Geoff Johns has a bit of a spotty track record with me. Unlike most fans of "Smallville", I found "Legion" to be a completely muddled mess. Those of us with little to no education in the particulars of the DC Comics canon had no chance of understanding the context of most of that episode. On the other hand, "Absolute Justice" was the opposite: an epic two-part episode that managed to introduce all elements clearly and place them in a context that mattered for Clark and his allies.
So coming into this episode, I was wondering if Booster Gold was going to be explained in the "Smallville" mythos, or something that would go right over my head. What I got was, apparently, the introduction of two well-known figures: Booster and the Blue Beetle. Even though I get the definite sense that longtime fans of DC Comics got far more out of this than I did, I must admit that it all worked well enough for "Smallville" as a whole.
Booster Gold is essentially a tool (no pun intended) for Clark to recognize the value of a "brand" without giving in to style over substance. As Lois says about a dozen times throughout the episode, Clark needs to hurry up with establishing his alter ego, so he can move on to picking up where the Blur is going to leave off. They couldn't be more obvious in setting up the arrival of Superman in the series finale.
That said, a lot of the episode seems to be spent on the uber-fan continuity porn, and that takes away from some of the enjoyment of the episode. It still gets to the point eventually; it's just very clear that Johns is putting a lot of time and effort into name-dropping and such. I just wanted him to get to the damn story already. In that regard, it falls right between "Legion" and "Absolute Justice". This is far more accessible than the former, but much less integrated into "Smallville" than the latter.
The inevitable fallout, however, is that the example that Booster sets for Clark (reinforcing his heroism and his need to accelerate his image transformation) requires Clark to be out of the spotlight for most of the episode. With only a handful of episodes left, sidelining the main character is a huge error in judgment.
Similarly, Clark's evolution into the familiar clumsy, accident-prone man we all know would have been more effective if it had started a season or two ago. Having it happen this close to his assumption of the Superman persona is just working for me. Granted, we're not going to see the aftermath of Superman's arrival play out, so credibility of this plot point is somewhat moot, but they still could have put more effort into it.
As we enter the final 4 episodes of the series, it's understandable that the fans would expect these last episodes to focus on Clark Kent and his final steps to becoming Superman. "Booster" is Geoff John's final outing as a freelance writer for the show and it serves as the big debut for Booster Gold and Blue Beetle. Wait. What? How does an episode introducing two new characters so late in the game serve as a way to get Clark Kent closer to the Man of Steel? But believe me, it does. The main reason why "Booster" works so well is that it manages to find the balance between superhero extravaganza (i.e. last season's "Absolute Justice") and a character driven story (i.e. the 200th episode "Homecoming"). While the introductions for the characters are well done (more so Booster Gold than Blue Beetle), it's the whole plot point with Clark trying to "unmake" Clark Kent in order to be ready to show the world the Blur's face that makes the episode for me. Watching Clark Kent grow over the past 10 years has been a treat to watch, and "Booster" is a clear indication of how far he has come since the pilot. He hasn't worn the glasses since "Masquerade" and although it was a little frustrating to see no development with that storyline for the past 3 episodes, this certainly makes up for it. It's hilarious to watch Clark unleash his inner geek by purposely bumping into me, slouching his shoulders, and mumbling as he adjusts his glasses. It's a remarkable transformation and it's one I'm glad the writers didn't wait for the finale to do. As for the heroic debuts, Eric Martsolf is pure gold (pun intended) as the narcissistic Booster Gold. Even when he comes off as a total jerk, he's still able to come off as completely likeable and that's not easy to pull off. He has a little journey of his own in the episode and by the end, his performance leaves you wanting more (spin-off anyone?). Jaden Brandt Bartlett also guest stars as Blue Beetle and unfortunately, his performance left me...cringing. Now I'm not a professional actor and I'm in no condition to judge but I think they could have found someone with more acting chops for the role. Luckily, it wasn't that big of a role in this story as the focus was kept more on Booster.
Overall, "Booster' is a fun episode of Smallville that merits numerous repeat viewings. There's a lot to love and I'm glad the writers were once again able to prove me wrong when it came to a episode with a questionable concept. Bonus points for Tom Welling's amazing job as a director (the last episode he will be directing for the show) and the incredibly goosebump-worthy phone booth scene. -9/10
Booster-While Lois advises Clark on how to maintain a low profile, a new hero, Booster Gold, travels from the future to present-day Metropolis to become a media darling as a superhero. However, one of his rescues goes wrong, causing an alien scarab-weapon to attach itself to a teenage boy, growing into a battlesuit and transforming him into the Blue Beetle.
