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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Smallville 10x3 - "Supergirl"


Special DC Universe Guest Stars:
SUPERGIRL! GORDON GODFREY! (also referenced slyly is his New Gods name GLORIOUS GODFREY!) DESAAD! (Referenced as an S&M club, Club DeSaad) and DARKSEID! (Mainly referred to as "the darkness" - but he doesn't believe in a thing called love)

Allison Mack is no longer in the opening credits since she's no longer a regular. It's interesting what the Smallville season 10 game plan is to cover for the missing founder and the story threads Chloe provides: bringing in DCU guest stars galore to interact with Lois and Clark individually.

The first two episodes of season 10 didn't exactly flap my cape. The first episode, "Lazarus", was the typical super-busy on plot, super-lacking in logic Smallville season premiere, although I did think it was slightly less convoluted than past season premieres. The prisoner exchange of Chloe for Oliver, the Lex clone I found really off putting, and Lois suddenly in Africa photoshopped standing in the middle of a Windows desktop wallpaper bummed me out.

The second episode, "Shield", was a talky clean up of the chaos from the finale and premiere episodes, and I hated Cat Grant and Smallville's version of Deadshot. Although, Hawkman's guest spot and how he fantasized Lois was Hawkgirl and tried to make out with her was pretty fun, and I liked Plastique returning and the name dropping of the Suicide Squad.

But now, Lois is back in Metropolis, Lois and Clark are reunited, and we're back to the business of setting up "the darkness" that's coming. And with all that, Kara's back! In all her Superglory.

I missed Kara. Laura Vandervoort looks great in the Supergirl miniskirt (minus the S shield) and the even hotter looking variant with jacket and pants she wore most of the episode (take that, J. Michael Straczynski! That's how you revamp an iconic but revealing superhero costume into a more "practical" look!) Plus it always amuses me that Clark's Kryptonian cousin speaks with a Canadian accent. 

Kara was gone for a year and a half searching deep space for her mother and coming up empty, but she's been lured back to Earth by Jor-El because Jor-El has "shut out" Clark and no longer thinks his only son can handle the job of Earth's protector. Jor-El especially doesn't think Clark can handle the coming of Darkseid. So, he handpicked Kara to face "the darkness" that's coming because she's got all her powers and isn't plagued by Clark's self-doubt and whatever else is always up his ass.

This leads to Kara somehow having the resources to hire photographers to "get her image out" all over Metropolis, hoping to lure "the darkness" to her. She gets press in the Daily Planet (billed as "The Maiden of Might") and Lois spends the whole episode oh-so-self-consciously dancing around the S word while trying to invent a handle for Kara - Ubergirl, Megagirl, Power Girl (snicker). The fact that Clark's cousin Kara can fly and has powers beyond those of mortal men is written off hastily by Clark that Kara must have been exposed to meteor rocks.

More important are a couple of scenes with Clark where she expresses disappointment that he still doesn't know how to fly. The last time Kara was on Earth, she tried to teach Clark how to fly, but the lesson was interrupted. She tries again. This time she imparts her Zen of flying - "It just is!" - and she tells him to drown out the cacophony of sounds he hears, clear his mind, and focus, like on a little butterfly. It works, Clark lifts off, up, up, and not so far away before his concentration breaks and he crashes into the barn. This being television, they only try something once and then give up because more plot points have to be moved onto and TV time is precious.

What's good about this is the meta-commentary Smallville is making on itself. You see, their incarnation of Darkseid is not (yet?) mentioned as a dark New God that rules a planet called Apokolips. This Darkseid is a malevolent entity that preys on doubt and weakness, corrupts, and possesses living beings. The fear Jor-El has is that Clark has so much doubt and anger within him, Darkseid could easily latch onto him, possess him, and use him as a weapon against Humanity. And Darkseid agreed wholeheartedly when he met Clark towards the end of the episode and tried to possess him with with his Swirling Black Cloud of Crows (Is that the Omega Effect? I hope not) which was magically repelled by Kara's silver bracelet. (I was hoping, like how Superman pulled a plastic S off his chest and tossed it in Superman II, Kara would, I dunno, rip off her top and throw it at Darkseid.)

