The Best and Worst of Smallville: Season 10

Let’s be honest here, the credit sequence alone doesn’t shy away even slightly from what you can expect from Smallville. The central narrative will always be structured around the Damsel in Distress (see Feminist Frequency‘s Damsel in Distress series) with Clark Kent as the person to save others. In other words, don’t expect much from this in terms of race, gender, or sexual orientation.

It shouldn’t be surprising that I would watch Smallville given I also have enjoyed the DC animated universe, the initial Batman film seriesthe X-Men film seriesBuffy the Vampire Slayer Seasons 8 and 9, and Superman Returns.

As I said above, sexism is essetially built into the show that “men are the protectors of women” likely to have “knight in shining armor moments.” In many instances throughout the series, particularly Lana Lang during Season 6, we see that she was “wronged by a man” and improved herself in order to “take [Lex] down” for “vengeance.” This means that in general, female characters in the show often have very little agency, so it is no surprise that the show would fail the Bechdel Test.

The show was not particularly good on race either, as according to The Smallville Chronicles: Critical Essays on the Television Series edited by Lincoln Geraghty, page 62, #9:

What can we say about Pete? Like the character Kendra in Buffy, he is apparently the only black person living in Smallville, and none of his storylines involve race elements at all. It appears that rural Kansas is the place to live in order to experience racial harmony, since Peter never appears to encounter racism in any form. Pete’s chronic lack of narrative attention on the show (does anyone even notice when he leaves?) suggests that neither the audiences nor the writers were interested in a character who was actually honest, forthright, and dependable, unless that character was Clark.

For example, Victor Stone (Cyborg), played by Lee Thompson Young, only appears substantially in his introductory episode, Cyborg:

In Justice, he has a more minimal role due to being alongside four other characters: Clark Kent, Oliver Queen (Green Arrow), Arthur Curry (Aquaman), and Barry Allen (Impulse).

Not the similarities in context to Merlin between Aquaman and Cyborg.

His final two appearances (Salvation, and Icarus) are simply cameos (above).

Another character also of color was the Zoner, Bearn (directly above), during Fallout, who lasted only an episode.

Season 10 saw much of the build up throughout the shows extensive run finally come to a head, with a darkness theme bearing similarities to Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 7, so many familiar characters returned throughout the season.

Notably, Tom Welling, who plays Clark Kent was appointed Executive Producer for the show this season.

Also, during this season, beat Stargate SG-1‘s Guiness World Record in the category of the Longest Consecutive Running Sci-Fi TV Show, as stated by the GateWorld article, “Smallville will break Stargate SG-1‘s world record“:

Over the course of its ten-year run, Stargate SG-1 had plenty of achievements of which to be proud. Throughout the decade it was on the air (1997-2007), the show racked up seven Emmy nominations, two Hugo nominations, and between the awards received from the Leos, Saturns and Geminis it took home almost 20 trophies.

Its crowning achievement in the award category, however, may be the Guinness World Record it holds. In 2007, SG-1 overtook The X-Files under the category of Longest Consecutive Running Sci-Fi TV Show. (Of course, with the nearly 50-year-old Doctor Who in the mix, that title should be qualified with “continuously produced” or “in North America.”)

Unfortunately for SG-1, records are made to be broken. In just over one year, The CW network series Smallville will do just that. The young Superman series has been handed the greenlight for production of a tenth season.

In a confirmation report by Michael Ausiello on Entertainment Weekly‘s Web site, the long-running series was heavily favored to return for another year.  While ratings for Smallville have dropped considerably (due to a shift in airing nights from Thursday to Friday — often considered a dead zone for TV ratings in general), they still have improved demographically upon what The CW was airing in that time slot the year previous by anywhere from 67 to 200 percent.

Another key to the series return:  the performance of the recentSmallville TV movie event “Absolute Justice.” The double-length episode, which guest-starred SG-1 alums Michael Shanks (“Daniel Jackson”), Brent Stait (“Ferretti”), and Brittney Irvin (“Merrin”), scored close to three million viewers, giving The CW its best Friday night ratings in almost 18 months, and proved to the network that the series still had drawing power and could be “event television.”

Here at GateWorld, we posed this scenario almost a year ago. Television is an ever-changing landscape where nothing is guaranteed.  Did Smallville (another Vancouver-produced series) have enough life in it for a tenth season? Would the series be able to survive a move to Friday nights? Would lead actor Tom Welling be willing to return?

The answers to all those questions are a resounding “Yes.”

How does tying SG-1 in the number of years in production unseat it from the world record? Stargate SG-1 produced 214 hours in its run. By the end of next season (assuming a full, 22-episode season), Smallvillewill have produced 218 episodes — four more than SG-1 and enough to overthrow SG-1 as the new Guinness World Record holder.

SG-1 produced 22 episodes per year for its first seven seasons, after which Syfy Channel reduced its annual order to 20 for the final three years. Smallville suffered one 20-episode season due to the writer’s guild strike, but otherwise has continued with 22 per year.

This season, additionally, saw the most number of DC characters to debut on the series in a season, with a total of 24: Rick Flag, Connor Kent/Superboy, Darkseid, Cat Grant, Floyd Lawton/Deadshot, Shayera Hall/Hawkgirl, Gordon Godfrey, Brainiac 5, Emil LaSalle, Desaad, Mad Harriet, Lashina, Ella Lane, Mera, Slade Wilson, Clark Luthor/Ultraman, Amos Fortune, Michael Jon Carter/Booster Gold, Jaime Reyes/Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, Ron Troupe, Skeets, Black Manta, Captain Cold, and Solomon Grundy.

The Best:

Shield, Supergirl, Homecoming, Abandoned, Patriot, Luthor, Icarus,Collateral, Beacon, Scion, Kent, Dominion, and Prophecy

LoLift

Briefly:

  • Shield sees the introduction of Cat Grant, Clark’s new partner at The Daily Planet, who hates superheroes, meanwhile Lois in Egypt with Cater Hall;
  • Supergirl sees the return of Kara Kent,
  • Homecoming is the 200th episode of the series, which includes the return of Brainiac (a favorite foe of mine) as Brainiac 5. He gets to see Oliver in the present after revealing his identity as Green Arrow, Lois in the present at the Homecoming, and  gets to meet his future self;
  • Abandoned hits a lot of soft spots with Lois’ message from her mother, Clark’s message from Jor-El and Lara, and the reveal of Tess Mercer actually being a Luthor;
  • In Patriot, Oliver registers under the Vigilante Registration Act, a program by the government used to arrest and imprison superheroes, so Clark teams up with Arthur Curry and his wife Mera to free the superheroes that the government has built run by Colonel Slade Wilson;
  • Luthor sees Clark Kent switching places with Clark Luthor of Earth-2 (Ultraman), but more importantly, Lionel Luthor of Earth-2 crosses over;
  • Icarus sees the return of Colonel Slade Wilson after Clark proposes to Lois, and she accepts. Clark orders all superheroes to stay understand until Slade can be stopped;
  • Immediately following Icarus, Collateral sees the return of Chloe with Clark and his friends awaking without any powers, and apparently imprisoned in a virtual reality. Chloe helps them one-by-one back into reality with help from the Suicide Squad;
  • Beacon sees Earth-2 Lionel return by taking over all of LuthorCorp undert eh guise that our Lionel Luthor faked his death. Lionel tracks down one of Lex’s clones at the Luthor mansion, as he is being followed by Martha Kent, which the clone subdues and lights the mansion on fire;
  • In Scion, it is revealed that the Lex clone, Alexander, was created from both Lex and Clark’s DNA, so Clark takes him, now going by the Connor Kent, under his wing, but when Clark lies to him about his origins, he flees and runs into Earth-2 Lionel;
  • Kent sees Clark Luthor returns, while sending Clark Kent back to Earth-2, where he meets his Earth-2 father;
  • Dominion saw the return of both the cloned Major Zod from the previous season, and General Zod from Vessel and Zod;
  • Prophecy has Lois getting Clark’s powers via Jor’El, which the Toyman exploits to try to kill Clark, while Ollie encounters Kara on a mission, who herself eventually decides to travel to the future.

