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Summer of Smallville -

Steeee-RIKE!!!!

6

Sep

Posted by Steve

Summer of Smallville Logo

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 bighonkin@geekoutonline.com.

The Summer of Smallville –

I’ll Take a Double

4

Sep

Posted by Steve

Summer of Smallville Logo

 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:

-  A great shot of Pete when he’s infected, “You looking for me?”-  Lana tells Clark he’s holding back and says “You’re not made of steel are you?” No, but he is The Man of Steel.-  A wonderful moment for Annette O’Toole to shine as Martha Kent when she tells Clark how she met Jonathan. Tom does a great job of a son being strong for his mom even though the situation is eating him alive.-  I also like the fact that Clark has no way of knowing that those affected by the plant will forget what happened while under it’s influence, and he chooses to let Pete see his powers in action a bit rather than Lex.-  Oh, and I think it’s pretty funny when Clark knocks Pete out by going televangelist on him. I just want to holler, “HEALED!” when Clark slaps Pete’s forehead.The auto mishap count goes to 14 when the truck driven by the guy who runs Jonathan Kent off the road explodes.So a great vehicle explosion, some fun moments of John Schneider doing his own stunt driving, and Chloe cleverly evading Dr. Hamilton’s question of what she was doing at the accident site all add together to make this a great episode. This episode also lays the foundation for the fact that the meteor rocks can be used to do more than just give people powers. Cloning anyone? Oh, it’s coming.I give this episode 4 out of 5 whatever I’m giving five of because it’s just a great episode. So after Clark and Lana share some time at the top of the windmill out in Chandler’s field, we move on to one of the most foreshadowing filled episodes of the first season….

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….

-  Why does Ryan’s step dad try to kill him at the end? Ryan hasn’t given him Lex’ password yet.-  Ryan goes to Edge City. That’s a DC city I know…but I can’t think of what super hero makes it home. Isn’t that where the Mask is fromWith the inclusion of Five for Fighting’s song “Superman” at the end of this episode reflecting perfectly the theme of the episode and the whole series, the neat little foreshadowing bits we get through talk of the character of Warrior Angel, and the blatant look we get at just how good a guy Clark is, this episode is one of the best of a season full of great episodes. I give Ryan a 5 out of 5 whatever I’m giving five of. I know, I ended a sentence in a preposition…sue me.So, there you have it, your post-Labor Day Summer of Smallville update. There will be more tomorrow. Or maybe even later tonight. I would love to hear some of your thoughts on these episodes or other episodes of Smallville we’ve looked at. So please, comment using the link below or e-mail me at geekoutonline@gmail.com.Next time we get a few stinkers, so it could be fun. Thanks for reading.

Summer of Smallville -

Like a Bad Sandwich

With Really Good Bread

20

Aug

Posted by Steve

Summer of Smallville Logo

For this installment of the Summer of Smallville we have three episodes to look at.  Two are great episodes that explore the characters of Clark and Lex respectively.  The third is sandwiched between these two episodes and it explores the character of Whitney.  Yes, if this installment were a sandwich, it wouldn’t be a very good one, but you’d really like the bread.  It would be that gourmet bread that’s really soft and really tasty….ooh ooh ooh…the cheese bread stuff they have at Subway…mmmmm….great…now I’m hungry.  Well, grab a snack with me as we plow through three episodes starting with…

Season 1 Episode 12 – “Leech”

