Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 10 - Episode 5: "Isis"



Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

Super Short Summary: Lois ends up possessed again, Kitty-Cat Grant thinks Lois is our Red Blue Bur, Tess Joins the Super-friends, and Clark finally comes clean... Twice.

You know after the best episode ever last week this one was bound to be a let down not matter what. It was almost unavoidable. Yet this episode is kind of a strange animal. It is one of those where the individual episode plot is rather "meh" but there are some steps taken in the main season/series plot that make this almost a "can't miss" episode.

First of all Lois being possessed? Seriously AGAIN? Been there... done that. Three times already if I am remembering right. Possession number 4 was just getting a bit too much too often. Not that Erica Durance did a bad job playing Isis or didn't look good in the skimpy goddess costume. She did just fine. It's just after the witch minion, Lady-Zod, and the Silver Banshee I think maybe Lois has been possessed enough for one life time. I guess all those concussions over the years have made her mind a revolving door for any wayward entity to just drop on in.

Other than the Lois possessed thing the whole Isis story line was played well enough. Not spectacular but ok for a mid season filler. It did give Clark a glimpse at what "too far" was when it comes to powers and love, so in that regard it fit. I think that might have helped him in the end see that the sacrifices he and Lois would be forced to make were just personal ones and not the Earth changing end of the world kind.

Kitty-Cat Grant thinking Lois is the Blur? Funny, yes, but it made no sense. The Blur has been seen from a distance more than once and I think it is pretty clear he doesn't have the body of, well, Lois. Yet it came from her so I can buy it. Plus it made for some comedy with her attempts to prove it and when she told Lady-Lex, so I will let it slide.

I do have to still wonder how she ended up with her job. Seeing Tess' obvious irritation with her really makes you wonder who exactly hired her at the Daily Planet.

I have mixed feelings on Tess joining the Super Friends. I like that Clark is giving her a chance to prove herself and I also like that Oliver is following Clark's lead on the matter. I just can't shake the feeling that it was not a natural progression of the character. They just needed to fill the Chloe spot and took the one other character from the title credits and tossed her in.

I do like the idea of her ending up a hero though. I will say I do think what she is doing with little Lex-2.0 is a good thing, at least as far as her intentions go. Forgetting who the DNA donor was to the clone basically the little dude is just a kid who needs someone to take care of him. It'll be interesting to see if growing up (even if accelerated) with a somewhat loving mother can make a difference. I am also hoping we will get to see what happens when the real Lex learns she's raising a copy of him. That could be a fun conversation if they can make it happen.

Even though it was obviously "inspired" by the Iron Man movies I did like how they were playing Oliver's exposure to the world. His discomfort was enough to keep it from getting too far and I was glad to see by the end of the episode he had put the circus on hold for a time.

All that said though, the one thing that makes this episode one you probably do not want to miss is the ending when Clark comes clean to Lois about who he is. I did find it amusing he had to do it twice thanks to the possession (third time if you count the one wiped out by time travel). Nothing like getting more than one chance to do something that scares the heck out of you.

I liked that Lois waited and let Clark be the one to open up. I think it is good she wanted to tell him but better overall for the story that Clark makes the choice to open up to her. It was a very well played scene with Erica Durance giving Lois noticeable sadness when she thought Clark wasn't going to do it followed by joy when he did. Tom Welling did a fantastic job playing scared and uncomfortable but with just enough hint of that Supermanly strength to really sell it. I loved the knock down in the paper pile causing the confetti. That was funny.

So how do you grade this one. 5 out of 5 for that final scene for sure but you can't grade an entire episode on one scene.

So I am going to go 4 out of 5. Call it a 3 but with a bonus point for the ending. You really don't want to miss this one for that reason but you could just fast forward to the end if you wanted to.



