The Best and Worst of Smallville: Season 2

For previous installments:

 

Desirée Atkins, who appears in Heat, is one of many Evil Demon Seductresses (see Feminist Frequency‘s #4) that appear on Smallville, and would be considered the first character to appear whose purpose is to seduce men within the show. This series of character can be found in episodes throughout the entire series, including Chrissy Parker in Redux, Alicia Baker in ObsessionKara of Krypton/Lindsey Harrison in CovenantCountess Isobel Thoreaux in Spell, Alicia Baker in Unsafe, Simone Charcot in Hypnotic, Gloria in Wither, the Weather Girls in Fierce, Queen Maxima of Almerac in Instinct, and Zantanna Zatara in Persuasion. They all have a special power, or ability, while simultaneously using sexuality as a weapon towards male characters, namely Clark, in the show.

smallville-25

Furthermore, there are episodes in which main characters fulfill this role, often from an outside influence, such as Lana in Nicodemus, Chloe in Rush, Lana in Delete, Chloe in Devoted, Lana in Thirst, Lois in Crimson, Chloe in Escape, and Lois in Persuasion. In all of these instances, the message to the audience being said is, “She really wanted it,” given the skimpy attire they are known to wear (except Persuasion), and the voracity by which they are behaving to achieve their desires in these scenes. However, even in this fictional universe, where the writers can smooth everything over with excuses from the character to take blame for the events that took place, they are still shown to have consent removed by this outside influence.

Furthermore, this season formerly introduces the Belle Reeve Sanitarium, a mental institution and metahuman (synonym with “meteor freak”) prison within the DC comics universe. These individuals are generally stigmatized as “meteor freaks” within the show to justify the narrative as unsympathetic, as they are almost always unpredictable with a tendency towards creepy  and violent behavior. I have already addressed small pieces this in previous posts with Alicia Baker in Season 3 (Obsession) and Season 4 (Unsafe and Pariah), and Gabriel Duncan in Season 5 (Hidden). Duncan is an exception because he is not shown to be a “meteor freak,” but does display a violent tendency with his actions (wipe Smallville off the map, “it’s all going to be over”) and a lack for taking any responsibility for those actions (“You have to make people realize it wasn’t my choice. It was the only way.”) which further justifies politics of paternalism towards those with, or perceived to have, mental illnesses (remember that mental illness are often expressions outside the cultural norm and that there is no sharp boundaries between “mental disorder” and “no mental disorder”). According to the Lady Geek Girl post, “In Brightest Day: Batman and the Problem with Mental Illnesses in Comics“:

Comics have an issue with portraying many of their villains as mentally disabled. This is especially true in DC Comics, where many of the villains have mental illnesses, but almost none of the heroes are portrayed as also having mental illnesses. Furthermore, the heroes punish the villains for their illness and in no way attempt to help them with the treatment they need. The statement this ends up making is that people who suffer from mental illnesses are evil and deserve to be hurt and locked up. This obviously creates a lot of problems with how people are then taught to view mental illness in real life—especially when our heroes respond to mental illness with violence and a lack of care and concern.

None of this is more obvious than in Batman, where almost every one of Batman’s villains aren’t sent to prison, but rather are returned to the mental institution Arkham Asylum for treatment. However, most of Batman’s characters have very confusing or inaccurate portrayals of mental illnesses. There are many debates over which mental illnesses the many residents of Arkham actually have, mostly because of these inaccurate portrayals. For some examples, people have argued that the Riddler suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, while others say his behavior is more indicative of narcissism than OCD, and others still claim that he suffers from both. Scarecrow also arguably suffers from narcissism, and depending on which version of the character we are talking about, he is also occasionally said to have dissociative identity disorder. And someone like the Joker is said to be everything from a sociopath to completely sane. It’s pretty clear that a lack of research goes into the portrayal of the mental illnesses the characters are supposed to have.

Instead, Batman’s villains are given a tragic backstory. Then the writers basically tell the readers that because of their tragic past, they went “crazy” and now are evil villains. Even if the writers of these comics want to claim that all of Batman’s villains struggle with PTSD, they would still be grossly misrepresenting the effects of PTSD by claiming it turns people into violent criminals. Furthermore, there is never any portrayal of someone, superhero or villain, born with any mental illness or disorder (or even a physical one for that matter). This portrayal presents mental illness as something that’s caused by outside factors and ignores the mental illnesses that are present from birth in the person, such as depression or mental disabilities. 

