There haven’t been any updates in the past week because I’ve been on vacation. And when Big Honkin vacates, he vacates. So, after a week of doing as much of nothing as I could do, I’m back with renewed vigor to get done with the Summer of Smallville before Summer is officially over, and more importantly before season 7 gets up and going. Today, we have two great episodes starting with…
Episode 15 – “Nicodemus”
Michael Green’s teleplay of a story by Greg Walker
Directed by – James Marshall
Synopsis – Dr. Hamilton is back. He has successfully used the meteor rocks to revive an extinct plant known as the Nicodemus flower. The flower’s pollen has the strange effect of causing people to lose their inhibitions, become overly aggressive, and eventually slip into a coma before they die. Jonathan Kent, Lana Lang, and eventually Pete Ross all find themselves infected. Meanwhile, Lex, realizing what has happened, works feverishily with Dr. Hamilton to find a cure for those affected. In the end, Lana does a strip tease/water show for Clark, Clark has to save Lex from an angry Pete, and we hear once again of Clark’s fear of heights.
This episode gives a great moment right off the bat when Jonathan Kent turns his radio on. We hear, along with Jonathan Kent, the soothing sounds of Waylan Jennings singing “Good Ole boys,” the theme from the Dukes of Hazard. This is one of Smallville’s greatest strengths, the winks to the audience. They are there throughout the show, but they never break the fourth wall, and they seldom if ever come across as campy or over done.
“Nicodemus” also gives us the first glimpse into Pete’s true feelings about Lex. He doesn’t like him and he’s jealous of Clark’s friendship with him, this also comes into play at the end of the episode when Clark has to save Lex from Pete.
While going through these episodes with a more scrutinizing eye than I have in the past, I have developed a new appreciation for Kristin Kreuk’s ability as an actor and the chemistry she has with Clark, she gives us the two worst fake sneezes ever in the history of television or film…I mean, who sneezes like that? So dainty.
Twice in this episode Lex talks about a team that he has. One is a team of specialists to study the plant, the other is a team of doctors he’s flying in from Metropolis. Hey Lex, here’s an idea to save you some time and money with all those teams, don’t get wrapped up with a scientist who is just a little cooky and brings dangerous flowers back from EXTINCTION!!!!
When Clark discovers that Lex had checked out the book about the Nicodemus plant, Lex gives him some story that he remembered the legend and decided to look into it. This conversation is one of the examples why Lex and Clark’s friendship is destined to fail….neither one will ever be truly honest with the other one.
A few other great things this episode gives us:
Season 1 Episode 16 – “Stray”
Written by – Phillip Levens
Directed by – Paul Shapiro
Synopsis – Ryan, a boy with the abilities to read minds, runs away from his step dad, who has been using Ryan to help him rob various pawn shops and other places, after seeing him shoot a man in the face. In his escape, he is hit by Martha Kent who is driving home. She promptly takes him to the hospital and when Ryan needs a place to stay, the Kents open their home to him. Ryan, finding an acceptance that he has never known, becomes fast friends with Clark – the one person whose mind he can’t read. Clark, takes to Ryan like the little brother he never had. As Ryan’s step dad tracks him down, Clark has to step up and protect Ryan from being dragged back in to the life he once knew. In the end Ryan’s stepdad uses Ryan to try to get the password to Lex’s trust fund, Ryan goes to live with his aunt, the Kents show us once again why Superman is the man he will be, and a little boy trades a comic book hero for the one he now has in his real life. This episode is chock full of references meant to foreshadow events down the road, using Warrior Angel Ryan’s favorite comic book hero. And away we go with a look at one of the best episodes of the first season.
First, a qualification….hitting a boy running across the road does not count as an auto mishap…if it were a deer maybe, depending on the damage to the vehicle.
Throughout the episode, we see that Ryan isn’t a naïve little boy, he’s a little pushy once he gets into people’s head, but the way he covers for his abilities with the Kents during the breakfast scene, with Lex at the Talon, and the way he plants the seeds of doubt between his step dad and his step dad’s girlfriend in the end shows that he has some street smarts about him.
Warrior Angel is apparently the Superman of the Smallville universe, as far as fictional character in the universe go. Lex describes him as “A strange vistor from another planet.”
I like the way that there is a panel of the comic book that we get to see that is mimicked in the way that Clark saves Ryan in the garbage truck. “You’re safe now” with the light behind Clark shining into the truck looks just like the panel we see just before that seen with Warrior Angel in a similar position saying the same thing.
Speaking of the garbage truck, Clark really did some damage to that thing. Maybe they should do an episode where Clark actually is concerned about cleaning up the mess he causes in one of his rescues or fights.
Another aspect of this episode is Lionel finally asking Lex to come to Metropolis to join him in running Luthorcorp. Lex of course refuses and Lionel says’ “Crap factory.” Not a huge moment, but it’s really kind of funny to hear Lionel say crap factory. The real moment in that subplot though comes when Lionel tells Lex “I’m your future. Join me. Join me in Metropolis. How long have you been waiting to hear those words?” and Lex responds, “Ive been waiting to hear other things for a lot longer. I’ll return to Metropolis when I’m ready.” Lionel shows us a bit of the fear he harbors of his son when he asks, “At the head of an army?” This relationship is one of the dynamics that make this a consistently great show. Whether Lionel is so evil that we want to see him die and Lex is struggling not to become his father, or Lionel is the asset to Clark that he has apparently become and Lex is slipping further and further into the darkness that has been eating away at him, the constant battle of words and psychological chess game is intense and engaging.
On the subject of Lex, he mentions for the first time to Clark of his younger brother Julian who died shortly after his baptism. Are the Luthors church people?
Of course, Lex’s experience with Julian comes into play in a huge way in Season 3.
Then there’s the person that Clark is that reflects the person he will become, he is just a good guy and helps Ryan understand the responsibility he has to exercise with his abilities, also when Ryan warns Clark of the darkness that Lex harbors, Clark tells him, “I like to believe people’s best.” That is Superman, he fights not just to right wrongs and defeat evil, but to inspire people, even bad people to be the best they can be, to look inside themselves and find the good that he believes with all his heart is there.
A couple of questions that this episode raised….