Geoff Johns is arguably the best writer to grace Smallville the past 3 years! Starting with Season 8's spectacular "Legion" and then last season's 2 part epic "Absolute Justice", when it comes to introducting DC characters to the Smallville unvierse, no one has done it better than Geoff!! Johns perfectly combined the DC's comic book spectacles with Smallville's surrealistic approach towards superheroes in a tight, delicious package and brought many comci book fans who have never watched Smallville to view his episodes just because he penned them. Both the Legion of Superheroes and The Justice Society were remarkable guest heroes who not only worked well with Smallville's own mythology but contributed pieces to the overall puzzle that would eventually lead Clark to becoming Superman. While "Booster" is the weakest of Johns' 3 episode run (4 considering "AJ" were two seperate episodes put togetehr) on the series, it's still everything you would expect from an episode written by him: A heartfelt comic book inspired story filled with DC references, some fine action set pieces, some genuine character development and some awesome Superman mythology teasing!
I have to say one thing Smallville does right is casting and Eric Martsolf (yet another "Passions" alumi guest starring on the series) could have been more perfect as Booster Gold! He completely captures the overly cocky, attention seeking, appropriately cheesy 25th Century aspiring hero. His interaction with all the characters couldn't have been more spot on. His egotisical rivarly with Clark, his assertive drive for fame when talking to Lois about writting his story, even his constant snubbing of Cat's affections. Seapking of Cat, this was probabaly the best use of her character yet! What she represented as well as most of Booster's suddened, overwhelming fan base was how quickly "public" heros can change the way were look at heroes in general. It has been touched upon all season the importance of heroes coming out into the light and revealing themselves into the world, especially Clark for obcious reasons. While many will see "Booster" as a stand alone episode, it's really an episode that fits into the season's narrative quit nicely despite being released so late in the game.
Another highlight is watching Clark continuing to develope his mild mannered persona. Sure, it's beyond ridiculous for people at the Daily Planet to even be slightly fooled by Clark's disguise given they;ve seen his face for two years now, but hey, this is classic Clark Kent stuff and I loved every minute of it. The best scene by far was Clark trying to get a comment out of Ted Kord (yes, the original Bue Beetle in a nice cameo) at Kord Industries. Talk about priceless. Tom certainly has the Clark Kent persona perfectly because I couldn't stop laughing through the whole scene. It's uncannny how identical his portrayal is to the late Christopher Reeves' Clark Kent. Not only did we get to see some classic Clark Kent scenes but some awesome Supermanly scenes as well. The phonebooth quick change (do they ever exist anymore is the question?) was a nice touch but the real defining moment for Clark came when he and Booster had their discussion about superheroes and Clark's destiny. Both man made a good agrument about their views on what the world needs in it's greatest hero but it's Clark who ultimately inspires Booster and whose words Booster uses to save the day. The last scene between the two was also refreshing with the depth in the acting especially from Eric and Booster's backstory with his footabll career as well as his sister. It's only human glimpse we get to see of Booster and it's down surprisingly well.
Lois' contribution to the story was as good as it could be with her pulling all the stops to make sure the world doesn't forget about the "Real" Man of Steel as her promotional banner for the Blur declares. The best moment for her and Clark comes at the end of the episode where Clark discusses the flaws that Clark's new persona will have on Lois' reputation. It's heartwarming scene (shirt rip teases and all) and Lois' answer couldn't be more....Lois!
Like I said, while the episode is solid, there are some weak points that take away from the episode and elements that could have been developed on to make this as amazing as Johns' previous episode. For one, the episode a bit jam packed, too much story for one episode is never a good thing. While Johns' manages to tell a cohesive story regardless, some story elements suffer because of the short running time. Jamie Reyes aka Blue Beetle also makes his intro in this episode and it's rather weak. The character is one note and the actor Jaren Brandt Bartlett doesn't have much to work with besides playing a loser. The Blue Beetle outfit was as good as this series was goona get portraying it, but seems everything with Blue Beetle was simply a plot device to advance Booster's story instead of establishing another well known DC superhero. But I do have to admit, the concluding fight was pretty impressive for Smallville's budget. Maybe it was Tom's direction or the writers finally putting some of that money to good use, but it was great seeing soem genuine tension of the show. Anyway, "Booster" was a fine entry in the final run of episodes for Smallville and good farwell episode for Geoff Johns. Oh and Skids was great, almost forgot about him! Even if we didn't actually get to see him in person!