Meanwhile, though some people identify Batman as having more than likely suffered from a mental illness, there is far less of an attempt to show Batman as maybe having similar, but more manageable, mental illness like his villains. The message seems to be that Batman, as a good guy, couldn’t possibly suffer from a mental illness, and if he ever did he has clearly overcome his illness through sheer force of manly will. While the police and many other random Gotham citizens make the claim that Batman is “crazy”, it’s practically portrayed as a joke. People think Batman is “crazy”, but we all know he really isn’t, because obviously the hero couldn’t possible suffer from a mental illness. Cue massive eye roll.

On top of this, Batman’s treatment of his villains is brutal whether they have a mental illness or not. Batman, having thoroughly researched and kept up profiles on all his villains, surely knows this, and while he may have to use force to stop them from hurting people, Batman is basically known for unnecessarily beating his villains within an inch of their life. That’s practically Batman’s thing. This is no way to portray or treat mental illness. Batman isn’t helping his villains. In fact, he is probably making any illness they might have worse.

Comics like this do play into a stigma that people have about mental illness and getting help. Even TV shows like Teen Wolf played into this stigma during “Echo House”, and that has so many real world consequences. People who have mental illnesses either become scared to ask for the help that they need, or when they do ask for help, no one takes them seriously. Recently, we have the case of Elliot Rodger who killed six people before killing himself in Santa Barbara, CA. And immediately the questions began: Was Elliot Rodger mentally ill? Is that what caused him to kill people? Questions like this truly bother me because for one, questions of mental illness are usually only brought up when the killer is a white male, whereas if Rodger had been Black many people would simply blame his violence on his race. Furthermore, it is ableist to assume that Rodger was mentally ill just because he committed a violent crime. It is further ableist to assume that his illness directly caused him to commit this crime. There is some evidence that that Rodger probably was mentally ill, but it is not clear that that caused him to shoot six people. In fact, some people are claiming any disorder he might have would not explain his behavior.

This blaming of ableist dialogue is not new. Just a few years ago, it was revealed that the Sandy Hook shooter had Asperger’s. Everyone jumped to say that his syndrome is what made him murder children and that people with Asperger’s should be put down. It’s totally ableist, because if a (white) criminal has an illness, that’s what’s focused on, regardless of whether or not said illness would cause violence. Therefore, when we get people like Elliot Rodger, people automatically assume that he’s ill as well and that said illness is behind it all. And the cycle continues. It’s disgusting.

No matter how disgusting it may be, comics reflect our society, for better or worse. And according to comics like Batman, the society at large is still not willing to treat these conditions with the respect they deserve. Constantly portraying violent villains as having a mental illness, being abused by both the hero and the supposed psychiatric “care”, while never portraying a hero as struggling with a mental illness sends a message to those reading or watching Batman. That message is that if you have a mental illness people will think you will snap and kill people so you shouldn’t ask for help. Furthermore, if you do ask for help you’ll just be locked away in a psychiatric hospital that will torture you and probably make your illness worse. Or if you don’t have a mental illness the message is that you should be afraid of or even harm people with mental illnesses before they harm you.

Is this seriously the message that we want to send people? We should be calling out our ableist rhetoric and attempting to undue the stigma surrounding mental illness, not adding to it.

During the episode, Freak, in Season 6, Chloe Sullivan discovers that she is in fact a “meteor freak,” as seen in this promotion video for the episode.

This is the flashpoint, the major shift, in how these characters are viewed within the series, seeing as Chloe, one of Clark’s secret-keepers, and one of his best friends, has been with the show from the beginning, and, at this point, is playing a pivotal role in supporting Clark’s character.

It is also during this time period that Lana Lang is on to Clark’s secret. During a conversation (below) Lana makes a case that this aspect would not be a reason to stigmatize Clark because “it wouldn’t matter. You’d still be the same Clark Kent.”

Following Phantom, in which Chloe uses her powers to save her cousin Lois, she seeks out Dr. Curtis Knox in Cure, in order to undergo surgery to “get a chance at a normal life” because “going psycho or turning into a serial killer aren’t the only two things I have to worry about” as her power “almost killed” her, and next time could be her “last.”

In Gemini, when Chloe reveals that she has powers to Jimmy Olsen, he remarks that she is “still the same Chloe,” echoing Lana’s earlier sentiments if Clark were meteor-infected in Cure.

