I'm hopelessly late with this, so feel free to ignore. Now that I've finally posted it, I can go watch Supergirl. :)
If Shield was a preview of what the rest of S10 holds in store for us, I’m all in. It was a jam-packed episode that was totally focused on Clark, where we saw our hero display some of his best qualities, have some great Superman moments, and take an important step toward his destiny. I enjoyed the colorful characters, the action, the exploration of what it means to be a superhero, and the comic moments that Tom Welling plays so well. The only downside was, the more I like an episode, the more I'm reminded of how much I’ll miss Smallville when it’s gone, so this one made my heart ache just a little. I have a feeling this entire season is going to be bittersweet.
The episode opened with Lois in Africa. I’ll admit I was disappointed when she left at the end of Lazarus, without even talking to Clark, but after Shield, I understand why. She had a lot of reasons, ranging from not wanting to hold Clark back, and not letting his love for her become his Achilles' heel, to just needing some space to process all the implications of finding out his secret. But in all of it, her first concern was for Clark, and I loved that. Most women would have played the me card, but Lois just wanted to know what Clark was thinking and feeling. It’s obvious she truly loves him.
Michael Shanks is always a welcome (and HOT) sight on my TV screen, so I was happy to see Carter Hall return, and he did have a unique perspective to share with Lois. I liked that he dropped all pretense once he realized how much Lois knew, and gave her the opportunity to seriously explore her feelings with someone who understood exactly what she was talking about. Of course, Carter believes that love conquers all; through many lifetimes, all marked by unendurable loss, he still searches for his Shayera to make him whole. I hope Lois can come to see what she has with Clark in the same light. Like Clark, Lois is confident when it comes to her abilities (in her case, journalism), but needs to believe in herself more as a person. Maybe together they can help each other understand how much they have to offer, not only to the world, but to one special person.
Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, Clark was confronted with Lois's unwelcome replacement, Cat Grant. Smallville's Cat was nothing like the one I know from LnC or comic books, but I thought she was great. She swept into Clark's life like a tiny, maddening whirlwind, ready to unleash her misconceptions and misinformation on the readers of the Daily Planet. Her interactions with Clark were too funny, as he struggled to keep his annoyance in check while she slandered Lois Lane, Green Arrow, and the Blur in quick succession. Tom was hilarious, as always, giving us some priceless reactions. I especially liked the way Clark awkwardly covered for almost smashing Cat's radio into smithereens, and how he looked to the heavens when Cat asked, "Why would anyone want to kill ME?" hee! But my favorite part between them was when Clark retrieved Lois's name plate from the trash, tossing Cat's cookie in with the rubbish at the same time. I loved how he defended Lois, and that moment was a lovely callback to last season's Savior, mirroring Lois's actions in her scene with John Corbett. These two have each other's backs, now more than ever.
Shield was a wonderful episode for Clark. With Cat we saw the amazing man he has become. Anyone else (Oliver, I'm looking at you) would have written her off as a rabid Godfrey fanatic, but Clark had compassion for her, and once he learned her whole story, she had his complete sympathy. We saw his feelings change as he spent more time with her, and his empathy for her inspired my own. He saw the good in her, and understood that her disdain for the "vigilantes" came from a place of genuine fear. The last time she trusted someone she thought was one of the good guys, she ended up fleeing from him in terror, afraid for the safety of her son. Now she needs proof before she puts her faith in someone. And she's probably not the only one in Metropolis who feels that way. I get the impression that the big, bad city is a pretty scary place, and a figure dressed all in black, who performs mysterious rescues under the cover of darkness and super speed, might not inspire hope in everyone. Cat's prejudices helped Clark to see a hard truth about the cynicism he must overcome if he is to earn the trust of the people he seeks to protect.
