Superman on Television
Lois & Clark: Episode Reviews
Season 2 - Episode 9: "Season's Greedings"Reviewed by: Rob Ó Conchúir
Originally Aired: December 4, 1994
Directed by Randall Zisk
Written by Dean Cain
Sherman Hemsley as Mr. Schott/The Toyman
Isabel Sanford as Ms. Duffy
Denise Richards as Angela
Sharon Thomas Cain as Pretentious Lady (as Sharon Thomas)
Sandee Van Dyke as Danielle
Dick Van Patten as Orphanage Worker/Santa
It's Christmas in Metropolis, but Lois isn't that enthusiastic about the holiday. Elsewhere in the city, Winslow Schott and his associate Miss Duffy discuss a sinister plan Schott is concocting to get back at the toy plant which they were fired from. Miss Duffy is skeptical as to whether they should go ahead with it.
Schott gives a group of friendly children an 'Atomic Space Rat' toy which sprays out a yellow, foul-smelling liquid that causes the children to become greedy. Clark sees the children about to pelt a young mute girl with snowballs and intervenes as Superman.
Clark continues to convince Lois that Christmas is really quite a special time of year, to no avail. In the Daily Planet, Jimmy makes the acquaintance of a pretty girl named Angela who asks him about the Secret Santa that he is coordinating. Lois tells Jimmy how Christmas overwhelms her every year.
Clark meets a man dressed as Santa collecting money for an orphanage and agrees to get a celebrity (meaning Superman) to request some toys from the local toy stores.
Perry asks Lois to get the story on the Atomic Space Rats, the popularity of which is sweeping the city. She goes to a toy store and accidentally gets sprayed, causing her to become juvenile and greedy. Lois brings the rats to the Daily Planet, and the spray effects everyone there, even Clark who steals donuts and vacuums up candy with his super-breath.
Jonathan and Martha visit the newsroom and immediately notice that something is wrong. When Martha spots Clark using his heat vision on Lois' heel as a prank, she becomes angry with him, at which point he snaps out of it and realizes that the peculiar rats must have had something to do with this behavior.
While under the effect of the spray, Jimmy makes himself the only Secret Santa. Perry tells Alice that instead of spending a romantic Christmas alone together, he wants to go to Graceland instead.
Clark feels the effects wear off and changes to Superman, confiscating the rats in the newsroom. Clark tracks down the distributor of the rats and steals an invoice from them, tracking down Winslow Schott in the process.
Lois invites Clark to Christmas dinner, but he has to decline, having already received an invitation from his parents.
Miss Duffy argues with Schott once again, but he reveals to her that he has bought her a car and a faux fur coat for all of her help in his scheme. Lois and Clark buy a Christmas tree for Lois' apartment. They later discover that the chemical in the rats is rendered harmless when it is boiled.
Angela discovers Jimmy's selfish plot, much to his dismay. Perry is in the doghouse with Alice after his earlier comments.
Clark calls the police about the Atomic Space Rats. "Santa", the man Clark spoke to earlier stops by with Danielle, the young mute girl Superman saved.
Jimmy gets information on Schott and Lois and Clark head out to track him down. Schott hears about the Atomic Space Rats being recalled and begins making tracks to exact his revenge upon Metropolis by dumping the remainder of the Rat spray into the Metropolis water supply.
Lois and Clark arrive at Schott's lab and discover a note from Miss Duffy informing him that she can no longer be a part of his evil plan. Superman and the police confront Schott and he agrees to come quietly. Across the street, Danielle nearly gets trampled by a horse-and-carriage and Schott leaps out to save her, with Superman saving both of them. When Lois gives Danielle a present of a bear and Danielle hears that Schott made the bear, she kisses him on the cheek and says thank you, speaking for the first time since her parents died. Schott experiences a change of heart when he discovers that someone truly loves something he created.
