DCAU #158: Target

IN THIS ONE... Various high-tech attempts on Lois' life are committed by persons unknown.

CREDITS: Written by Hilary Bader; directed by Curt Geda.

REVIEW: After Lois wins an award named after Excalibur, she finds out it's actually the sword of Damocles - quite literally! - and a threat to her life hangs over her for the rest of the episode. It's rather clever, and the way the episode presents various alternatives to the identity of the would-be assassin, confounding expectations, is too. Is it Julian Frey, the jealous rival reporter? Is it Detective Bowman, who creepily watches Lois sleep from the building across the street? (Hm, feels unresolved.) Is it good ol' Lex Luthor, who's tried it before? No, spoiler, it's the whistle blower who got burned talking to her for the award-winning article. Target does a good job of distracting you with nasty red herrings and crazy action so that you don't get the clues on the first pass, but they're there. This is no cheat. But yeah... people in Metropolis sure don't like Lois Lane!

The crazy death traps are a big highlight. The giant sword breaking on Superman's back at the gala. The remotely-controlled car, giving Clark Kent a chance to be heroic only to fall to a vertiginous death (well, you know), and using airbags in an interesting way. The rocket-powered elevator. The narrowing laser cage (though this keeps changing size from shot to shot, sadly). It's all pretty cool, and not a "name" villain in sight. The only lame attempt, by a simple shadowy figure, is all a dream... But speaking of that sequence, I wonder how much snickering there was in the production house when they juxtaposed Superman flying with Lois in his arms (in a more surrendering pose than usual) with her moaning in bed. Cough cough. I need a glass of water.

IN THE COMICS: None of the new characters featured in this episode were in, or went to, the comics, though two of them do reappear on the series.

SOUNDS LIKE: Detective Kurt Bowman is voiced by Eddie Barth from Simon & Simon. Jonathan Harris (Dr. Smith from Lost in Space) plays Julian Frey. And that's Robert Hays (Airplane, TV's Starman) as Edward Lytener.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A nice little Lois Lane story that shows some of the trouble she gets into really does need some super-help.


LiamKav said...

As I've gotten older I've tried to become more aware about sexual inequality, something that doesn't come easy to a white, middle-class dude. Sometimes I miss things, and sometimes I over-compensate. So, with that in mind, here is my attempt at a feminist reading on "Target":

My main complaint is that it would have been nice if, just once, Lois had managed to save herself. Sometimes she tried, but in the end it always came down to Superman. Even in the car sequence (where she otherwise puts in a good showing), it's Clark who starts things off by cutting open the roof without using his superpowers. The most annoying bit is the climax, where she's reduced to standing still and looking concerned whilst two boys fight over her. Sure, she figures out who is responsible, but running in there and confronting them doesn't make her brave, it makes her stupid.

In addition, it turns out that the person who wants to kill her isn't doing so out of professional jealousy, or because she's wronged him in the course of some investigation. No, it's because he fancies the pretty lady and wants her to notice him. Death by Nice Guy.

Oh, and what the hell was "daddy was a black belt"? Being talented at martial arts isn't genetically transmitted, Lois. You could have just learned self-defence because you do a dangerous job, rather than due to another male role-model.


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