It was fun to see Oliver in Green Arrow mode. His calm, immovable force in the face of Cat's hysteria made me smile, and I love his competence. I didn't care so much for the violence of his scene with Rick Flagg, and the search for Chloe doesn't exactly captivate me. And I can't believe he accused Clark of doing nothing! Again! I understand that Ollie was reeling from Chloe's disappearance, but I'm so tired of him lashing out at Clark unjustly. But maybe that's just to show us the contrast of how Clark responds. In any case, going public may be the right move for Green Arrow, but it's something else altogether for a superpowered alien. Oliver can't make that decision for Clark. No one can. And in fact, we already know Clark will never go there, not in the way that Oliver means.
Tess is in a very interesting position. She's playing on the side of the angels now, and trying to win Clark's trust, but she also has Alexander stashed in her mansion, and God knows what up her sleeve. I don't care what she's up to, I just love watching how it all plays out. Every scene between Clark and Tess was a treat, and I'm intrigued by their uneasy alliance. More, please!
We had a whole array of baddies this week. Rick Flag continued to radiate evil. I physically recoiled when he was onscreen. Deadshot was scarier, he was almost inhuman in his cold devotion to fate, but the chills he gave me were delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed his eerie presence. And I'm glad they brought Plastique back, that was a nice touch. Best of all, everyone was used to serve Clark's story, not detract from it.
There was lots of action in Shield, most of it involving Clark looking very much like the Man of Steel. The exploding car was cool, giving us a super save and a sexy, disheveled hero. Yum. I also liked Clark taking out Deadshot and speeding to stop his bullet before it reached Cat. Can you imagine opening your eyes to find that kind, beautiful face looking down at you, his eyes full of the promise to keep you safe? But of course the ultimate moment came at the very end of the episode, as we watched Clark stride out onto the roof of the Daily Planet building as the brand new Blur, no longer surveying his city in the dark of night, swathed in endless black, but ready to meet the day, in glorious red and blue. *cue Superman music*
I love Clark's new look. The embossed shield is awesome, and I approve of the way that snug jacket hugs his chest. You can't go wrong with Clark's classic (and pretty) blue tee, and the black jeans look great. It's a definite step in the right direction. I'm not crazy about the hair, but I suppose that is the iconic style. And Tom has the noble bearing in spades. I say it ALL the time, but he IS my Superman. When Clark stepped out into the sunlight and let that plane ticket slip from his fingers, I was convinced he was going to FLY! All the way to Africa, where he would scoop Lois up and bring her back in his arms. I entertained that fantasy for about a second and a half, and then realized he was symbolically letting go of Lois, giving her the space and time to find her own way back to him. Or not. And I have a lot of respect for the maturity that shows.
Random thoughts: Erica Durance and Cassidy Freeman both looked insanely beautiful in this episode. I was definitely having Daniel Jackson flashbacks in the scenes with Carter Hall playing archaeologist. That's not a complaint. :) Mean Arrow? hee! So I guess Oliver truly is the love of Chloe's life, and presumably he feels the same way about her. I don't have a problem with that, but I'll never understand why it's okay to mess with some aspects of the comic book mythology and not others (Jimmy, anyone?). There are few things funnier than watching Tom Welling awkwardly fold Clark's ginormous frame into Cat's little car amongst all the girly knick-knacks and cutesy stuffed animals. Does Tess keep all the DP personnel files in her office? Is every new employee outfitted with a personal tracking device? And I'm sorry, but I still don't understand why Clark doesn't just tell Lois his secret already.
Shield felt very much like Smallville's version of a Superman show, and I liked it. The story revolved around Clark, his job at the Daily Planet, and his dual identity. Our hero isn't yet wearing the cape or taking to the skies, but he is investigating, chasing down the bad guy, and saving the day. And, because he's not quite Superman yet, he's also figuring out exactly who he wants to be, and stepping ever closer to his destiny, as is Lois Lane. It's all moving along at an exciting pace, and I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next. I hear Cat Grant will be coming back; I hope she tangles with Lois next time.
There aren't enough words to describe how pretty Tom was in this episode. Twenty of my favorite caps from Shield:
Screen caps courtesy of Home of the Nutty, with my thanks!