Smallville Review: "Patriot"
Ten minutes in, I already knew I wasn't going to like where this episode, "Patriot," was going. During the final ten minutes, however, I completely reversed my opinion.
I admit I haven't been at all on board with the Mutant, I mean Vigilante Registration Act storyline, for reasons I've explained before, so an episode focused squarely on that one topic was set to earn an automatic black mark against itself from me.
That predisposition aside, I still found the episode to be mostly lackluster - that is until Slade was revealed to have the Omega symbol burned into this skull.
Yes, I am aware the pushing of the anti-vigilante movement by Godfrey was part of Darkseid's overarching plan to take over mankind, and the VRA is part of that. But seeing AC and Oliver taken captive and tortured just reminded me how many, many times we've seen this sort of thing happen to our heroes over the course of the series.
It had a been-there done-that feeling about it.
I was glad, though, that they were quick to tie it all into Clark's battle with the darkness and set up for Slade's reveal as Deathstroke at the end - though I'm not exactly sure how he fits in with Darkseid. As far as I know, which admittedly isn't much when it comes to comic book history, the two never crossed paths.
The return of Aquaman, and introduction of his new bride Mera, was largely abortive, arriving with a barrel of fish out of water puns that started out amusing and rapidly degenerated to the point where I developed an inability to stifle the groans.
But it did serve as a mirror for Clark to see that it is not only possible but highly important to let your significant other serve as your co-captain as AC put it.
This lead to a sweet exchange between Clark and Lois about how they fit into each other's worlds, and that the battle Clark is facing with the darkness is not only his to fight, but also for Lois' and the rest of the Justice Leaguers at his side. It was refreshing to see Clark let down his guard and accept Lois in as a member of the team.
For me, Lois is the most courageous and confident character of the series; it is only fitting that she be given a place among the circle of heroes, not standing outside of it.
Bringing Lois to the Watchtower for the first time, alongside Tess and Oliver had a such "gangs all here" vibe to it that I believe I audibly sighed of contentment.
Slowly but surely the pieces are aligning to bring us what I hope will be an ultimately thrilling ride to the end, free from any measure of disappointment.
Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.