Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Episode 5: "Cool"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Clark spends the end of this episode getting dumped on for trying to help people and losing the woman he loves to a scumbag in the name of idealism. I LOVE IT. Real life on television. What a bloody miracle. This is how it really happens, folks. Don't let the happy endings and romantic comedies lead you astray... this is truly life. Honesty and courage gets you stepped on. But 'tis nobler. Sigh. Moral dilemma. I thought I just wanted to veg out.

Lana continues to show her character, not improving in this episode so much as the last one, but at least she's consistent, and at least you can see she's trying.

Lex... I have no words for Lex. I don't think I've seen a better portrayal of the villain on any screen, large or small. He beats Hackman. And that's not saying Hackman was bad. Hackman was great (THE GREATEST CRIMINAL MASTERMIND OF OUR TIME!), but somehow, Michael Rosenbaum does it best for me. He just smacks of Lex. The whole matchmaker is working to his advantage, because he wants Clark as a friend. I don't think he wants Clark to be happy, necessarily, he just wants Clark as another asset. Wonderful characterization.

I'm typically cynical with the rich and the privileged, and part of Lex's allure is that he knows this, and can still twist everyone to like him. I like this character. I like his machinations. He's a worthy foe. Every time I see him on the show, I'm reminded of Mr. Glass from Unbreakable. Elijah and his good intentions that are actually evil serving the greater good. Amazing characterizations. This is one of those actors we will see in movies when the run of this show is over. Not that it ever will end, with any good luck.

Clark was... great. Dopey, idealistic Clark, going after the girl and getting smashed trying to do what is right. I can see an inevitable romance with Lana after Whitney's out of the way... but I hope to hell it never happens. It's the thing that killed Lois and Clark, I think. I loved the Clark/Lois romance, but the tension disappeared, and tension is integral to character development.

As a side note, I don't care who was dying, I wouldn't leave a Radiohead concert with a hot chick. Clark's obviously a better man than I. I respect that.

The villain, as is getting typical, was rather simple, and you couldn't relate to the goon. It will start grating very soon. We need to identify with villains. Make another Lex. Give him an element power. Then you have a better villain.

Also, the whole problem of no one noticing Clark is still bugging me. And why does Whitney get two cars to wreck in the span of three episodes? His parents must be reeeeeeeeeal rich.

For these inconsistencies, I take a point. But the rest of the story is exemplary, almost offsetting the easily distracting...

Thus I give this week: 4 of 5.

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