According to the IGN review of Shield:

With Lois in Africa, Clark is teamed with a new partner at the Daily Planet – Cat Grant (Keri Lynn Pratt). Her anti-costumed heroes attitude is growing in Metropolis, and while her viewpoint may frustrate the future Man of Steel, she imparts some important words of wisdom that cause Clark to reexamine how those around him perceive the dark persona he has taken on. Meanwhile, Deadshot makes his first appearance on Smallville and has a bullet with Clark Kent’s name on it.

The primary storyline acts as an introduction for Deadshot, whose goal here is to test Clark Kent and eventually mark him for some unknown purpose that involves the Suicide Squad. It’s great that they’re finally going forward with the Suicide Squad story arc, but they have very little to do this week. Deadshot’s a great villain but I’m not sure if I’m a fan of Bradley Stryker’s depiction of Floyd Lawton just yet. He’s played a little too “wild west” for my tastes, but on the other hand, his little speech about those left behind — and how they move on to love someone else after you’re dead — was much more in line with the classic character. The costume choice may not be the present design we’re all familiar with, but at least it’s better than the top hat he wore when he first appeared as a Batman villain.

Despite Cat Grant being a tad on the annoying side, she does represent an important voice on Smallville this season. With the ranks of costumed superheroes growing, the fear amongst the masses is far greater than it has ever been. We’ve witnessed the growing concern in the community over the past couple of seasons, but fear mongering by the press has exacerbated the problem. The ideology shared by Cat may represent a potential threat but she does raise an important point about costumed heroes who lurk in the shadows. It’s a little surprising to hear such an important lesson come from someone not close to Clark, but maybe it needed to come from one of the countless masses that he saves on a daily basis. People fear what they don’t understand and Clark needs to rise from the shadows.

On the flipside, Clark has an equally important conversation with Ollie about how they need to protect those they love by keeping their identities hidden. With Chloe offering herself up in a trade to save Ollie and Lois running off to Africa, both Clark and Ollie are left to examine how their dual lives affect those they love.

When you throw away the middling Deadshot storyline, there are two important lessons here for Clark to reconcile. He understands that costumed heroes need to stop hiding in the shadows and become symbols of hope instead of masked vigilantes who lurk in the night. Yet, Ollie’s frustrations with what happened with Chloe also ring true. We’re seeing Clark’s true dual-identity take shape as he wrestles with both his need to be a symbol and his concern for those closest to him. Now would be a good time to break out those glasses.

Meanwhile, Lois has an encounter with Carter Hall (Michael Shanks) while she’s in Africa. Carter quickly catches on that Lois knows Clark’s secret and the ensuing conversation delves into the complexities of being involved with a superhero and knowing their secret. Their conversation is worth it just for Carter’s detailed description of his relationship with Shayera. Not to mention her surprise appearance as an apparition that Carter tries to make out with.

What Lois takes from their conversation remains to be seen but Carter’s use of Nietzsche in this episode is appropriate. Both Lois and Clark are caught up in the “what if’s” of their tumultuous relationship instead of focusing on the present and making the best of what they have. Also, a little “Ubermensch” reference is a good way to drop the Superman name into Lois’ head.

For the second week in a row we get a little tease of what’s to come for Clark Kent. Taking Cat’s words of wisdom to heart, he’s dropped the black trench coat in favor of a return to the good old red and blue. However, this ensemble is more of a costume than what he wore as the Red-Blue Blur. I’m glad to see him back in those colors, but hopefully this won’t mean a return to that awful name. I don’t think we’re quite at the point of calling him Superman just yet but this ensemble is far more familiar than his previous attire.

Dropping the plane ticket indicates that Clark’s focus is on flying himself to Lois instead of taking a plane. This hopefully indicates that Clark will be learning how to fly sooner rather than later so he can be reunited with Lois. With Kara showing up next week, she’ll hopefully give him a few pointers.

According to the IGN review of Supergirl:

Darkseid finally makes his presence felt but it’s not quite what we expected or hoped for. The issue with this Darkness storyline is that it relies heavily on the conceit that Clark has a dangerous dark side that he must control before he can be the hero he is destined to be. The truth is, Clark is ready. Clark knows it, Lois knows it and I’d dare say that most of the audience knows it as well. The story so far has relied on Jor-El’s doubts in Clark after he almost killed the Lex clone in the season premiere. Well, Clark didn’t actually kill the Lex clone in the end. He held back and knew his limits. Now in “Supergirl”, Kara shows up and tells Clark that Jor-El has disowned him and entrusted Kara as Earth’s savior to fight the so-called Darkness. The same Kara who ran off in search of her mother while Clark stayed behind and continued to save lives day in and day out.

Make no mistake; I understand why Darkseid or the “Darkness” wants to take advantage of Clark. The problem lies in the idea that Clark has this horrible darkness within himself. This, in the same episode in which we are told that Lois Lane is pure of heart. Lois may be a great person but she is no more pure of heart than Clark is. If the Darkness can’t possess her I find it hard to believe that it can possess Clark.

Speaking of Darkseid, I’m not sold on having him turn into a murder of crows or his ability to possess people directly. Like I mentioned in my review of “Lazarus”, Darkseid works a lot better behind the scenes instead of having him involved directly. That way budget isn’t an issue and you don’t alter the nature of the character. Gordon Godfrey would have been a perfect messenger for Darkseid without having to have been possessed by him, just like he was in the Legends storyline from DC in the mid 80’s. Gordon “Glorious” Godfrey was sent to Earth in order to turn the population against their heroes. Similar to what we get in “Supergirl” without the possession storyline. At least the showrunners are pulling from a good storyline. This still has the potential to turn into a great story arc.

With Clark’s ability to fly on everyone’s mind, Kara’s return to Smallville is a reminder that the future Man of Steel needs to step up his game. Clark has to be a little embarrassed at this point that every kryptonian he’s ever encountered has had no issues with flight. This silly little mental block that is holding Clark back is a nagging issue that I was hoping would be cleared up this week. Well, he sort of flew. There was definite elevation due to more than just a simple leap. I guess he has to work on his hovering.

The Fetish club was something different for Smallville to explore. A little darker and more mature than what you expect from the show, but if they are going to be taking these characters down a dark path, it certainly seems appropriate. The name, Club Desaad is an appropriate nod to one of Darkseid’s minions so I expect that we might see this place again. Lois’ fetish gear reminded me a lot of Felicia Hardy’s Black Cat apparel from Spider-Man; especially that hair.

“Supergirl” concludes with Oliver Queen revealing to the world that he is Green Arrow. I’m not entirely sold on Oliver’s reasoning to reveal his identity but this will take his storyline down an interesting path while also providing an important example for Clark who is struggling with similar issues himself.

Surprisingly, Lois has been the most levelheaded character so far this season. That may have to do with being kept in the dark regarding Chloe’s disappearance or that she now knows Clark’s secret, but either way, she’s been the resounding voice of reason. Her appeal to Oliver that he needs to keep his secret identity under wraps is sound reasoning. There’s nothing to be gained from revealing his identity to the world and frankly, I find his motives a little suspect. His decision is apparently based on his need to fight his own battles. Well, by revealing to the world who he really is, everyone around him is now forced into the same light that Green Arrow is cast in; for better or for worse. The hope may be to put a human face on a shadowy figure but there is nothing to be gained from his decision.

