The task seems more daunting than ever at this point, so I don’t know if I’ll get every episode of all six seasons in before the season premiere on September 27th, but I’m gonna try and we’ll at least talk about the seasons as a whole before Season 7 gets here. Speaking of the season premiere, the premiere Smallville website, Kryptonsite, has posted the first images released by CW from the second episode of the season, “Kara.” Click here to check out the pics.
In today’s installment in the Summer of Smallville, we get three strikes. Not the bowling kind, the baseball kind. Understand, each episode has some redeeming qualities, but overall these are my three least favorite episodes of the first season. From the touch of death to death without touching…oh, and bees, these episodes seem to miss the mark of being interesting. So let’s begin with….
Season 1 Episode 17 “Reaper”
Written by – Cameron Litvack
Directed by – Terrence O’Hara
Synopsis – Tyler Randle’s mother is in the hospital and dying. As he goes to visit her, she asks that he help her end the pain that she is in. Tyler obliges with a pillow, and is promptly thrown out of the building. Literally. The dude goes falling out of a window to his demise. At least he would have fallen to his demise had he not been wearing a bracelet with a meteor rock set in it. The meteor rock broke and a shard became lodged in his wrist not only bringing him to life, but giving him the touch of death. Literally the guy touches someone and they turn to a pile of ash. Talk about ashy hands. Anywho, Tyler takes it upon himself to be some type of savior to those in pain. Just like Clark will one day work at a great metropolitan newspaper so he can know whenever there is trouble, Tyler goes and works at Meals on Wheels, an organization in Smallville set up to bring food to people who are bound in their homes because of illness, so that he can know who wants to die. So he can help. What a freak! Meanwhile, Jonathan is all pumped for his and Clark’s annual father/son fishing trip. Clark, on the other hand, is not. When Lex offers Clark and Jonathan tickets to Sharks game in Metropolis tensions rise between the father and son and Clark lets slip that he hates fishing. In the father/son strained relationship department though, Lionel one ups Jonathan once again as he sends his little right hand man. Dominic, to look into the bookkeeping practices at the plant in Smallville. Lex, of course, takes offense at this and makes Dominic’s job tough. While all this is going on, we are force fed one other father/son relationship. Whitney’s dad has gotten worse and is in the hospital. Whitney, not wanting to see his father in such a weak state, refuses to go to the hospital and visit him. Lana gets Clark to step in and talk to Whitney. In the end, Whitney goes to visit his dad and Tyler is there to deliver his ashy touch of death, Clark let’s Tyler know that his mother is still alive and recovering, Tyler touches himself (it sounds dirty, but he was killing himself.), and Lex stuffs Dominic in a truck and takes him back to Lionel. Oh, Jonathan and Clark make up and give us the corniest joke ever in Smallville if not television. This episode just feels drug out. The two most redeeming moments in the show are when Clark tells Tyler that he believes as long as we have life there is hope. Superman fights for life. That’s who he is. He looks at his powers and realizes that he can either use his powers for destruction or for life…he chooses to fight for life.Secondly, is the bit with Lex and Lionel. When Lex shows up in Metropolis with Dominic in the trunk of a car, Lionel’s response is “Well done.” He then closes the trunk with Dominic still in it. Dominic is still alive and it’s just a great moment of how hateful a person Lionel is.Outside of that, this episode feels forced. It drags on and the emotions that are supposed to be there are not there at all. For this reason, I give this episode a 1 out of 5. I hate doing that, it hurts, but it’s really not a good episode.
So from death dealer to overachiever bee keeper we go with….
Season 1 Episode 18 “Drone”
Written by – Philip Levens and Michael Green
Directed by – Michael Katleman
Synopsis – There are three kids running for class president. Paul, who seems to the be the all around good guy, smart, able to carry himself socially, and well known enough to be a player is Chloe’s favorite. Then there’s Shasha. She’s an overachiever with a “need” to win. She ends up being the story’s villain. Did I spoil that too soon? Finally, Felice is the popular girl who appears to be getting votes based on her status with the in-crowd and her looks. After Paul is attacked in his bathroom by a swarm of bees, Pete throws Clark’s name in the running. Clark is going to bow out at first, but after talking to his parents he decides to stick with it. Thank God for Jonathan Kent’s sage advice that doesn’t sound like a fortune cookie at all. (“Quitting is a hard habit to break son.”) After talking to Lex, Clark comes away with a campaign slogan taken right from the title of a Superman comic book: Clark Kent – Man of Tomorrow. Principal Kwan is leaving the school parking lot (a lot earlier than any other principal I’ve ever known. Most of the time they are among the last to leave the school grounds, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one leave with the students) when he drives up on Felice’s car. She has been attacked by bees. Kwan, like a brave man who cares for his students recoils in fear and almost cries. No wonder the kid in the next episode thinks Kwan ran him down. (Oops. Spoiled that one a little bit too.) Clark and Chloe work together to figure out that it is Sasha who is somehow controlling the bees. When she sics them on Clark in the Talon, he rushes Lana into a closet and sprays the bees down with a freon line from a freezer. (This would have been a great time to develop super breath.) Meanwhile, Lex has a tete de tete with a reporter from a Metropolis news magazine named Carrie Castle. (What is it with the Superman story and alliterated names?) Anywho, we could have done without this little side story, Lex ends up keeping her from publishing an unflattering story about him. In the end, Clark Superman’s up and stops Sasha, Paul wins the election, and we get a cool explosion. Yeah…the best thing about this episode was Sasha’s “Campaign Headquarters” exploding when Clark ruptured a propane tank to kill the bees that were revolting against Sasha. I have to say, I’ve never been in a school where class elections