Saturday, November 20, 2010

Episode Twenty: Target

Lois Lane wins an Excalibur award for journalism for a story uncovering LexCorp corruption, but receives a bizarre death threat just as she goes up to give her acceptance speech.  Sure enough, the crystal prop sword above the stage comes crashing down upon her... or it would have if Superman (thanks to a quick excuse to step out by Clark Kent) wasn't there to save her. Because of a recent story in which she cost a major police figure a promotion, Lois cannot trust the police and attempts her own investigation.  In the coming days, Lois is targeted by a number of highly technological traps but in each instance Lois is saved by the Man of Steel.  Sleepless and fearful, Lois manages to solve the puzzle and confronts her would be murderer, the man who helped her uncover LexCorp.  Lois is trapped by a laser grid, but Superman saves the day and punches out the technologically assisted scientist.  The day is saved, and Lois tells Superman she hopes that someday they'll meet in less pressing circumstances.  His reply: "Someday..."

Evan:  Much last last episode, the series continues to focus on its central relationship, Lois and Clark.  Specifically, this is a story about Lois and the dangerous consequences of her ultra-competent investigative reporting.  Lois has a surprising number of enemies that we've never seen before, including a pissed of police detective and an older reporter at the Planet that wears a tuxedo day and night.  The show uses all of them as red herrings, especially the police detective.  We see him watching Lois through binoculars at the end of act two to a dramatic sting, and when Lois sneaks out she avoids a cop.  however, since he wasn't the culprit we know in retrospect he was actually investigating and the officer in the hall was just incompetent police protection.

The constant technology use gave away the villain early on, but it was still a fun whodunit.  I liked that the entire structure of the episode, that everyone was either harmed by or jealous of her reporting, reinforced that Lois is really, really good at her job.  We also saw the Lois and Clark team much more than usual, including Clark in a fake sling because he fell and was "caught" by Superman.  He also rocks a new mustard suit, which is a welcome addition to his single other suit.  Lois sadly does not make comment.
How could she resist this?
The fight at the end was really lame, with the informant using a harness generating an aura of red sun radiation to try and combat Superman while a laser cage closes on Lois extremely inconsistently and slowly.  Superman easily knocks out the idiot scientist and ineffectively Fonzies the controls. Despite lightly tapping them an ineffectively tapping a flashing button that appears to do nothing, the laser cage turns off.  So he mostly fluked that one.

The relationship develops a little more, although the flirting is always the same to end these sorts of episodes.  The more important thing is the new comfort Lois seems to have with the fact that Superman always saves her, and that Superman is clearly watching her specifically.  But at the end of the day, Lois choses to use generic martial arts to kick her own ass.  That's our Lois.  Doesn't even phone a friend to tell him to call the cops if he doesn't hear back in a few hours.  Not even her pal Clark Kent. Who she lies to directly to go confront the perp.  That's the Lois I signed up to watch.

Finally, can I just say that this episode was super fun?  I just wish they had the guts to not put the scientist in a super-harness at the end.  It doesn't always need to be a fight, guys!  Superman had no idea how to turn off those lasers.  That would have been enough!

Kristin: You know, I've repeatedly forgotten to mention my delight at the bedazzle-chime that sounds when the menu animation ends on these DVDs... It must be the return from hiatus reminding me. As I recall, we last blogged on a fairly positive note with the Identity Crisis episode so my expectations were reasonable for this one.

It was good to see Lois taking on a much larger role in this one. I mean, she is largely acting as maiden-in-peril for Superman but she is at least a restless victim who attempts to take on her would-be assassin herself! After doing some fairly competent reporting and sleuthing, she confronts him personally albeit with no actual plan except to tell him that she has figured him out. So, Lois manages to be short-sighted but fiesty! And she essentially asks Superman out at the end of the episode. How very modern of her! Now, Superman brushes her off - for now. Which I think is a little bit of a cop-out on the part of the writers. Why? Is it simply because they don't want to develop relationships between the characters too soon? Too soon?! I've been screaming for something like this for a month, Clark has been pining after Lois for about the same amount of time, yet he thinks the best idea when she offers up the chance to get to know her better is to take a raincheck?!

Maybe another one of his weaknesses is reading signals.

It was also good to see Lex still kicking. And shooting human cutouts with a ridiculously over-powered gun nonetheless. Nice. I particularly enjoyed the voice-acting in his phone conversation with Clark about the origins of the assassin technology. The way he hit the 'k' in Kent made me picture him stabbing a Superman-shaped pillow every time he said it... with a ridiculously over-powered knife. It was brilliant. The same goes for his exchange with Lois when she accuses him of attempting to murder her. The way he remains cool as a bald cucumber in the face of murder accusations made me very happy.

I was not overly thrilled with the villain but he was so un-threatening that I don't even feel he's worth a discussion. He was really just a vehicle for a Lois story.

Final Thoughts: Why does red sun-generating armour glow yellow? And why can't Lois get a date?

Evan's Episode Rating: 8/10 (Lois Lane Ratio: 1 incompetent / 1 insane) - Seriously, why does that guy wear a tuxedo all the time?

Kristin's Episode Rating: 7/10 - Someone needs to take a hint here

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