If you follow me on Twitter (and really, why wouldn’t you?), you’ve already gotten a taste of my enthusiasm for this Friday’s Smallville (The CW, 8/7c). But only so much can be expressed in 140-character blasts. So if no one minds, allow me to elaborate — in a teasey, rather spoiler-free manner — on why “Booster,” which was penned by Geoff Johns and directed by series lead/exec producer Tom Welling, is a bit of Smallville gold.
GOLDEN BOY | Smallville is now 2-for-2 when it comes to successfully plucking former Passions actors (e.g. Justin Hartley) to play hero. Handed a heavy scene load and an at-times unlikeable lunk to play, Eric Marstolf is pretty darn perfect as Booster, delivering sufficient gravity, as needed, when Clark confronts this supershill about his shtick.
FUNNY MAN | Tom Welling’s performance made me literally LOL twice — first with something the increasingly bumbling Clark says (to Ted Kord), and again with something he does.
SUPER SHOUT-OUT NO. 1! | There are enough references to the “Man of Steel” — including a smartly framed shot of Clark in front of just such a billboard — to give Zack Snyder hives.
SUPER SHOUT-OUT NO. 2 | This? So close.
SUPER SHOUT-OUT NO. 3 | No amount of episodic photos cobbled into a collage comes remotely close to mimicking the charged moment when Clark uses the last standing, non-vandalized phone booth in America to make a blur-motion switcheroo.
SWEET! | Dear wonder women of CW publicity: I want these cookies.
TOM TERRIFIC | Unlike Welling’s last turn behind the camera, “Booster” is not Clark-lite by any means. In fact, the hour is largely populated by just Clark, Lois, Booster Gold, Jaime/Blue Beetle and Cat Grant. As director, Welling calls the shots expertly in effects-heavy set pieces, Daily Planet walk-and-talks, and….
ONE OF THE BEST ‘CLOIS’ SCENES EVER? | Once the Gold dust settles, Clark and Lois kick back on a couch to rehash the import of Booster’s visit and the world’s need — sooner rather than later – for an “invisible” Clark Kent and an accountable “Blur” (or, as Booster suggests for a name, something that “starts with that ‘S’ you wear”). As I tweeted, yes, Welling knows how to direct the hell out of a low-light Lois close-up. And yes, at one point shirt buttons go a-flyin’. But the real beauty of the sequence lays in an unexpected yet rather understandable question that Clark raises, and the way Lois reacts to it. Then, for good measure, there is the way that they as a couple react to her reaction, heh….
Some have presumptively questioned the timing of Booster Gold’s visit, with just four weeks and five hours left to tell Clark’s tale. But I think that of lot of what goes down on Friday night is necessary, as Clark steels himself for his destiny, who he should and should not be as a hero, and how (and why) Lois fits into that future.