Written by – Tim Schlattmann

Driected by – Greg Beeman

Synopsis – Shawn Asmore (Iceman from the X-Men series) (and twin of Jimmy Olsen in the Smallville Universe) plays Eric, a bit of a nerd/loner type guy with a really strict dad who happens to be Smallville High’s Geology teacher. While on a rock collecting field trip, Iceman (Eric) makes his way to a huge dam where he stands on the edge (like an idiot) and listens to his music while a storm is coming in. The rest of the class is ready to leave and Eric’s dad let’s Clark go find where his son may be.  As Clark walks up on Iceman, Iceman slips (must be the ice).  Always the hero, Clark rushes in to save emo Iceman as he slips and almost falls. As he grabs Iceman, Clark is struck by lighning. At this point, I should mention that Iceman has meteor rocks in his bag as they had to find some on the rock hunting assignment. The combination of lightning and meteor rocks causes Iceman to gain Clark’s powers, thus transforming him from Iceman to Superboy and Clark into…uhm…well, normal Clark.  What ensues is a young man with incredible abilities that scare his parents. While he is accepted by the public at first, he quickly abuses his abilities and becomes a threat that Clark, who has actually enjoyed the stress free life of no abilities, feels compelled to stop him. In the end, Clark has to borrow Lana’s necklace, give up his enjoyment of a normal life, and get his powers back to stop Iceman from causing anymore trouble in Smallville. This episode marks the only time the name Superboy is uttered in the show.  Of course, fans of the comics know that this is an updated Superboy series, but due to legal issues surrounding the ownership of the character Superboy, you can bet that we won’t ever really see Superboy brought to the television screen anytime soon.  Even in the new cartoon, Legion of Superheroes, the character of Superman is (according to the comics) supposed to be SuperBOY.  However, the family of Jerry Siegel has the rights to that character locked up fairly tight.  Which is wierd when you think about it.  I mean…it’s Superboy…he becomes…Superman.  I also think it’s neat to note that Clark doesn’t like the name Superboy.  Who would?  Oh, wait, Emo-Iceman Eric liked it. Another thing this episode does well is give Clark a new found respect for his dad.  As Clark has to do his chores for the first time without his powers, he is amazed that his dad is able to get stuff done. He even asks his dad how he does it. To which Jonathan replies, “One day at a time.”There’s a lot more to say about the character of Jonathan in this story, but first I want to talk about Lex.In this episode, the Lex/Victoria Hardwick storyline comes to a close as Lex meets with Sir Harry and Victoria, and Sir Harry informs Lex that he plans on buying Cadmus labs, a property that Lex had been looking into.  With the profits he would gain from Cadmus, Sir Harry planned on buying Luthorcorp out right with no Lex or Lionel in the deal.  Later in the episode, we see the beginnings of the evil genius that Lex will become.  Lex knew that Victoria was spying on him and led her down a fake trail towards buying the defunct Cadmus Labs.  When Sir Harry makes his purchase, he realizes that he is now in a position to be bought out by Luthorcorp.  Way to go Lex.  When Victoria finally talks to Lex, he gives her the ultimate burn.  She says it was all business.  Lex replies, “You call sleeping with me business?  I hate to think what that makes you.”  OOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH!!!!!  We still love Lex in this first season, so we love to see this. Lex is also put back on the trail of Clark as Roger Nixon shows back up with a computer model of the only possible way the wreck in the Pilot could have taken place.  The model shows the car spinning out of control and striking a person before running off the road.  This puts Lex on the trail of Clark.  By the time Lex gets to Clark to confront him about it, though, Clark has lost his powers and is ordinary.  Of course, Clark is angry that Lex is looking into him and his family and even offers Lex a shot with a hammer.  Lex declines and later sees Clark with his broken ribs after the first time he tried to stop Eric in the school parking lot.  This evidence causes Lex to demand that Nixon lay off the Kents, we know that Nixon won’t however, and the road to the Season finale is now in sight.  It’s interesting to see that Lex genuinely seems like he would be safe to confide in.   The fact that Clark can’t bring himself to do it helps us understand why they can claim to be such good friends and yet the relationship always seems a bit strained.  Lex trying to pry a little too deeply for Clark’s comfort and Clark always dodging the questions only lays the foundation for the broken relationship that is to come.This episode is all about what makes Clark a hero.  There is the person that Clark is.  Toward the climax of the episode, Clark asks Jonathan if he was ever scared of Clark. Jonathan says, “You threw your tantrums, but you were a good kid.” 

More importantly, are the parents that Clark has.   Jonathan and Martha stand in direct contrast to Eric’s mom and dad.  When everything is going well for Eric after he breaks up the purse snatching attempt, his mom is scared and his dad has made calls to have Eric researched.  Eric tells his father, “You’re my dad, you’re supposed to protect me.”  That is exactly what Jonathan and Martha have done for Clark.  For twelve years, the Kents have had in their possession a spaceship and some kind of device with writing they can’t decipher.  Instead of being curious and going all over to get answers, they just took care of their son.  Also, they raised him to be a good person.  The statement is made twice, “You’re abilities are part of you, but they don’t define you.”  How true!  When people talk about Superman, yeah they speak of his incredible powers, but they ultimately turn to talk about how inspiring he is, how good he is, and the fact that his character defines him.  His powers are a part of him…but they don’t define him.  We’ve seen this again and again and again in the comics, tv shows, and even in the films.  The reason he is who he is though?  His parents.  His earthly parents.