In the episode, Wrath, it is revealed that Lana Lang had created the Isis Foundation, whose mission is to:

“Isis Foundation has proudly launched a new support service directed solely at the survivors of the previous two meteor showers over Smallville, Kansas.

Countless survivors have experienced symptoms from cancer to telepathic abilities. Studies are being conducted on the direct correlation between the showers from the last two decades to a steady incline in illness.

Although studies prove the link exists and medical treatment has been administered, no support structure service exists for these victims. Isis Foundation is here to offer this service. Together we will build awareness. Together we will build understanding. Together we will rebuild our future. Together.”

After the disappearance of Lana Lang at the end of Season 7, Chloe takes over the Isis Foundation, which is revealed during the episode, Plastique. The first conversation between Bette, Clark, and Chloe rehash the general information on the subject of “someone with a meteor power.”

Clark: The police say there’s no evidence of a bomb. I think someone with a meteor power may have caused the blast.
Bette: What’s a meteor power?
Chloe: Uh, sometimes, people develop special abilities after being exposed to a certain type of meteor rock.

In the same episode, a later conversation between Davis Bloome and Chloe rehash some information on the Isis Foundation, which is “more like a counseling center” for “meteor types.”

Davis: Isis Foundation. So, what — adopt a pyramid, save a sphinx, that kind of thing?
Chloe: Cute. Uh, actually, it’s more like a counseling center. I’m house-sitting for a friend of mine till she finds someone to take it over.
Davis: I’m surprised I haven’t heard of it. The hospital sends out updates on all the mental-health facilities.
Chloe: Well…she has very specific clients — people with special skills that are sometimes a little dangerous.
Davis: What, you mean like…meteor types? I drive an ambulance in Metropolis, Chloe. I’ve seen a lot of things — at least enough to know that they could use the help. Have you ever thought about helping them?
Chloe: No, I don’t —
Davis: I saw you with Bette today. You cared enough to take her under your wing. That’s rare. And think how hard it must be for these meteor people to find someone they can trust.

As seen, beginning  in early Season 6, there is a sharp de-stigmatization of meteor-infected people (“meteor freaks”) which dominated much of the early seasons of the series, largely due to the decision of the producers/writers Todd Slavin and Darrin Swimmer.

 

The Best:

Vortex, Duplicity, Red, Redux, Lineage, Ryan, Dichotic, Skinwalker, Visage, Fever, Rosetta, Accelerate, Calling and Exodus

Smallville 02.21.A - Emily and Lana

Briefly:

  • Vortex continues from Tempest with three tornadoes touching down on Smallville;
  • Duplicity sees Clark reveal his secret to Pete Ross, the first person to know other than his parents;
  • Red sees Clark get exposed to red krpyonite for the first time;
  • Redux features Chriss Parker, the first “freak of the week” character whose powers did not come from the meteor show that brought Clark to Smallville;
  • Lineage sees Rachel Dunlevy arrive at the Kent House claiming that she is Clark’s mother;
  • Ryan sees a young boy, Ryan James, contact Clark for help to save him from an evil doctor;
  • Dichotic features Jonathan Taylor Thomas, as Ian Randall, who had the ability to duplicate himself;
  • Skinwalker sees Clark fall into a cave discovering a beautiful girl, and writings;
  • Visage sees the return of Whitney Fordham, or is it?;
  • Fever sees Martha contact a toxic virus through green kryptonite, and then Clark also becomes sick, leaving Jonathan to find a cure;
  • Rosetta features Christopher Reeve as Dr. Virgil Swann, someone who gives Clark insight into his origins;
  • The first episode I can remember watching was Accelerate, which is just such a super creepy, creepy episode, and well worth it;
  • Calling and Exodus has Clark’s biological father, Jor-El informing him that he must leave Smallville. In an upset state, Clark uses the kryptonite replica of the key to destroy the ship which, in the ensuing explosion, causes Martha to lose her baby. Grief stricken, Clark uses red kryptonite and decides to leave Smallville.

According to the DouxReviews of Vortex:

“Clark doesn’t belong to you. He belongs to the world.”

It’s a twister! It’s a twister!

Jonathan and Nixon trapped in the basement under the trailer was the most interesting part of this one. It was fun, Jonathan getting to talk to someone truthfully about Clark’s abilities. Nixon actually seemed to be something of a good guy at one point, but no. As evil and vicious as Nixon was, he did have a point or two. Jonathan is indeed hiding the most amazing being on earth on a farm in Kansas.