Lois has turned into the voice of the audience. Her idealist point of view is essentially the DC Universe that we all want to see on the small screen. A world of heroes who aren’t afraid to come out and fight but also protect those they care about by maintaining a secret identity.

According to the IGN review of Homecoming:

To put it simply, “Homecoming” is a fantastic representation of why Smallville continues to have such a loyal fan base. It can be far from perfect at times. The acting can leave a lot to be desired, the special effects need a lot of work, and that season with Lana Lang as a witch still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But when it comes to handling Clark Kent’s issues with his own destiny, Smallville gets it right more often than not. “Homecoming” represents a pivotal moment in Clark Kent’s transition into Superman. It’s a simple story that we’ve seen a thousand times before, but it’s effective.

Brainiac 5 (James Marsters) returns from 1000 years in the future to show Clark his past, present and future. Sound familiars — I’m surprised this isn’t a Christmas episode — but frankly, I don’t care. Brainiac 5’s wisdom is the perfect medicine after last week’s episode that focused on Clark Kent’s weaknesses as a hero. I was troubled by everyone’s perception of Clark Kent’s hidden darkness as some sort of danger. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one. Clark himself doesn’t quite get all the distrust people have in his ability to be a hero yet we see him letting their doubts get to him. Lois’ faith in Clark is also reassuring. “Homecoming” tosses out the negative and focuses on Clark Kent’s best moments.

We’ve seen a lot of doubt instilled in the future Man of Steel over the first three episodes of this season. Even after creating a new costume, Clark Kent doubted his own abilities as a hero. To put it simply, Clark Kent’s doubts are similar to doubts we all go through at times. Taking that next big leap in either our careers, academic life or romance can seem daunting. Coupled with all the voices of doubt from those around us and soon enough it can appear as if the world is turning against us.

Clark started to let that doubt creep in. It’s frightening when your dreams fall a part around you. Thankfully, he has Brainiac 5 to show him his true path. It’s a very simple story. Show a man what brought him to his point, the sum of everything he has achieved and then give him a glimpse of tomorrow that will change his life forever. It’s hard not to appreciate the ease with which this tale is told and a high school reunion is the perfect venue for reflection, no matter how much we’d like to avoid them.

Revisiting Clark’s past was important to establish that he wasn’t to blame for the death of his father. It’s arguably the most pivotal moment in Clark’s development up till this point and I’m glad he got to see that it wasn’t him to blame. Clark’s present gave us a glimpse of Oliver Queen struggling with his decision to reveal his secret to the world. Clark has seemingly abandoned him to fend for himself. Thankfully, Clark rectifies this issue in one of the final scenes.

The future might be one of my favorite moments of the series. Of course, any glimpse of Superman saving the day is going to be a big deal on Smallville. Having Clark encounter his future self was a brilliant moment. Welling did a great job with the dialogue between these two versions of Clark. The future Kent spoke with much more authority while the farm boy is still unsettled by what is happening. In the end though, the Clark Kent of 2010 benefited much from what he saw and experienced. His moments with Lois revealed the world he always dreamed of.

Future Lois was fantastic. Her little quips about different types of kryptonite were great to hear. Seeing her and Clark in the future made me want at least one more season. I know, that’s wrong, but I’d still love to see a few episodes this season of Clark as Superman and Lois as the Lois we know from the comics. This glimpse will have to suffice for now.

It’s funny that there was no villain (with the exception of that crazy woman in the opening) this week beside Clark’s doubt, which appeared to be subdued by the end of this episode. Speaking of which, the Lois and Clark dance was just perfect. In my opinion, this is the first time Clark has truly flown on the series. Well, it might have only been a few feet of the ground, but it was enough. For Clark’s first flight/hover, this was the perfect moment. Subtle and brilliant!

There are plenty of little nods to the past through out. A villain from the past, a quick flashback to Lana and Chloe’s first appearance, plus the Torch being passed on to a new duo. It’s good to see that Chloe is keeping in touch with the Torch’s new reporters. Despite her not making an appearance, I’m glad that Chloe’s presence was felt in some way.

So, where does the story go from here? Clark has seen a vision of the future that can’t be disputed. He’s seen his future with Lois and that he will become the hero he wants to become if he takes control of his own destiny. Is that darkness still present and can Darkseid still take control of it? I got the sense that Clark was unstoppable at the end of “Homecoming” so I’m interested to see how they drag him back down to Earth by the end of next episode. There’s a lot of season to go and he still has a lot to do before he will become Superman.

According to the IGN review of Abandoned:

The theme of “Abandoned” was closure. More specifically, coming to terms with the emotional baggage of being abandoned by a parent. Ella Lane’s heart wrenching final message to her daughter Lois was the highlight of the episode. I haven’t actually seen Teri Hatcher in anything beyond Desperate Housewives commercials over the past ten years so it was a big surprise to see her put in such a powerful performance. She does a great job conveying Ella’s heartbreak at having to say goodbye to her daughters and it’s hard not to feel the emotional connection between her and Lois.

Earlier this season, Jor-El expressed his disapproval with Clark Kent, which created a rift in their relationship. Honestly, Clark has every right to cut out that robotic intelligence known as Jor-El out of his life. It’s been sending him mixed signals since day one and, unfortunately, Clark has identified its ideals with his natural father’s. So having it reveal a message from the real Jor-El (Julian Sands) and Lara-El (Helen Slater) was a little surprising. It was certainly an emotional moment for Clark and depicted a pivotal moment in the Superman mythos, but I think they need to start grounding Fortress of Solitude Jor-El’s motives in some sort of reality. Having him simply not be on speaking terms with Clark yet showing him this message is sending a bit of a mixed signal.

Jor-El did try to explain that the artificial version of him wouldn’t have any of his emotions or weaknesses, which is obviously an attempt to explain its erratic behavior. Still, I don’t quite think Clark got what he needed out of this encounter. He needs artificial Jor-El to accept him for who he is and allow him to be the man he’s meant to be. I was expecting artificial Jor-El to say something after playing the message, but he remained silent, which suggests he still disapproves of Clark and really doesn’t move the story along at all. I guess it’s saying something that AI Jor-El let him watch the message in the first place.

What a twist! Revealing Tess Mercer to be the daughter of Lionel Luthor was a pretty big surprise and an exciting development for the character. Love that the long form for the name Tess is Lutessa in keeping with the “L” naming scheme that the Luthor family seems to be obsessed with. I’m not sure where they plan to take this story but there have been some interesting developments for Tess this season and I’m thrilled to see that they’ve given the character some genuine purpose.

Granny Goodness was a pretty good representation of her comic book counterpart. I was surprised to see her in some sort of leather costume at the end of the episode. Glad to see that they are making her look like anything but a frail old lady. She’s someone who can certainly take care of herself.

As for the Female Furies, it was fun to see Mad Harriet (played by Justin Hartley’s wife, Lindsey Hartley) running around with Freddy Krueger claws on but once the kryptonite is gone, they really aren’t much of a match for Clark. Still, it’s good to see Smallville going all out with the mythos behind some of these characters.

Granny Goodness meeting up with Desaad (Steve Byers) and Gordon “Glorious” Godfrey (Michael Dangerfield) at the end of the episode alleviated a lot of my fears regarding the Darkseid storyline. It’s good to see Godfrey elevated to their level now. I’m assuming that means he’s a New God, although they seem hesitant to use that term just yet. As hinted at earlier, their plan does seem to be similar to the Post-CrisisLegends storyline in which Darkseid attempted to turn the citizens of Earth against their heroes.