Booster was an ok episode of Smallville in general, however, given that the series only has a few more episodes I feel like there could have been better use of this episode. There was important character and plot development in this episode as well as action, drama, intrigue and humor. Kent Clark is one of the greatest heroes of all time and there were a few scenes which really exemplified this. Lois is a great and powerful force in Clark's Destiny and life which shows in this episode. Though the episode seemed like a waste, there were some good concepts and circumstances which lead to the future outcome for Clark. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!
Booster Gold... really?!! You got paid, fooled your fans, brought back characters only to trick us into watching, knowing you weren't going to follow any storyline. Nice touch tonight hiring a soap opera guy from Days of Our Lives (good ole Booster) to keep the bills down. I'm done!....We get it, you don't care and haven't for a long time. Glad we kept you on the air all of these years, kept you employed. As fans we get to watch another great show tank even worse than Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There is no excuse. Stick a fork in Smallville, it is done!!!
Do people remember a time when Smallville was actually successful with season long story arcs? How everything would start unfolding as the season ended? Now we're in the final season, and it's one filler after another.
As an episode on it's own, it really wasn't that bad, I'm just upset that we only have what... 4-5 episodes left in the series and all we get is this? Now that my annoying rant is over, let's talk about the episode.
Oh god... the return of the insufferable Cat. One of the reasons season 9 was so bad is definitely an understatement. She was just as horrible here. The freak (now hero) of the week was quite interesting. We got a feel good moment. The "control the suit" thing was just too cheesy though.
The scenes with Clark possibly coming in too the light was utterly bogged down by Lois & Clark scenes. Nothing against Tom Welling's directing, but this was just not the best episode, especially this late in the game.
Written by esteemed comic book scribe Geoff Johns, the man responsible for Smallville classics such as Season 8's fantastic ''Legion'', as well as last year's so-good-it-hurt ''Absolute Justice'' -- episodes that carried the scope of the DC universe laudably, considering Smallville's modest (shoestring?) budget -- ''Booster'' follows suit, introducing us to even more superheroes: Smallville's iterations of Booster Gold and Blue Beetle.
There's been a rather hit-and-miss ratio throughout Smallville's history when it comes to how well the series has represented DC's finest – from the cringey (''Cyborg'', ''Aqua'' and ''Justice'') to the fmeh (''Canary'', ''Arrow''), and the rather enjoyable (''Idol'', ''Run''). Similarly, and perhaps rightfully so, ''Booster'' ranges from cringe-inducing to fan-pleasing all within 45 minutes, stuffing quite a bit of back-story and exposition into one episode, never quite reaching the heights of previous debuts from Geoff Johns' other scripts.
Of course, there are plenty of visual gags and a lot of hints at Clark's future as mankind's savour, and Booster Gold is admirably charged with a love-to-hate performance by guest star, Eric Martsolf. He manages to be charismatic, charming, annoying and dickish, exactly how you'd expect a failed superhero from the 25th century to be. I thought they nailed the costume completely, although I was sorely disappointed that they couldn't shed a few dollar bills to physically include Skeets into the mix.
Less successful at making the transition from comic book to the silver screen is Blue Beetle. It would be easy to lay the blame on Jaren Bartlett's one-note performance, but the truth is his entire origin story feels rushed, especially in an episode that contains such a pompous, scene-chewing hero as Booster Gold. I did think his transformation into Blue Beetle looked decent enough, even if it came across a little like a villain you'd expect to see in the Power Rangers or Beetle Borgs. The story never rises beyond a neat idea, poorly executed. The money-shot mini-fight sequence did look impressive though!
Lackluster heroics aside, where this episode excels the most is with its witty one-liners, particularly from Lois. The banter between Lois and Booster was a real treat to watch, and while I'm not that much of a fan of Cat Grant, she provided a few zingers for Lois to dish out. There's also a nice homage to Iron Man - or a complete rip-off - whichever you prefer, with Booster Gold's dancing ladies in matching outfits. I can see fans everywhere groaning but I thought it was entertaining.