I was surprised that Lex killed Nixon. Okay, certainly, he was saving Jonathan’s life, but I still didn’t expect it. What was Lex feeling as he stood over Nixon’s body? He had the oddest expression on his face. It was nice that Jonathan unbent enough to thank Lex for saving his life, but what choice did he have?

Lex saved Lionel’s life, too. Knock me over with a feather. But in a sense, it was too late, because Lionel knew that Lex was tempted to let him die. And Lionel is now blind. I don’t see them going on father-son outings together any time soon.

Poor Chloe decided to test Clark’s devotion way too soon by telling him they should just be friends and hoping he would object. Chloe, you should have waited until you’d had a couple of hot dates and possibly even some wrestling at the drive-in first. You’ll never get him back now.

According to the DouxReviews of Duplicity:

Pete: “It’s not easy being you, is it?”

Pete knows.

There were plenty of references to the fact that Clark lies to all of this friends, all of the time. But how can Clark possibly tell them the truth? His parents were right; a lot of responsibility goes with knowing Clark’s secret, and Pete immediately gave it away to Dr. Hamilton without even meaning to do it.

But all’s well that ends well, and I like that Pete now knows Clark’s secret. Pete has a function now, and owns a part of the story. Smart move, because Clark really needs a friend his age that he can talk to.

More in the friendship theme as Lana and Chloe started to bond over Lana’s unhappiness over Aunt Nell’s new boyfriend; I sense a plot twist approaching. And there was another interesting parallel: Lana and Lex both hid from their parents.

Lionel finally returned, complete with dark glasses and cane, and wanted to spend quality time with Lex. (Lex wasn’t quite ready for so much togetherness.) Lionel even got to touch Clark’s spaceship. Too bad for him that it felt like a “postmodern coffee table.” At least the ship is now back where it belongs, in the storm cellar. But where’s the key?

According to the DouxReviews of Red:

Pete: “Clark Kent, chick magnet. What’s wrong with this picture?”

Omigod, what fun.

Clark put on a class ring with a red stone in it, and immediately became rebellious, sarcastic, and surprisingly sexy. It was like he was drunk. There he was with a new game cube, satellite dish, motorcycle, major wardrobe change, all purchased with Pa Kent’s credit cards, and that wasn’t all. Clark actually borrowed Lex’s sports car, gave Lana a hot kiss, and took off with Jessie of the easy virtue. Tom Welling was just terrific. He probably enjoyed doing something other than his usual virtuous farm boy.

One interesting thing that jumped right out at me was that Lex didn’t like Clark on red K. Clark on red K was a lot like Lex, and Lex doesn’t want Clark to be like him. Which was probably why Lex gave Clark up to Jonathan.

Lionel took over Lex’s office. What a surprise. The mansion has seventy-five rooms; why couldn’t Lionel set up somewhere else? Because he was testing and pushing Lex, of course. This time, Lex pushed back. They almost seem to be developing a positive relationship, or something. Probably something.

Last week, blind Lionel didn’t see Clark’s spaceship. This week, he didn’t see Clark doing super stuff. This is turning into a continuing joke.

According to the DouxReviews of Redux:

Chloe: “Clark, just because the guy doesn’t immediately love you like every other teacher in this school doesn’t mean that he’s hiding some dark past.”

So all of a sudden, teenagers started dropping dead of old age. This episode was very familiar and Buffy-like, sort of a combination of “Anne” and “Inca Mummy Girl.”

The new principal, Mr. Reynolds, doesn’t like Clark for one big reason: Lex. And it sort of made sense when we learned that Reynolds lost his job at Excelsior Prep because of Lionel. (It was sort of fun seeing Clark all put out because he was accustomed to every teacher automatically adoring him.)

Martha’s father is persona non grata at the Kent farm; so non grata that Clark hadn’t even met him. I guess it’s not surprising, considering that he tried to keep Martha from marrying Jonathan in a big, big way, and Jonathan is about as flexible as a fence post. (Don’t get me wrong; sticking to your guns can sometimes be a very attractive quality in a man.) I sort of expected this plot line to have a heartwarming ending, and was surprised when it didn’t. Maybe they’re saving it for a very special Christmas episode or something.