Reviewed by: Julian Finn

The first episode of Smallville I ever reviewed was "Escape." I bring this up because that was the last episode written by Genevieve Sparling prior to "Isis". Putting the two episodes side by side though, it is now clear to me that I gave Ms. Sparling far too much benefit of doubt the first time around.

Much like "Escape", "Isis" is a tangled mess of inane coincidences, characters losing their agency through the wonders of possession and pointless fan service that all adds up to nothing. Even filler episodes should contain minor plot advancements for the general arc of the season, especially when this is the final season.

So what, of any significance, happened this week?

  • Clark made the decision to tell Lois his secret. Except...he actually made that decision at the end of "Homecoming" and promised to have an in-depth conversation with Lois the day after the events in the barn. So, really, what happened here was continuity established through writing produced by the showrunners less than a week ago, was essentially ignored by the go to filler writer in favour of needless "will they, won't they" drama. Fun.

  • Oliver becomes Tony Stark, complete with dancing groupies, at least in theory. Was this meant to be a signal flare to bring Chloe back?

  • Lois gets possessed. Again. I really dislike this particular trope. Character A and Character B would have had this life changing moment, except Character A got possessed. And yes, I'm aware that this particular convention was a staple of the Silver Age of Comics. But there are very good reasons that it's not traditionally used anymore. First and foremost it's terrible writing; akin to "and then he woke up and realized it had all been a dream." Second, and this is especially relevant within the context of this series, it's been done so many times with so many characters that you almost want to skip the episode wholesale because we already know that the best case scenario will be a return to the status quo 42 minutes later.

  • We're told, as though this is new information, that mini Lex is hyper aging. I'm pretty certain this was established in "Lazarus." We're not imbeciles and expository dialogue that retreads information we already possess is a waste of time and frankly insulting.

  • We learn that Lois is not the Blur. Yay, more Cat Grant. I found myself irrationally loving Tess for the first time as she burst into fits of laughter at Cat's assertion that Lois was the Blur. I never thought that Tess could become the point of view character for the audience. Sometimes it's fun to be wrong.

  • Tess is apparently the perfect replacement for Chloe as Watchtower. I...just...buh? Are we forgetting that Tess was an agent of Checkmate not to mention literally in bed with the enemy last season? I don't get the complete abandonment of internal logic here. I get the idea that maybe Clark learned something last week about the rehabilitating effects that his example can have (bug boy turned out all right) but there's a big leap between hoping someone can become a better a person and handing her the keys to the kingdom.

    I feel like, in the middle of some great momentum, we were handed another episode that meant nothing (beyond some thinly veiled parallels between the Isis and Osiris relationship and the Lois and Clark relationship) and was just an excuse to showcase Durance's ability to fill out a dress while throwing out some meaningless DCU fan service.

    Speaking of, much like the overly convenient and wildly unlikely Scottish lingerie featured in "Escape," did anyone else find it odd that Lois was costumed in the absolute best possible outfit in which to be possessed by an ancient Egyptian psychotic?

    All that being said, one of the few things that stood out in a positive way while watching "Isis" was the very few times that Durance got to play Lois. Her rehearsal of the conversation that she wants to have with Clark was touching and well delivered, as was her reaction at the end of the episode when he finally comes clean. She really plays the mix of emotional vulnerability and excitement well, which makes the fact that she's husked out for a bad metaphor during most of the episode especially irritating.

    The other high point of the episode was the Ollie and Clark team up. The one thing Genevieve Sparling really managed to nail in both this outing and her last was the relationship between Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne. (And really, if you don't get by now how completely Green Arrow has become Batman on this series, you haven't been watching.) The conversation where Clark fills Ollie in on both his plan to tell Lois his secret (and holy man am I ever tired of that phrase) and the events of "Homecoming" was borderline gleeful and was one of the few times on this show that expository dialogue has felt like a natural conversation.