are as big a deal as they are made in these tv shows. Look for a future blog about things we see in television on a regular basis that we never see in real life. Anywho, I give this episode a 2 out of 5 both points come from Clark stepping it up and facing down Sasha. I always love it when Clark hits that place where he is confident that he is doing the right thing and he is resolved in the face of his enemy. He did that well in this episode, so while I was hoping for a swarm of bees to carry me away most of the time, I did enjoy the glimpses of Superman we got in this episode. So, Tyler’s ashy hands, Sasha’s bee keeping, and finally we get Justin played by Adam Brody of “The O.C.” fame. If Lana’s voice annoys me sometimes, this guy just makes me mad every time he speaks. It’s like are you gonna cry? Cry! Just stop talking like you’re on the verge of tears….and tell the gnome rubbing the balloon against the back of your throat to stop.I’m sorry I digress we have to get on to….Season 1 Episode 19 “Crush”
Written by – Philip Levens, Al Gough, and Miles Millar
Directed by – James Marshall
Synopsis - As I said before, Adam Brody, the guy from “The O.C.” who has a voice that sounds like someone trying to play a violin without having ever SEEN a violin before, plays Justin Gaines, a kid who was the victim of a hit and run accident and lost the ability to use his hands. (How’s that for a long sentence?) This is a problem for him more than it would be for anyone else because not only is he the cartoonist for the Torch (an important job that would carry him for years and years), but he also loves art…it’s all he has. Sad. Somehow…a very conveniently unexplained somehow….Justin develops the ability to move things with his mind. Ready for a vocabulary lesson? I know everyone realizes this, but I have to point out to some of our less geek readers that this ability is called telekinesis. So, he causes the doctor who he thinks botched his surgery to lose the use of his hands, draws a hot little picture of Chloe, finds out it was Principal Kwan who ran him over, kills Principal Kwan, tries to kill Chloe when she finds out the truth, and gets his hand-rubbing-against-an-inflated-balloon voiced butt kicked by Clark. In the end, we learn that it wasn’t Prinicpal Kwan, but his son that ran over Justin, Clark begins to realize his feelings for Chloe, and Whitney’s dad dies suddenly. Really, I don’t mean to make light of the situation, but it was out of left field. I mean his dad was on the mend…getting better….FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! It had to be done though. It also brings the only emotion we get in this episode to the show. Other than the anger I feel because of having to listen to Justin’s voice. This episode wasn’t a total loss, but considering that Al Gough and Miles Millar stepped in enough to have a writing credit on this episode, I expected better. They are the creators. They should want their show to be better than this. I honestly think this was two shows crammed into one because the stuff with Lex and Pamela Jenkins is quite compelling. Pamela is a former caretaker of Lex who disappeared when Lex’s mother died. She is dying of cancer but doesn’t tell Lex, she just wanted to have one last chance to have a relationship with him. When Lionel tells Lex that she’s dying, Lex changes his stance from walled up and pushing Pamela away to having a fairly open conversation about the man he is and wishes to be with her. I’m assuming the Lex stuff was Gough and Millar. The Justin stuff…Levens.Not desiring to be totally negative though, there are a few good things about this show:- Right as the show opens up, Clark is told by Kwan’s son, the Air Force recruiter, “I see you in a uniform flying.” How right you are young Soon-to-jail Kwan. (Soon for short) How right you are! - Chloe and Clark’s relationship has the screws put to it a bit and Chloe is brought to the forefront as a character, and Allison Mack as an acting force to be reckoned with.- I also love Chloe’s ready acceptance of Justin’s powers. This doesn’t change. When she finds out about Clark, the fact that she cares about him more than a story is what drives this character from that point on out…but this moment is where we see that Chloe would be accepting.- In the fight between Justin and Clark, Justin flings Clark into the loft of the barn. He talks a little smack and gets a tap on the shoulder. He turns around to see Clark standing there. Great Superman moment.
- I know I don’t make it a habit to talk about actors on the show, but Michael Rosenbaum plays the reaction to the news about Pamela so well. He is visibly shaken and you know exactly what he is going through emotionally with no words spoken at all.
This episode was not without it’s issues though:
- I can’t say enough about how much I dislike Justin’s voice or Adam Brody’s line delivery. I’m sure Adam Brody is a great guy and would be cool to hang with, I can just do without his acting in this episode. I never watched an episode of “The O.C.” so I don’t know if this was a one time thing or what.
- Little continuity error at the funeral – One moment Clark has an umbrella and the next he’s standing out in the rain.
- How selfish are Clark, Chloe, and Lana all portrayed at the funeral? Here is one of their friends dealing with the loss of his father and they are all looking longingly at one another. At least Clark is looking longingly at Lana and she at Clark. Chloe is looking longingly at Clark with only ten million fan boys looking longingly back at her.
- When Clark deflects the chainsaw with his body, instead of pouring on the attack or running, Justin asks the all important question….how’d you do that?
Ultmately I give this episode a 3 out of 5 because it’s not a bad episode, it’s my own personal problems with the character of Justin. He is a good villain. His motivation is revenge and that adds a “bad guy” quality to him that we’ve only gotten from like one or two other villains in this first season. The storyline with Lex and Pamela is compelling, and anytime we get a glimpse into Lex’s past, it is an engaging tale. So yeah, I’ll admit, an average episode.
Fortunately, the next two episodes are anything but simply average. Not only are they outstanding, they mark the final episodes of this season. So check back soon, for the season finale of the Summer of Smallville. As always, please feel free to chime in with your comments, and if you would like to e-mail me for any reason shoot me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.