It was also gratifying to hear Darkseid referred to as Lord and mentioned by name. I was getting a little worried that Darkseid would end up being the physical embodiment of Clark’s “dark side,” but this last conversation confirms that he’s a separate entity planning events from the shadows. Less Darkseid turning into crows would be appreciated.

According to the IGN review of Patriot:

For any comic book fan, we’ve seen the [INSERT NAME] Registration Act played out a few times before. Whether it’s mutants or superheroes, the government wants them registered and under their control. Smallville has brought nothing new to the concept besides using it as a vehicle that emphasizes the division amongst Clark’s team. However, that’s something we’ve seen time and time again, the VRA’s introduction really doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It would be exciting if Smallville had taken a slightly different take on the whole concept of ‘Registration Act'” but it’s already growing a bit tired here.

Thankfully, the final act reveal gives way to a more sinister source for Slade Wilson’s wicked ways, as Darkseid and his minions continue to cast a cloud of darkness on planet Earth in an attempt to brainwash it’s citizens and turn them against their heroes and eventually each other. That’s where the real story of this episode lies and hopefully that does mean we will eventually move beyond this silly registration act, as it really is only a distraction from the main story arc of the season.

I had mixed feelings about Arthur Curry’s return. Sure, I’m a fan of Aquaman but I find Alan Ritchson to be too wooden in the role. Also, the animosity between Curry and the rest of the team seems forced most of the time. They’re all working towards the same goal. I know that Aquaman and the rest of the Justice League have had their differences in the comics but that’s built on the back of storyline and DC history. Here, there just seems to be animosity for the sake of animosity. And we all knew in the last act that Arthur, Clark and Ollie would be best friends once again. I’d rather they just drop the act.

Mera’s introduction brought with it some interesting lore from the DC Universe. Hearing her spout on about “Orin, Future King of the Seven Seas” was fun and I’m glad they’re reminding the audience that Aquaman is more than just an Eco-terrorist with a hot wife. He’s royalty!

Elena Satine was just about as wooden as her on screen love interest, making Aquaman and his future Queen a perfect couple of monotony. Hey, they’re both hot though, so who cares, right? I’ll always prefer my heroes and heroines with a little more charisma.

The communication issues between Lois and Clark were a little surprising when you consider how forward he’s been with her in the previous few episodes since he told her his secret. They may have had their problems with General Lane but in “Harvest” I distinctly got the impression he was being upfront with her when it came to just about everything. I got the impression these issues were dragged to the surface simply to give the characters something to overcome for the duration of the episode. Not for a moment did I think Clark was purposefully keeping Lois out of the loop for any specific reason. Although, I must admit, they should have played up the fact that Tess new before her – I can imagine that really pissing Lois off and yet they didn’t focus on it.

The scene with Slade trapping Clark in a Kryptonite cell was a mixed bag. The “I AM MAN AND STEEL” line from Clark was absolute gold. It’s a great reference to one of his future monikers and Welling did a great job delivering the line. However, wouldn’t the kryptonite cell have weakened Clark enough to cause him injury during the explosion? Oh wait, I forgot that kryptonite is plot dependant.

Despite my harping on pretty much every aspect of “Patriot”, I actually didn’t dislike the complete story that much. It does a great job of setting up the threat behind the curtain, Darkseid, while also bringing Clark’s team closer together. If they drop the unoriginal ‘registration act’ storyline and just jump head first into Darkseid’s minions, I think the season will continue to maintain the level of quality we’ve seen so far. Saying that, there is obviously a little more VRA storyline down the pipe and I am looking forward to seeing the return of Michael Hogan as Deathstroke.

According to the IGN review of Luthor:

On the surface, Clark’s trip to Ultraman’s Earth initially attempts to depict a world very different than the one we’re use to. Yet, if you dig a little deeper, besides Clark being a Luthor, this world really isn’t that different. The conceit of “Earth-3” in the comics (though John Glover tells IGN that the Smallville crew are calling this reality “Earth-2”) is that everything is the very opposite of the regular DC Universe. Clark is evil, yet the Luthors are good, so on and so forth. Still, I can understand why the Smallville creative team didn’t go this route; if you’re going to bring back Lionel Luthor (John Glover), you need to bring him back as a villain.

However, the rest of this alternate universe was a little too safe, making Clark’s adventure into the alternate universe somewhat disappointing. The fun of doing an alternate universe story is depicting all the exciting differences that the new world has to offer. Besides Clark being evil and Lionel amongst the living, Ultraman’s world didn’t seem all that different. Even with Oliver and Lois being engaged, they still seemed just like the Oliver and Lois from Earth-1. When doing an alternate universe story, there’s a huge sandbox full of opportunity to play with. This just seemed like the regular Smallville universe with an ugly filter and an Evil Clark.

It could be that I’m spoiled by what Fringe has been doing this season but I appreciate all the subtle differences between the two worlds they depict on that show. Those differences are what make that alternate Earth so exciting. Maybe, I’m asking for too much but I can’t help but think this was an opportunity missed to have a little more fun. The blue kryptonite sword fight was a step in the right direction but the rest of the parallel universe story felt more like a means to an end; get Lionel to our Earth.

On the flip side, I really enjoyed the scenes with Ultraman on Earth-1, too bad there were far fewer of those. Ultraman had the opportunity to cause an incredible amount of damage on Earth-1 while he was there and his scenes with Tess were great, I just wish we would have seen a little more of his fight at Watchtower. It seemed like quite the ruckus; too bad we missed it.

Ultimately, this episode was about one man – Lionel Luthor. In that respect, “Luthor” delivered a suitable return for arguably one of the most underrated television villains of the last decade. There wasn’t anything different about the portrayal of his character and there didn’t need to be. Lionel Luthor is one of my favorite television villains and it’s good to have him back. What’s interesting is that the story didn’t entirely sell him as evil. He’s a powerful man who has certainly done some unscrupulous things to maintain his status, yet there was something more to this version of the character – fear and sadness.

In the scene with Lionel beating a weakened Clark, it was interesting to hear Lionel mention how he was afraid of Clark Luthor and it seemed like he had been living in fear for sometime. In the end, even he knew that Ultraman was going to double-cross him. Not only that, it was revealed that Ultraman killed Lex and I don’t think that sat too well with this Lionel either.

Cassidy Freeman continues to surprise as Tess Mercer. While she wasn’t the focal point of the story this week, we did get to see her cope with Clark’s reaction to finding out she’s a Luthor. They’ve made some fascinating strides with her character this season that have paid off. Having her in Watchtower is also a fun change from Chloe. I loved how she cancelled Lois’ credit cards after her calls went ignored.

Whether you enjoyed this episode or not, I think we can all live in agreement that the reveal in the last few seconds of “Luthor” was fantastic. Finding a way to sneak Lionel Luthor back into the Earth-1 Smallville universe is a brilliant surprise and he should be a great addition for the latter half of the season. Not sure how often we’ll see him, or what his plans are but I look forward to seeing how he will play into the current storylines. With John Glover returning, is Rosenbaum really that far behind? Count me as one of those who believe that Michael Rosenbaum’s return is a well-kept secret.

