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.