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Target

Episode #19 - Target
Original Airdate - September 19th, 1997.

A one time mentor to Lois Lane, Edward Lytener is back on the scene. He wants the gratitude Lois never showed him, and he wants her undivided attention. So when life-threatening events begin occurring seemingly aimed at Lois, Superman is there to save the day.

Media by Stu
Pans by Bird Boy
Review by Barry Allen
Credits:
Written by Hilary J. Bader
Directed by Curt Geda
Music by Lolita Ritmanis
Animation by Koko Enterprise Co., LTD., Dong Yang Animation Co., LTD.

Voices:
Tim Daly as Superman/Clark Kent
Dana Delany as Lois Lane
Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor
Robert Hays as Edward Lytener
Jonathan Harris as Julian Frey
Robert Ito as Awards Presenter
Eddie Barth as Detective Bowman
Screen Grabs






Pans

Plot: ***˝
Animation: *****
Overall, (not an average): *** ˝

There were some episodes of Superman: The Animated Series that weren't really that good, and they weren't really bad. They were just there. They were fun to watch and had some great moments in them, but when it comes time to sit down and talk about favorite episodes, episodes like "Target" never even enter people's minds. Still, when you go further down the line and find episodes like "Superman's Pal" and—*shudders*—"Unity" an episode like "Target" looks even better than the Fleischer cartoons.

WHAT WORKED: As this series progressed, it was so unusual that we got to see such prolonged looks at Lois and Clark—sometimes, we saw nothing of Clark at all. That we got to see so much of the Lois and Clark dynamic (albeit not nearly as much as we were privilege to in season one,) was, in and of itself, a huge treat and lends favor to this episode that I would not have given otherwise.

What I like most about S:TAS's interpretation of Clark Kent (comics have had this take for awhile now, but I feel it's most apparent in S:TAS,) is that he has to conscientiously make himself look like a putz. In the Christopher Reeve movies, I get the impression that he's really that much of a wuss as Clark Kent and his confidence is derived ENTIRELY from wearing that suit and having people call him Superman. So I thought it was amusing when Clark was at the table, searching for a way to get himself away from the table. There was something about the way he looked so carefully at the cup of coffee that I found so pleasing. This is the guy who is just so cool that he has a hard time looking like a wimp. :-) I just loved that sequence.

During the car scene, as Lois and Clark are retuning home from the awards ceremony, I noticed something about the animated vision of Metropolis. The roads that go through the city don't seem to have support beams. It's just a road going through the city, suspended in mid-air. It's a striking visual, actually, and says volumes about the technological utopia Metropolis is in this universe. When Clark falls out of the car and over the edge of the road, you see just how high these roads are suspended. It's remarkable. That whole part of the episode felt especially Fleischer-esque to me somehow. The dark and moody colors, the musical score playing so much into the heightened tension of the episode, lending so nicely to the dark atmosphere... it all felt so right and so nicely put together. It was also nice to hear Lois ask about Clark when Superman caught her car. It showed us that she does care about him, and am I imagining things, or was Superman caught off-guard and almost nervous to be talking about his alter ego? Seemed like he rushed off of that topic. Would anyone argue that point? I'm sure a case could be made either way.

If you could call the overall episode anything better than "mediocre, with some great moments," then you could call it a powerful tool. This episode introduced us to two characters that will become important in later episodes (the later episodes, incidentally, were both extremely entertaining,) namely, Detective Kurt Bowman and Edward Lytener.

Edward Lytener was an interesting creation, especially during his time as Luminous (anyone else think that Luminous should've had more than one episode if Live Wire got more than one?) I will discuss Lytener more in depth in the review of "Solar Power," but I will say this about him: I thought that his apparent connection to Apokolips was something to be considered. You will all sneer at me and demand proof or evidence of such an outlandish claim, which is fair. But didn't any of you notice the markings on that suit he put on to fight Superman in this episode and his Luminous suit as well? I felt that it was DISTINCTLY Apokoliptic, and Kirby-esque at LEAST. I'm sure it could be argued that Lex may have some kind of ties to Intergang, perhaps as an alternate weapons supplier, and they gave him privvy to Apokoliptic technology which Lytener was studying during his time at LexCorp. Has anyone ever considered this notion, or am I completely alone?

All in all, a very enjoyable episode, but one with little re-watch value.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK: Detective Bowman, in this episode, was little more than a very forced red herring. While Bader wrote the episode with the intentions of making Bowman appear guilty I knew that he wasn't. His appearances were just TOO contrieved. When he wasn't making direct statements to Lois about people wanting her dead, he was staring menacingly at her in her apartment... and just what was the point of him spying on her? Is it possible he was in on Lytener's scheme or was it just that he was being "set up" by the storyteller to look like the assassin? I wish the episode had been clearer on this, or at least kept me guessing on the matter a little longer.

Some of the dialogue here was just too corny for this show. For one whole minute, Lois is being rocketed up in an elevator with dynamite, preparing to die. She has curled up in the corner and expects to die. And then, with only a few seconds left on the bomb, Superman rips open the door and says, (those of you who have not seen the episode, I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP,) "I believe this is your floor."

Read it again if you have to: "I believe this is your floor."

Lois was just rocketed up the length of the building's elevator shaft, her life flying away before her eyes as she mentally prepares herself to be blown to smithereens, and as an elevator is flying through the Metropolis sky, Superman STOPS TO ASK HER if this was her floor. And if you liked that, Lois replies, as they rush away from the exploding elevator, "This hasn't been my day."

Yeah, I could see how someone who thought she was just going to be spread around Metropolis in pieces might say that it wasn't her day. There was just a very poor attempt at humor, in places were it just wasn't needed.

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