In a related plot point (long lost grandfather, long lost father), Lana went to Lex for help in finding the strange guy who may have been schtupping her mother. This is the second episode in a row in which Lana and Lex had some personal interaction. They’re sort of becoming friends as well as business partners. Or maybe Lana is just getting more comfortable asking Lex for favors.

According to the DouxReviews of Lineage:

Lex: “It’s not hard to imagine. In the annals of extramarital exploits, my father probably has his own chapter.”

Geez, Louise. It’s mystery parent week.

Clark was wildly uncomfortable dealing with a strange woman who was sure she was his mother. Lionel as Clark’s father, and Lex as his half-brother. An interesting thought, and of course, Lex’s dream come true.

What I enjoyed most were all the flashbacks to the original meteor shower. (My favorite new scene was all of the Kents and the Luthors piled into the cab of the borrowed pickup.) And the web of ties connecting the Kents and the Luthors just got a lot tighter, since Lionel was responsible for creating Metropolis United Charities and arranging Clark’s adoption in order to re-pay Jonathan for saving Lex. I was semi-shocked that Lionel blackmailed Jonathan, and Jonathan paid up; Jonathan was actually responsible for Pete’s family losing control of the factory. No wonder Jonathan has always been so negative and unbending regarding Clark’s friendship with Lex.

In keeping with our mystery parent theme, Lana investigated the possibility that her father was actually Henry Small, while Chloe confessed that her mother left when Chloe was five. And Clark and Chloe had an uncharacteristic knock-down drag-out about her investigating Clark’s adoption. Chloe really needs to let it go. But I know she won’t.

According to the DouxReviews of Ryan:

Lex: “Real life is not a comic book.”

Superpowers can’t save a friend with a brain tumor. Except for being a tad maudlin, this was a very good episode.

I loved that Clark didn’t think twice about the consequences; he just broke down doors and dashed to Ryan’s rescue. Lex was like a superhero too, jumping on board with lawsuits and restraining orders and expensive medical help. Unfortunately, there was nothing anyone could do to save Ryan. Life is like that sometimes.

As in the previous episode about Ryan (“Stray”), it featured Ryan’s and Lex’s interest in the comic book character Warrior Angel, a transparent parallel to Superman. There was some Lex foreshadowing when we learned that Warrior Angel’s best friend turned on him because he wanted to take over the world. Maybe Clark should be taking some hints from Warrior Angel comics.

In what was probably a sideways salute to sci-fi/fantasy fandom, The X-Filesinfamous Cancer Man guest starred as the corrupt mayor of Smallville who was in Lionel’s pocket. And Lex managed to get rid of him, too. Lex was quite the hero in this episode, fighting political corruption as well as trying to help Ryan. Although the political thing was probably intended to get back at Lionel.

In other news, Nell decided to get married and move to Metropolis. Unsurprisingly, Lana did not want to go with her, and started researching child emancipation. (Do you even have to do that when you’re as old as Lana?) And now Lana is Chloe’s new roommate. That’s great. They can sit up all night and talk about Clark.

According to the DouxReviews of Dichotic:

Pete: “Any idea how an only child can make like the Olsen twins?”

Chloe and Lana started double dating. Unfortunately, it was the same guy. Jonathan Taylor Thomas guest starred as super student Ian, who made overachievers Lana and Chloe look like slackers. And of course, he was hot for both them.

To continue with our duality theme, Jonathan broke his leg and got a bit cranky about it, and Martha felt pulled in two directions by her responsibilities. She sort of has two men now, doesn’t she? And the doubling also extended to Chloe and Lana; at the end of this episode, they were practically speaking in unison.

I was sort of alarmed when Lex lost his temper and broke windows and a headlight in a meter maid’s car. But I was relieved when it turned out to be a plot device for Lex to meet the gorgeous and interesting Dr. Bryce at a rage workshop. What sort of workshop was it? Temper Tantrums Anonymous?

According to the DouxReviews of Skinwalker:

Joseph: “You’re not from around here, are you, Clark?”

Supernatural episodes about Native Americans usually suck, especially when they involve elderly men. This will henceforth be known as Billie Doux’s fifth Television Law.

But this one wasn’t all that bad. We had Kyla, the “beautiful, doe-eyed crusader,” who believed she was destined to be with Clark and even had a bracelet to prove it. She was too good to be true, because the rampaging white wolf was so obviously her. And of course, “skinwalkers” were created by Kryptonite, five hundred years ago. But how is that possible? Kryptonite is chunks of radioactive Krypton. Did Krypton explode twice?