According to the IGN review of Icarus:

Almost lost in this jam-packed episode is the fantastic opener that features one of the series’ most pivotal moments. Clark Kent’s marriage proposal to Lois Lane was handled in the same fashion as much of their relationship throughout the season – without the melodramatic crap that Smallville was known for throughout its previous seasons. Clark had everything worked out in style with a beautiful showering of rose petals from the sky. The use of a phone booth was a nice touch and played into their “Blur” relationship well. Clark’s confident proposal almost seemed to be coming from a more authoritative Superman than the second-guessing schoolboy I remember from seasons ago. Lois’ answer was equally confident and appreciated. With the show’s history, it’s hard not to worry that they might have chosen to stretch out the answer for a few agonizing episodes.

The proposal was indicative of the bold new direction this show has taken over the past three seasons. And while it may have stumbled at times, it has continuously given us some of the best moments of the entire series. Clark’s marriage proposal now sits near the top. Surprisingly, this isn’t even the best moment of “Icarus” as Hawkman’s fight with Slade is the peak of this episode.

Everything from Lois saying “Yes!” onwards proves to be an important test, not only for the Daily Planet’s star reporter, but also for anyone else who interacts with superheroes on a regular basis. With the Vigilante Registration Act in full swing and superheroes now labeled as terrorists, the scant few supporters of costumed crime fighters are being round up and questioned by a Gestapo style military police force being run by General Slade Wilson. Slade now comes complete with an eye patch (Michael Hogan must love those) and some superhuman tricks paid for by the government.

Lois is really put through the ringer this week. She’s thrown around, punched in the face and has a gun pointed at her with death moments away. Through this however, she perceivers, defiant to those who will keep her and Clark separate and vigilant, in her own way, to make sure the identities of superheroes remain protected.

There’s a good flashback scene with Lois asking Chloe what had happened between Lana and Clark. It’s an important moment that was apparently cut from an earlier episode but it’s well placed in “Icarus” as Lois comes to terms with the fact that she has to share Clark with the rest of the world. From years of watching Superman in various mediums, we know that she will stand the test of time, but it’s good to see Lois explore her doubts and still come out standing by Clark Kent. The fact that she stands with the heroes at Carter’s funeral is testament to the fact that she sees herself as one of them.

In his few appearances, Michael Shanks has done a commendable job as Carter Hall. The Thangarian’s (never referenced as such on the show) rough exterior proved to be equally matched by his warm heart and his strong spirit. It’s unfortunate that Hawkman’s last stand had to be against someone so trivial as Slade Wilson, but it was still an impressive fight sequence on the show’s small budget. Also, it appeared they managed to get the wings right for once. Too bad it had to be for his final moments on screen. His fantastic entrance to save Lois was marred by some slightly poor CG but that did not take anything away from the impact of the moment.

However, everything from the explosion to Hawkman racing down, wings burning, to save a falling Lois Lane was impressive. A tremendous final act of one of my favoriteSmallville heroes. His banter with Ollie will be missed.

Having everyone (sort of) show up, in costume, for Hawkman’s funeral was a fitting way to send the hero out. It’s too bad they couldn’t get all the actors to reprise their roles, many remaining in the background with their faces hidden from the camera. It was good to see Alaina Huffman return with a much-improved look as Black Canary. The long blonde hair is a must for the character and I’m still perplexed as to why they ever though short hair was a good idea. Now if they’ll only get rid of that silly looking makeup “mask.”

Speaking of strange devices rising out of the sand – that ending was random. I’m going to assume that it has something to do with Darkseid’s plans for world domination but it really could be anything. Will all the costumed heroes have to work together to fight this strange threat when we see them next? Find out in seven weeks!

According to the IGN review of Collateral:

If you happen to be one of those few who decided to tune into the second half of the season because you have heard how great Smallville has been, I assure you that the show has been far better than the crap we were shoveled in “Collateral.” This episode is in no way indicative of the quality we have seen from the Smallville creative team throughout the first half of the season. It’s not just the fact that they went with a clichéd virtual reality storyline, it’s that they literally lifted lines and visual cues from The Matrix and reused them in the episode. We’ve seen it from Smallville before. I recall a rather sad attempt to recreate Saw on the small screen a few seasons back. But, I think we all thought the show had moved beyond these tired attempts to recreate a big budget film for television.

It’s a shame that this just happens to be one of Allison Mack’s few episodes this season. Despite the fact that Smallville has been doing great without Ms. Sullivan, she is one of the core characters of the show and an important part of Clark’s development into Superman. Too bad her big introduction is hampered by some terrible computer graphics as Chloe Sullivan walks out of a wall and into Ollie’s cell. They were obviously going for an exciting reveal but the bad effects were just too distracting.

Then there were all of Chloe’s piss poor attempts to channel Morpheus from The Matrix. The Dinah versus Chloe fight was cringe worthy and an obvious attempt to mirror the fight between Morpheus and Neo. Later we have evil Chloe, whose avatar had been taken over by a VRA soldier, split off into multiples of herself in a similar fashion to what Agent Smith did in Matrix: Reloaded. At least the writer was smart enough not to lift anything from Matrix: Revolutions. Trying to focus on the story is incredibly difficult when every other line or scene is a cringe worthy pop-culture reference to a decade old movie. It’s not unlike watching Family Guy.

Yes, Clark flies! Oh wait, it’s in virtual reality. This is about as exciting as creating a Tom Welling avatar in DC Universe and having him fly around. Not that I would do such a thing. You know, I could do without the flight teasing at this point. If you aren’t going to have Clark fly until the end of the season, stop playing on our expectations.

The logic behind the military’s project didn’t make much sense either. I can sort of wrap my head around trying to find a way to turn off the powers of people who actually have, well, powers, but they wanted to figure out a way to turn off Ollie’s ability to access his skills? Couldn’t they just break his arms while he’s unconscious? How do you turn off someone’s skills? Did someone get halfway through the script and completely forget that Ollie doesn’t actually have any powers and drop a line about how they were trying to figure out how to turn off his skills? Really?

Putting aside the big pile of crap that is the majority of “Collateral”, there are a couple of good points that save this episode from receiving a shameful zero out of ten. First, I absolutely loved the real world superhero fight that featured Black Canary, Green Arrow, Deadshot and Rick Flag all fighting in costume and working together to save Chloe and stop the VRA. I wish they had saved the money used on Multi-Chloe and spent more time on this fight sequence. Great stuff! Second, I did appreciate that the trust issues between Chloe and Clark were dealt with. There has been plenty of animosity between the two characters for some time now and it’s good to see them at least acknowledge what has happened to their friendship.

With just a few episodes left, let’s hope that we don’t have to go through an episode like “Collateral” again.

According to the IGN review of Beacon:

Don’t worry Smallville fans; Lionel is here to make it all better. After last week’s lackluster entry, John Glover makes his second appearance of the season as we watch Lionel Luthor reclaim his throne as ruler of the Luthorcorp Empire. There’s a lot of good setup this week that sets the stage for the final stretch of the series.

As I mentioned earlier in the season, John Glover’s presence on the show has been missed. Smallville hasn’t suffered without him but the show has needed a villain with some gravitas and actual presence. Someone who can take control of a room and strike terror into those who oppose him. Darkseid is around, but we don’t get to see him. A more tangible villain is exactly what the show needed right now and Lionel fills that requirement perfectly.

From the get go this week, Lionel’s already taken control of the editorial duties at the Daily Planet and he’s also regained the trust of the board of directors. Only Lionel’s unique charm could convince everyone around him that he was the genuine article to the point that they were willing to hand him back his empire on a silver platter. With his power restored, Lionel is sure to be a force to be reckoned with.

