Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Episode Five: A Little Piece of Home

This episode introduces that deadly, green glowing mystery element from beyond the stars... kryptonite!  After security footage of a successful heist is reviewed by Luthor, he quickly catches on to Superman's innate weakness to the remains of his dead world.  Lois' insiders at LexCorp tip her to the kryptonite and Dr. Hamilton at Star Labs reveals that the effects can be dulled by lead.  It is using this information that Lois and Superman are able to escape a trap set by Luthor involving the infamous t-rex.  Superman hurls the meteor into space, but Luthor's archeological teams are already combing the world for the hidden threat, ominously ending the episode.

Evan:  The introduction of Kryptonite.  With a name like A Little Piece of Home, I knew that we would be getting something like this, and I was more than a little leery. Kryptonite can be a crutch for Superman stories, case in point the recent movie.  Why build human tension when every villain can be hurling Superman's biggest weakness at him?  While this episode did more than it's fair share of that, it does get a pass for being the first and having to set up the important plot element.  It had to come sooner or later, and while I was hoping it would be later, I'm glad that it was handled quite well.

Lex Luthor's first non-pilot episode shows us the other side of the villainous capitalist.... the side that builds large museums as a tax shelter.  Unlike Lois, I'm not sure I see the horrible downside to this, although I'm sure it was Luthor that put all the other museums out of business.  The museum houses the kryptonite, thought to be a useless meteor fragment.  I liked that Luthor was as surprised as everyone at the discovery, it would have been easy to make him the master-mind throughout this episode but the restrain helped the uncertainty that the while show was built on.  While the viewer is probably aware of kryptonite, no one in the episode knows what's happening, and that helps show how dangerous it is, and will be, to Superman.

Other than establishing kryptonite, there's not really a lot for this episode to actually accomplish.  We get a really, really bizarre action scene in the second act that is set to jazz music.  The jazz isn't particularly quick, nor suited for a frenzied, aerial battle between Superman and flamethrower wielding, jetpacked thugs.  Stranger still, the show goes very cartoony during the fight, with old-fashioned comedy cuts, gun blow-backs and other stunts that would seem to suit the Looney Toons more than the fairly restrained style the show used during the first and third acts, as well as the first four episodes.

The best scene was probably the diner scene in which Lois orders like a champion, chastises Clark for seeming ill while showing him the kryptonite, then leaving to go to the lab after ordering Clark's lunch for him in about two minutes.  Out of all the episodes so far, this was Lois executing her job with precision.  She's never taken captive and saves the day with a little Lois-brand insanity.

I'm not going to mention the t-rex, as I'm sure Kristin is going to be all over it.  I will say, however, that that was not exactly the most precise death-trap we've ever seen from Luthor.  Robot dinosaur?  I think he'd have to admit that he was mostly just having fun with that one.  I guess he really overestimated his hand, because there was absolutely no way that was going to work.

Oh, and I want more Percy.  Luthor's murderous bodyguard is a great addition to the show.  She's one of the few character's I've ever seen to be intimidating while wearing a chauffeur's uniform.

Kristin: FINALLY, the t-rex of opening credit fame makes his appearance and it is as hilarious as I hoped! Not only is he a robot dinosaur but he's a robot dinosaur controlled remotely by a giant child's RC car controller operated by a gleeful Luthor. How was a t-rex the best thing he could choose to swiftly eliminate Superman in a UF-style kryptonite trap? Even given the limitations of the setting (Luthor's recently opened museum), you would think that a robotic civil war soldier complete with gun might do the trick. Or perhaps the ape from whence man came. At least it would be less cumbersome to operate. I mean, just imagine trying to RC a t-rex! It would be like parallel parking the biggest hummer in the world while hanging upside down from a swingset. I will come to expect more from Lex and his mighty brain.

Lois Lane was pitch-perfect for me most of the episode, although I am constantly blown away by her assorted prep school suits. What is with the pleated mini skirts? Were they "in" in the 90s for high-powered career women? I just tried to look up Vogue images for 90s fashions involving a pleated mini with a lovely matching blazer and the only results bearing any resemblance to Lois' character design come from the horrible mistake that was Clueless. I'm not convinced that a pencil skirt wouldn't have been equally as thrilling for the fanboys out there while perhaps being a bit more career conscious for Ms. Lane.

Superman showed some spunk for this whole episode being dedicated to the one thing that is supposed to ruin his day! I enjoyed the first scene in the museum in which he plays a little bit with the hapless robbers, offering charming quips and showing off his incredible powers in a very nonchalant sort of way. Very meta of you, Superman.

It was disappointing to see kryptonite so early on in the game, I think. I am happy that they decided to introduce it and then banish it to reappear at a (hopefully) more critical point in the series. The fifth episode of fifty would make for a lot of watching Lex try to put kryptonite in Superman's cornflakes and that gets old fast. Hopefully, Lex's character will be forced to actually use his brain in a way that makes me understand why he's the most powerful man in Metropolis instead of using stumbled-upon weaponry as a crutch.

Final Thoughts: The jazz music was really weird. They should probably stick to the repetitive opening theme. But hey, robot dinosaur!

Evan's Episode Rating: 7/10 (Lois Lane Ratio: 0 incompetent / 1 insane) - Two really good acts, one very lame act...

Kristin's Episode Rating: 7/10 - Even the t-rex couldn't disguise the fact that the show has introduced kryptonite this early. Coooopppp ooooooooout.

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