The interesting part was the introduction of the caves that contain drawings of the Legend of Naman. Naman fell from the skies in a rain of fire, had the strength of ten men, and could start fires with his eyes. Gee, that sounds familiar. And to top off the resemblance, there was an octagonal hole in the wall. Clark had better start looking for that missing key. There was also a pointed reference to the end of Krypton, i.e., a star that used to be there but was not any more.

In other news, Lionel was still making nice with Lex, and Lex was still keeping him at arm’s length. And Lionel said Martha reminded him of his wife. I sense some Jonathan-related fireworks about Lionel and Martha at some future time.

According to the DouxReviews of Visage:

Clark: “I know this may sound crazy, but Whitney may not be Whitney.”
Chloe: “Are you getting existential on us, or is this Wall of Weird material?”

Lana actually said yes to a date with Clark. And before it could happen, Whitney showed up in uniform, looking a lot like he was channeling the final scene in An Officer and a Gentleman. (I fully expected him to pick Lana up in his arms and put his hat on her head.) But poor Whitney never did come back. I was surprised when it turned out to be our favorite homicidal, Lana-obsessed shape-shifter, Tina Greer.

Like many bland characters, Whitney (as Tina) was a lot more interesting as a villain. Former regular Eric Johnson undoubtedly gave his best performance in the series. Ditto for Kristin Kreuk who also did well, especially in that final scene where she was crying. (Dan said that she brought out her big acting guns: all two of them. And then he said, as I was scribbling that down, “You’re not going to quote me, are you?”)

Most of the cast were Tina Greer at some point, and got a chance to act either outright evil or as if they were hiding their true evil nature. Of all of them, I have to say that Chloe/Tina was the most chilling. And the best fake-out was the one in the barn. I thought Tina was masquerading as Clark, but no, she was Jonathan instead.

In other news, Lex and Dr. Helen Bryce now have something fairly serious going on, so of course, Lex had her investigated. (Okay, he was having Lionel followed and stumbled over Helen. Or was Lex lying about that?) Was Helen’s encounter with Lionel what she said it was? Did she truly refuse to give up Lex for a boatload of cash? If it’s true, Lex should immediately propose. There aren’t that many women out there who can say no to Lionel Luthor, and mean it. But then again, maybe she’s holding out for a wedding ring, hoping to get her hands on all of Lex’s money. I’m sure we’ll find out.

According to the DouxReviews of Fever:

Chloe: “I’m the girl of your dreams masquerading as your best friend.”

Martha buried the flour tin in the storm cellar, and got an acute case of toxic green K. Where did all that K come from? Was it sucked out of Lana’s necklace? Did it get shaken off the ship, perhaps? It’s all very confusing.

As is Martha’s surprise pregnancy. Although it sort of made sense that the ship healed her, since it also saved Clark. Now, that would be an interesting thing to study at Johns Hopkins, which is where Dr. Bryce is apparently heading.

My favorite part of this one was Chloe deciding to tell an unconscious Clark that she loved him. Scenes like that can be iffy, but Allison Mack is so good that she made it wonderfully poignant. And Clark ruined it by moaning “Lana.” When is he going to wake up and smell the girl reporter? At least Lana finally knows how Chloe feels about Clark. Yet another development to keep Clark and Lana apart.

It’s always angsty seeing Clark ill or helpless, but it was also fun seeing Jonathan as action hero, breaking into the facility to steal the octagon key, doing with great effort what would normally take Clark about a minute.

According to the DouxReviews of Rosetta:

Clark: “I’ve got all these questions. And I can’t leave them in the storm cellar any more.”

The writers and producers ofSmallville are to be commended. They found a unique and touching way to finally introduce Clark to his past. Smallville often calls back to the Reeve movies, so what could be better than to bring in the man himself to give Clark his answers? Christopher Reeve was more than just an actor who played the part some years ago. He was a great man, and I have a lot of respect for how he lived his life in the face of such tremendous misfortune. This was passing the Superman torch in a big, emotional way. Bravo.

Clark now knows his birth name and where he came from, and must face that his answers came with the ultimate global tragedy attached to them. Learning you are the last of your race isn’t exactly fun news. I also really liked that final scene with Clark and Jonathan, and the new and interesting twist that Kal-El was sent to Earth to conquer. I especially liked the ambiguous looks on both Clark’s and Jonathan’s faces as they were hugging. Neither of them was feeling all that good about this turn of events.

