Post Game: Smallville 8.6 - "Prey"
by O.J. Flow
Date: 26 October 2008 Time: 02:45 PM ET
Post Game: Smallville 8.3: "Toxic"
"You can't save everyone, Clark." (John Jones)
"The moment I believe that is when I stop trying." (Clark Kent)Doomsday. In the Superman universe, he is THE weapon of mass destruction. Legendary in Man of Steel mythology, in 1992, writer and artist Dan Jurgens created this unstoppable behemoth for the primary purpose of driving up sales for DC Comics' struggling Superman books, ironically enough to KILL the lead character. In an epic cross-country battle through four different Superman books (five, if you count Justice League America, involved in the story as well) ended in Metropolis with Superman and Doomsday beating the hell out of each other until they both seemingly dropped dead. Superman's eventual revival is a story for another day, and chances are if you're reading this right now you probably don't require the refresher course. But in the seasons-long history of Smallville introducing DC Universe characters to live-action programming (just weeks into Season 8 we've already gotten Plastique and Maxima), Doomsday had to be way low on people's lists, somewhere between Chemo (#94) and Draaga (#138). By no means am I suggesting that Doomsday is a lame character, quite the contrary. Having nothing to do with how the Smallville universe does or doesn't sync up with classic Superman lore, it stands to reason that Doomsday, in his full glory, is a cost-prohibitive concept for a TV show on the CW network. A proper Doomsday epic demands a budget found in Superman Returns, or more recently The Incredible Hulk, and that obviously contradicts what we expect from this show. So I, like many others, have been curious to see what the producers of this show could come up with for the supervillain infamous for fatally besting the Man of Steel over a decade ago.
While we've seen a few episodes this season of the alter ego of "The Man who would be Doomsday," paramedic Davis Bloome, how did he fare in his big, bad debut? A very engaging episode, to be sure, but the promise of The Big Bad was ultimately a big, bad tease. "Prey" kicked off with Chloe's efforts with the Isis Foundation starting to bear results in the form of a support group she's hosting with misfit teens who all share in common the fact that they have come out in one way or another with their meteor-fueled abilities. Definitely reminiscent of the X-Men movies with kids trying to fit into a world that fears them, the support group offers us the latest victim of a mysterious serial killer running rampant through Metropolis. Later on, Chloe is with Clark after hours at the Daily Planet, Clark glued to a police scanner, looking for to assist those in distress. Clark's new practice is using his super-speed to knock out criminals in action without so much as revealing himself to the perpetrators or innocent victims. A missed opportunity occurs when a swanky nightclub gets overrun by the mother of all Tasmanian devils. Clark arriving late on the scene shows that he is also getting more and more comfortable with his ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound as the Ace of Clubs is a penthouse venue. Clark is surprised to see that among the club full of victims is Davis the paramedic, bloody and beaten. Davis can't recall anything and makes a hasty retreat despite appearing to be in desperate need of medical attention. Later when Davis is home cleaning himself off in the shower, he is as shocked to find that all of the blood washing off him is not his own, and he doesn't have so much as a scratch -- yet he does have a killer set of abs, if I do say so myself. During Clark's investigation, a familiar character returns to the show in the form of Detective John Jones of the Metropolis Police Department (Phil Morris, as the Martian Manhunter). Despite losing his powers in the season's first episode, John is no less inclined to help others, and policing suits his skill sets the best. John has also made for a quality mentor to Clark as he develops as a hero. Also investigating the rash of attacks is Jimmy Olsen (something "beyond steroids" behind the club incident, he suggests, after reviewing a tape of the crime scene with Clark). His meeting with Davis for the first time provides this especially dark episode with its one funny moment when Jimmy psychs out Davis saying he goes through Chloe's PDA to see who she associates with. Clark and Det. Jones both suspect that Davis is involved in the attacks because he's been found on the scene every time. Not even the best paramedic in the world can be that consistent. It's worth noting that Jones lets Clark know that he's not been doing the best job keeping a low profile in his heroics because police pictures have often featured Clark in the background, something the detective has had to cover up. Definite hints at Clark's need for an alter ego. While Clark and Jones think they have their murderer, and Jimmy is hot on the trail of the mysterious Good Samaritan, Chloe turns out to be closer than anyone to the truth and she refuses to believe it. While it turns out her faith is somewhat justified, it strikes me as contrary to the Brainiac influence she's carried this season, allowing her the ability to sort through data and evidence like a super-computer. As adept as she currently is with information, she should've confirmed Davis' guilt or innocence quicker than anyone. A major conflict also presents itself when Clark uses Chloe's list of Isis Foundation freaks in his investigation, not to mention going through Davis' questionable photo collection. It's actually Davis who first brings it to Clark's attention during a confrontation that he's been in a lot of these photographs of crime scenes. What Davis holds back from Clark he reveals to Chloe as he's convinced that he's the murderer. Because he's blacked out on multiple occasions over the years (with no family, he bounced from foster home to foster home in his youth), he lacks the concrete evidence, but Chloe is certain it couldn't be him and makes every effort to clear him. I also need to mention that after the Ace of Clubs massacre, the next time Davis is at his hospital for work, he steals away a minute to inject himself with something. Couldn't tell what it was, but you know it'll be addressed in a future episode. In classic murder mystery fashion, when Clark and Chloe reconcile after Clark betrayed her trust with her list of meteor freaks, they discover that Davis' skin is under the nails of the girl who fell victim in "Prey"'s introductory scene, and Jimmy is on a ride-along with their prime suspect right at that same time. When they make a stop on a distress call, Davis goes first to take a better look at a darkened location and vanishes leaving Jimmy to call for help -- cue Clark on the scene in no time. It turns out that Davis IS under attack, a shadowy figure reminiscent of the bogeyman in Lost. This shadow killer one of the misfits at Chloe's support group, and Clark dispatches him quickly with Jimmy later suspecting that he was rescued by the Good Sam he's been trying to track down. Later, when the killer is detained, he is approached by an agent of Tess Mercer (by the way, not in this episode at all, same with Lois Lane and Oliver Queen), and it turns out that while he was responsible for recent deaths, he was also taking credit for someone else's work. A memento hanging from a certain ambulance rear-view mirror later reveals who that other someone is... What did you think of "Prey"? A hint at more intense things to come? A worthy means of introducing Doomsday into the Smallville universe? And have you ever been forced to betray a friend's trust with noble intentions? Are you as curious as I am as to the fitness and training program of this series for their cast?