Throughout this episode, as Clark deals with the loss of his powers, Jonathan is right there not only offering wisdom and platitudes, but also love and support.  Here are some statements that define this love and wisdom:

- “Clark, you’re our son whether you can benchpress a tractor or not.”

- “Life is hard whether you’re SUPER or normal.  (and I’ve made mention of this.) Your abilities were a part of you, but they didn’t define you.”

- Then Clark spells it out for us when he tells Jonathan, “Eric didn’t have my two greatest gifts.  You and mom.”

This episode also paints for us the struggle that Clark has when it comes to his abilities.  He finds himself enjoying losing a basketball game after being able to give it his all.  He is able to get around Lana even when she has her necklace on.  When Lana is talking to Clark and asks, “Can you imagine waking up one morning and having powers?”  Clark seriously responds, “It’s scary.”  The abilities are a gift, but they are a burden as well.  Clark isn’t just burdened by his secrets, he is burdened by the fear of what his powers could ultmately cause, he always has to be careful.

Bigger still is the hero we see. Not the one Clark will become, but the hero he IS.  When he goes to face Eric for the final time, he knows that he could literally be walking to his death.  He is the only one that can do it though.  He knows what needs to be done and he courageously heads out to do it.  This is Clark Kent…this is SUPERMAN.

Also of note in this episode is the beginning of the Talon saga.  Nell decides to sell the building much to Lana’s dismay.  Her parents first met in the old theatre, and it is a special place to her.   This is all resolved and The Talon becomes a perminant set piece beginning in the next episode.

God bless Greg Beeman as he gives us auto mishaps 10, 11, 12, and 13.  When Eric lifts up a truck to go after the jock that had given him a hard time when he hit on the jock’s girlfriend, he throws the truck aside destroying it.  Then when Clark steps in to try to stop him, he chucks Clark across the parking lot and Clark lands on top of a car smashing all of the windows and denting the top pretty severely.  Numbers 12 and 13 happen off camera, but the they merit a mention.  There are two cop cars that we see destroyed back at Eric’s house one turned upside down and burning in the street and one thrown through the roof.  B-E-A-UTIFUL!

Clark and Lana have a pertinent scene at the end as he returns her necklace in the lead box that Lex gave him.  Not only is he protecting himself, but Lana sees the box as a passive aggressive way for Clark to tell her to let the past go.  He doesn’t deny it.  So the necklace situation is handled.  For now.

I loved this episode.  Like so many others in the first season, this episode does a wonderful job of showing just how good Clark is and just how much he has to credit his parents for that.  And it does this again without feeling stale.  This episode definitely merits a 5 out of 5.  The best episodes are always the episodes where we get to see Clark step further into the role that he will one day play.  They never go too far with it though.  They never push him too far into the role too soon.  So, a great episode…once again followed by…eh…and that  “eh” comes to us in the form of….

Season 1 Episode 13 – “Kinetic”

Written by – Philip Levens
Directed by – Robert Singer

Synoposis – A group of thugs breaks into Lex’s mansion while Chloe is trying to conduct an interview. They seem to appear out of nowhere because they have the ability to walk through walls. During the robbery, Chloe is hurt and Lex’s vault is cleaned out. The thieves find a disc with sensitve LuthorCorp information on it and use it to blackmail Lex. We discover that the three thieves are all former jocks from Smallvile who are using meteor rock laced tattoo ink to tattoo themselves. The ink has a temporary effect of allowing them to be intangible and move through solid objects. As their bodies are developing a tolerance to the ink, they search for new blood to join them. They choose Smallville’s favorite Jock, Whitney Fordman. (Who will be playing the role of misguided jerk in this episode.) He lost his scholarship so he’s sad and depressed about being stuck in Smallville. Whitney quickly realizes that he’s in over his head. Clark steps in to try to help as Lex takes matters into his own hands. Meanwhile, Lana decides to set out to save the Talon. She approaches Lex with a sentimental story that doesn’t sell Lex on the idea of keeping the building around at all. Not one to see Lana hurt, Clark tells her Lex is challenging her and she comes up with a business proposal that transforms the Talon from abandoned theatre/flower shop into the new hang out for the gang. In the end, Whitney is redeemed, Lana is happy, and Lex is more entrenched in everyone’s life and has definitive proof of the effects of the meteor rocks…oh yeah, and one of the stupid jocks dies. You have just read the longest portion of the review of this After School Special edition of Smallville.

