Soap star turned superhero in Metropolis? No, Jensen Ackles isn't returning to Smallville for one last time. Its daytime soap opera star Eric Martsolf guest staring on Smallville as Booster Gold, one of the latest hero to come from the DC universe. Teaming up with returning DC writer, Geoff Johns, Tom Welling directs his 7th and final episode of the series.
In "Booster" Lois struggles with Clark's resistances to adjusting himself into his new mild manner alter-ego and the disguise to go along with it. As Lois is helping her fiancée to embrace his inner clutz, while getting to keep his glasses on, she is in completion with Cat Grant for the new Daily Planet promotion. While Clark is waiting to go public a new superhero arrives in town to take his spotlight; enter Booster Gold. Preoccupied more with his PR campaign for being Metropolis' next Blur Booster lets a dangerous piece of alien technology on the loose that attaches itself to a teenage kid, Jamie Reyes. The alien tech gives Jamie an extremely dangerous uncontrollable suit of robotic armour (the Blue Beetle), forcing Booster Gold to setup and be the hero he is advertising him to be.
Considering Smallville has a smaller budget than shows on most major networks this episode does a surprisingly great job with it's effects, and both Booster Gold's and Blue Beetle's costumes. As a director, Welling was smart in limiting the Blue Beetle's costume to darker lit shots encase it didn't hold up on screen. However, for as farfetched as the costume looked, it still was a lot better than most of the previously introduced DC character's costumes have been. But the best look of this episode goes to Martsolf's Booster Gold outfit. Booster's look is simple and flashy at the same time to perfectly match his ultra-photogenic ego. Since Booster spends most of his time showboating to fill every inch of that spotlight Smallville decided to add to the character's look from the comics and cover his uniform in sponsors like a NASCAR driver.
Martsolf does a great job as the episode's guest star and steals the spotlight for both Clark Kent and Tom Welling. It might be because he had his own backup dancers but Martsolf's cocky hero performance mirrored that of Robert Downey Jr.'s narcissistic Tony Stark from Iron Man 2. After Clark shows Booster how to be a real hero Martsolf does a fantastic job of making his transition from being arrogant to humble completely believable. Not being well-versed in most of the DC comics' characters I had seen Booster Gold before but I didn't know much about him. Unfortunate that didn't really change that much after this episode.
Having DC alum like Geoff Johns returning as the writer for another episode I was a bit surprised there wasn't more of an origin story for either Booster Gold or the Blue Beetle. The audience kind of just gets the cliffsnotes on these two new superpowers being introduced into the series. Given the time constrains for timing of the episode this late in the season it did however make more sense to focus more attention on Clark creating his new alter-ego than make the episode all about these new characters. Johns allots the right amount of time to focus on Clark creating his new mild manner persona, while still incorporating some new characters. One stand out scene that John wrote for "Booster", that is sure to have many fans geeking the hell out when they see it, is having Clark super-speed into a phone booth to change into his costume. He may not have been putting on the cape for the first time but seeing Welling in his nerdy Clark Kent getup race towards that phone booth was still an iconic image to see.
There is talk, on more than one occasion; in "Booster" that Clark might want to change for being known as 'The Blur' to something ...well more 'Super'. Not sure how or who will give Clark the upgraded title from being called Superman rather than The Blur, but Tom Welling has already earned that title in more ways than one. This guy must be a real life Superman by being able to juggle the responsibilities of an executive producer for both Smallville and Hellcats, directing two episodes this season, all the added press promotion for the final season, and oh ya... star in the show itself. It has also been rumoured that it was Welling himself that singlehandedly convinced Michael Rosenbaum to return to Smallville for it's series finale. Hopefully Welling still found time to hit the gym in between everything so he can fill out the suit when the time comes.
Not much time is left for much of anything on Smallville but there is still a lot to look forward to. Justin Hartley returns next episode as Oliver Queen and will also try his hand at directing for the first time. From the promos it seems like the next episode will be about the phantom zone and General Zod; having nothing to do with the Darkseid story-line again. Not being a fan of this season's Darkseid arc personally I'm fine with it at this point. But I'm starting to get the feeling that Smallville might go the Lost route and leave the series with some loose ends after its all said and done.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.