    I also love how Lois and Clark, in the middle of a beautifully awkward scene, both react to Cat Grant's intrusion as though someone has let out a particularly noxious fart. I really, sincerely, hope that there turns out to be a point to this character beyond having a semi-regular whipping post amongst the furniture because if there isn't Cat will go down as probably the most unnecessary character ever introduced on a television show. After two episodes it's become shockingly clear that she's becoming a character that it's okay to laugh at and bully and, if there's nothing more to her, she becomes a highly inappropriate addition to a show that's ostensibly about Superman. Superman doesn't get to snigger down his sleeve at someone just because they're an easy target.

    Lois' delivery as Isis was painful. Also, unnecessary. A bizarre fusion of the Egyptian myth, the television show, "The Shazam/Isis Hour" and the most recent incarnation of the character from the pages of 52, Isis winds up being, really, none of those things. Why introduce a character named Adrianna (Adrianna Tomaz being the name of the woman in 52 who becomes Isis through the efforts of Black Adam and a nod to Andrea Thomas, the alter ego of Isis in the original TV series) and then not have her become possesses by Isis? Why base the character primarily on the Egyptian myth but still make heavy handed references to Black Adam? (For those of you not in the know, that plaque near the end of the episode that said "Dagger of Teth Adam Khandaq" was referring to the original identity of Black Adam, who marries Isis in 52) Where was Tut, the telepathic bird?

    I'm not necessarily asking for faithfulness to the comics when they do this kind of adaptation, but if you're not going to utilize the frame work provided by the books, why would you then reference them repeatedly? It's the same issue I had with the Smallville interpretations of Silver Banshee and Deadshot; I don't mind change, I just like to understand it and here it makes no sense.

    But hey, for a filler episode, the whole conceit of Isis "unleashing Hell on Earth" is a shockingly world threatening premise, so kudos to having actual stakes in a weightless episode.

    The exchange about the emotional effects of motherhood between Tess and Cat is almost heroic in its attempt to humanize both of these characters but ultimately falls apart when Cat starts venting about Lois being the Blur.

    First, why assume that she's the Blur, specifically? As Lois points out later, this is Metropolis, weird things happen all the time, get used to it. Billionaires become vigilantes, college dropouts become journalists, and aliens are constantly blowing up the architecture. Isn't Lois=Blur, just because she exhibits a few weird abilities, kind of pushing the assumption envelope a little? And second, why would you go to your employer with your theory about a fellow employee before you had any proof? Where did these people get their journalism degrees?


    I loved that the thing that ultimately saves Clark from being turned into Isis' love monkey is Cat being a clumsy moron. Way to make Clark look like a chump and take another pot shot at the new punching bag, Smallville.

    Less sarcastically, I did actually really enjoy the team work between Ollie and Clark in defeating Isis. (Never mind the insane coincidence that allows Clark's heat vision to be the exact thing needed to accomplish the task. Quiet, you.) The whole scene felt very The Brave and the Bold, which is a neat thing to see in live action.

    And then we were given eleven whole minutes of melodramatic wind down. (That's a full 25% of the episode this week.) The two things that made watching until the end worthwhile were Clark's superspeed destruction of Cat's phone, (okay, destruction of personal property is not a very Superman-like trait, but I kind of snickered a bit) and the final moment when Clark finally tells Lois the truth. That scene could have gone a little better; for one, in "Homecoming," future Lois tells Clark that the day he told her his secret was very romantic and this was definitely not that (though last week's barn scene sure was) and the fact that Clark genuinely sounded for a few minutes like he was going to keep things under wraps was more unnecessary drama. However, Lois's reaction as she realizes what's coming and her tackle of Clark once he blurts out the truth were wonderfully executed and I'm glad they didn't occur off screen between the this episode and the last.


    Did I hate this episode so much because it was such a decline in quality when compared to last week's or was it genuinely terrible in its own right? I'm not entirely sure but I do know that I hope Genevieve Sparling gets no more kicks at the can before the show wraps up.

    1.5 out of 5


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