Unlike most, I've found the start of Season 8 very disappointing. Smallville seasons have a tendency to cycle; S2+5 both majored on Clark learning more about his heritage, S3+6 majored on relationships, S4+7 majored on action, and now finally we have a season reminiscent of season 1; stage setting. With major players gone from the franchise, the series has some new foundations to lay and that inevitably means a lot of early season "fillers" designed to introduce new characters and establish new dynamics. Plastique is a prime example of this, but even so it could have been done much better.
At the end of Odyssey we saw a newly confident Clark, more reminiscent of his red kryptonite alter ego than the conflicted and angst-ridden teenager of previous seasons. Yet in Plastique he has somehow reverted back to the Clark Kent of yesteryear, nervous body language and naivety restored. What's going on with his character development? It's all over the place at this point. Was he on some kind of high at the end of Odyssey that has now subsided? That doesn't fit right with me. I really liked the new Clark Kent at the end of Odyssey, much more like the Clark Kent from the New Adventures of Superman. Hopefully we'll see more of this as the show progresses, but I feel as though the writers got ahead of themselves somewhat in all the excitement of the first episode.
If Clark was disappointing, then Lois was the complete opposite. It's great seeing how she is clearly falling for Clark now, whilst in the past it was just a simple and unacknowledged attraction. It's also a delight to see her becoming more comfortable in her role as a reporter and in her own maturity of character; the line she gave about being happier in uncovering the truth of the story than making the front page was the first glimpse that she is worthy to be the future partner of Superman. But why, oh why, is she still in the Basement, if she is writing front page material? We've all seen how many floors there are to the Daily Planet in Smallville! (Unlike the three storey building in its '90s incarnation)
The biggest disappointment is how Clark got into the Daily Planet by a simple application form (did he even have an interview?) after Chloe was made to jump through hoops and Lois made a name for herself at the Inquisitor. But Clark's CV just reads "farm hand". He's even allowed to caution his boss on his first day at work and get away with it. Sure, it was hinted that Tess wants to keep her eye on him. But the real disappointment is that the reason for Clark being hired has ruined the great setup created in season 3, when we were tantalised with the proposition that Perry would get Clark a job at the Daily Planet one day in exchange for saving his life. I'd been waiting for the culmination of that episode for 4 years! But however they explain Clark getting the job, they really should have made more of it, because this is one of the biggest transitions in Superman mythology.
But back to the plusses, I thought the actress for Plastique was brilliant, as too is the actor playing Davis Bloom. Tess looks as though she may have a more interesting character than originally imagined, but neither of these two new villains are ever going to be as great as Lex and Lionel. What this show really needs to make up for that is excellent story lines and a rapid transition into Clark assuming the Superman identity. There's only so long a show can sit on the fence as to what it wants to be.