As Lois devises a strategy to make Clark Kent more mild-mannered, thus distancing himself from the Blur, a new hero arrives from the future who plans to use his knowledge of history to usurp Clark’s destiny. At the same time, a teenager is possessed by an alien artifact that makes him a living weapon programmed to kill all humanity.
SE 10: Episode 18 “Booster”
And now for another installment of “Geoff Johns Presents the DC Universe.” DC’s head writer returns to introduce a few more characters from the comics, and not just superheroes either. Among Booster Gold, the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle AND Ted Kord AND Dan Garret, we also got the first live-action Ron Troupe and a mention of Steve Lombard, both Daily Planet reporters and supporting cast members Johns tried to fit into the comics not long ago.
Unlike Johns’ last two episodes, this one wasn’t overflowing with comic book references, introducing two new characters in such a way as to spare the audience information overload. Also unlike Absolute Justice, this episode wasn’t an EVENT, meaning there was less pressure, allowing breathing room and better characterization.
Booster was definitely the best part of the episode. His charming personality made what could have been an annoying character very lovable and endearing. His sense of humor and over-the-top heroic speaking style contrasted well with his more serious and somber attitude towards the end of the episode.
However, Jaime’s character didn’t fare so well, remaining little more than a one-note Peter Parker-clone the whole time. Even the Blue Beetle suit had no characterization or goal beyond “Kill Kill!” Who was it trying to kill, why, etc? I can appreciate that quite a lot of time was spent on Lois and Clark, much more than I thought would be given all the new characters, but I wish Jaime had been a stronger character.
But despite that, both Booster and Jaime were used to great effect as they gave Clark an idea of what to shoot for in both his identities. Booster as the public figure, standing with his hands on his hips, a great hero, and Jaime as a dorky loser. Tom Welling did a great job as “Mild Mannered” Clark Kent, tripping over himself and being demure. I have to say, I didn’t think he could pull off that take on the character and make it believable, but he did.
And I loved the idea that dorky Clark is a callback to teenage Clark from Season One. It’s a great way to bring the show full circle, and also insert a bit of irony. Despite having made so much progress towards becoming a Superman, Clark still has to act like the unsure loser he was always trying to outgrow.
Lois’s character is as strong here as ever. Johns writes a good Lois in the comics, but Smallville’s Lois is so good there is virtually no room for improvement. Playing her against Cat Grant, who is sadly always on the wrong side of the argument, shows off her strengths, as does her attention to detail when it comes to Clark’s secret.
The special effects and costuming looked good. I thought the JSA looked a little too comic booky last time. Blue Beetle was pretty stiff, but that seemed to be on purpose, what with the suit controlling the man.
Not quite as awe-inspiring as Legion, or as over-the-top as Absolute Justice, this was still a great episode that fit seamlessly into this season’s storyline. At times it felt almost like a backdoor pilot for a Booster and Beetle series, as Clark does a lot of standing around while the other two heroes do stuff. But at the end of the day, it was a good introduction to a couple of DC’s lesser known fan favorite characters. One question though, if Clark was so worried about Booster affecting history, why does he let him stay in the present?