Anyway, it seems to me Darkseid is the final device that will hopefully rid Smallville's deeply flawed, angry, surly, frustrating version of Clark Kent they've created over the last ten years of all his issues and infuse him with the "purity of spirit" he's missing that will at long last turn him into Superman.

Though Vandervoort has commitments to V and there are at present no plans to bring Kara back, the door was left wide open for her Supergirl to return. Kara is living in Metropolis and will continue to try to make Darkseid come after her, while hanging around incognito in a black wig and glasses so she can walk the streets of Metropolis like a human. I'd say the odds are pretty good we'll see Kara again in the back end of the season (it would help if V is canceled.)

Meanwhile, in the three weeks that have passed since "Lazarus", Darkseid and his Swirling Cloud of Black Crows possessed local rabble-rousing talk show host Gordon Godfrey. Godfrey has an axe to grind against the Blur, the Justice League, and all masked vigilantes. It's actually a funny in-joke about how the word "mutant" is used to describe the heroes with such scorn. Stinkin' muties. Anyway, under the control of Darkseid, Godfrey has written a book condemning the superheroes and is successfully giving speeches to dozens of true believers on the streets of Metropolis. With this crusade against superheroes, Darkseid seems to have concocted a plot to rob the Earth of its Legends.

All of this hero-bashing, especially Blur-bashing, raised the ire of Lois Lane and she goes after Godfrey to take him down all investigative journalism-style. In her dealings with Godfrey, Lois learns that Godfrey has discovered that Oliver Queen is the Green Arrow, and he plans to reveal this to the world by releasing a final chapter of his book online. (Darkseid is clearly from another planet based on his understanding of how publishing works). Lois dips into her Patented Closet of Costumes she's had since season 4 and poses as Godfrey's limo driver. She overhears him give a hair-raising monologue to his publicist about how humans can be corrupted easily and humanity will always sow the seeds of their own destruction.

Because she's Lois Lane, instead of running from the limo and never looking back after hearing that, she drives him to Club DeSaad, Godfrey's favorite S&M club. Once inside, she then dresses like a dominatrix, lures Godfrey into the back (sex) room, and has two other dominatrices seduce him while she takes cell phone pics and emails them to her editor at the Planet. And then because she's Lois Lane, she has to reveal she's Lois Lane and gloat to Godfrey that she tricked him. Godfrey then reveals he's got a Dark Side, knocks her out and leaves her tied up and hanging in a rather sexy way. But Clark and Kara save her and subdue Godfrey... somehow. It's not really clear what became of Godfrey. Kara infers later that "the darkness" is free and searching for a new host.

Back in 2008, Iron Man ended with a very novel conclusion when Tony Stark stood in front of a bank of reporters and declared, "I am Iron Man!" Oliver Queen, when faced with Lois' information that Godfrey was going to out him as Green Arrow to the world, did some serious soul searching. He visited church, spoke to his dead parents, and weighed the cost of losing Chloe (whom he thinks is dead) against the good he's able to do as a masked crime fighter. With Lois present in a rather dimly-lit office for a major press conference, Oliver hosts his own bank of reporters and reveals that he is in fact Green Arrow. Fade out. Play Black Sabbath. Or not.

Who knows what? This sure is confusing: Lois knows Clark is the Blur. Oliver knows Lois knows Clark is the Blur. But Clark doesn't know Lois knows he's the Blur. Meanwhile, Oliver "knows" Chloe is dead. I think Clark does too, I'm not sure. Incredibly, Oliver never mentions to Lois that Chloe is dead! Lois nearly gets killed protecting Oliver's secret and Oliver still doesn't mention to her that her own cousin is dead! (Even though she isn't really, no one knows that at this point.) Not just Superman, everyone in Smallville is a dick.

Next week: Clark's five year (I presume) Smallville High reunion! Will Pete Ross be there? Probably not. He's no "Smallville".