There was a nice plot-adjacent storyline with all of the teens having problems with their family tree assignment, for obvious reasons. (Except Pete, who is actually the only one with a traditional nuclear family.) Lana showed some uncharacteristic nosiness and looked at Chloe’s spring fling photos with Clark. And Chloe showed some uncharacteristic anger when she caught Lana doing it. I think Clark should tell Chloe everything. She would stop investigating him, for one. And she’d help him find the answers, for two.

According to the DouxReviews of Accelerate:

Clark: “I’m trying to help Lana.”
Chloe: “Of course you are. What are you saving her from today?”

A bit different, yes. But when you come right down to it, this was yet another episode about a meteor freak obsessed with Lana Lang. Which gave Clark another chance to be all manly and protective. And Clark was finally rewarded; Lana appears to want a relationship now.

The little homicidal K-clone Emily kept popping up all over the place, and it was done so well that it was actually pretty creepy. I rarely feel for Lana, but I did here. Kristin Kreuk looked convincingly terrified and upset. Lana has lost her parents and her boyfriend, and now we learn she lost her best friend when she was little. It’s amazing she’s walking around at all.

Lex’s wedding is only three weeks away, so it must be scheduled for the season finale. What I liked most about this episode was Lionel making all those father-son reconciliation noises, and Lex having none of it. Does Lionel really want to make up with Lex? Could it possibly be? Lionel is certainly still up to something, since the Miracle Grow clones were his fault. Lionel also just took control of the caves, too.

We can make an obvious comparison here between Emily and Lex. Both owned and manipulated by Lionel. What will Lionel do with Emily? Will we ever know?

According to the DouxReviews of Calling:

Clark: “What’d he say?”
Lex: “That the writing on the cave wall says you’re going to rule the world.”

Big romance episode, and they’re clearly revving up for the season finale.

As Lex experienced pre-wedding jitters, Clark finally got a great big kiss from Lana for his un-birthday. Then she immediately backtracked and started jerking him around because he was still keeping secrets from her. In fact, Lana and Helen were both trying to deal with the knowledge that their honeys were keeping important things from them. At least Helen finally learned that Lex had secrets and was totally capable of lying to her. Is the wedding off?

Chloe, ticked off and jealous of the new Clark/Lana relationship, was way too open to Lionel. He actually offered her her dream: her own column at the Daily Planet… in exchange for Chloe investigating Clark. What does Lionel know? Maybe Lionel didn’t see Clark acting all super, after all. Or maybe he did. Did Lionel have the Torch broken into in the first place?

Terence Stamp was listed in the end credits as “The voice of Jor-El.” He is, of course, the actor who played General Zod in Superman II. Which is oddly appropriate, since this incarnation of Jor-El is clearly a bit more on the evil side than Marlon Brando’s.

According to the DouxReviews of Exodus:

Clark: “You should have seen the way my dad looked at me. It was like I was an alien.”

Clark and Lana were finally dating. Jonathan and Lex were actually getting along. Jonathan even gave Lex a wedding present. It couldn’t possibly last.

The ship containing Jor-El’s memories was going to force Clark to rule the world and leave his loved ones. (Gee, the ship was so nice when it was curing people and all. Now it’s burning holes in Clark’s chest.) Lionel (conveniently) had a new octagonal key made out of K. Clark came to an obvious conclusion: the K key could destroy the bad, bad ship. How could he know it would blow up the storm cellar and cause yet another truck accident?

Martha lost the baby, and it was Clark’s fault. Jonathan and Martha were, understandably, completely devastated. And Jonathan was right: Clark should have discussed it with them before blowing up the storm cellar. This had to be the first time in Clark’s life when he was faced with outright anger and rejection from his devoted parents. Even a teenager as well-adjusted as Clark would have a strong reaction. Top that with the ship burning a big red “S” in Clark’s chest, and what do you get? Clark put on a leather jacket and a red K ring, and left home on his motorcycle. Cliffhanger number one.

I was surprised that Lex and Helen actually did get married, considering how pissed off she was. Why did Lex wake up alone on a plane about to crash? Did Helen drug him with that champagne? Did Lionel pay Helen off after all? Is Lionel trying to kill Lex? Cliffhanger number two.

