Welcome to a melancholy Rerun Review everybody. I say melancholy because of the passing of Lee Thompson Young AKA Cyborg, and so we have taken it upon ourselves to review one of our favorite heroes’ first live action appearances in honor of his memory, Yes many know him as Jett Jackson, but Lee will be Cyborg to the Smallville faithful, and his performance made the metal man all the more amazing as he truly got what made Victor Stone tick. Not only did the aptly titled “Cyborg” feature a great first appearance of Victor, who would reappear in later episodes as one of the founding members of the Justice League, but we also got a quality episode out of the entire affair. So lets dive in and enjoy a full speed run into “Cyborg”.
In terms of the basic plot of the episode “Cyborg” plays out much in the same structure as “Aqua” and “Run” in that that it has a few trademark parts to its structure. First Clark does not trust said hero due to a misunderstanding, Lex is somehow involved in some evil plot, and finally the two heroes team up to save the day and foil Lex. All of the trademark elements are present in this episode and luckily they work better here than they did in “Aqua” as Victor is a victim rather than the douche AC was portrayed as in his initial appearance (luckily AC gets a major upgrade as time goes on, but still a douche is a douche).
So after Lana crashes her car into Victor and Clark saves Vic from going back to being Lex’s guinea pig, we find out Victor was in a car-crash and was “saved” by Lex who turned him into our lovable tin man. All Victor wants is to be free and be with the girl he loves, which both Clark and Lana can sympathize with so they try to reunite the young lovers and help Victor out. When Victor gets injured trying to protect Lana to the point where might die, Clark, Chloe, and Lana set out to find the doctors who can help him. Of course, both Clark and Lana make a stupid mistake and alert Lex to Victor’s goal and location which leads to him being captured and put under the knife in order for Lex and his doctors to finish his “upgrade”. Yes, Lex want to put a compliance chip into Victor’s brain, which, if Lex had seen any movie involving this plot, he would know is a horrible idea, but this is Lex and bad ideas are kind of par for the course. Luckily Clark saves Victor before Lex’s doctors can put the chip in and everything has a happy ending as Victor and his girlfriend are reunited.
At the same time Martha is being blackmailed with a tape of Clark using his powers and luckily Lionel helps out by paying off the blackmailer. Of course the big surprise is not only does Lionel watch the tape but that he refers to Clark as Kal-el, big moment right there folks.
Like I said, this is a big episode as it introduces a core member of the league in Cyborg and manages to succeed in getting at what it means to be Cyborg mostly right. Take note that this is not the Teen Titans Cyborg. Yes he has that heartbreaking backstory about losing his parents and sister, but Victor does not gain his humor until “Justice.” Young gets the core of Cyborg and realizes this is a guy who has had almost everything he loves taken away from him and his last remaining glimmer of humanity may not understand what has happened to him. Young nails this fear as he is no longer the man he used to be and shows major growth over the course of the episode and really works that character arc. This is why when Victor and Bart find their new family in the League we are so happy; these are people who were looking for a home and found it in Ollie’s team but truly took their first steps in meeting Clark. AC does this to a lesser extent but his character was always the journeyman/loner of the group and was weirdly lacking that emotional core in his intro. Victor is the straight man of the team and Young got that in his performance, it just worked on so many levels.
Overall a very good that introduces a key member of the Smallville universe. I just wish this review came under better circumstances and Mr. Young, you will be missed.
Final Grade B+
+Young’s performance as Cyborg
+Lex being Lex
– Clark and Lana going to Lex
– Not a quippy hero… yet.
- The Famous Jett Jackson, damn that’s an obscure nostalgia bomb with Big Wolf on Campus.
- In terms of quality Cyborg episodes of Teen Titans; “Titans East Part 2”, “Only Human”, and “Cyborg the Barbarian” are my top 3.