Lois also nags Clark to death about creating a false dorkish persona so that no-one will ever suspect Clark of being the Blur. It has been hinted at before but it finally comes into play during this episode and Tom Welling has a blast. His fumbling, mumbling monologue near the end of the episode is hilarious, making Clark that bit more endearing and likable. I would have liked to have seen this element at work earlier on in this season. As with many instances during this final season, however, it's better late than never.
I appreciate any episode of Smallville that attempts to branch out and shape the rest of the DC universe. It's a pity, then, that this episode, for the most part, felt too self-contained this late into the season to really stand on its own two feet. It takes a few steps in the right direction where Clark is concerned, but much like our Man of Steel's new persona, fumbles and quickly fades from your memory.
Booster Gold an man from the future with a suite of stolen items from a "Future Past" museum, arrogant with low self esteem but new tricks to feed his FAME hunger.. in smallvilles way a nice retelling with a fresh modern imagining.. and then you have the Blue Beetle Birth.. could spent a whole episode on that alone, but the clock is ticking so i didnt get as much as i would have liked.... and they're getting as much in as they can. Im gonna miss this show.
Standard relationship fare is added for the diehards.. did i mention that im going to miss this show?
Booster Gold shows up in Metropolis, making all of the saves and trying to charm Lois, and the people of the city. Even Cat Grant falls to his charms. Lois, however, gets quite angry at Booster and his celebrity status and starts a campaign for Blur, even telling Booster that this is the Blur territory and that Metropolis does not need him. Clark is at first jealous of the attention Booster is getting, but then starts to get worried because Booster seems to be motivated for the wrong reasons. One of his saves goes wrong, releasing a weapon, a scarab, which joins with a teenager and surrounds him with a homicidal armour(this is the future DC universe Blue Beetle). Clark tries to reason with Booster, who is after the fame, and came here because he stole a legion ring. Booster doesn't want to listen, and tells him he is doing everything he knows from history, to take Clark's place in the future. The now-without-a-control Beetle goes after Booster, almost killing Cat in the process. She gets saved by the Blur. Also a legendary moment happened seconds before this: Clark changed for the first time in a telephone booth. Booster gets his grip on, when he is almost killed by the raging Beetle, and helps the kid gain control over the suit. He decides to continue helping the kid, and even advises Clark to get an identity, which people can look up to, and make it into a trade mark, something simple, something that starts with the S letter that is his mark. Something Super. Clark promises to brainstorm.
Lois and Clark also work on Clark getting his geek on - which he succeeds within 24 hours. Lois and Cat were both up for a big promotion, which goes to Lois, and Cat, Clark's new desk-buddy, seems to be both fine with it and more "team Blur" then ever. She even makes the Superman-themed cookies for Lois. However, her comment to Lois on Clark, who was once again successfully clumsy, and the fact that he is far from being the Blur, makes Clark get worried. Obviously the disguise is working, but what will people think of Lois for dating him? And Lois puts his worries at peace. So to speak.
I liked this episode, it really showed massive progress into Clark becoming the Superman - or at least the clumsy CK counterpart. I loved all of the geekish moments, and the glasses were all over the place... Only three more before the big one. I cannot believe it's almost over... I'm really, really going to miss this show.
This was Geoff Johns' third episode on Smallville. I didn't feel that it was up to par with Legion and Absolute Justice, but it was still a pretty good episode. I guess that if it wasn't three episodes before the series finale, I might have given it a higher grade. However, as interesting as Booster was, I didn't feel that this was Clark centric enough.
Nonetheless, Johns' writing was great as always and Tom Welling's directing was impecable. Every character got a chance to shine in this episode. I just wish Tess was in it too. Bumbling Clark was one of the highlights of the episode with Tom Welling doing a phenomenal job. I don't know if it's totally believable though. People like Cat Grant knew a different side to Clark until now. Plus, the somewhat annoying trend of Lois telling Clark what to do lot made its appearance again. Hopefully for the last time. A special mention to Eric Martsolf who did brilliant in this episode.
If I could describe this episode with only one word, it would be - HORRIBLE ! I mean, where is Green arrow,Chloe or at least Lex ??? Why they don't just stick to the one story line and develop it ?!!! Makes no sense to me,all this last episodes about nothing...
I don't need to see characters who have nothing to do with this TV-show .
