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Smallville “Patriot” 

Photo Credit: Jack Rowand/The CW

So let us rewind the clocks back five seasons all the way to an episode called “Aqua,” an episode that introduced us to A.C. or as you probably know him better as Aquaman.  This was an episode that split fans and didn’t do a whole lot to make the already fledgling reputation of the character of Aquaman any stronger, no thanks to less than stellar acting by Alan Ritchson who played the future superhero.  While he’s had short appearances here and there since then, this week’s episode “Patriot” was the first since “Aqua” to feature A.C. exclusively and the good news is, Alan’s acting was much improved this go around.  Throw in a pretty good story about the Vigilante Registration Act and some quality Clark and Lois time (I refuse to say Clois…just can’t bring myself to that level) and it made for a solid, if somewhat uneven episode.

The Vigilante Registration Act which requires heroes to register with the government is in full force and Oliver decides to be the guinea pig and be the first to sign up.  Little does he know this is a trap set up by Colonel Slade Wilson (soon to be Deathstroke the Terminator) who is under the control of Darkseid.  Meanwhile, A.C. and his new wife Mera are blowing up oil rigs which Clark says is a big no-no, until he realizes these aren’t oil rigs at all but potential holding cells for vigilantes that register.  And while all of this craziness is happening, Lois feels pretty left out and decides she’s going to be a part of this whole thing whether Clark likes it or not.

This overall was a pretty good episode except for one small issue, but let’s start with the positives first.  This was a fantastic episode for Justin Hartley who has been sorely lacking in screen time lately.  I love that his character is out in the open as it brings a fresh new perspective to the show as far as vigilantism is concerned.  Justin is always a very strong presence on the show and seems to have taken over for Chloe in the pop culture reference jokes that will be out of date in 3 years when we watch this on DVD, but damn if he doesn’t ooze enough charm to make you not care.

Initially I was worried when I found out it was going to be an Aquaman-centric episode.  Let’s not kid ourselves, Ritchson is a model by trade, acting is second.  I’ll give him credit where credit is due: this guy is built like a tank.  I thought Justin Hartley was pretty muscular but when they put him next to Aquaman he looked like a four-year-old.  If they ever do another Terminator movie I nominate Alan Ritchson to play a T-800.  Fortunately in the down time between the last time we saw him on Smallville, his acting has GREATLY improved.  Will he ever win an Emmy?  It’s doubtful, but he did enough to serve the episode and not make me hate him.  His wife on the other hand…

Oh boy.  This was the issue I had with the episode.  I just couldn’t figure out why her character was such a raging bitch to Clark, Lois…hell everybody she came into contact with!  Her character just seemed to be a snotty mean girl (who randomly gets naked?) for no reason until the very end where she decides to be sweet to Lois after berating her earlier.  It’s tough to like Aquaman in the first place but when you make his woman unlikable its an uphill battle.  I also think there’s an art to playing a tough-willed woman  and you have to walk the fine line between portraying the character as strong-willed as opposed to being a bitch, and this actress just did not have the chops to pull it off.  Fortunately, her role was somewhat small and didn’t cripple the entire episode (we save that for Cat Grant moments).

The Lois and Clark interactions were good this week with Lois having serious issues with Clark’s lack of communication and trust.  Nothing really new and groundbreaking in this department other than Tess now knows that Lois knows about Clark’s secret and was finally brought up to Watchtower.  Looks like Lois is part of the club now and all I can say about that is it’s about damn time.

I like how the overall story arch of the season seems to be playing out.  At first it seemed like we had two major enemies: Darkseid and his minions and the US government going after the vigilantes.  After this episode it’s clear to see that Darkseid is influencing the government and he may be far more powerful in the shadows than we even know yet.  I, for one, can’t wait for the final, inevitable showdown of Darkseid vs the Man of Steel.

Deja View

The actor who played Slade Wilson is Michael Hogan, better known to Battlestar Galactica audiences as Colonel Saul Tigh.

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