Yesterday's episode of Smallville, "Booster," introduced stalwart DC heroes Booster Gold and Blue Beetle to the show's universe. Even though this episode added doodly-squat to Smallville's end game, Booster Gold's celebrity superheroics and unapologetic campiness were a good fit for Smallville.
"Booster" was written by DC Comics bigwig and former Booster Gold scribe Geoff Johns, who previously penned the Smallville episode "Legion" and the Absolute Justice TV movie. These episodes introduced the Legion of Superheroes and the Justice Society of America to the show, respectively.
"Booster" was par for Johns' course, as the episode brought Booster (née Michael Jon Carter) and the third Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) into the Smallville fold. Additionally, industrialist Ted Kord (the second Blue Beetle in comics continuity) appeared in brief.
Did these little fan service touches add up to a cogent whole? Well, no. The episode begin with Booster stopping crimes and stealing the limelight from the Blur. Booster is a hyper-efficient crimefighter because he's a time-traveler. Thanks to his handy
futuristic robot Skeets, Booster knows exactly where crimes in Metropolis are occurring and zooms in to prevent disasters at the nick of time (and just in time for the photo ops).
Unfortunately, Booster is also sloppy. When he prevents a Kord Industries van from hitting clumsy teenager Jaime Reyes, its cargo — an alien artifact known as the Scarab — escapes and bonds with Jaime. The teenager is overwhelmed by the Scarab and goes on a rampage. (Side note: Dan Garrett, the first Blue Beetle, is mentioned in passing as a doomed former host of the Scarab.)
The high point of "Booster" was, well, Booster. Actor Eric Marstoff imbued the character with such sincere stock hero insincerity that he made Clark look like the world's biggest bore. Furthermore, Booster's outfit translated well into live-action. His perpetual sunglasses, Bluetooth supercomputer, and billboard-style power suit made him look like a 25th-century soccer player for FC Douchebag. He spends most of the episode practicing a dance routine with a shit-eating grin plastered across his mug. He's pure self-aware camp, a welcome change from Clark's constant cowboy speeches and hand-wringing.
The deranged tawdriness of "Booster" made most other Smallville episodes look like Wuthering Heights (with the exception of the bachelor party episode, of course). He basically eclipsed all of the series regulars, who faded into the wallpaper. Lois spent her time telling Clark to act meek, Clark test-drove his borderline incontinent nerd persona, and Cat Grant became Booster Gold's back-up dancer. Other than Clark using a phone booth to change (more fan service), the show's leads were inconsequential.
So yeah, did "Booster" enhance Smallville's final storyline in any way? Not particularly, other than the fact that Booster suggested Clark rebrand himself as "super" (I kind of love the fact that Booster Gold may have coined "Superman" in the Smallverse). If you had no idea who Booster Gold or Blue Beetle were, would their appearances have made any sense in the grand scheme of things? Goodness, no — Blue Beetle was mostly pointless, monster-of-the-week material. Imagine if during the waning days of Lost, the show inexplicably gave us an entire episode about the wacky antics of some heretofore unmentioned Dharma Initiative shark tattooers. That's kind of what this felt like.
But for its many flaws, I can't say I didn't enjoy "Booster." Why? Maybe it was the fact that Marstoff nailed his performance as the Matthew Lesko of the superhero world. Maybe it was the sheer novelty of seeing a live-action Booster Gold. Perhaps it was the audaciousness of burning an entire episode on Booster Gold during the show's swan song. Maybe it was the Stockholm Syndrome I've gradually developed recapping Smallville for io9. In any case, "Booster" was goofy fun, a prime time pop tart perfect for fans of the Blue and the Gold. Bwahaha, indeed.