After last week's powerless outing I was really hoping that this episode would show off all (or at least most) of Clark's abilities. Unfortunately that wasn't the case. I'm not sure if the budget has been lowered a bit this season or if they just don't think his powers are cool anymore but I felt this episode could've been a lot more impressive. The opening scene with the exploded bus wasn't bad, but not the greatest action scene the show's had. With all the flames around I thought it would've been a perfect chance for Clark to show off his super-breathe, but I guess that power's still one they try to ignore. As far as the more visual powers go we did get super-hearing and unfortunately the new management have still decided to keep the terrible bright lighting effect for it. One step in the right direction however was that they did incorporate it with the old zooming in on what he was listening to trick so it was a bit improved over last season.
As for the story this was Clark's first day at the Daily Planet and it could've gone worse. I think this may be the first episode in about five years that Clark hasn't worn his blue T-shirt with red jacket combo at any point! His wardrobe aside the scenes between him and Lois couldn't recapture their chemistry from season 4. A lot of it felt like shoe-horned in references to their future relationship and Clark's dual identity. That said Clark getting changed in a phone booth was fantastic! So on his first day Clark encounters Bette, the future Plastique. Having only ever seen her in one episode of Justice League Unlimited I don't know how faithful they've stayed to her character here, but I'm willing to bet she was never a meteor freak. Still the actress playing her was pretty good and there was enough to her character to make her worthwhile and able to empathise with her.
This was also the introduction of Davis Bloome and he was also pretty good. Sam Witwer did a good job of portraying him and he also seems like a relatively well rounded character. His scenes with Chloe were pretty good and that each of the main story elements overlapped was done well. Also, I know it's early days, but the general writing seems to have significantly improved under the new showrunners. Not once did I cringe at a terrible pop-culture filled line from Chloe and the whole story actually made sense. When Tess was injured on the bus my first thought was why was she on it in the first place. However this was addressed right away by a line from Clark and of course the real reason was impressively revealed at the end of the episode. Last year something like that would've been completely overlooked for the sake of moving the story forward.
Despite quite a bit of praise for the episode it still wasn't great by any means. I've already mentioned that the action was lacking and even by Smallville's standards the epilogue portion of the episode took up a lot of time. The main story too, although not bad, was pretty dull. However pretty much any complaints are irrelevant due to the episode's jaw-droppingly awesome ending. I kind of guessed that they'd show something of Davis' alter ego at the end to tease us of what's to come, but I didn't think we'd actually get to see part of Doomsday himself! It didn't seem like he was just transforming back to Davis after being Doomsday as the boney forehead appeared and then disappeared just before he woke up as opposed to already being there and disappearing, but it was a fantastic morphing effect regardless (something Smallville doesn't tend to do) and a brilliant ending. Of course Smallville does have a tendency for giving great set ups and then not delivering, but here's hoping that they can actually pull this one off. That they've proven Doomsday will at least in part resemble his comics counterpart already has quietened my doubts about him anyway.
So overall an underwhelming episode with an awesome ending. If they can tone down some of the stuff between Clark and Lois then there could be some fun material in there and the Doomsday storyline clearly has a lot of potential. So far this season is off to a far better start than the previous one, so let's hope it can continue that way throughout.