It’s good to see Chloe’s relationship with Ollie progressing well. She also has a great scene with Martha. There’s a certain maturity to Chloe’s attitude when it comes to Clark’s development that can be appreciated. She’s decided to take a step back and not be so over protective of the future Man of Steel. It’s almost as if her and Martha have a unique understanding of what Clark Kent is meant to become and know that there place is along the sidelines. They’re letting him stumble, make a few mistakes, but they’re also there to remind Clark of how important he really is when he needs it most.

The visual of Luthor Mansion burning is a strong reminder that Smallville really is coming to an end. It was the Talon earlier this season, and now the home of the Luthor’s, which we’ve become familiar with over the past ten years, is no more. Hopefully it’s symbolic of the fact that “anything goes” from here on out.

With the recent announcement that Michael Rosenbaum is returning for the series finale, it’s going to be interesting to see how they handle this current incarnation (clone) of Lex Luthor. When we last saw young Alexander he was just a boy. Now, after rapidly aging over the past few weeks, he’s a young man who is conflicted and angry. Lucas Grabeel does a good job playing the somewhat schizophrenic clone of Lex who is haunted by the memories of the original and now attempting to process the return of his father. Lucas handled himself well on screen, filling the shoes of a tough character, while also working with veteran actors John Glover and Annette O’Toole. His unsettling demeanor made him unpredictable and frightening. I was surprised to see him attack Martha so ruthlessly. It looks like this Alexander is developing the madness of the other Lex clones we encountered earlier this season.

The final revelation that there may be more to this Lex clone than the rest is an exciting development. It would appear that Alexander has some of Clark’s DNA mixed in with Lex’s. An interesting combination, but mixed with Alexander’s memory loss, the story could go in any number of directions. Most likely we are seeing the genesis of Connor Kent on Smallville which is an exciting and unexpected development. I look forward to seeing how this plays out.

The website testimonials, while a little on the cheesy side, did play an important part in reminding Clark of why he does what he does. He saves lives everyday but never has an opportunity to stick around and appreciate the lives he has touched. This sent him a loud and clear message to continue doing what he is doing. The VRA repeal had much the same effect and it was good to see him express his desire to be the man he saw himself as in the future. His little hesitation about Clark becoming the disguise was a fascinating concern. Clark’s starting to see how his life has to transform and Martha’s advice was spot on as well. Judging by next week’s preview, he’s already starting to embrace his new look.

According to the IGN review of Scion:

The introduction of Conner Kent is a surprising and welcome twist for the Smallville clone saga. With previous concerns that Michael Rosenbaum wouldn’t be returning to the series, there was some worry amongst the fan base that we wouldn’t be treated to a true reunion between Clark and Lex and instead have to settle for a surrogate. With Rosenbaum’s return confirmed, the Lex Clone we have been watching throughout the season is now revealed to be the Smallville version of Superboy.

“Scion” places Clark in the role of his own parents, as he has to shepherd Conner towards making the right choices while also teaching him to control his abilities. It’s always exciting to see the pupil become the master and seeing Clark Kent enjoy being Conner’s mentor is a lot of fun. In particular, Conner’s inability to control his heat vision in the presence of the very sexy Lois Lane is a neat little callback to “Heat” in Season 2. Clark recognizes this and immediately ensures that Conner is turned away from Lois before setting her ablaze. There’s an understanding that Clark has about Conner that no one else ever will, which creates a unique friendship between the two.

Obviously Clark sees a lot of himself in Conner, but there’s a twist when it comes to the “genetic love child of Clark Kent and Lex Luthor” – his dark side is far more vicious. Lionel’s plan to use Red Kryptonite to set the boy free and see what he is truly capable of was a genius plan that only a Luthor could think of. It stressed how delicate Conner’s development is compared to Clark’s and was a reminder that deep down inside, a Luthor still exists. It also setup a decent fight between Clark and Conner in the remains of the Luthor mansion, which has become quite the eerie set piece.

Conner Kent going to Smallville High would make for a great television series. In some executives mind, somewhere, the thought of a Smallville spinoff with Conner’s adventures has probably popped up. The concept just screams “spinoff” to me. Or how about the possibility of Conner teaming up with other young superheroes in the Smallville universe? Ok, now my imagination is getting the best of me.

It always struck me as odd how quickly the Mirror Universe Lionel Luthor was able to recapture his throne atop the Luthorcorp empire. It’s good to know that Tess and Lois were also thinking that and it made for a pretty good b-plot as well. The single shred of evidence that proves Lionel to be a fraud was inspired; his mirror universe fingerprint doesn’t match the one from Lutessa’s adoption papers. It’s always great to see plot points from earlier in the series click at the most opportune moment. Lionel’s line about Tess still being a Luthor was an ominous portent of things to come. Tess has been rather upbeat lately, now that she’s part of the group her wicked ways seem to be behind her. Another change of character for her would be surprising.

The final scene of “Scion” is a great tease of where the series will be headed in the final few episodes. With Alexander torn from him, Lionel is worried about his legacy and visits the grave of Lex Luthor. I absolutely love the obelisk-like tombstone that marks Lex’s gravesite. Lionel’s wishes to have Lex by his side once more look like they might be granted by none-other than Darkseid! It’s a fantastic reveal for the character and he’s almost on the screen for more than two seconds! Racing around in my mind is a scene between Lionel and Darkseid discussing the terms of an agreement to bring Lex back in exchange for some evil plan. Hopefully we will get to see more of Darkseid when Smallville returns in a few weeks!

According to the IGN review of Dominion:

Kneel before Zod!! That never gets old. The return of Zod (Callum Blue) did not disappoint. Callum’s given quite a bit of important dialogue to deliver, both in his scene with Clark and with Oliver and he does a great job. I actually miss Callum’s presence on the show. He made a damn good villain last season and it’s great to see him back, even if his stay is short.

The new beard suits Zod and visually links him closer to his film counterpart. Not only that, the roundabout explanation as to how this Zod, who was originally a younger clone, is now the actual General Zod, made a twisted sort of sense. It’s an odd way of trying to tie the Smallville story into the original film series continuity and it technically works. The original General Zod’s phantom combining with Zod to form… err… Zod is fine with me. Especially now that he’s trapped in the Phantom Zone waiting to be released with his pals in Superman II: The Donner Cut. We don’t know how Zod makes his appearance in The Man of Steel yet, but maybe this will link up with that too. Continuity porn at its finest.

The gladiatorial games did seem a little like an attempt to cash in on the success of the Spartacus TV Series but I’ve seen so many gladiatorial matches in so many comic books that it’s really hard to tell. I have to admit, besides the annoying slow-mo, the fight choreography was really good. Clark’s ingenuity in his fight against the masked man showed his presence of mind to improvise when powerless and Ollie proved to be quite the combatant without his bow and arrow.

It’s good to see the Ollie-omega story picking up again after being teased a few weeks ago. Zod’s attempt to awaken the “darkness” inside Ollie was convincing, as was Ollie’s fight against Clark in the next scene. While it’s hard to imagine Ollie actually turning against Clark, there was a real sense that something had changed and that Ollie may not be in control of his own actions. It gave their fight a real sense of danger that otherwise would have been missing. Add to that Ollie’s killing stab through Clark’s chest and there was a sense that anything could happen next. The twist worked as Clark and Ollie were working together all along.

The tension in the Tess and Lois scenes felt a little forced. The countdown timer to the destruction of the crystal was a nice idea but having Lois pull a gun on Tess to stop the countdown was a bit much. Lois is prone to flying off the handle but I like to think there are lines she won’t cross. However, her actions did inevitably save Clark and Ollie from being trapped inside the Phantom Zone so I guess she did save the day. Lois eventually needs to understand that being in Superman’s shadow means that she has to be willing to sacrifice him for the greater good. I don’t know if she’s quite learned that lesson yet. Still, I do agree that Clark needs to keep her in the loop.

