Sunday, April 22, 2007

"That's what you took to fake a pregnancy, and force a marriage to a billionaire" - Smallville

(Sorry about the lack of review for Smallville’s last, ‘Combat’. It was just so awful that I couldn’t muster up the energy to recap it.)

This week’s Smallville, ‘Progeny’, featured a guest turn from Lynda Carter, aka Wonder Woman, as Chloe’s mother Moira Sullivan. It’s always been a big part of Chloe’s character that when she was a child, her mother was declared insane and put into a mental asylum. Chloe’s own fears at losing her sanity were explored in season five’s ‘Tomb’ (which, in typical Smallville fashion, buried any trace of character exploration underneath a tepid mystical storyline about the sprit of a young girl haunting people). ‘Progeny’ reveals that in fact Chloe’s mother wasn’t insane, but had put herself inside the asylum to protect Chloe and the world from her dangerous power. My immediate reaction to this twist was anger, mostly at the show’s writers for reversing an integral part of their best character just so another TV has-been could guest star. But hey, that’s Smallville for you.

The episode itself, in an unfortunate but inevitable fashion, is very mediocre. A large portion of the episode gets bogged down in a bunch of hokum about blackouts and mind control, so it’s almost twenty-five minutes before Chloe and her mother are even reunited. Things improve somewhat from that point, but not thanks to the guest star. Lynda Carter has built her whole ‘career’ around the fact that she played Wonder Woman for three years back in the late seventies, and luckily for her this seems to have distracted everyone from the fact that she cannot act to save her life. Her performance is so awful that even Tom Welling out-acts her. Her flatness also serves to accentuate the considerable talents of Allison Mack, who consistently rises above bad material to deliver great performances. This week Mack is fantastic, especially in the final scenes where she had to once again say goodbye to her mother. It’s a testament to Mack that despite all the stupidity that had come before and despite Carter’s astonishingly un-emotive effort, I was still a little touched.

It goes to show that Chloe really is Smallville’s greatest commodity, and has been for most of its run. Even with a script as dull as that of ‘Progeny’, this week’s instalment was superior to the last four simply because it was Chloe-centric. The show’s writers seem to have picked up on this lately considering how much screen-time Mack has been getting. Then again, a recent article revealed that one of Smallville’s four main castmembers will be killed by the end of the season, and described the character as a fan favourite. All my instincts tell me it’s going to be Chloe. Lets hope in this case that my instincts are dead wrong. It’s hard enough to justify my continued viewership of Smallville as it is – if they kill of Chloe, I might really have to give up on the show.

(Oh yeah, and there was a big revelation this week about Lana’s mysterious pregnancy – turns out, she was never pregnant to begin with. The plot thickens, eh? Here’s hoping they can resolve this long-building mystery in a satisfying way. It’s certainly quite intriguing.)


Todd VanDerWerff said...

If they kill off Chloe, I will stop not watching this show and actively despise it.

Also, I will give Allison Mack some form of work.

Libby said...

Item: There is no way watching Smallville is more painful than watching Idol, ergo, I should not have to review Idol anymore.