Smallville – Episode 8-1 Review

I will say this: Smallville always does a phenomenal job with their “Previously on…” video montages. It has felt like a long time since this show has been on, so I really enjoyed the long reminder not only about what happened last season, but what occurred that led up to those moments as well.

I will also admit that it was quite surreal seeing the opening credits without Kristin Kreuk, Michael Rosenbaum, and John Glover. While I have long said that Lana desperately needed to be written, and I understand how killing Lionel was a necessity to advance Lex’s character, the credits really did seem empty without them. It was weird.

While I do think it’s a story point they’ve relied on a few too often the past couple of years (honestly, how often do we have to see Jor-El strip Clark of his powers to teach him some sort of lesson?), I do enjoy episodes in which Clark can’t simply rely on his abilities. First off, it’s nice to see that Clark doesn’t need to be invulnerable to be heroic. I also thought his “death scene” with Chloe was incredibly sweet. I loved how he asked her not to heal him, knowing that it would hurt her, despite the fact that he would die if she didn’t. Again, it shows that he cares more about the well being those he cares about than himself.

The overall theme of this episode was about growth and letting go of the past. Clark decided to say good bye to the farm (and essentially Lana), and Chloe finally decided to let go of her feelings for Clark by marrying Jimmy. I’m happy they established this progression right from the get-go. This show is notorious for brilliantly building up character growth, but ultimately falling very short when it comes to pulling the trigger (for example, I totally could have done without all of those Lana visions when Clark thought he was going to die).

Speaking of Clark’s almost-death, I enjoyed the brief scene with Martian Manhunter. Much like how Clark was willing to sacrifice himself for Chloe, Martian Manhunter was willing to give up his abilities to bring Clark back to life and rejuvenate his. As Martian Manhunter said, “we both know your destiny is greater.”

While it was weird seeing the opening credits without Lana, Clark’s scenes with Lois reminded me how much better the chemistry is between the two legendary Superman characters. There’s just something about Clark and Lois that is so much more interesting than Clark and Lana. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s almost as if Clark and Lana can only be (somewhat) interesting if they’re together or about to get together. Clark and Lois, on the other hand, can simply share the screen and still be fun. I’m thrilled that Clark is going to be part of the Daily Planet. It was a blast seeing Lois and Jimmy last year, and seeing all three of them together should be priceless.

I’m not completely sure what to think of these new villains yet. One of the reasons why characters like Lex and Lionel “worked” was because they were so multidimensional. That’s also why perhaps the show’s most successful years were the ones that focused on one of the Luthors instead of the Freak-of-the-Week. I’m concerned that Tess may turn out to just be some prototypical villainess, instead of a well developed character that has a believable, relatable motive for her actions.

I really liked all the stuff with the Justice League. They’ve really developed the Green Arrow into a pretty great character. I especially enjoyed when he came to Clark’s rescue in Russia. It was nice seeing them try to silently formulate a plan. Actually, something very similar happened when Clark and Lois crossed paths while trying to rescue Chloe. Come to think of it, this episode showed how Clark is slowly but surely becoming a bit savvier.

I am a bit confused about Chloe’s sudden code breaking ability. So is this supposed to be a side effect from the Kryptonite, or is she just some natural genius? Whatever the case may be, I like how they provided a bit of an explanation as to how she’s able to be such a proficient computer hacker. I’m guessing the end segment, where she blankly stared at the computer screen, was supposed to indicate that she’s, like, Krypto-free now?

Oh, and I SO DESPERATELY WANTED Clark to fly away when he and the rest of the Justice League split up and he began walking down the street (ESPECIALLY with the Superman music playing in the background). With this likely being the last season (has that been confirmed?), he’s obviously going to fly at some point. I’m sure the temptation is to have him fly in the finale, giving fans the impression that from that point forward, he’ll begin his life as Superman. I wouldn’t go that route, though. I’d actually have him fly as soon as possible (come to think of it, why WASN’T this the perfect opportunity? He had just been fully energized by the sun!)

For the life of me, I don’t know why the show refuses to take this necessary leap (yeah yeah, pun intended) in character development.

Matt Basilo has been writing for Inside Pulse since April 2005, providing his insight into popular television shows such as Lost, Heroes, Prison Break, and Smallville. You can visit his blog at A Case of the Blog.

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