I am so piced off,that there is no way I am gonna watch the next episodes . I had some doubts before,but now I am totally sure that people who made this last season don't give a crap about fans at all !
Okay, I have to admit that I was pretty sceptical of this episode before I saw it. I mean, come on, yet another hero or even two shortly before the finale?
This show needs to be about Clark. These last episodes need to be about him taking the final steps towards becoming said Man Of Steel. And he is. He really is.
Beware of spoilers from here on !
Booster Gold is a sports star from the future, using future tech and his computer's data on the future to do the heroics Clark is supposed to do in order to become the famous hero Clark is destined to be - all for the fame of it.
But his presence changes the history he knows causing an enemy to rise that he did not know about: The Blue Beetle. Only when he recalls and believes in things Clark had said to him about being a hero earlier in the episode the blue beetle can be stopped.
In the end Booster gives Clark an idea of how his future will be. He already knows his destiny at this point. He knows that he is about to be stepping into the light. And Booster shows him how that will be.
While this whole plot is well written and executed the real big hit of the episode is Lois helping Clark to become the clumsy fellow we all know especially from the Christopher Reeves movies. This part is not only hilarious but I brings up so many references and classic situations that you'd expect Clark to rip open his shirt any moment to reveal the big S underneath. It's coming... I can feel it.
Lois is really helping Clark along to become both the Man of Steel as well as the clumsy disguise that we know him as from other Superman versions. Of course this contradicts the stories we know. But Smallville has always taken the liberty to stray from that preset path and it works out just perfectly. Given the constellation of the characters it is the perfect choice to have Lois help him build up that dual identity.
Conclusion: An episode that could not have been any better at a perfect time. Sadly just 3 more to come...
They had me at Skeets. Great episode. I loved Booster, Ted, and even, to my surprise, Jaime. Cat Grant has become a nice addition to the cast, IMO, and I almost wish we'd had more time with her over the past seasons. Also, Ron Troupe was short, but memorable.
I loved Clark's rivalry with Booster and Lois's rivalry with Cat and how both ended up mentoring their brasher counterpart. Eric Martsolf did an incredible job as Booster and really sold the humor, ego, and reluctant self-awareness. I bought his arc this episode. ED and TW had great chemistry as usual and, again, I wish we'd seen more of them at the DP this season.
Kudos to TW for an excellent job behind and in front of the camera. Those speeches of Clark's are a hard-sell but he makes them work. Also, the lighting and music for the episode were stand-out for me.
I'm not sure the episode quite lived up to all the hype. As much as the actors made me care for their characters, I just don't see why we needed Ted or Jaime to make this work. And the end with Booster talking Jaime out of his suit-induced rampage was a little meh. I get thematically why it was there for Booster's character and I liked his little speech reflecting on that moment with Clark in the denouement but it still felt a bit anticlimactic. I'm still rating it a 10 but I think the writing could have been stronger. The performances, direction, etc, definitely earned the high score, IMO.
Just when I thought it was going to be a filler episode like most of the ones with new heroes, it turned out to be a important episode. I like that Clark is turning into a geek and that when Booster Gold arrived he finally realized that he needs to put on the suit. Clark said he couldn't do it right now but in the finale he will. I like the Booster Gold stuff. I was wondering how he knew that Clark was the Blur, but that was explained. Booster said he came to where Clark was because he messed up in the future, but I kind of think he might have been sent there on purpose, to help Clark further his destiny. Everything with Lois and Clark was good. Kat Grant finally saw the light and agreed the BLur was great. Tess and Oliver gone but they will be back next week. The stuff with Blue Beetle was good except they didn't show how he overcame the power of the suit. It was a good weapon that could work if he uses it for good, they never said if he gets to keep it. Anyway it was a great episode that furthered Clark to his destiny, which is awesome.
Season 9 had Warrior, now season 10 has Booster. The actor who portrayed the golden superhero should be listed in the top 5 of Smallville guests. From the outfit to the acting it's the most entertaining character of the season so far and I can't see anyone who could beat him. The few visual effects featured in his scenes were also both mind blowing and funny. The smile one was just hilarious. So I'm definitely a member of his fan club ! But beneath his mask we also perceived the mere mortal and the story he told Clark at the end was very moving. Things can get really intense on the show when you can relate fictional elements to real ones. As Geoff Johns wrote it my usual line would be to congratulate him but it would be disrespectful toward the other people who contributed to its tremendous success.