First off, how many times can a couple of characters use the term “bro?”  It was overkill in the script of this episode, and I didn’t care enough about this episode to count.  Sorry.  Actually, that’s not true, I started counting about halfway in just for the heck of it and quit when I got to ten.  Yeah, bro, too much.

This episode also shows us the overall problem with Whitney in the first season.  The writers didn’t quite know what to do with him.  Except make him the after school special fodder for the show.  He picks on Clark and Lana gets mad, so he apologizes. His dad gets sick, so he’s a jerk, but he learns that the people he cares about are strong enough to be there for him.  Now, he loses his scholarship, so he’s gonna be stuck in Smallville so he’s a jerk, gets in trouble, and learns a lesson.  After.  School.  Special.  (Ugh!)  And they need to decide if “bro” is a term they use affectionately or hatefully.  There’s no substitute for good vocabulary skills.

The real story of this episode is that Lex gets to see that meteor rocks can have an effect on people for the first time.  Outside of Earl Jenkins, he didn’t have any definitive proof.  Now, he does. 

Then there’s The Talon saga.  I’m glad that Lana was able to convince Lex to go into business with her.  I’m glad that we get The Talon.  I love that set.  But more than all of that, I’m glad that Lex is as unmoved by Lana’s crappy sentimental storytelling as I am.  It isn’t until she steps it up and does her research that Lex is sold on the idea.  This is Lana Lang that will be.  The smart, resourceful lady who knows how to get things done.  This is like her first step into that world. As an adult, she is a force to be reckoned with, whether it’s in the comics, the animated series, or even Superman 3. 

The best line of the episode comes from Lex when he is trying to help Clark deal with his guilt over Chloe’s injuries. (By the way, hospital visits stand at Chloe 1 Lana 0.  This surprises me.)(Don’t worry, Lana will make a comeback in that contest.) Lex tells Clark, “You can’t save the world.  All you’ll end up with is a Messiah Complex and a lot of enemies.”  I don’t know about the complex, but he does end up with the enemies.  (Of which Lex is chief.  Hmmmmmm.)

This episode was and “eh” episode.  It tried to explore the character of Whitney and I just don’t care enough to invest a lot of interest in his character.  These types of episodes are a necessary evil though.  Not every episode can be a home run.  You need a few base hits or even walks to set up for a grand slam.  And there is one coming.  I give this episode a 2 out of 5 because it’s not Pete driving a car,  (A reference you’ll understand afer Season 3) but it’s not all that good. 

So there’s the “eh” part of this really good bread sandwich.  That brings us to the next really good piece of bread…

Episode 14 – “Zero”

Teleplay of Story by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar by – Mark Verheiden