It was a little strange hearing Veritas mentioned again after all these years. The connection Oliver Queen’s parents had to the project is a reminder of a storyline from seasons past. Still, it was good to hear it in connection with Ollie’s current predicament as it feels like story arcs are ‘clicking’ together after all these seasons. I don’t recall the mention of the search for Veritas in conjunction with a secret weapon at the time, but shoehorning the Darkseid story arc into it doesn’t seem like much of an issue. It also sets up an interesting Easter Egg hunt for Ollie as he travels to search for this mysterious weapon. What could it possibly be?

According to the IGN review of Prophecy:

“Prophecy” is a schizophrenic mess of an episode that — had I seen it earlier — would have found its way into my Smallville’s Worst Stories list from earlier this week. Lois gets Clark’s powers for a day, making a completely irrational decision that almost costs Clark his life. Then decides that after all this time she is his greatest weakness and vice versa; thus breaking up with him.

Ollie’s journey to find the Bow of Orion was a good departure from the usual Smallville set pieces. Reintroducing Kara and a few puzzles to solve made the first half of “Prophecy” fun. The swerve that Granny Goodness was using Ollie to get to the Bow was smart and something I didn’t see coming.

Kara conveniently being summoned by Jor-El after they reach the Bow was a little silly. If you’re wondering which Jor-El showed up this week, it’s the one whose decisions don’t make a lick of sense. Sending Kara away for good? Seems like a convenient way to keep her out of the picture. At least we got to see Kara use the Legion ring. I’m sure she will have many exciting adventures with them.

Lois’ nonsensical decision to go along with Toyman’s plan ruined what was a fairly good start to the episode. Earlier in the same scene it was already established that Lois could have simply taken the Starro-looking mind manipulation device from Toyman just as quickly as she had taken his cell phone away. Instead, we have Lois agreeing to Toyman’s terms in a silly effort to save Clark from the Legion of Doom. With Lois currently having Clark’s powers this is completely unnecessary. While Lois may not completely understand the full extent of Clark’s abilities, she has shown that she can use his super speed and could have raced to Clark’s side mere moments after learning Toyman’s evil plan. Did I miss something here? Does Toyman have mind control abilities? If so, wouldn’t that make the device he puts on Lois’ neck redundant? This gaping plot hole is just about as big as Krypton itself.

Jumping a bit further into the episode, it appears that the plot required Lois to wear the Starro device so that Clark could use the power of love to temporarily delay his own demise. Again, it comes off as unnecessary and silly. I’d hoped for a second that Lois was faking the whole thing just to keep Toyman off his guard. Nope, Lois allowed herself to be the pawn of Toyman for what amounts to no good reason.

In the final moments, Lois reveals that she let Toyman put the device on her because Clark is her greatest weakness. While that may be true, at that current point in time she was one of the strongest, fastest women on the planet. Clark may be her weakness but she could have prevented the entire situation from getting out of control simply by using the abilities she was temporarily gifted with.

Now that Lois has lived in Clark’s shoes for a day she finally sees that their relationship isn’t going to work and that she is his greatest weakness. Wait, what!? We moved beyond all of this earlier in the series. Lois has been Clark’s greatest supporter through a hell of a lot worse than this and now she’s dumping his ass right before their wedding day? It’s a last minute twist for shock value alone.

There are a lot of other minor gripes I have with this episode. “Prophecy” is the second episode in a row to feature a powerless Clark. He’s the star of the show. We tune in to see him be super. While I liked “Dominion”, taking his powers away on the penultimate episode seemed a bit much. Clark can just shut down Jor-El? He’s had an off switch all this time? Stargirl’s appearance was completely unnecessary. Toyman seemed to know more than he was letting on about Clark and Lois. He didn’t blink an eye when Lois super-sped away. I’m hoping that this may get answered next week. Maybe there is a secret member of the Legion of Doom that gave Toyman this information? We shall see.

Hey, at least we got to see the Legion of Doom sitting around a table! That’s something, right?

The Worst:

Isis, Harvest, and Booster

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In pieces:

  • Isis is one of many possession episodes to take place in the series, which in this case is the love-sick Goddess Isis bent on bringing back her dead lover, Osiris, by any means necessary. Given this episode takes place at a pivotal time between Clark and Lois’ relationship, I can’t help but see a connection I don’t like here;
  • Harvest sees Clark and Lois stranded in a backwater town, whom they will attempt to sacrifice Lois; and,
  • Booster is the third, and final, story written by Geoff Johns (Chief Creative Officer at DC Comics), which was also my least favorite story to be written by him.

According to the IGN review of Isis:

Now that Clark Kent has had a glimpse of his future, he’s set on telling Lois the truth about his secret. But first, he has to contend with an Egyptian goddess who has possessed Lois’ body in order to resurrect Osiris and bring about hell on Earth. “Isis” may not have quite the impact as last week’s “Homecoming” but it does have its moments, including one that will change Lois and Clark’s lives forever.

Isis was an adequate villain who gave Clark an opportunity to reflect on his own relationship with Lois and how far he would be willing to go to protect her. Otherwise, she felt like the usual freak of the week from episodes past. I’ll chalk this up as an other excuse to put Erica Durance in a sexy little outfit while also referencing The Secrets of Isis TV series from the 70s. I still need to get around to watching an episode of that show.

It’s clear that a lot of work is being put into making Tess Mercer a more interesting character to watch this season. First, they gave her the Lex clone, which we’ve seen her bond with. Now they are also making her an addition to Clark and Ollie’ band of super friends. A surprising twist for a character that started out as a villain but this could prove to be a very exciting storyline. Clark and Ollie still don’t quite trust her but she has obviously proven herself a resourceful ally. Cassidy Freeman took this opportunity to really turn up her performance. Tess has proven to be an emotional fragile character. She’s still a little burned by Ollie’s relationship with Chloe and it seems that the young Lex clone is having an unexpected impact on her.

Cat Grant returns and while her depiction here isn’t close to her comic book counterpart, I still love her rivalry with Lois Lane. I may be in the minority, but I’d like to see it as a running gag every few episodes throughout the season. She stabbed Lois in the hand with a pen – that’s insane! Cat’s puritanical ideals are laid on a little too thick at times however. I guess they really needed a voice to rival Lois’ gushing praise for costumed-heroes. Of course, with nobody taking Cat seriously, she’s little more than a joke. Ollie proves that when he dumps her in a sarcophagus.

One thing that I’ve noticed over the past three weeks is that Clark hasn’t worn his new costume in any action sequences. Is Clark afraid to get his new duds stained with the blood of fallen enemies? Does the leather constrict his movements? It would be a shame to let such an elaborate ensemble go to waste. Hopefully we’ll see him actually wear it for crime fighting next week.

Last week’s hover sequence was a pivotal moment for the Kryptonian as it was the first time he properly flew without being under the influence of kryptonite. This week, Clark experiences another important moment in his life as he finally reveals his secret to Lois Lane. In the comics this happens sometime after he becomes Superman, but for Smallville, this moment was a long time coming.

Once again, the writers played with our emotions, letting us think that Clark had backed out on his pledge to tell Lois the truth. The switch mid-conversation from the usual tease of Clark talking around his secret to him outright admitting that he was the Blur was striking. He’d finally had enough of the excuses and sneaking around – Clark Kent wanted the future he saw last week right now.

Lois’ reaction: priceless. Erica Durance has done a great job with Lois this season. She brings Lois’ playfulness in this scene. Lois knows the truth but she needs Clark to say it and show that he trusts her with his secret. The smile that pops up on her face is the culmination of several seasons’ worth of story. We’ve watched her fall in love with both the Blur and Clark. Now she has both. This is her dream come true.

