'Smallville' Review: Eric Martsolf Shines as Booster Gold
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
There have been plenty of memorable guest stars over the 10 seasons of Smallville. But few have been as instantly entertaining as this week's new hero, Booster Gold, played by Days of Our Lives star Eric Martsolf.
Booster is a cocky, smug, self-promoting hero from the future who loves
being in the spotlight more than saving people and whose 1,000-watt
smile charms all the ladies (well, almost all). Martsolf (who previously
worked with Justin Hartley on Passions), perfectly captures the
character's smug exterior while simultaneously infusing him with heart
and some very valuable lessons for Clark Kent.
I spoke to Martsolf about his role, and it was clear that he did his homework. While Booster Gold might not be the most famous comic book character, Martsolf researched his rich and painful backstory, using elements that aren't even in the actual episode to help paint his picture of Booster Gold.
In the future, Booster is a disgraced football star who was caught betting on his own games and fixing the outcomes. While these issues are addressed in the episode, the fact that his father was also a degenerate gambler who lost his family's money before abandoning them is not, but it's clearly at play in Martsolf's performance.
On Smallville, Booster is a flashy superhero eager to become the face of Metropolis, something Clark still struggles with as he's working on distinguishing his private and public lives. Booster has no such problem showing his face in public to earn the people's respect, and while he might seem a bit cocky and self-centered, the backstory helps to explain his actions.
It should also come as no surprise that Martsolf worked closely with Tom Welling, who not only stars in the show but also directed this episode. "Booster" is a pivotal episode in helping Clark transition from the Blur to Superman, so having the actor who's spent 10 years playing Clark Kent take charge of it ensures that it's handled well.
However, while Lois Lane spends the episode trying to get Clark to become a bigger spazz to make sure no one recognizes him when he shows his face as the Blur, the episode is really about Booster and the origins of one of that hero's closest allies, the Blue Beetle. Their story is one of the strongest stand-alone stories Smallville has ever done and makes me wish I could see a lot more of those characters and where they go after the episode ends.
"Booster" is a great gateway to the final four episodes of the series, providing a great new hero story as well as some very important milestones for Clark, including a quick change in a telephone booth and some helpful branding suggestions from Booster.
Smallville airs Friday at 8pm on the CW.
(Image and video courtesy of the CW)