Directed by – Micheal Katelman

Synopsis – Smallville jumps off the beaten path a bit as we get our first look (since the Pilot) at Lex’s past. From the opening of the show, Lex is in trouble. The show opens with him beat up, tied up, and hanging upside down answering to a mysterious gunman. The gun man wants the truth of what happened at Club Zero (which was mentioned in “Hug”). At this point we get the first of a few flashbacks to three years ago at the club. Lex brings a friend, Amanda, to Club Zero. They are ushered in by Kasage, a bouncer who is friendly with Lex…for a price. Amanda’s fiance, Jude, is supposed to be gone for a couple of days on business, but in truth he is running around on her at the club. This is why Lex has brought Amanda, so that she would catch Jude in the act. In his anger, Jude attacks Lex. A fight ensues and Lex is stabbed. Jude is shot by Kaisage. Lex’s captor doesn’t believe him and reveals himself to be Jude who is supposed to be dead. The show teaser ends with a gun shot right before the opening credits roll. The show then takes us to Smallville one week prior. Clark’s class is assigned to write student biographies on randomly selected classmates. Clark of course winds up with Lana, and Chloe is assigned Clark. While trying to uncover the facts about Clark’s life, Chloe beins to look into his adoption which, as Jonathan reminds him, is a bit “complicated.” As the story unfolds, Jude shows up in Smallville to apply for the job of Assistant Manager at The Talon. Things get crazy as Jude torments Lex by messing with his car, killing Kasage and delivering his severed hand to the Talon, and finally dumping chemicals from Luthorcorp’s plant onto the Kents’ grazing land killing their cattle. When Juse finally kidnaps Lex, we find out that it’s not Jude, but a look alike paid by Amanda’s brother to do all these things. The shot fired at the end of the opening teaser is Amanda’s brother (who is also the contractor doing the remodelling work at the Talon.) shooting the fake Jude. He reveals that Amanda has killed herself – he thinks because of how much she loved Jude.  Of course, Clark gets to Lex just in time to save him.  In the end, Clark has to learn that Lex is a friend with a shady past, it was really Amanda who killed her fiance, Chloe and Clark have a falling out about her methods of digging into his past, and a wedge is driven further between Jonathan and Lex. The synopsis really doesn’t do the show justice.

If Leech was a look into the character of Clark and Kinetic was an After School Special look into the character of Whitney, then Zero is a gritty look at the person who is Lex Luthor.  From the beginning, we see that Lex is always out for Lex.  It may seem like he was trying to help Amanda out by showing her what kind of guy she was going to marry, but I have to think there was either some type of rivalry between Lex and Jude, or he just wanted to be the friend to be there for Amanda to come to when it was over between her and Jude.  Also, we see that Lex will go to many lengths to protect his friends.  He let Kasage take the blame for shooting Jude to keep Amanda out of any trouble, even as he was about to die, he altered the story enough to hide the truth but still try to placate his captor.  

However, his unwillingness to come completely clean even after the death of Kasage shows his “ends justifies the means” philosophy of life. 

It’s interesting to note (do I use that phrase too much) that Clark becomes frustrated by Lex’s secrets, but expects Lex ust to accept his.  If I didn’t like Clark so dern much I’d call hypocrite.

There are no real auto mishaps in this episode.  There aren’t really any incredible foreshadowing moments or Superman references.  But we do get mention of two great DC cities Central City and Bludhaven, the future stomping grounds of the Flash and Nightwing respectively. 

While this episode didn’t do much to further the storyline, you can’t deny that it’s a great episode.  We see Clark save Lex yet again.  We get the beginnings of the story of Clark’s adoption which, to quote Jonathan Kent, is “complicated.”  We don’t get the rest of the story until Season 2, but it is a great question planted in the mind of the viewer…”How did the Kents pull that off?”

Finally, you have to remember that Chloe is a character introduced in this show so we don’t know her fate.  We don’t know if she will be Clark’s greatest friend in Smallville or if she’ll eventually bring him down.  The creators obvioiusly were up in the air about this as well because at the end of the episode we see her debating with herself whether or not to delete the information she has on Clark’s adoption.  She doesn’t delete it.  Now, we know where the story goes, but we didn’t back in 2002, so this was a great way to make us wonder what role Chloe would play.

This episode merits a 4.5 out of 5 for me.  Why?  I don’t know.  I just feel like I can’t give it a full five.  It’s a gut feeling kind of thing.  I loved this episode though.   As I said in the synopsis, the synopsis doesn’t do the show justice. This review doesn’t really do the show justice.  It was just a good solid episode.  It stands on it’s own.  The great thing about Smallville at this point was that it wasn’t too full of itself.  The creators really worked to put out the best possible television every week, but they never assumed the show would last.  So every arc they began could be neatly tied up if needed.  The wedge driven between Lex and Jonathan due to the loss of the cattle really comes full circle in the next episode, the Chloe stuff takes care of itself by the season finale, and at any given moment Lex could turn on Clark.   That’s smart writing.  However, we know what is to come and quite honestly, it only gets better.  

Well, I know it’s a lot to take in, and the task of making it through 5 other seasons seems daunting this late in the Summer…but I will continue to try.  Check back often for more updates.   Oh, and don’t feel bad about helping the site out with a digg or a stumble. Thanks for reading.