Indeed for once I have not a single complain about this installment. From top to bottom it was just superb. Comparing it to past episodes would be just pointless because it's almost a TV movie to itself. In fact it's the very first time I feel like being part of something special. How lucky for our generation to have both witnessed the beginning and ending of Smallville. Yes because as far as I'm concerned the show is over. Booster was the finale I was waiting for. In fact it can be considered as Tom Welling's testament as a director and actor on the show. His identity crisis was masterfully developed and its arc a perfect sequel to Masquerade. You thought you knew Superman ? Well think twice ! After Star Trek was cancelled back in 1969 Leonard Nimoy published two autobiographies. The first in 1977 and titled I Am Not Spock. Fans misunderstood it because it wasn't at all about Nimoy rejecting his character. However he heard their complains and in 1995 he published I Am Spock to atone for his mistake. Well in my humble opinion Welling is to Smallville who Nimoy is and will ever be to Star Trek. You Are Smallville ? Just a title I coined for you Tom because I know you've been watching us. The Blur is no fiction. He's real, pure flesh and bones.
Beside my whole role model theory there would be zillions of elements to mention but enumerating them seems just pointless. A bully turned into an Iron Man-like creature ? Please forgive my infinite knowledge when it comes to comics. Cat Grant versus Lois ? I'm in luv with Emilie Ullerup ! His high-pitched voice could break a bulletproof window and a blonde has never been so… well blonde but I can't help finding her attractive ? No way ! Irresistible ? Highly improbable ! Next in the pros list we have… Geeks are sleek ? Viewers who heard Lois saying "From sleek to geek" about Clark's metamorphosis got it all wrong. Trust me if you can ! Erica Durance is such a nerd at times she should just bunker herself in a… phone booth ? It leads us to the epic sequence featuring CK. Slow motion, VFX, shiny outfit… It had it all and even its editing was flawless ! Last but not least the end felt like the refreshing shower you take right after working out, or something else. Durance & Welling's chemistry has reached a level where you can't make the difference between reality and fiction. Abyssal immersion ! From their lines to acting it was just heavenly and full of emotional intelligence. Lois & Clark ? Forever.
Smallville has done t again With an Episode like Booster We can see the final steps being made n order to become the Worlds Greatest Hero, Superman. The nerdy clark, the glasses, the "super" speeches, and the phone booth change were all great. Also Eric Marstof is Booster Gold; his portrayal was fantastic and brought him to life really well. Blue Beetle is DC's Iron Man. But I have to admit I was a little let down the first time watched this felt that the phone booth scene while great needed to come later on as part of the final moments of the finale. I also felt that the effects were a little on the low end (particularly the blue beetle) for what I expected for a big episode like this, after all this is the last 4 episodes of the entire series. But then I got to thinking, while not as good as Homecoming (which I felt was the best of the seres), this is still Classic Smallville. It's not all about the effects, Here its about the quirky writing. It is about what the hero (Superman/Clark) does in the moments that define and make him the hero we all look up in the sky to. Geoff Johns and Tom Welling have truly captured the spirit of Smallville. Bring on the Finale!
Smallville is simply amazing, this episode was so much fun, from start to finish. I absolutely loved seeing Clark in his glasses and acting like a fool, cuz that's what Clarks disguise is and Tom welling did an awesome job, and he did an awesome job at directing this awesome episode! It was so awesome when Clark went and changed into the blur outfit in the phonebooth, that's one of my favourite scenes ever of smallville, cuz that was superman, Clark is nearly there as being superman, all he needs to do is fly and put on the suit and then he can show his face to the world! This episode was just simply amazing, and Clarks getting ever closer to becoming the worlds greatest ever hero!
I knew, just knew, instinctively that Tom Welling was directing this episode. If Clark hardly features in an episode, then its Tom that's directing.
Terrible acting on "booster's" part and I was so often reminded of the awkwardness of the classic Smallville filler episodes. I was all for the fun-ness of the bachelor parties, but not this...
I'd also liked to have seen more of geek Clark but that was still the more enjoyable parts of the episode. And i'd of thought Clark would show more jealousy of heroes flying than he has been. He just seems to have given up on that too easily. I was hoping that the finale wouldn't see the birth of the full costume and flying in the same episode, but it looks to be heading that way. They deserve to have separate spotlights.
