I apologize for the lateness of this column, but the time consuming nature of Thanksgiving preparation has really cut into my free time (which, unfortunately, is the only available time for me to write my reviews). But as the expression goes, better late than never!
I also want to thank comment posters Wally Kovacs, who has provided his fun insight in the past, and Dan Smith, for kick starting the discussion on this most recent episode. I’ll admit that my knowledge of Superman is pretty rudimentary, so these gentlemen seem to know quite a bit more about many of these characters than I do. As such, I’m going to trust their instincts, and if they’d like to elaborate any more on any of their thoughts, I welcome them to do so.
But, overall, I think the three of us seem to be in agreement that we wanna see Darkseid in the flesh – and not at the last possible moment. And we want to see him looking like a monstrous bad ass, not an EMT working Abercrombie model. I actually am pretty optimistic that we’ll see this, to tell you the truth. It’s the last season, and I think the powers that be realize that this is the time to lay it all out on the table. While they have been showing an admirable amount of restraint with certain things, they’ve actually delivered, big time, with a number of cool developments and introductions over these first several episodes. We probably won’t physically see Darkseid the first half of the season, but I don’t think it’ll be the final few episodes, either.
Anyway, in my review for last week’s episode, I noted that I’m eager and intrigued to see how the three main story arcs (Lex’s return, the Suicide Squad, and Darkseid) come together and intersect. We began to see that with this latest episode, as it turned out that Slade Wilson, leader of the Vigilante Registration Act, had actually been possessed by the darkness that has been unleashed by Darkseid. I was actually quite pleased with this revelation, because near the end, when Slade had Clark trapped, I couldn’t help but feel like they went over the top with his anti-hero stance. While his stance had always been a bit strong willed, it was at least based in something believable. By the end, he was willing to blow up entire compounds in order to eliminate a handful of individuals with special abilities. Even though one of them was fully human. But once we discovered that he was actually under Darkseid’s influence, his behavior became much easier to accept. And in the final moments of the episode, we also learned that Slade had survived the explosion (was it ever explained how Clark survived as well?) and was being reborn as Deathstroke.
Oh, and as a side note, there’s something about Clark and everybody referring to “the darkness” that sounds really hokey and cartoony. That’s another reason why I don’t want them to go all out with the possession route. When the characters verbalize it, they just sound so silly.
“Patriot” also brought the return of Aquaman. I’m sure this won’t be the last we saw of him, since I do fully expect a full out Justice League appearance sometime within the final episodes (that means we see Green Arrow, Supergirl, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Flash/Impulse, Hawkman, Star Girl, Cyborg, Black Canary, and any other heroes they introduce between then and now, fighting side by side), but this is the first time in a while that we’ve seen him for any extended period of time. And is it me, or was he a lot darker and generally less likable? I know that’s what they were going for, but considering that Aquaman doesn’t appear at the frequency of, say, Green Arrow, it’s tough to be forgiving when the hero is acting like a complete ass. And I know they tried to soften her up in the final minutes of the episode, but was Aquaman’s wife a bitch or what? Then again, I do love that somebody FINALLY brought up the fact that Lois has dated, like, every single superhero on the show.
I’m having a little fun at Aquaman’s expense, but truth be told I didn’t mind his appearance. Although it is a bit rough seeing him in a variation of the classic costume, when there’ a much cooler look to go with. C’mon, how awesome would it be seeing a long haired, bushy bearded, hooked hand Aquaman?
One side story that I found myself really enjoying is the way Clark and Lois are beginning to realize that just because his secret is out in the open doesn’t mean that they have a completely open relationship. There is still plenty that Clark hides from her – of course, under the motivation of protecting her – and until he’s ready to fully trust her, they’ll never reach that level of openness that Clark experienced when he went into the future. I also really, really loved the elevator scene between Lois and Tess, where they were both kinda testing the waters to see how much the other knows about Clark. That being said, I thought their final scene together, where Tess welcomed Lois to Watchtower with open arms, was a tad on the heavy side. It was just a little too….friendly. Even when neither of them knew Clark’s secret, they didn’t particularly like each other. And even before Clark and Lois had a relationship, and Lois was none the wiser about Clark’s abilities, these two actually brawled with each other.