Smallville at ComiCon

20

Aug

Posted by Steve

The Smallville panel from the San Diego ComiCon is available to watch on YouTube.  If you’ve never had the chance to go to a convention or sit in a panel like this, the experience of fan reaction is enough to go check these things out.  If you’re a Smallville fan, then it’s worth seeing.

The video is in three parts and the link here will take you to part one.  From there it is easy to look in the right hand column and move to parts two and three.

The first part of the video has some things about season seven that make me smile. 

I’ll be honest and say that out of all the years Smallville has been on the air, I am looking forward to this season the least.   Season six seemed to be a bit of a hiccup in the process of telling Clark’s story.  The creators and writers seemed to have a lot of ideas, but didn’t do such a great job of tying everything together as they had in the past.   As much as I loved the season finale last season, I still came away from the overall season slightly underwhelmed and a little disappointed. 

BUT…there are some tidbits in this panel that make me smile. 

Here are all three links:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 Expect a Summer of Smallville update later this evening, we should be into Season 2 by week’s end.

Summer of Smallville –

Away We Go!

17

Aug

Posted by Steve

Summer of Smallville Logo

The hardware issues are fixed.  The episodes got better. And before we start, a shout out.  I want to say hello to a new reader.  Her name is Ansley, and in “real life” she and her husband Jonathan are two of my best friends.  The year was 2003.  It was Summer.  Those of us who were fans of Smallville were anxiously waiting to see what would become of Clark on red kryptonite.   I had recorded most of the episodes of the second season for a friend of mine who was in college and didn’t get to watch Smallville on Thursday nights.  I had one of the tapes I had recorded the show on in my car, and I handed it to Ansley.  I said, “Just let Jonathan watch this if you guys aren’t doing anything, he might like it.”  The next day, I got a phone call….from Ansley.  They wanted more.  Smallville was a drug and I was their supplier.  That Friday night we found ourselves sitting in a booth at Ruby Tuesday talking Smallville.  Actually, they were asking dozens of questions and I was fielding them as best I could.  Since that fateful Summer day, we have been inseparable in our Smallville bond.  We have thrilled to season premieres, we were on the phone with each other as Jonathan Kent passed away, and we all cheered as the show gave us things to cheer about.  Smallville is better when it’s shared, and it’s great when it’s shared with good friends.  Now, I bring my friends Jonathan and Ansley deeper into my world of geekdom and welcome them to the site with open arms.

Season 7 is right around the corner, and every Friday you can check here for detailed reviews and recaps of the show.  I have chosen this season to remain unspoiled.  I know the major details that have been released to the general press and stuff, (i.e. Supergirl, Dean Cain, Helen Slater, etc.)  but plot points and surprises that I have been privy to in the past, I am avoiding.  Right now there is a lot of information about the first few episodes over at Kryptonsite, so you can head over there and check out all kinds of news and stuff.  But there is only one place you will find the Summer of Smallville, and that’s right here!  So, without further ado….

Season 1 Episode 11 – “Hug”

Written by – Doris Egan

Directed by – Chris Long

This is the team that brought us Lex’s foreboding future in “Hourglass”

Synopsis – Bob Rickman is an industrialist that has an amazing ability to get what he wants.  We learn in the teaser, that when he touches people, he can persuade them to do whatever he wants them to do.  We are introduced to this when he persuades an environmentalist who would keep him from building a plant in Smallville to kill himself.  In Smallville, we are introduced to Kyle Tippett, a loner who lives in the woods and has the classic reputation of the guy who is up to something sinister.  He is portrayed by Gregory Sporleder who is one of those actors that you’ve seen in a million different things, and you know that you recognize the face, but you can’t quite place it.   Anywho, Lana’s horse is spooked and the first time we see Kyle he is standing over Lana who is just coming to as Clark gets to her.  What ensues is eveybody but Clark thinking that Kyle has snapped and is out to hurt people.  Clark takes a chance on Kyle, and as Bib Rickman comes to town things ramp up.  We find out that Kyle and Bob used to be salesmen together and were trapped in a car during the meteor shower.  When the dust settled, they found that they had the power to get people to do anything they wanted.  Kyle, scared of abusing his power, took to being a hermit in the woods of Smallville.  Bob, decided to use the ability to get rich.  In the end, Lana and Clark have a falling out over the Kyle situation, which gets resolved, Rickman convinces Jonathan to do the unthinkable and sell the farm, Kyle comes out of hiding to stop Rickman, and Lex delivers one of the greatest lines in the whole of the show’s run….oh yeah…and Clark gets lit up by an uzi. 

