Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Who doesn’t love the story of a small-town boy who grows up to save the world?": Smallville

OMG, like, I can’t believe Chloe actually said that quote? The IRONY? I didn’t even know Smallville could do irony!!

Not really. Actually, this is hardly the first time the writers have pulled some jokey references to Clark’s future, nor will it be the last. It’s actually really irritating, as anyone still watching this show have resigned themselves to the fact that we will not be seeing Clark make the change from farm boy to superhero until probably the last few episodes of the series. And who knows when that will be. So we have had to put up with the Green Arrow going on about Clark’s responsibility to the world, and now Lana admitting that one day the world will need Clark more than her, knowing all the while that this ain’t gonna happen any time soon. Such references are therefore less foreshadowing, and more a giant FUCK YOU to the audience. (As you can probably guess, I didn’t think much of Clark receiving a red cape as a present this episode. It was a pathetic and unnecessary moment.)

Luckily, Smallville has picked up a good new habit recently – when one storyline goes nowhere we haven’t seen before, there’s often another going somewhere more interesting. In ‘Action’ that was the journey of Lana, who it seems has taken up the mantle of Lex as the official shipper for ends-justifying-the-means. This week saw the return of Lionel, who initially seemed to be caught in a bizarre remake of Misery, right down to his captor’s choice of weapon: a hatchet. Thankfully, things quickly take a turn for the more interesting – turns out Lana’s the one who captured Lionel, and had been paying crazy hatchet woman to keep him in the middle of nowhere. She’s still got some stuff to learn, as at the moment she’s about the worst fake-Lex ever, but any plotline that takes a Smallville character in a genuinely new direction has got my support. Best of all, Lana’s transformation is effectively showing the effect her and Lex’s disastrous marriage has wrought on her. This was shown in a well-written and well-played scene between her and Lionel near the end of the episode. He warns her against going down a dark path for the sake of revenge, urging that she let Lex go before it’s too late. One could argue that this plot just makes Lana the secret-keeper in the Clana relationship rather than Clark, which is hardly genius writing. But I like it nonetheless, and Kreuk seems to be relishing Lana’s new direction.

The baddie this week was interesting – a comic fan who is so outraged with the changes made in the film adaptation that he becomes murderous. In a plot point which will resonate with all manner of comic geeks, he is angry because the hero’s love interest, who dies in the comics (à la Gwen Stacy), is going to survive in the film. This fan believes so intensely that the hero must suffer loss as part of his journey that he tries to kill the actress playing the love interest (guest star Christina Milian – not bad at all). However, after witnessing Clark’s powers he turns his attention to Lana, attempting to kill her instead in the hope that Clark will then become a proper superhero. As a show that has close to cannibalised its source, it’s hypocritical of Smallville to attempt critical commentary on this subject. But the villain’s motivation was clever and very original, if extremely silly.

All in all, not a bad episode, if an especially ridiculous one. It was particularly chock-full of references, and while those to the Superman mythology didn’t work, the other comic allusions were more compelling. Not looking forward to next week though, as it places the focus upon Kara, who I really didn’t miss this episode. Not encouraging for such a new character.


Carrie said...

I had a Tivo malfunction and missed this episode. And did you know they don't sell Smallville on iTunes or stream it on The CW website? Curious. I'm not that sad to miss it but I would have liked to see the Lana/Lionel stuff.

Joey Sims said...

Don't worry, you didn't miss anything. Only other development I didn't mention was that Grant sort of asked Lois out, but then backtracked on it really quickly. I think it says something that absolutely nothing happened in their scenes, but they were still among the best.