Monday, November 29, 2010

Episode Twenty-One: Action Figures

On a remote island featuring an active volcano, the two children of a researcher are playing when Metallo emerges from the watery depths. He remembers little of his former identity and the events that lead him to the island but after saving one of the children from falling boulders he is quickly swept away by them as a hero-playmate. Along the way he is also urged by the children to help an unconscious truck driver who is quick to spread the story to the media - and Lois Lane. Suspecting the mysterious "Steel Man" to indeed be Metallo, Lois rushes in for the story and Clark is not far behind as Superman. Meanwhile, flashes of clashes with the Man of Steel have jogged Metallo's memory and he begins trying to use the children to hide his identity. When Lois arrives asking them questions about their new robot friend, the kids deny his existence and try to shut her out. When she follows them to the cave where they leave Metallo, he quickly spots and abducts her. Superman is not far behind, and with the volcano already erupting and the island being evacuated there is not much time for him to save Lois and the children. After a short battle, Superman throws his kryptonite heart into a stream of lava and escapes. Metallo dives in after his core and is trapped half-submerged when the lava hardens, left repeating only the phrase, "I am Metallo."

Evan:  I felt a fair amount of disappointment with this episode, because I really liked Metallo's previous episode, and the shot of him walking along the ocean floor was one of the best final shots the show has ever done.  Sadly, this episode simply makes no effort to give us more of the same.  I had felt the series had an interesting hook built into Metallo, in that he was a villain with an equal hatred of Lex Luthor as he does Superman.  Sadly, this hook was dropped with no mention of Lex Luthor.

Instead of character (or even action), we get a straight set piece episode: the volcano.  All plot was secondary to the timer that was the pending explosion.  The location of the island is unknown, but apparently close enough for Perry to send Lois to investigate the "Steel Man".  Its status as an active, soon to erupt volcano permeates every scene from the very beginning, and watching the episode becomes a tedium delaying the eventual eruption.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Superman dealing with the lava flow.  I just didn't really want that to be the focus of a half-hour show.

Metallo arrives on shore as an amnesiac, a simple hook to introduce the absurd fun of the giant robot and his little friends.  The problems with this is that it eliminates all the fun that is John Corben.  There is one line in the episode that is all Corben, when he tells Lois he'd give her a kiss if he still had his lips.  I want more of that guy!  I'm worried the show will drop the interesting human part of Metallo for only the robot part.  Once again, Metallo is prevented from returning to Metropolis at the end of the episode.  When he eventually gets there, he better be there for an amazing double fight with the two men who stole his ability to feel pleasure.  The problem with this episode: John Corben was more robot than man, not a man in a robot.

I hate the kids.  They were almost as bad as Batman: The Animated Series episode I've Got Batman in My Basement.  Which is, like, the worst one EVAR.

Finally, the writers made their first truly large blunder with kryptonite.  Throughout the show it has not only been lethal, but the simply proximity to the substance has depowered Superman for extended periods of time.  This time around, Superman is less that a foot away, being strangled with his head in a flow of lava.  What the hell?  The show's own logic says that is lethal, or at least should get a reaction out of Superman.  This is a bad path to be on.

Kristin: OK, so my reviews are really starting to look like cynical donkey poo, but this is getting ridiculous! Literally nothing happened in this episode that is note-worthy. Metallo climbed out of the sea and none of the stuff that made him interesting at Luthor's sexy yacht party was there anymore! He went from a hedonist who has lost the ability to feel anything to a tin mannequin with amnesia and kryptonite heartburn... and not even in the cool, hipster-band-song kind of way. (Seriously hipster bands, get on a song like "Kryptonite Heartburn".)

So, here I am. The episode was literally all lame battle and no character anything. It contained very little dialogue at all. And again, not in the good, art-movie-self-awareness kind of way either.

Action Figures goes so far off the poor writing scale that it even pulls a Stephenie Meyer and breaks the laws of its own universe. In previous episodes, Superman's powers are not only removed by exposure to kryptonite but he is reduced to a quivering hunk of meat for the slaughter. This episode, much like the Twilight's vampire erections, features Superman not only resisting the effects of kryptonite after his lead suit is destroyed by lava but he grabs the hunk of kryptonite and rends it from Metallo's chest! While getting a face full of molten rock! What?!

Shame on you, writers. I never thought I'd have to compare you to one of the worst hacks of literature history... but you earned it.

Final Thoughts:  He should have used his kryptonite chest laser.

Evan's Episode Rating: 3/10 (Lois Lane Ratio: 0 incompetent / 0 insane) - All the points for remembering Metallo, minus eight for forgetting all the good things about his character, plus one for putting him in a trenchcoat.

Kristin's Episode Rating: 0/10 - How do vampires get an erection and ejaculate, let alone produce sperm, if their bodies don't change?! Answer me that, lava-eating, kryptonite-hurling, Superman-butchering hacks!

1 comment:

  1. Favorite post to date hahaha,
    Just letting you know that I still lurk ^^