This is one of those shows that is just packed with little moments when we get glimpses of the man Clark will be and the future he will have.

-  When Clark is talking to Lex about how he thinks Kyle may not be such a bad guy, and how much heat is getting from Lana and Whitney over the situation, Lex refers to Clark at Atticus.  Lex then explains TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD to Clark.  Clark, at this point isn’t familiar with it, but if you’ve ever read the Reign of the Supermen comic when the real Superman finally returns, you know that he mentions TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD to Lois to convince her that he’s the real deal.  Why?  It’s his favorite book.  I don’t know if this was an intended reference, but it’s there and it’s cool.

- Clark races a bullet and loses because he gives it a head start, but he gets to Kyle quick enough to keep others from hitting him.

- There is a great moment when Clark tells Kyle, “When you have a gift, you can’t just hide in the woods and hope it goes away.”  This is Clark who has had to use his abilities to save friends, family, and even Smallville.  This is Clark who takes his powers very seriously and I love the thought that he is disturbed by anyone who would choose to simply be inactive with his gifts.

- The coolest moment of the show comes when Lex is under Rickman’s influence and trying to kill Kyle.  Clark tries to protect Kyle and actually saves him from a burning car right in front of Lex.  Lex now knows that Clark has powers, as he is seeking to not only kill Kyle, he is now facing down Clark.  It’s great to see these two face each other.  What is telling though is the way Lex loses his inhibitions under Rickman’s influence.  He let’s Clark know what is really going on in his mind.  His disappointment with Clark’s unwillingness to share his secret comes out in this statement.  “Respect and fear are the betyou you can for.”  You can actually see Lex enjoying being evil.  Then…

- He fires the uzi (at least I think it’s an uzi.  It’s an automatic weapon of some kind.) at Clark and the bullets are coming too many, too fast for Clark to dodge.  He ends up getting lit up all over his back.  This is the first time we see that Clark is bulletproof.  It’s just an awesome moment as Lex unloads with a look of glee on his face and Clark goes down.   Later, we see Clark bruised from the impact, but otherwise unscathed, once again, reminding us that he has yet to come into his full powers.

- Then Lana and Clark make up.  They confirm their friendship for each other and Lana tells Clark that she thinks they will be friends for a long time.  Even in the season six Lana marries Lex debacle, the Clark/Lana relationship is something that has neer been explored in quite this way.  They have a genuine love for each other, and for whatever reason, they will never be together.  But, they will be friends for a very long time.

- Finally, we get one of the best lines of the season if not the entire show.  Lex and Clark are discussing how Kyle and Rickman’s friendship fell apart.  Clark asks Lex if he thinks that will ever happen to them.  Quote Lex, “Clark, our friendship is going to be the stuff of legend.”  Indeed it will sir…indeed it will. 

This episode is great to me because of how Clark responds to Kyle Tippett.  While everyone else is ready to lynch the guy, Clark stands in the gap seeing the best in him and ready to help him however he can.  Then of course, there’s the conversation that Lex and Clark have at the end of the episode.  It’s almost painful to see a few of their better moments  together and realize where things are with them on the show now.  Also, we are left with Kyle wandering off with the intention of using his ability to help people.  This is the first time we see a “meteor freak” make that choice.  So, between Clark getting shot by Lex and helping a guy get on the right path, and especially considering the awesome line delivered by Lex at the end of the show, I have to give this episode a 5 out of 5.  Why so highly rated.  There are other moments too.  Chloe kissing Clark and their discomfort at the situation, Whitney hitting Clark with a bat, oh yeah…and a man falling to his death and ruining a taxi in the process makes auto mishap mumber 8 and Lex dowsing a car with gas a torching it up makes auto mishap number 9.  With all of that, you have to love this episode.  It’s the way it makes you smile when it’s over.

So I know that’ s only one episode. I have several more to post on, but for now we’ll leave it at that.