With Clark finally telling Lois his secret, there is still a lot left to happen. I’m not too sure how much Lois knows about Clark but I could imagine an episode just dedicated to her learning the details of his past. Also, Clark has had it a little too easy the past couple of weeks. Isis wasn’t much of a threat and there was no villain for him to deal with last week. He’s due for a kick in the teeth.

According to the IGN review of Harvest:

An entire village infected by blue kryptonite is, well, convenient if you want to render your leading man’s super powers useless. However, if it’s in service of telling a fun story or trying something a little different, it’s something we can look past. In “Harvest”, the concept of the entire populace of this damned village being infected by blue kryptonite is woven creatively into the story and plays an important part in their sick ritualistic endeavors.

Taking away Clark’s powers forces the reporting duo to use ingenuity to get out of their grim situation. Naturally, Lois has plenty of tricks up her sleeve to help both her and Clark escape the clutches of the evil towns folk. A town that has now covered themselves in scarecrow style masks, preparing to burn Lois Lane alive with a kryptonite powered blue flame!

The distance Clark had to be from the village folk to regain his powers was uneven throughout the episode. At one point, Lois and Clark were a fairly good distance away but he still couldn’t use his powers and then at the end of the episode, Clark manages to use his super speed at the same distance. It took me out of the story at times but didn’t affect my enjoyment in the end.

Clark’s rise from the grave was creepy by fun. Anytime you can have a hand thrust out of a freshly dug grave in a Halloween episodes, you should probably take it.

Clark saving Lois from the dreaded blue flame and receiving kryptonite burns all over his back exemplifies how far he’s willing to go to save Lois Lane – powers or not. Thankfully, Clark, and those who love the Lois and Clark relationship, get a well-deserved reward by the end of the episode as the two make love by candle light. No kryptonite condoms necessary.

Creepy kids! There’s something to be said for the horror value of children spewing forth threats of death and violence. Or babies in snail outfits, but unfortunately we see none of those here. First we have the seemingly innocent Charlotte who lures Lois lane into having dinner with her family. When she reports to her father that she successfully brought Lois in, there was no sense that she was blindly following orders – she knew what she was doing. Later, young Charlotte reveals to Lois they will ‘never let her leave’ and that this was her ‘last supper.’ The child is damned!

Then we have the Tess Mercer and Alexander Luthor storyline. All Tess wants to do is raise a version of Lex without all the evil. Well, that doesn’t appear to be happening. Alexander’s creepy drawing of the S-Shield on, well, just about everything solidifies the fact that his memories are coming back. By the end of “Harvest”, Alexander Luthor is no more, Lex has returned in miniature form! On the surface, that may seem a little silly but the execution was handled remarkably well here. Thanks in part to the performance of Connor Stanhope who plays young Lex.

As his memories begin to flood back, young Lex travels to Clark’s barn were a worried Tess Mercer confronts him. Here Stanhope really shines as he portrays the transformation from innocent little Alexander to the sinister Lex Luthor who fumes over his betrayal by Clark Kent. Stanhope brings to life all the vitriol and aggression of his older counterpart. It’s generally hit or miss with child actors but Stanhope delivers a great performance in an important role.

The creepiest kids of the night have to be the ones that were brought in to celebrate Alexander’s birthday party. There “oooohhhhhhhh” sounds as they waited for Alexander to blow out his candles was just freaky. They were like automatons that could only emit one sound and were turned up to a volume of 10. Maybe Tess had robots made since Alexander doesn’t actually have any friends.

According to the IGN review of Booster:

It’s the annual Geoff Johns episode of Smallville and this year is a real treat as he attempts to bring Booster Gold and Blue Beetle to life. Over a year ago, I mentioned that I’d love to see Booster and Beetle together on Smallville, and while I had hoped for Ted Kord instead of Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle, I think Johns found a good compromise. The key to “Booster” being a success hinged on casting the right actor to play the role of one of DC’s all time best heroes.

Eric Martsolf, tasked with the difficult job of bringing Booster Gold to life, did a great job in the role. Martsolf captured Booster’s arrogance, over-confidence and ego while also managing to balance in his sense of humility when faced with the realization that he’s not the hero that Clark will become.

Geoff Johns’ script attempts to do a lot in forty-one minutes and succeeds for the most part. Not only did Johns find a place for Ted Kord (Sebastian Spence) but he also found time to drop Dan Garrett’s name into the story. In the comics, Garrett preceded Ted Kord as the Blue Beetle but in “Booster” it seems he was just a test subject for the Scarab.

As for Booster, Johns managed to fit in Skeets, who definitely sounded the part, but we never get to see the his robot friend floating around. Obviously it would have been cost prohibitive the entire time but it would have been nice to see him at least once. I’m not entirely sure if we’re meant to believe there even is a physical version of Skeets in the Smallville version.

Booster’s back-story is dumped in a bit of expository dialogue at the end of the episode. Johns does manage to fit a lot in though. Booster’s failed football career is mentioned as well as his sister.

Johns also tries to play with some of the conventions of the Superman mythos. The phone booth scene was cute but it doesn’t mean much of anything if Clark isn’t wearing the right costume.

The story is essentially Booster’s road to redemption as the former football star seeks fame in the 21st Century. His ego and arrogance are his undoing and it isn’t until he embraces what it means to be a hero that he finally discovers who he really is. It’s straightforward and gives Johns plenty of opportunity to allow for the classic, over-confident, Booster Gold to shine. He’s a fantastic character and Johns certainly knows how to write him.

I was curious to see how well Johns would fit Ted Kord into this story after I had heard he would be in the episode along with Jaime Reyes (Jaren Brandt Bartlett). Ted’s role as Booster’s good friend was unfortunately nonexistent, but there was the hint at a potential future alliance between Jaime and Booster with Ted around as well. If there ever were a Booster and Blue Beetle spinoff series, it would be interesting to see Ted Kord, with a little more personality, be a part of that.

The Blue Beetle suit of armor looked like a very expensive mistake. I appreciate the dedication to the source material to attempt bringing the suit of armor to life, but it looked like something plucked from the Big Bad Beetleborgs. That being said, it’s hard to complain about seeing Blue Beetle and Booster Gold on screen together, even if it isn’t the Beetle I grew up with. Keeping Clark mostly out of the spotlight while Booster saved the day was the right move as well.

Lois’ attempts to turn Clark Kent into a bumbling slouch were fun to watch. This entire season Lois has been holding the user’s guide to Superman as she has been the primary engineer of Clark’s evolution into the Man of Steel. It’s such a strange departure from the comics but still very entertaining. Lois’ devotion to Clark’s transformation in this version of the Superman story has been an important aspect of the last couple of seasons and arguably one of the best story arcs. It’s great seeing her tireless efforts come to fruition.

Welling’s a natural when it comes to transforming Clark into a bumbling dimwit. His awkward attempt to question Ted Kord was fun as were his bits of clumsiness. I’ve been looking forward to seeing this Clark for a while now. We’ve been teased with it before but hopefully we will be seeing him more often over the course of the next few episodes. Highlighting the differences between Clark and Superman/The Blur will do a great job of selling the fact that people do buy into the idea that they are two separate people. Welling should take a look at Christopher Reeve in Superman II. He absolutely nails the transformation between Clark and Superman in the Niagra Falls Honeymoon suite scene. After that, it’s hard not to accept the fact that people don’t see any similarities between Clark and Superman.

 

9-21

Next in the best and worst is Season 9.

 

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