If Tom Welling's directing, I would hope that the producers and writers would still feature his character so close to the CLIMAX! (if Mel Gibson can do it in Braveheart...)
Hopefully, Justin Hartley's directing goes without catastrophe.
The first thing to get out of the way is that this was never going to be as good as "Absolute Justice". It's just a single episode rather than a doubler and this season seems to be working with less money than before (or possibly they're saving up for the two hour finale). However despite this it's still far above an average episode.
Having covered the Legion of Superheroes and the Justice Society of America this season Johns' just focuses on introducing two new DC comics heroes to the Smallville universe. I have to say that as I don't read many comics I'm unfamiliar with Johns main work, but from each of his episodes I've been impressed by how he's managed to lift these characters straight from the comic page and merge them seamlessly into Smallville's slightly different take on the DC universe. So this year it's Booster Gold and the Blue Beetle that get Smallville-ised. My only knowledge of these characters is from the Justice League cartoon and Batman: The Brave and the Bold; however just from these two shows I've grown very fond of Booster and Jaime. For the most part I was impressed with how the two were portrayed here, however Booster Gold was the one handled better.
Booster's costume was awesome, looking very authentic and still being very impressive. When staying so close to the original comic there's always the chance of it looking like a bad Halloween costume, but here he looked the part almost perfectly. The actor playing him also had the role down solidly which was crucial in the character working. He was arrogant and cocky, but never really seemed evil. His reasons for helping were far from noble but he never wanted to hurt anyone so you could still feel sympathy for him. From the trailer the one part of Booster Gold I noticed was missing was arguably the most important one: his robot sidekick Skeets. However Skeets got his due here. In the cartoons he's a floating oval shaped robot, while here he was just an oversized earpiece. Personally I think the earpiece thing was more of a budget restraint than an artistic choice considering how closely the rest of the character resembles his comic counterpart, but it still worked. Skeets wasn't quite as awesome as I've seen him before, but he did have a bit of a personality to him.
Blue Beetle on the other hand wasn't quite as impressive. With the episode title going to Booster it was implied that he'd get the majority of the screentime which unfortunately didn't leave a lot of time to really characterise Jaime. He came across as a fairly generic teenager like they were ticking boxes to make him sympathetic. Awkward teen: check, social outcast: check, bullied by peers: check. There wasn't really much to him and he felt much more like a reason to move the plot along than a fully fleshed out character. As for his alter ego it wasn't Smallville's best moment visually. The CGI scarab crawling into Jaime's bag looked and moved great. Unfortunately once the character started transforming things went downhill a bit. It certainly didn't look awful and credit has to go for managing to put such an unwieldy character in a live action TV show, but this is where film has the edge. When you consider how much time and money went just into research and development for how to get the suit to work on the Iron Man film, when you translate that to a small TV show it's understandable it isn't going to hold up as well.
Of course as well as these two characters there was a story and our main cast members (well two of them). Having John's episode this late in the game for the show seemed like a strange choice to me, but ultimately it fit brilliantly into Clark's current stage of development. For the first full episode where Clark wore the glasses as his "mask" it seemed right to have it written by a comics pro. And as we're heading to the end of the series where he'll presumably show himself to the world it worked as the perfect opportunity for Booster Gold to jump in and try to steal the spotlight from him. In fact Booster's appearance actually emphasised what a crucial time this is for Clark.
As for Clark's new glasses and coat look it's worked into the ongoing storyline pretty well. The two main pitfalls with Clark only now wearing the glasses are that it doesn't give him much time to draw attention away from him being the Blur before coming out of the shadows and it's still quite jarring for us considering we've seen him without them for almost ten years! The former is addressed head on and works as a reason for why Clark can't come out of the shadows to face Booster head on. It's also great to see how well the fact that Clark can hide his identity with just a pair of glasses is explained here. It's a common joke for non Superman fans and to be fair a valid one, but seeing Clark try so hard to act bumbling really helps sell it. I also liked how they did point out that he was indeed like that in High School, back in the first few seasons when we could see moments of his eventually destiny in his young self.
As for the visual, as this version of Superman has been so different to the comics/movies to the point that it's received much criticism, it still feels a bit off now that it's merging into the established popular culture version of Clark Kent. However this is balanced by the fact that Clark himself isn't comfortable with it. He's spent years trying to find his place on Earth, and now he has to hide his true self from the world. Regardless of the fact that's what the "real" Superman does it's right for Clark to have these issues. Let's be honest the traditional version of Superman isn't the most deep character (it's his unflinching righteous personality that makes him iconic) so that Smallville isn't abandoning this complex character they've had for a decade is good to watch.
