Post Game: Smallville 8.12 - "Bulletproof"

Post Game: Smallville 8.3: "Toxic"

"...what I know, cops got rules, capes don't." -- Officer Danny

Before I commence, I wanna ask if anyone else picked up on a subtle Dark Knight feel to this episode. Something about the wide shots of the city and such reminded me of the blockbuster motion picture, and I could never fault a DC Comics-based TV show trying to tap that vibe within reason. Maybe it was just me.

"Bulletproof" kicks off with a return (at least on this show) of John Jones, now a detective for the Metropolis Police Department. Jones is in hot pursuit of a known felon, and despite a struggle manages to apprehend his perp alright. Reminder to all that Jones is considerably less Martian in his methods now since he lost his powers way back in the season premiere. This becomes an issue shortly after Jones' suspect is hauled away and while on his own he is the unfortunate recipient of sniper fire. The bullets are of the armor-piercing variety and one makes its way through a car door and into his chest. Without showing a face, it's clear that the sniper is a cop.

Forward to the local hospital where Clark happens to be, working on a story, and he sees John hauled into the ER. Besides the natural concern for his friend and ally, he's worried what will happen if John is cut open to reveal an inner physique that is clearly not human. Speaking of which, I can't recall if J'onn's shapeshifting abilities have ever been touched on in Smallville, and I wonder if they'll ever hint at him having a more Martian appearance. Anyway, Clark's fears are set aside when Oliver Queen shows up, and it turns out he's been working with John and he also has a doctor at the hospital on payroll to handle their more superheroic needs. When Clark gets Chloe's help to investigate the shooting, she's understandably disappointed that the actual benefits of Brainiac's recent occupation of her (a supercomputer brain) are no longer at her disposal. But she does use her more old school skills to create an identity for Clark to infiltrate the Metro PD to find the shooter. In the Smallville universe this kind of thing is a piece of cake.

Elsewhere, Lana (still in the picture after her recent longterm departure), meets Tess Mercer for the first time. Tess is actually kind of in awe of Lana, what with her having been the love of Lex Luthor's life at one point. Anyway, much wrangling, literally and figuratively, ensues with Lana still trying to undo the missing Lex's handiwork (Project Prometheus, etc.) and Tess still assuming that her boss can fart gold. Ultimately Lana breaks it to Tess that she's been little more than a pawn for Lex in that she's had technology embedded in her eyes that makes every single thing accessible to Lex, wherever he or she is. This news stuns Tess, to say the least, and we may end up seeing her in a whole new light for the rest of the series. More on that later!

Back to Clark's new job, I personally thought it would've been nice to see him with a high and tight haircut and a mustache. Seriously, does any other profession beg for a mustache quite like policing? Clark's cover is that he's a transplant from Coast City, and one thing that surprised me was the way Green Lantern's hometown was portrayed as podunk compared to Metropolis. I always thought Coast City was like the Los Angeles of the DC Universe. Clark, known to the cops as Joe, saves his new partner, Danny, on their first assignment, so he starts off on the right foot. Later, Clark's welcomed by his partner to a family barbecue where he finds Danny's son worships "the red/blue blur," how Clark is known around Metropolis when he uses his superspeed to fight crime. There he meets some old school cops who talk about Det. Jones like he was too much a lone wolf who didn't cover his ass. Clearly Jones didn't get with the program. A call among the cops ends up cutting the team outing short.

By the way, "Joe" becomes Danny's partner because his previous partner was killed in the line of duty. Earlier they have a discussion regarding the pros and cons on vigilantes that definitely makes Clark reevaluate his possible career as a superhero. The cops don't necessarily view guys like Green Arrow as a blessing but more of people who only follow rules when it's convenient for them. But the call that broke up the family outing becomes Clark's big lead on his investigation. The suspect responsible for Danny's partner's murder is found, out on a technicality. The cops turn it into a revenge party. Before Clark has to get involved, the Green Arrow shows up. While the pinata party is successfully broken up, Danny sees him talking to Oliver, so he knows "Joe" is possibly in Internal Affairs or something and cops have a code to protect their own.

Later when Clark is confronted on this and his cover's blown he asks what I found to be a relevant question: why is it not okay to roll on another cop, but it's okay to shoot them. "What can one man do?" Oh, Kal-El, just you wait. The rogue cops later take care of Clark by framing him for John Jones' shooting. Getting Clark out of the way is a step toward their ultimate plan to get rid of the Green Arrow. Turns out he's the biggest obstacle to their covert agenda. Another concept is later discussed regarding rehabilitation for criminals, or the lack thereof. The whole time watching this I was sure these discussions would otherwise be between Superman and Batman. Green Arrow is definitely filling that role in Clark's life that, DC-permitting, would be covered by Bruce Wayne.

The cops devise a plan to take care of Green Arrow once and for all. They use the robber from Danny's first assignment with Clark as bait, and it's intended to be Danny's ultimate initiation into the rogue cops' cadre, a successful kill. During this trap scenario, Oliver successfully convinces Danny that he's going down a wayward path, but Simmons, the team leader, goes ahead and shoots at them from a nearby rooftop. Danny takes a bullet, but nothing fatal. Clark arrives to take out Simmons, and a bullet that never would've been a problem is mistaken as being the result of earlier advice given of wearing a bulletproof vest. Fortunately for Danny he never fully crosses over to the dark side like his fellow cops, so he is able to recover spiritually as well as physically. A lesson on heroism and sacrifice is definitely learned between Danny AND Clark.

Jones makes a recovery and at the hospital has a profound discussion with Clark and Oliver regarding having each other's backs. I don't know about you, but I was geeked to the max over this bonding between Superman, Green Arrow and the Martian Manhunter. Granted we've seen a makeshift team before, but without a doubt some seeds are planted for the foundation of the Justice League.

Back to Tess, the woman scorned, she decides that she is no longer infatuated with Lex after discovering his betrayal, but she essentially determines that she will take him down from the inside. This opens up an opportunity for a surprised Oliver who finds that she is open to a merger in more ways than one. Cue sexy time music, y'all. As for Clark and Lana, he meets her back in Smallville at the Talon (a place she still has a stake in). She's not sure when she's leaving, and Clark makes a convincing argument that she should take her time. As Chloe mentions earlier, Lois should not be in Clark's future if he's still pining for Lana. Looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

So, viewers, how did "Bulletproof" work for you? Was Clark's cover full of holes? Is John Jones overdue to get his fantastic Martian abilities back? Does the Clark-Lana-Lois triangle stand a chance? What was up with the "next episode" teaser not being specific to, oh, the next episode? Are YOU following the suggestions made by the cast in the "Free to be Green" promotion the CW network offered?

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