Smallville 8.11: "Legion"

I know a lot of "Smallville" fans who were absolutely yearning for this episode since it was announced, especially when they discovered that the legendary Geoff Johns was writing the script. I wasn't quite so enthusiastic. After all, "Smallville" has a spotty history when it comes to incorporating characters from the comic books. The writers often lose sight of one basic requirement: the characterization should not depend on the audience's knowledge of the comic books.


I know next to nothing about the Legion, so I was waiting for the episode to give me enough information to understand who the three heroes were, what their relationships were to each other, and how they fit into the "Smallville" mythos. I'm not sure that was entirely accomplished. By the end, I didn't really know who the heroes were at all.


If anything, I questioned how these three annoying kids in the goofy outfits were supposed to be legendary heroes in their own right. The telepath's costume was a T-shirt with a Saturn symbol on it and a red jacket and leggings. I found it very hard to take them seriously. Apparently Lightning Lad (perhaps the worst name ever) is supposed to be whiny and annoying, and the leader has apparently been listening to too much emo music.


It was easy enough to understand why they were brought into the current plot arc; the characters have the right mix of abilities to save Chloe and take down Brainiac. All things being equal, the problem was how the Legion was characterized. Despite the fact that this was the Legion's first appearance on the series, it felt like I had missed an episode somewhere that explained all the things that weren't worth mentioning in this installment.


The Legion also seemed to be designed to toss in some foreshadowing for both Clark and Lana. It's certainly ominous that they had never heard of Chloe, but I suppose that makes sense in light of the fact that she never appeared in the comics. I'm still not entirely thrilled by Lana's return, but if it serves to establish some kind of importance for the character beyond her connection and relationship with Clark, I'm willing to be patient.


I was a bit worried that they would kill off Chloe, but those fears were thankfully unfounded. I think it would have been interesting for her to be under Brainiac's control a bit longer, though. Allison Mack was having a lot of fun playing up her bad side! I suppose it was all a means to an end, since it took Davis much further down the road to Doomsday, but it still felt a little too quick and easy.


Similarly, the slaughter at the barn is simply glossed over, Chloe's memory of Clark's true nature is restored without much fanfare, and Jimmy's fate is covered off-screen. I expect Clark's decision to alter Chloe's memory will come back to haunt him at some point in the near future, but the rest just feels sloppy. About as sloppy, unfortunately, as the introduction of the Legion. The end result is the first true disappointment of the eighth season.

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Jan 17, 2009 6:32AM EST

Well, interesting take on everything, and well analysed(analyzed to those of you in the US), but I think somewhat over-analysed! As a true Smallville and Superman fan, I was mesmerised by the way the links to Clark's past, present and future were all integrated here and helped Clark move towards becoming Superman once again.Despite people's skepticism towards Lana, I think she's come back as an improved character, thanks to the writers, and this secret she is keeping will keep me in suspense over the next few episodes. The message from "Bride" still rings in my ears, which said "Did the hunter believe you" or something similar relating to Green Arrow. So, which side is she playing for? I guess we'll find out.I agree that Jimmy's fate was played off screen and it wasn't the best, but I guess in 40-45 mins, you can't fit everything in. Personally I'd have loved to have been treated to a double episode given the long wait, but you can't have everything.Overall, season 8 has been one of the best so far and I hope Tom Welling does sign a new contract for Season 9 and that Smallville powers on!

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Jan 19, 2009 2:35AM EST

Well the costumes are the same as all of the other superheroes on Smallville: they are just wearing the colors of the costume instead of the original costume. The thing about them not hearing of Chloe is not ominous, it is an inside joke/dig at the writers of Smallville because the Chloe character was created just for the show and was not in the actual superman comics.

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Jan 20, 2009 9:23PM EST

~sigh~ Typical snarky internet reviewer as usual missing the entire point. I think allot of fans of the show seem to forget one important fact about Smallville. ITS THE STORY OF SUPERMAN. Yeah same guy who wears tights and can leap tall buildings in a single bound. The guy who winds up marrying LOIS LANE, not Lana or some made for tv character named Chloe (heres another fact, Jimmy winds up with Lucy Lane not Chloe).
So it always boggles my mind when I read reviews slamming episodes that are trying to be close to the comics. For example the reason why the Legion were introduced wasnt because their powers were the best to stop Braniac but because in the comics The Legion (which stands for Legion of Super Heroes) was introduced as meeting Clark before he became Superman (yeah back when he was called Superboy). And who of the Legion were the first to meet young Clark Kent? You got it Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl (those are their code names).
What I find insane is when I hear something like "I couldnt take them seriously with those costumes"...Okay so in your head you can believe a guy is from another planet called Krypton, can run at super speed, can hear things that even dogs have to strain to hear and can shoot fire from his eyes! Yeah thats realistic to you? But someone in a costume isnt?! WHAT...THE...F$%#K?!
This episode was meant for the real fans of the comics and the character. You know we have to put up with 20 odd some episodes of episodes resembling Dawsons Creek with some lame kryptonite forgettable villain (seriously what can Kryptonite not be used for? it can be eaten as diet suppliment, used as fertilizer, used as jewelry, made into gas?!) Have the common decency to at least give us comic fans who actually watch the show for SUPERMAN to have one episode with out your freaking harping just one!

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