Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Episode 16: "Stray"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Okay, first things first, and I would be a bad man if I didn't thank the overwhelmingly large number of you who responded to my last review telling me about Kristen Kreuk and her age. She's 20 now, for those of you who don't know, so her picturesque pseudo risqu turn to evil last new episode with Nicodemus was not half so horrible as one might expect, given her age and legality, and also, with the idea that there was a body double used (apparently she's rather shy and conservative), all possible fears about the morality of the episode are allayed, save one. Is it morally permissible to picture what you're imagining to be a 16 year old mostly naked and be turned on/amused? The imagination is a weird thing, isn't it? I'll let you readers make that decision for yourself. As for with me, it's not really a factor. I'm not really attracted to Kristen too much, but a lot of you are, so I figured I'd bring the point up. As for the readers who wrote in, I must now personally thank Joi S., David McManus, Tettsui, Randy Smith, Robert Hartly, rly@ucdavis.edu, Prue Halliwell, Nolekdt@aol.com, Josh Plautz, and Marc Carlson, all of whom were an indispensable form of information with regards to the whole Kristen issue.

Anyone wishing to find more Kristen information can check http://www.kristinkreuk.net/index2.shtml, this courtesy of the aforementioned rly@ucdavis.edu.

And also, thanks to David Hamelink, Vance McNeil, rpgforms at The Balcony Movie reviews (http://www.geocities.com/supermanded), Rehan Sheikh, Jason Smolinski, Keith Nicholson, and all of the others who have written in of late and commented on my reviews, particularly Robert Niedzielski, pointing out things I ordinarily would have missed. It is appreciated. I respect and encourage any and all comments/recommendations, and I like the correspondence, so feel free, one and all. baileyn@cc.wwu.edu.

Now on to the show at hand:

This episode was certainly a mixed bag. There were a lot of good things, and yet there were also a lot of things that were out of character from my skewed, fanboy perspective.

First, the good. The relationship Clark has with a brother, finally, is warming, and adds to his future motivation, to say nothing of the comic, and the reference it provides. I love that Lex likes the comic. It shows his obsession forming early, and is a welcome addition to his already complex character.

I couldn't help but giggle like a little schoolgirl when I saw the main bad guy launch a bowling ball at a 9 year old. As I write this, a female compatriot smacks me for the idea, but dang, if bowling for 9 year olds ain't funny, you just can't ever get into Monty Python, and I do. So the bit, while not entirely a bit, worked all too well for me. The shotgun blast down the lanes was an interesting way to bowl as well.

This episode brings another person in on the secret, a potential downfall if everyone gets to knowing the secret, but for now, it works. And the kid seems trustable. And at least possibly recurring. I'll bet he makes next season.

That's the good. The problems?

Lex gets beat around. In fact, in this series, Lex gets beat around too much. The Lex I know held off an entire Intergang troop of Parademons while holding his baby daughter in his hands using a toastmaster several years ago, and killed a martial arts instructor for having the audacity of winning a match with him. Of course, one could argue that getting beat around like he does now inspires him to never be messed with in the future, but I don't buy it. He's been shown as the future Luthor in that aspect with the Cadmus affair, with the reporter, and with Club Zero. I think he needs to stop being so helpless.

Also, Clark compromises his secret identity twice in this show. First, he rips the back off of a garbage truck. HE RIPS THE BACK OFF A GARBAGE TRUCK. Like the garbage truck guy isn't going to notice that. My family has garbage collectors among their ranks, and they are typically somewhat dense, but not that dense. Tell me that no one is going to notice that. I dare you. Tell me. HA. He also runs out, in the middle of nowhere, talks to Lex, and leaves, and Lex doesn't notice. LEX LUTHOR, THE GREATEST CRIMINAL MASTERMIND OF OUR TIME, just flat out doesn't notice. I don't buy that either. Clark stops to make sure that he's not being watched as he leaves, but still, the fog ain't that thick, and Lex would look. Better to foot it, then off in the fog burst off. But hey. This one, at least, was passable.

Also, I don't know if any of you have ever dropped a bowling ball on your toe, but it hurts like Hades. A bowling ball, at sufficient velocity to break through a bowling alley wall, would tear through a human being like paper. Clark killed without killing in this episode, and I don't like it.

Chloe is very obviously smitten, and Clark knows. A principled man would address that, be it positively or negatively. He should. Soon.

And on a neither good nor bad note, what is Lana's secret that the boy mentions? Hmmmmmm.

An average episode, but some better than usual things that make this episode a 4 out of 5.



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