Sunday, November 04, 2007

“We may be cousins, but I don't have to like you.”: Smallville

Silliness pervades in the sixth episode of Smallville’s seventh season, ‘Lara’. It’s Kara-centric, and sadly confirmed my severe doubts about the addition of her character. The thing is, Kara is boring. She’s just dull. All she does is bitch, moan and whine, usually directing her dissatisfaction squarely at Clark. Yet the writers never really show sympathy for her as a character, instead presenting Clark as the smart one in all their conflicts. As a viewer, I have not once felt sorry for Kara, or even felt like the writers really wanted me to feel sorry for her. She feels more like an annoying distraction. This hasn’t been helped by Laura Vandervoot’s bland performance – not that it’s in any way her fault.

Also abused by the writers recently, Jimmy has gotten a whole lot worse since becoming a regular. The basic problem is that too many characters know about Clark's secret (Chloe, Lana, Lionel). Lex remains in the dark, but I doubt that will last much longer. Jimmy ends up left out in the cold. He seems to live in his own little world as a character, completely ignorant of everything going on around him. This week he begins a potential relationship with Kara, despite Chloe’s cryptic objections. His response to her warning is a summation of his character’s mistreatment: “It’s not like Kara is from a different planet or anything.” Gimme a break. Aaron Ashmore is an excellent actor, and he’s playing this stuff as well as he can (although his “Wow!” after Kara kissed him was completely OTT), which makes Jimmy’s increasing pointlessness all the more infuriating.

It seems this review has become a round-up of why all the characters suck, so I guess I’ll just keep going. Lex is all over the place, technically trying to do good but in a way that somehow still appears evil. Lionel…I don’t even know. Apparently he’s Clark’s friend now. He tells off Lex for the way he treated Lana near the end – obviously the writers forgot that Lionel murdered his own parents, and thus can’t really be taking the moral high ground. Regardless, this character lost all point a long time ago. Chloe’s just wandering around nursing a broken heart, and I doubt Jimmy’s weirdly swift rebound is going to help with that. Eric Durance has this contract where she only appears for about half of a season in total, so her plotlines frequently get lost.

As for Clark, he feels kind of in the background right now. This week he got a couple of sweet moments relating to his mother, Lara (guest star Helen Slater). Kara flashbacks to her last visit to Earth, before Krypton’s destruction, when she and Lara wandered around the Kent house to decide if Lara’s baby should grow up there. It’s astonishingly weak material, even for Smallville. What exactly is the point of all this? That Zor-El was evil and looked like Christopher Eccleston. That’s pretty much it. Slater is stunning and everything (as we’re told several times by different characters) but vapid. Coming back to Clark, at the end he gets his hand on Kara’s crystal and proclaims that it contains his mother’s DNA. Cue dramatic music. Roll credits. Worst. Cliffhanger. Ever.

Next week, Lana gets Clark’s powers. I don’t even know what to say about that, so I’ll just let it speak for itself.

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