Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Episode 3: "Hothead"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Well, I knew it would happen eventually. An episode that I had problems with. But with this show, so far, there haven't been enough things at all to make me worry. And overall, the episode was great, just as entertaining as the other two so far, and not in the slightest overshadowed by those things that I did notice, not to the point of making the show lose any credential with me, at any rate.

This show featured another of the cookie cutter villains seemingly necessitated by the television format, this time a gentleman with fire capabilities. First lightning, then a fire gentleman. It seems in the future there will be a cold villain. This could get bad, but let's not count our eggs before they hatch. And at least they get their powers in different ways, thusfar, one through mental process (mostly), the other tactile attack. Who doesn't know this coach guy, and has had to deal with him more than once...imagine if he developed a penchant for the Stephen King Firestarting. Freakish. Wrong. Loved it.

The continuity which made the last episode great in my mind is preserved in this episode, with the ongoing thread of Lex and his father, Clark and his father, football and business. Respective battlefields.

The writing continues to be top-notch, with repeating dialogue themes emphasized and exploited, propelling the action onward but allowing one to develop an affinity for the characters and their exploits. Can it be denied that one's attention is kept easily with television, the idiot box? No. But does it say something when that attention becomes amorous because of the slightest hint of intelligence in scripting or direction? Yes. This is why Smallville is more than just another show for me, so far. The screaming is referenced once in the presenting of the problem, once in the resolution. Father conflict on both sides follows the same sequencing, reaches the same goal through different means. This writing is top notch. May it continue.

Now. My problems. Mostly with the writing, oddly enough. The principle is saved by Clark. This is a problem. If Clark rescues too many people, they'll start calling him Superman, secrecy be damned. The people he's saved know. There are, what, ten? That's too many to maintain an innocent facade of non-capability to go beyond human. It's worrying me.

A tidbit...Clark threw Quan's door far beyond the blast radius. No one noticed a car door ripped off with no damage to it? Also, in the final battle, flames consume a locker room containing an unconscious Jonathan Kent with Clark in the foreground. Clark shows no concern for his father or his secret identity. And how is the final battle, or any of the coach's action, explained by the news and the general populace, especially with Clark in the middle of the scandal. Too high-profile for a man with a future secret identity.

And one neutral topic...Kryponite. My buddies (who I watch the show with) are sick of the green rock, and think it should be shelved for a bit. I disagree. I think part of the problem with the comics (at least, before the Loeb crew. They're going better...) is that Metropolis is not lined with Kryptonite wallpaper. What we like about Supes is not that he can tan the hide of the Incredible Hulk without breaking sweat, but that he had human frailty despite a super body. It's why, a long time ago, in a continent far, far away, they loved Achilles and Beowulf. Weakness. So I support it. But it is a stickling point with some fans, I'm seeing.

Because of the discrepancies, but also because of the continuing top-notch story, I give this one 4 of 5.

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