EPISODE REVIEW: Smallville: "Patriot" (Season 10, Episode 9)

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Aquaman and his wife, Mera show up to blow more stuff up. Naturally Clark has to get involved, but does Aquaman have the right idea? And Oliver gets waterboarded.

Recap

General Slade is leading a meeting about enforcing the Registration Act. They have imprisoned several metahumans already as a result. We see A.C. (aka Aquaman) and a young woman help some heroes escape from a drilling platform that is being used as a detention center. Slade is notified of the security breach as Aquaman (I'm gonna call him that) emerges from the surf and engages his partner in a passionate kiss.

Dr. Hamilton has found a way to remove the Suicide Squad trackers, so Clark has his removed and Ollie shows up. The Vigilante Registration Act worries them, so Ollie decides to register to see what they're up to.

Ollie visits Lois, telling her what's going on. She's a little miffed that Clark didn't tell her about their plans. Clark drops in on Aquaman to see what he's up to, and as usual, hotter tempers prevail. Clark is whisked into a dolphin tank by Aquaman and Mera, his wife.

Lois visits General Slade (Deathstroke, the Terminator? Looks like Col. Tigh to me) to get the story on the true intent of the VRA. Lois tries to get intel on what the plans are, but Slade doesn't really trust her, in spite of her credentials and parentage.

Clark and A.C. finally talk. A.C. reveals that the rig they blew up was a detention center.

Lois and Tess discuss the VRA, and that it looks more like internment than service. They go to the press conference (conveniently held in the Daily Planet lobby) and watch as Oliver signs his registration papers and is escorted to a helicopter on the roof.

Lois accosts Dr. Hamilton to find Clark. Emil gives him up rather easily. He's in Miami, where he and Arthur are looking over one of the detention facilities. They get a message from Mera who tells them that Ollie is off the grid. They split up to find him.

Ollie is being tested in all his abilities. He's good, but we knew that. He tries to convince Slade that he will be the face, but he won't turn in his friends. Slade takes him to a room where Aquaman is hung up in chains. While Ollie is gawking at A.C., Slade knocks him out from behind.

Lois finds Mera, and Mera is a sea-bitch. She speaks loftily of Orin (Aquaman) as the leader of his people, and how Lois is not 'special' enough. Clark zips in and finds Lois much to his chagrin. Tess pops up on the viewscreen (much to Lois' chagrin), and gives them a brief on the cages that …

…Ollie is currently in, getting waterboarded. Slade gives a speech to the incapacitated heroes, when an intruder alert goes off. It's Mera. With her water control powers, she whisks the water out of Oliver's tank and onto Aquaman, saving them both. Aquaman bursts out of his chains, Oliver from his tank. Slade triggers a self destruct sequence, imprisoning Mera. Oliver and A.C. rescue her and head for the exit. Clark finds Slade, who quickly cages him in a Kryptonite cage. Well, mostly kryptonite. Okay, a little kryptonite. He still has enough power to x-ray Slade's skull, where he sees an Omega brand. He also has enough power to survive the subsequent explosion.

Clark and A.C. move around hay bales in the Kent barn, where A.C. advises him to trust Lois to be his partner. In the Kent kitchen, Lois and Mera have the other side of that conversation. The Aquaman family leaves Lois and Clark to talk. After apologizing for keeping her in the dark, she encourages him to tell the team about The Darkness.

So, he does… and knowing, in this case is NOT half the battle.

Apparently, they don't make explosions like they used to, because Slade survived too, and is being fitted for a metal eyepatch. (Toaster!!!!)

Observations

A solid episode, but it seems that they've wandered into a formula, again. All the action is done by about ten minutes until the end of the show, where they yammer on about what it all means and where everybody's relationship stands. There are nearly always three scenes of this. Then the last scene is always how the threat they just defeated isn't really defeated.

Oh well.

This episode served to push Clark and the team more into the limelight. In order to fight the darkness, they have to become more than they are-- they have to become symbols.

A.C. had quite a bit of development off screen. A wife and a knowledge of his history and his destiny as king of the seas really goes a long way towards making his attitude understandable. Mera is very much the consort of a king: haughty, arrogant… but she can hold her own in a fight.

We're beginning to see the shape of the fight to come, and it's exactly the kind of conflict that's needed to make Clark become Superman.

Will Conservatives Like This Episode

Although it has waterboarding (which is a sore spot right now…) and a Gitmo throwaway line, it also is clear that Slade was off the reservation and that the military was not to blame. This show is about individual achievement and heroism and goodness existing outside of the government. It doesn't get better than that.

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