Superman uses his heat vision to neutralize the chemicals in the reservoir. Later, he flies a sleigh containing Perry (dressed as an Elvis-themed Santa Claus), Jimmy and Lois and sackfuls of gifts for the children of the orphanage. The police agree to allow Schott more time with the children before bringing him in. Miss Duffy kisses Schott passionately.
A sullen Lois is forced to have Christmas dinner on her own following rejections from all of her friends and family. Clark shows up and saves the day, claiming that his flight was cancelled due to the snow. Lois points out that it's not snowing and Clark simply smiles and gives her a star for her tree.
Review Rating - 3 (out of 5): This episode came tantalizingly close to a 4/5. I mean, it's obviously very corny at parts, but the writing and the genuine warmth of the episode earns the moments in the episode that would otherwise be maudlin and ineffective. All of the scenes with Danielle, the traumatized mute girl were wonderful and full of that kind of classic Superman magic that proves that Dean Cain really knows the world of the character he's playing in this series. Some might find them a bit maudlin, not me. Another positive in this episode is how Lois slowly becomes more open to the idea of being happy at Christmas, even if she can't be with her friends and family. I love how she buys the worst-looking tree of the bunch, just because she thought it looked lonely on its own (just like Phoebe in that Christmas episode of "Friends"). The final scene of the episode is almost entirely perfect and never approaches the kind of shipping seen in previous episodes this season. It's clear by now that even despite herself, Lois is strongly considering Clark as a romantic interest.
The only reason I give it a 3 is that the cliche of having the characters caught under some kind of behavior-manipulating spell of some kind was tired and old even in 1994. Dean Cain writes an impressive episode of "Lois & Clark" (all of his writing efforts for the show are notably entertaining, even if none of them are stellar) but it's easy to tell that he wrote the plot in such a way that it would give him an excuse to play their characters differently and more comedic for a change, rather than his desire to create a compelling narrative. "Smallville" obviously ran this story tool into the ground to the point where it should never, ever be used again.
Sherman Hemsley is great as the Toyman and while he's a fairly toned-down version of the character compared to most of the different incarnations of him in the comics, he's similar enough in his love of toys and children and his motives of revenge, that it was still fair of the writers to call him by name. Isabel Sanford steals most of his scenes from him in her excellent turn as the hapless romantic Miss Duffy. That final kiss had me in stitches.
Denise Richards plays Angela in this episode, five years before she'd become a Bond girl and eight years before she'd become the bride of Charlie Sheen. Those are the things for which I know her best (I haven't seen "Starship Troopers," I'm ashamed to say). Her character Angela would be mentioned again in other episodes by Jimmy before he eventually moved on to another girl. Dean Cain's mother Sharon Thomas Cain makes an appearance in this episode as well, although I don't recall her exact role in the episode.
K. Callan gets one of her best lines in the entire series when she scolds Clark for using his heat vision on Lois' heel, as she snarls, "I'll drop your britches and tan you like cheap leather!" to her son, the Man of Steel. Excellent stuff, that makes up for the peculiar decision of Jonathan and Martha to fly to Metropolis to do their (seemingly large amount of) Christmas shopping when they're just going to return to Smallville for Christmas. Couldn't they just do their shopping in Kansas City? Where are they getting all of the money for all of these flights from Kansas to the East Coast (which presumably is where Metropolis is located, given the snow)? There's an obvious joke about "frequent flyer miles" here, but I'm afraid I'm not going to make it.
On the subject of plot holes, there's the other obvious problem of the Atomic Space Rats passing health and safety regulations so quickly despite carrying mood-altering drugs within them. And then there's the fact that Toyman is able to dump the chemical into the Metropolis reservoir with such ease. These are nit-picky complaints though, I'll admit.
Special effects-wise, there's nothing to write home about in this episode, save for a decent wire-shot when Superman saves Danielle from the bullies with the snowballs (another excellent Superman scene). The blue-screen sequence of Superman boiling the polluted reservoir was pretty horrible, unfortunately; reminiscent of the shockingly fake blue-screen effect in "The Prankster".
Next week things get mean and green when "Metallo" visits Metropolis.
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