SUPERMAN! LOIS LANE! TESS MERCER! THE GREEN ARROW! Special DC Universe Guest Stars: AQUAMAN! MERA! SLADE WILSON (DEATHSTROKE THE TERMINATOR)! Plus referenced via their photographs: IMPULSE! BLACK CANARY!
All four members of the supporting cast were present and accounted for this week. The main business dealt with the Vigilante Registration Act spearheaded by Lois' father General Lane and enforced by his colleague, General Slade Wilson (Michael Hogan from Battlestar Galactica-fame. Not quite the Deathstroke from the comics, but really good for Smallville's version of the character). Slade doesn't just want the superheroes of the Smallville Universe registered, he wants them imprisoned, and he's building the facilities to hold them. (One of them is a BP-like oil rig destroyed by Aquaman and Mera.) As "Kingdom Come" references go, all that was missing was Batman, or in this case Aquaman, saying, "They're building a gulag. You know this."
The Team, Clark, Tess, and Oliver, converge at Watchtower to hash out how to handle the VRA. (We also learn that Clark has been having clandestine meeting with Kara around the world.) The rest of the Team, the ones not in the opening credits of the show, have gone off grid; they're not communicating with each other and Aquaman, or AC as he's called in Smallville, has taken matters into his own hands and blew up the government oil rig. Clark decides he should lead by example, reveal himself as the Blur, and register with the VRA. After all, he revealed himself to Lois and that's been going real well, what with getting regular sex at the farm, so maybe signing up with the VRA will yield some positives.
Oliver, already the public face of superheroes, volunteers to register instead, and see what the government is actually up to. It can't be any good if the government's own strike force The Suicide Squad splintered off and is attacking people like General Lane. This leads to a moment where I had to step back for a second and take in: The Green Arrow shaking hands with Deathstroke The Terminator at a press conference. Of course, it was all a ruse. After testing out Oliver's skill level ("Off the charts!") Slade promptly knocks Oliver out and has him waterboarded so he gives up his super friends.
Meanwhile, Clark takes a run to an aquarium in Miami to visit with AC and finds out AC got married to a hot - I say again, hot! - aqua girl named Mera. Mera talks funny - that is to say with a sexy ethereal quality - and she doesn't mind getting naked in front of strangers. Also, she controls water, calls AC by his Atlantean name "Orin", and hypes him up as the "future King of the Seven Seas". Not hard to see why AC is so hot for his hot wife. Clark and AC compare whose jaw is squarer as Clark argues his vague ideas about being a hero and leading by example vs. AC's reactionary "terrorist" tactics creating fear and mistrust with the public, proving the government right about superheroes.
While all that's going on, Lois is two steps behind chasing Clark around while trying to unravel the secrets of the VRA on her own. Lois gets a meeting with General Slade based on who her father is where she manages to take digital pics of his gulag and pulls a neat bluff where he thinks he's caught her red handed but in her hand is a lighter for his cigar. Lois is bad ass; she proves it to Professor Emil Hamilton when she pretended she'd kill him if he didn't give up where Clark is. Even Mera sized up how bad ass Lois is when they meet at the Miami aquarium. Lois finds Clark there "Skyping" with Tess and now she knows Tess and Clark are on The Team together. Meanwhile, Mera hangs back and doles out a lot of relationship advice in the episode. She's like the superhero love line.
Somehow AC gets captured off camera and is held in Slade's gulag with Oliver. (Another moment I paused to enjoy: Aquaman and Green Arrow captured by Deathstroke The Terminator.) Mera arrives for the rescue and the three of them together save... each other... while Slade books it. Then Slade runs into Clark, who promptly gets himself trapped in a Kryptonite cage. While caged and trying to reason with Slade, Clark uses his X-ray vision to find the Omega symbol on Slade's skull. He's being controlled by "the Darkness". Clark tries to talk Slade into not committing suicide by detonating his base, but Slade does it anyway. KA-BLOOEY!
But it doesn't matter because everything's fine. After commercial we're right back in the warm glowing warming glow of the Kent Farm, where AC and Clark patch up their differences, AC tells Clark he'll do things Clark's way now and lead by example, and AC concedes he trusts Clark even though AC's jaw is technically squarer. Then the two best looking couples in Kansas get together in the Kent kitchen and talk about coupley shit; about how Lois is the only one for Clark, and how Clark is just so awesome. Clark and Lois also have a conversation where Clark realizes for the 17,357th time how awesome Lois is.
Finally, Clark takes Lois to Watchtower where Tess warmly welcomes her as part of The Team. (The best was Oliver's entrance and reaction to seeing Lois there.) Lois is all-in. All four main castmembers are on The Team now. There's a lot of dialogue wrapping up What Just Happened and setting up What's Coming Next where Clark explains what he knows about "the Darkness", the Omega on Slade's skull, and deduces how Darkseid (he does say "Dark Side" offhandedly) operates by preying on the darkness in humanity with the end goal of possessing the entire planet. Also, Slade is alive and he only has one eye now. And he's a Cylon. Wait, wrong show.
(edited by John Orquiola on 20.11.10 1154) @BackoftheHead
Mera was great as well as Slade, both seem to be coming back next year. I guess we are ignoring Tess is a Luthor breakdown to bring us, one hell of a JLA episode. I am not sure who Clark escaped, but it seems to me like in Kingdom Come, Clark is developing a resistance to green K that he kept saying he could save Slade at any time. I liked that they are keeping Lois and Clark together instead doing some dumb ass idea of breaking them up about now. There seems to be a ton of subplots circling around thankfully most of not gone down the drain. At least, they are moving towards fighting Darkseid and now know how to spot his minions which I am not all that happy Deathstroke is, but I love that actor as well the character, so I am ok with it.
Good episode, but it had the misfortune of following "Powerless in the Face of Death," which I think is the best episode they've ever done. My favorite part was 21 and 24 suiting up while humming the dramatic music.