So the episode gets at least two of it's central characters down, but how's the story and action hold up? As mentioned Booster's reason for coming to Metropolis at this time works great as does how he inadvertently creates the Blue Beetle. The return of Cat Grant is also a plus as she finds a hero she can get behind. A hero willing to show his face is great for the superhero image in theory, but as his intentions aren't pure it could prove very costly. That Clark is the first to figure this out is great. Despite his significant character growth in the last few seasons it's still great to have him act like Superman. In this case be the investigative reporter he is and figure out that Booster's comment to him and always getting to accidents on time wasn't quite right. With Chloe out of the show now it removes what had been a crutch for Clark for a long time and has allowed him to show his own intelligence and investigative skills.
With the introduction of two new characters, as well as Clark's new identity it's understandable that there isn't time for a traditional villain here. Instead Kord Industries "Beetle" works as the threat for the episode. While getting to see Ted Kord was a nice touch I don't think he was handled properly. In the comics he's the previous Blue Beetle (there's been 3 in total and the original gets a name drop here which was a nice reference) whereas here it appears that he was never a costumed hero. That's fine, Smallville has done things its own way for ten years and there's no need to completely conform to the comic books now. However his company disarming alien technology comes across as a bit dodgy rather than noble, especially when we find out they experimented on the beetle rather than disposed of it. There also seems to be quite a lot overlooked here. For one Clark mentions super weapons with a throwaway line. With the exception of Toyman I can't think of any super weapons that have been on the show (and even he only had a robot rigged to explode) and yet it sounds as if they're commonplace around the world at this point. Also he quickly overlooks the fact it's alien technology. Sure Clark's encountered a few aliens over the years but surely anyone finding alien technology would be a big deal; and if not them covering it up comes under what I mentioned of the company seeming a bit evil.
The climactic battle between Beetle and Booster was a bit disappointing too. Cat's outfit was definitely the most impressive visual in this scene (considering Tess's boobalicious dress last week, wearing a revealing costume must be like a right of passage on Smallville, so Keri Lynn Pratt must really feel like one of the cast now!). As mentioned the Blue Beetle costume wasn't the greatest and its movements seemed very limited. Clark's superspeed change into his Blur outfit in the phone booth was awesome, with the shot brilliantly finishing on his "S" as he zipped up the jacket. Although they seem to have given up on the superspeed trail as it was nowhere to be seen when he saved Cat from Beetle's energy blast.
Booster retelling Clark's monologue to Jaime to help him get the scarab under control was a nice touch, but I couldn't help wanting a bit more action from the moment. While it was an important moment for both characters this is still Clark's show and I felt he should've been involved in the battle a bit more. A great example of how an action scene can have emotional resonance was in John's previous episode when Clark took the first hit on Icicle, but let the Justice Society members finish him off. Unfortunately we didn't get anything anywhere near as awesome as that moment here.
With the threat averted it's time for Booster to explain to Clark why he did what he did. Hearing Booster's "origin story" was nice, but it would've been far better to see it. As I've said before TV is a visual medium and so it's always best to show things if you can. That said it's understandable that there was no other way to do it really as a flashback or something would've seemed really out of place. Maybe if he'd been able to show Clark a holo-video of him playing football or something; no idea if his suit could do that but it might've been better. Either way for now it seems that Booster is going to help Jaime control the scarab which at least gives an excuse for him staying out of the public eye from now on.
There's also a discussion between Clark and Lois about how the two of them getting married could potentially give away Clark's cover. It's a valid point and while I never thought they'd actually split up over it it probably could've been handled better. An issue like that maybe deserves its own episode, rather than a few lines at the end of this one. And I also have to point out that once again Clark didn't use any of his more visual powers (heat/ x-ray vision, super-breath). If I'm not mistaken he hasn't used any of them since about episode 9! Am I the only one that gets annoyed by this? All we get is the crappy looking cheap to do super-hearing.
Anyway, overall this was a decent effort. Probably the weakest of the three Geoff Johns episodes but still an important episode as we get towards the end of the series. In a way the episode epitomised Smallville for me: a lot of promise which could've been fantastic, that unfortunately fell just short but was still entertaining television.
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