Tom Welling returns to the directing chair for this fast paced episode that brings back Arthur Curry, Aquaman, and introduces his wife, Mera, portrayed by Elena Satine. This is the episode in which Michael Hogan from Battlestar Galactica made his debut as General Slade Wilson, the man who will one day be Deathstroke.
Wilson is taking charge to enforce the Vigilante Registration Act, where all masked heroes must register with the government. He is absolute in his views that the vigilate’s are a threat and those that do not enlist are enemies of the state. Oliver Queen decides to register as a way to find out what is the true purpose. On the other hand Arthur Curry, now married to a girl with his same abilities named Mera, goes around destroying what many think are oil platforms, but are in fact detention centers to hold the heroes that have registered. When Oliver and Arthur are captured Clark tries to find them with Mera, Tess and Lois who is now fully involved in what Clark does and is surprised to see that Tess is in the crew. Although not happy with being left out in the beginning, Clark realizes that Lois is his driving force, his equal who keeps him going.
I enjoyed this episode immensely. Alan Ritchson returns as Arthur Curry and here he is allowed to show the famous temper Aquaman is known for. He challenges Clark, he dismisses some of Clark’s advice because Arthur is aware now that he has more responsibility and doesn’t like being on the sidelines. It’s something I hope is touched upon in future episodes. I also liked Michael Hogan’s portrayal of Slade Wilson. It’s safe to say this is before Wilson undergoes some experiments to enhance his skills, he also still has both eyes in tact. He was determined, viewed anyone as an enemy and was ready to die for his crusade against the heroes. In fact he did, somewhat, the last shot was him alive with a steel eye patch over his right eye.
There are two scenes that are payoffs. There is one where Wilson traps Clark in a Kryptonite cage, when Clark X-rays him he finds the Omega symbol on his skull, as if branded there. This is a major tip of the hat to Darkseid, this was he symbol during his reign in Final Crisis. Another was when Clark and crew, with Lois, are in Watchtower and he tells them that everything happening can be connected to the darkness he encountered. What they are facing can be evil personified, that if not stopped, can consume the entire planet.
Whenever Tom Welling directs an episode he brings a cinematic touch to the show. He adds some pace to it that other episodes might not have and allows you to feel the intensity of the situation he faces as Clark. His approach is distinguishable from other directors but it feels natural and right when viewed as a whole. A very good episode indeed.