow!) All the more I can say is, Geoff Johns either become a full time writer for Season 10 or make a comic book series of your own...pronto!moreless

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  • 9.5

    When members of the disbanded Justice Society start turning up dead, the Justice League teams up with the remaining members to stop the killer. Meanwhile, Lois receives a mysterious package from an agency called Checkmate. (WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD)

    By texanpeach, Mar 09, 2011

    For the first, and possibly only, SMALLVILLE "movie" (really just two episodes combined, let's be honest), ABSOLUTE JUSTICE was actually pretty awesome. Then again, for the budget it was presumably given, it should be. The first half did a good job of introducing the guest characters and setting up the story, and I liked how, even though only a few JSA members actually appeared, the others were "introduced" via an old news reel and all their various memorabilia. In fact, I totally geeked out at seeing the Green Lantern ring, and I'm not even a comic book fan! Anyhow, it was awesome how, in the second half, both groups of heroes teamed up and came at Icicle Jr. (as I like to call him) from all sides with their abilities and/or gadgets. Also, I'm glad Martian Manhunter got his powers back, though unfortunately, the writers had to kill off Dr. Fate to do it, and just when I was starting to like him. On the up side, though, he more-or-less confirmed that Lex Luthor is still alive, which, to me, is as it should be. As for Lois, she probably could've been in there more, but Dr. Fate's whole Clark-needs-Lois-as-much-as-she-needs-him spiel *more* than made up for it. :D And I don't know about anyone else, but I could've done without the whole Amanda Waller/Checkmate/Suicide Squad storyline. Plus, I found the whole Tess-is-an-agent-of-Checkmate-and-has-been-the-entire-time reveal somewhat disturbing. Maybe it's just the thought of Tess having any kind of power. In any case, there's never been so much as a subtle reference to her ties to Checkmate, until now. Nice continuity..not! Other than that, which is my only real complaint, I give ABSOLUTE JUSTICE nine-and-a-half helmets out of ten.



    Highlights -- Chloe running into Sylvestor Pemberton; Clark and Chloe investigating Pemberton's "team" in the Daily Planet archives (including a cameo from the Green Lantern ring); Clark getting a glimpse of Dr. Fate's helmet; Carter Hall, a.k.a. Hawkman, convincing Kent Nelson to put on his helmet and become Dr. Fate; Dr. Fate reading Clark and Chloe's fates; Courtney Whitmore, a.k.a. Stargirl, sparring with Icicle Jr.; Clark exploring the former JSA headquarters; Hawkman and Green Arrow verbally sparring, before Hawkman flips GA onto a table; Hawkman, Dr. Fate, and Stargirl standing across the table from Clark, Oliver, and John Jones, all while discussing "justice"; Lois babbling on and on to Clark, who isn't even there; Hawkman and Oliver bickering on a rooftop; Dr. Fate hinting about Clark's fate; Dr. Fate meeting Lois and dropping vague hints about her fate; Lois and Clark discussing a story Lois is working on; Dr, Fate restoring Martian Manhunter's powers; Hawkman explaining about himself, his wife, and their cursed past lives; JL and JSA fighting Icicle Jr. from all sides; Clark and Hawkman comparing the JL and JSA; and finally, Lois showing off her front-page byline and telling Clark what Dr. Fate told her.moreless

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  • 9.0

    this was a really good ep for smallville

    By cube2k8, Mar 09, 2011

    i this this ep was really god for a 2 hour show.anway in this ep cloe gets a message from a old justice person that he needs help he ends up dead. and clark is lead to the old justice hall of the origal justice superheroes. and then the old heroes that are remaing think there not ready and they dont want there help. oliver goes and helps someone but gets attacked and thinks they were tring to kill him but clark and cloe do more digging and find out that these people were the heroes of the old days. and were chanced down by the goverment. and so clark and the others team up with the justice to take them down whoever is killing them. and the maritan guy gets his powers back they are restored. it was great ep i thoughtmoreless

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  • 10

    One of the best episodes of the series

    By entil2001, Nov 10, 2010

    When this double-length episode was first announced, I was a bit concerned. The last time the producers brought in Geoff Johns to introduce a classic DC team to the "Smallville" universe, it was the utter mess that was "Legion". That episode was the most potent example of the "DC Syndrome": the tendency to introduce the classic DC characters with the assumption that proper backstory is unnecessary because the audience already knows the history and continuity. A great deal in "Legion" was glossed over, right down to the character names and abilities.



    The writers have been doing a much better job of introducing classic DC characters this season, perhaps based on an honest assessment of the shortcomings of previous attempts. And perhaps Johns learned from his own mistakes as well. Whatever the reason, this episode was a far cry above past efforts.



    I've said in other venues that I've always loved stories that call back to the secrets and parallels with previous generations. For example, one of the things I love about the Harry Potter story is how the truth about the previous generation and the First War against Voldemort is necessary to put Harry's story in context. When it was far more consistent, the story of the Company and the Twelve on "Heroes" provided a similar narrative thrill.



