Smallville – Episode 9-4 Review

So last week’s review of Smallville received quite a bit of feedback, which naturally thrills me. Most of the reader comments were in response to my thoughts on Chloe, and how I feel like the natural progression of her current story arc is to leave to find her own path. I feel like I should clarify those thoughts. It’s not that I want Chloe to leave. Anybody who has read my columns regularly should know that she’s one of my favorite characters on the show. I just feel like, based on what we’ve seen so far, this is where the story is going. Whether it’s been due to Clark’s silent treatment, or his budding relationship with Lois, or the resources Emil is now bringing to the table, there has been an obvious sense of “how important am I to the team?” emanating from Chloe. And directly or indirectly, I think this has also brought to the forefront all that Chloe has given up for Clark. She was once an aspiring journalist, whose dream was to write for the Daily Planet. She sacrificed that due to her loyalty to Clark. She sacrificed her marriage, and ultimately her husband was murdered, all because she felt that she had to babysit Davis, in large part because of the fact that he was a threat to Clark.

Oh, and didn’t she also kill somebody? I seem to remember her sneaking into somebody hospital room and pulling the plug.

It just seems like, to me, Chloe has sacrificed a whole lot, and it also occurred to me that we haven’t really seen her happy for any extended period of time in quite a while. As I noted in my comments last week, it’s a lot easier for us to watch Clark and Lois (and even Oliver) make these grand sacrifices because we know, ultimately, they end up happy. We know that Lois becomes an ace reporter for the Daily Planet and becomes the love of Superman/Clark Kent’s life. We know that Clark grows into the hero he aspires to be, with Lois hanging on his arm. Whether or not that happens in the show remains to be seen, but I don’t doubt that the series finale is upon us, it’ll end with the implication that everything we know from Superman is going to happen.

So, basically, we know that Clark and Lois have a happy ending. We don’t have that comfort with Chloe. As such, it’s a lot harder to watch her give up everything for Clark’s journey. Because, in the end, she’s not a part of it (based on what we know).

But, then again, this is all based on what we’re seeing so far. This story arc can quite as easily conclude with Clark realizing what a valuable friend and asset Chloe is, and having a renewed appreciation for what she has done for him. At which point, I may change my opinion and feel like she should stick around for a long time.

So there ya’ go. Hopefully that clears everything up. But, again, I really enjoyed all the reader feedback, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. And even more Smallville, Heroes, and TV content can be found on my blog, where I’m always seeking out some reader interaction. Be sure to visit!

Now, onto this week’s episode, which saw the return of Toyman and Jor-El.

As I’ve noted in my previous columns (to the chagrin of a reader or two), I’ve really enjoyed the relationship between Clark and Lois this season. It seems like the writers have finally given in to the “crap or get off the pot” mentality, and have decided to be explicit about these two having feelings for each other. And I daresay that this episode was the most obvious yet. Between Lois’ very revealing thoughts of Clark (constantly calling him hot) and Clark utilizing his new ability to get a date with Lois, it’s pretty damned apparent that these two are into each other. While this budding relationship has tested my patience from time to time, this season has restored my faith that they will get together at some point of the series (much like how I strongly feel that Clark should fly before the end of the series, I also believe he and Lois should get together in a moment other than seconds before “The End” pops up on the screen).

I do have to wonder this, though: Why did Clark feel the need to read the bouncer’s mind in order to come up with a fake name to get into the gala? Couldn’t he have just super-sped his way in there? Or, better yet, given his press credentials, as well as his relationship with Oliver and Tess, would it have been all that hard for him to gain legitimate entry? But I suppose that’s just nitpicking.

I did appreciate the overall theme of the episode, that the power of perception can help Clark recognize which people actually require his saving. Along with that, there were a few chuckle-worthy moments, like Clark saying, “Thanks dad” after his new ability fritzes out, just before a crucial moment. Certain mind-reading gags, like Clark “overhearing” Lois’ awkward thoughts regarding her uncomfortable undergarments, were obviously intended for easy laughs. Some of them were actually funny, though, so no harm, no foul.

I found Chloe’s reaction to Clark’s “selfish” intentions with his mind reading abilities interesting. I mean, it was just a few years ago that she had the same ability, and used that gift about as selfishly as possible. She ruined one teacher’s life, she attempted to find out Clark’s secret…there really was no filter whatsoever. Granted, Chloe has grown up A LOT over those years (I hated her then, I love her now), but clearly she can see that Clark isn’t doing anything malicious. She’s well aware of the fact that Clark likes Lois, and that Lois likes Clark. There’s nothing evil going on here, he’s just using this opportunity to nudge what is going to happen anyway. It’s like a drunken hook up.

But, again, did you see her reaction when Clark told her that, at the moment, he can only read Lois’ mind? You could tell that stung.

It’s funny, when Tess first debuted, I strongly disliked the character, feeling that she was one dimensional and lacked all of the depth that made Lex such a wonderful character. Plus I found it exceptionally odd that she was living in Lex’s mansion. Not exactly a standard businesses practice. However, she’s quickly developed into one of my favorite new characters (while last year was supposed to focus on Davis/Doomsday, I thought Tess was the antagonist-related highlight). Fact is, she does now possess some of the layers that made Lex great. She clearly has feelings for Oliver, but because of what she has gone through, she’s not willing to let her guard down to be with him. No matter how she feels, she won’t be with him if it makes her the least bit submissive. For that matter, when she was comforting Oliver, she quickly retreated from her comforting ways to focus on the business aspect of their relationship – where she was suddenly safe from becoming vulnerable.

And did anybody else get a Lara Croft vibe when she stormed that Mexican bar?

I can only imagine what the Smallville writers think of alcohol? Their ultra villains – Lex and Lionel – regularly enjoyed a glass of scotch. During his dark times Oliver turned to alcohol. Did Jimmy drink at all during his pill popping days? I don’t quite remember. And their Superman is impervious to the poison known as alcohol. Kidding aside, I do hope that this dark portion of Oliver’s story is behind us now. To coin the phrase I used earlier, this seems like the natural conclusion – Clark gains the ability of perception, and comes to realize how far Oliver has fallen. Recognizing that there are people out there who care for him, Oliver turns over a new leaf and gets the help he needs.

And with Clark a legit hero now, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Green Arrow back in action.

Matt Basilo has been writing for Inside Pulse since April 2005, providing his insight into popular television shows such as Lost, 24, Heroes, and Smallville. You can visit his blog at [a case of the blog].