Chloe, rejected and angry, is primed for revenge. Frankly, I don’t like seeing Chloe so petulant; it’s out of character. I guess from her standpoint, she took Lana in, and Lana now has the guy Chloe loves. So of course, Chloe went to Lionel. They make a very interesting couple, and I don’t mean that in a romantic sense. What will happen? Cliffhanger number three.

 

The Worst:

Heat, Suspect, and Rush

heat10

In pieces:

  • Heat features a new biology teacher, Desirée Atkins, who is a real Black Widow;
  • Suspect was mostly a who-done-it episode I could have done without; and,
  • Rush had several characters under the influence.

According to the DouxReviews of Heat:

Jonathan: “Rule number one. Always practice away from the barn.”

This episode, especially the first half hour, was just hilarious. Kudos to the writing staff.

Desire Atkins, the (literally) hot and sexy new biology teacher, managed to lasso and marry Lex in a New York minute. But the real news was that even without using her magic purple pheromones (that didn’t work on Clark, anyway), she turned Clark on, triggering the development of his heat vision. The scenes where he nearly burned down his classroom and the Talon were just so much fun. I like Clark as a character, but let’s face it, teenage boys are usually pretty preoccupied with sex, and Clark has been way too virtuous for way too long.

In other news, Lana recorded what turned into a Dear John video for Whitney, who should stay gone, please. Lana said that having a relationship that was based on secrets and lies was doomed to fail. Does this mean Clark should tell her the truth? Well, maybe I’d feel that way if I thought Clark belonged with Lana. Which I don’t.

According to the DouxReviews of Suspect:

Lex: “Darkness like that just doesn’t come out of nowhere.”

It was a dark and stormy night. And someone made a serious attempt to kill Lionel Luthor. (That man has spent some quality time in the hospital lately, hasn’t he?) Our chief suspect was Jonathan Kent, who was found unconscious, clutching a bottle of tequila in one hand and a gun in the other. They might just as well have put a sign on him saying, “Yes, he was framed.” Certainly we know that Jonathan has a temper, but did anyone believe it for a single moment?

At least this was a good whodunit, because I certainly didn’t know who, well, done it. And it was fun that so many people had a motive to kill Lionel. They threw Dominic, Lionel’s “seeing eye dog,” at us as the obvious suspect, and I never once even thought of Ethan, simply because he’s been around and benign for so long. Since Lionel just took Lexcorp away from him, Lex had the best motive. But I just didn’t believe they’d put Lex away for murder at this point in the series.

I think my favorite scene was Clark and Lex talking about darkness. The bits they often do that point to Lex’s future darkness are almost always poignant, because I love Lex. I don’t want Lex to turn evil. But we all know he eventually will.

According to the DouxReviews of Rush:

Pete: “I figured it out. In your world, green means stop. And red? Red means go.”

Why are episodes like this one so much fun?

A lot of it is wish fulfillment. Shows like Smallville work because there are rules about what can happen and what can’t, and because the characters have well-defined boundaries. We all want Clark to tell his friends everything and do outrageous things with his powers. Shattering those boundaries and really going all out is just great… as long as they don’t do it too often, and we still have that all-important re-set button.

Tom Welling again did a terrific job as scary, sexy, uninhibited Clark. I got this feeling of smugness from him, like he wanted to boast to everyone that he was superhuman and just loved demonstrating his powers for Chloe. Clark must feel just a little of that when he’s not on red K; I mean, who wouldn’t, no matter how good they are? Pete was also terrific, betraying and manipulating Clark with green and red K; this was probably Pete’s best episode so far. I particularly loved him telling a crowd that Clark was an alien, and no one believing him.

But it was Chloe that I found most effective. Loved the attitude, the black streaks in her hair, the sex-pot thing with the lollipop. Clark and Chloe made a convincing couple, passionately making out in the back seat of a car and even at the Talon. Poor Chloe “finally made the Wall of Weird,” and doesn’t remember it. She would kick herself if she knew what she missed.

Clark and Lana decided to go on another date. Of course, everything went spectacularly wrong. Maybe if they made a pact never to try to date again, nothing would ever go wrong in Smallville. We can only hope.

Tempest694

Next in the best and worst is Season 1.

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “The Best and Worst of Smallville: Season 2

  1. Pingback: The Best and Worst of Smallville: Season 1 | The Progressive Democrat

  2. Pingback: The Best and Worst of Star Trek TNG: Season 4 | The Progressive Democrat

  3. Pingback: On The Amazing Spider-Man 2 | The Progressive Democrat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s