Smallville 8.21: "Injustice"

Apparently this is another episode with elements that originate with elements from the DC canon, but this is one of those rare instances where that really didn't matter. The writers had set the stage for Tess' team of semi-reformed "heroes" earlier in the season, and frankly, I was wondering if they would even remember their earlier intentions. While that subplot should have been a bigger part of the season, it still worked well enough for the episode.

Sadly, the team is used less as an early distraction for Clark, as anticipated, and more as fodder for the war against Doomsday. Tess essentially uses her team to convince Clark to expose his true nature, confirming her suspicions, and thus prompt him into action. Generally speaking, this isn't necessarily a bad plan. The twist with "Chloe" was easy enough to spot, but pushing Clark towards a moral dilemma was a nice touch.

I've always liked it when the writers actually present the more philosophical side of the Superman character, even if it never seems to evolve very much. At this point, with Clark working now and then with the Justice League, shouldn't he have come to terms somewhat with Oliver's more draconian brand of crime-fighting? Debating methods makes sense, but Clark alluding to Oliver being a potential enemy is a bit over the top.

I'm also not sure about the decision to have Tess catch up with Lex so quickly. The Veritas book is a shortcut within the continuity, so that makes a certain amount of sense, but the whole Candor thing doesn't quite ring true. Why would Tess care about Candor, and want to kill Doomsday to save that civilization as opposed to human civilization? That seemed to come out of left field. (And it also opens the door for Supergirl to return, and they really don't need to do that. Ever again.)

A big part of the problem is that everyone is talking about Doomsday as a threat that must be dealt with before things get dramatically worse, yet the villain never shows up directly. In terms of budget, I understand that they might have needed to hold back for the finale, but it seemed odd to have the real Chloe and Davis at such a remove in this episode.

While the episode had capable direction, I occasionally felt that Tom Welling was struggling to find the right beat for his character. Frankly, he looked a little bored or tired. I can't blame him. It has to be hard to play the same character for so long, comprising the bulk of his career thus far, and have so little variation over time. It may have just been me, but I hope he can remain invested for the ninth season.


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