    "Smallville" introduced something similar with Veritas, but it was never quite as integrated as it could (or should) have been. The history of the Luthors and Kents earlier in the series did, of course, serve a similar purpose, when the parallels between Lionel, Jonathan, and Martha spoke to the relationship between Lex, Clark, and Lana. But the past couple seasons have been much more about Clark's evolution as a hero, and along with Oliver Queen, his role in a much wider superheroic context.



    Right from the beginning, the style and tone of the episode brought to mind some of the aspects of "Watchmen", though clearly a more cohesive and network-friendly version. I was struck by the sense of depth given to the history of the Justice Society, and how well Johns managed to explain how something with such a rich history could have been unknown for so long. There were aspects of "legacy" that came across in elements of the score as well, all contributing to the sense of a long prelude to Clark's world.



    For example, Hawkman made a solid point about how Clark and Oliver have very little understanding of what has come before; they are focused on their own aims and personal histories, not that of the world around them. In fact, considering how many of the metahumans have been directly tied to the various meteor showers, starting with the one that brought Clark to Earth, there was very little reason for Clark or Oliver to even suspect that there had been societies of heroes in decades past.



    As such, it was a nice touch that the writers incorporated elements of the DC character backstories, however truncated, to explain how some of the members of the JSA acquired their abilities. It doesn't quite explain everything, but then, a lot of the dialogue suggested that many of the members were simply well-trained humans. In that respect, there was the other parallel to the Minutemen of "Watchmen".



    One of the recurring themes for the ninth season has been the tension between Clark, Oliver, and Chloe. For the purposes of the story, this was extended to include all the members of the nascent Justice League, many of which haven't been seen in quite some time. Establishing that the team has been having issues with common purpose is a smart way to address the very practical limitations of the series; they simply can't afford to have all those actors and actresses waiting in the wings.



    Unfortunately, it also hinges on the notion that the audience simply assumes that Oliver's team has been operating in the background through Chloe, even if it has hardly ever come up in conversation. Granted, it makes complete sense, because that's the function of Watchtower in the first place. But it's a stretch to say that the team is something that is particularly important in Clark's life lately. It exists, but Clark is dissociated from it. That makes all the talk about how the team members, including John, are all Clark's closest friends a bit disingenuous and forced.



    It also means that the larger point about this story, that Clark and his friends need to start acting more like a family than a loose band of vigilantes, may never quite get the treatment it needs. There's the final scene between Oliver, Chloe, and John, but that's all we're likely to see. Instead, it might mark a change in how Clark, Oliver, and Chloe interact going forward. It's unfortunate, especially given the aims of Checkmate.



    If there's another aspect of this story that touches on the whole "Watchmen" vibe, it's the role of Checkmate. I love this idea that Tess has been working behind the scenes to counter Zod (and perhaps others) by manipulating heroes past, present, and future to band together against a common foe. I especially like how they used Lois to get the story out there, garnering public trust in heroes again, all in preparation for a time when the masses will need a symbol of hope. That connects very well to Clark's slow but steady development of the Blur as a public icon.



    It also helps to demonstrate how well-rounded Tess has become as a character. Tess has ably replaced Lex as the character that does questionable things in the name of what she believes to be right for the world. The writers were never quite able to portray Lex as someone dedicated to saving humanity from alien threats, despite their best efforts, because they kept overshadowing his noble aims with his misdeeds. Tess, on the other hand, has been more consistently depicted as someone who believes that the ends justify the means, and as someone willing to bear the cost of her choices.



    Hopefully, that is how the writers will portray Checkmate and its agents: not as a villain per se, but as an organization that operates in that grey area between outright moral heroism and clinical pragmatism. It would tie in well with Oliver and Chloe's mindset, which in turn would challenge the audience to consider where the line between heroic vigilantism and villainy should be drawn. If the writers play their cards right, it would take "Smallville" to the next level.



    So it's possible that the writers could overcome the limitations of the series' budget to incorporate some of the large-scale implications of this story. Unfortunately, long-term viability will do nothing to address the effect it had on this story. When push comes to shove, the writers were only able to gather a handful of the heroes from the JSA and proto-JLA, and that weakened the impact. Also, while Welling did about as good a job as one could hope with the final showdown, it just seemed too short a battle to pay off the excellent build-up. Then again, that's been a major problem for "Smallville" for a while now, so it may be that the scale of the story only amplified the negative effects.



    But did that ruin the story in any major capacity? Not at all. I can say, as a "Smallville" fan with very limited knowledge of the DC canon, that this was one of the best episodes of the series to date. I never felt like I was missing some crucial piece of information or continuity, and it really felt like everyone involved was putting forth their absolute best efforts. This is the sort of thing fans have been begging for, and for once, "Smallville" was able to deliver.moreless

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  • 8.0

    Been waiting awhile to see this come....

    By mareble412, Oct 08, 2010

    All I have to say is that I'm glad that Lex will probably make a comeback since Dr. Fate told Clark he and Lex were destined to be enemies. Although, as usual, Clark completely missed it. I'm sorry I disliked Hawkman's portrayal but Lex was my favorite character so I'm happy there is hope he will return. I'm super glad the Martian Man got this power back, Yay! But Dr. Fate is a powerful hero and it was stupid how easily he was killed by an ice pick, basically. It was no need for the Lois inclusion or Tess for the mattermoreless

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