Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 2 - Episode 20: "Witness"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Main Points:

  • Clark is not very good in a fistfight with super powered jocks
  • Jocks can become violent two weeks in a row.
  • Henry Small is having marital troubles because of Lana, it is thought.
  • Lionel wants Chloe for the Daily Planet, and to root out Clark.
  • Potentially, Lex knows Clark has the Kryptonite Lionel was shipping.


    There's no business like low business. Yes, folks, to help the people out who just want the review, I'm moving business to the bottom as a test. Let me know what you think through email, and I'll modify accordingly through consensus.


    Well, with this week, as opposed to last week, I have one page of notes instead of two, but the notes are a little more serious in terms of show flaws. Like the Fox News Channel (grimace, heave), I present the information, you decide.

    First off, I am absolutely disgusted that there are three really mean guys out there who now know Clark's secret and are just assumed not to be telling anyone. I mean, seriously, like they would not try to cream Clark after what he did to them and their ambition. What would they have to lose? I subtract a point straight off, just for that. That's a horrible, glaring flaw in this episode.

    Another physics lesson from an English major. A van leaves down the street at X miles an hour. Goons, maybe even, this English major will concede, who are super-dense thanks to their serum (how high schoolers thought beyond jokes with explosive compounds, I'm at a loss), launch grapples into the rear of said van. The ropes are then pulled, or let to become taught, held in place with super-strength. Said van, then held tight, does not flip forward. If anything, Newton's Third Law inclines it to come backward if they are pulling, while the passenger goes forward. Or, if they are steady, the van stops, the driver goes forward. Either way, the van does not flip forward. Basic. Write me if I am wrong. I am assured I am not. Horrible physics, even in the superhero world. Perhaps the axle would fly off before the carriage would flip?

    Clark notices that the would-be villains, before he knows who they are, drive a very distinctive one of those oh so sought after (the reason is beyond me) neon yellow SUV trucks. It's very distinctive. If a high schooler's parents could afford such an expensive vehicle, in a small town, it would be easily placed. There's no reason Clark would not just report them in the first place without any of the ensuing drama that almost gets his parents killed.

    Clark is thrown by a goon into a fence, and he tells his father it hurt. No. Not really. Not if previous evidence makes any sense. A building EXPLODES on him, and he doesn't even say ow, at least three times in the past, and I didn't see him crying when he walked naked out of the furnace (GAG ME!). Then, you say, perhaps it is fire. Well, okay. Maybe it's impact. Well, he stopped a city bus just by bracing himself, and I didn't see him weeping then, did I? It just didn't really fit or make sense.

    More fun with physics. A baseball, when hit a distance of roughly, I'll be generous, by a baseball bat, does not impact on the ground in center field in left field and explode. I am convinced that a super powered being might hit a ball with accuracy towards Clark, but not explosively into the ground. Must have been a grenade baseball, mellifluously and painfully prepared for just that moment by superjock...yeah.

    The sign might explode. I'll give them that. That was okay.

    Lex had a bust of what looked like Caesar behind him. Very symbolic, very nice. I likee sai.

    I have decided that as of this episode, Chloe has totally departed from her original character and become a writing device. Sad, but true. So she fell in love with Clark. I fell in love with several girls, hard, in high school. But how did I curry their favor when they fell in love with other girls? Well, I didn't slobber around and pout like a retard who can't correlate honesty with integrity, as a good reporter can, and I didn't create petty fights. I have enough faith in Chloe's original portrayal to say that she wouldn't either. She has been manifested this season into a disposable character. I suppose it had to be done, but dangit, I was attracted to her, and I wanted her to have more depth. How sad. And for Lana, whose character development has merely extended from being abandoned, as Clark, only without anything special to distinguish her save a penchant for getting knocked out. I will miss Chloe. I thought she died earlier, now I'm sad to proclaim that perhaps, she is indeed, almost out of the picture in a very real sense. More on this, as it develops.

    Oh, hey. Here we have a bunch of jock teenagers, and when confronted with their future being messed up, they turn violent and attempt to kill people. Good logical jump, writers, but I didn't buy it the first time, I still don't buy it. Cut it out, please.

    I will say that the butt of Welling was a bit shocking and frightening, but throwing Clark into fire and having him come out was, shall we say, pretty darned cool?

    What is it with Kryptonite offering people strength? I mean, in the comics, in almost every incarnation of Supes I know, Kryptonite KILLS humans, only slower than Kryptonians. I mean, look what it did to Hamilton! Dead...or so we think, maybe. I didn't see a body.

    I guess if you liquefy it, it reverses its properties. THAT's what Lionel is doing! KRYPTO-ADE! I can see it now. I will outsell Red Bull for hung over drunk college students, two to one.

    "We don't need a warrant to search a student's locker!"


    I hear it varies across the United States (where young people are treated to woefully few rights...we should be embarrassed at how we baby and mistreat our young), but according to the 4th amendment:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    You DO need a warrant, by all intents of this law. Perhaps she didn't, but she should have. There was due process. It could easily have been procured. I hate this sheriff with a passion now. If not for how she's written (why do we need another cranky female on this show? Get a cranky male or kill one of the cranky females, anything but this!), for how she abuses the law and makes it seem okay in a society where civil liberties being taken for granted is commonplace. Even in small towns.

    Henry Small is magically back, and he hasn't popped up in a good while. Why create supporting characters if only to have them appear sporadically. Pick a subplot, and stick to it. TV watchers are a fickle, forgetful bunch.

    In the destruction of the Torch, what, no janitors saw an entire office being destroyed? Perhaps under cover of darkness, but man, it's hard to buy. My school had something similar happen to it, but then, students at my school don't drive new cars and seem to have a million dollars. Rich kid schools have rich kid security, especially ones where strange and destructive murders and such things happen all the time.

    The head jock is released by Lex in an attempt to deal with his problem. Okay. This makes sense. But when he finds out the jock is attacking Clark, the logical step for Lex and Clark is to have the man arrested. How? Well, given the situation, the logical and easiest way is to call the egregious sheriff. For, see, people who have bail set at 250,000 dollars, they kind of, oh, I don't know, merit an APB for their immediate arrest if they beat up a security guard, even one put on him by the nefarious Lex Luthor? Oh well, Clark. Just let Lex go on with another of his illegal anti-social schemes. It's better for entertainment, that way. Just not logic.

    Lex line of the week (and it's a great one): I have my suspicions. He knows Clark is hiding Kryptonite for a reason. Excellent.

    I may have my reservations about Lex finding out the secret, but it seems like it will happen. I will go at it with an open mind.

    Lana is taken in by petty games as much as Chloe, but at least she isn't a complete idiot. She tells the truth, and the matter is resolved. Get a clue, Chloe. At least there's some resolution here, but the sub plot was so forced it was a waste of time. Let's hope it's over or goes somewhere.

    Lionel says to Chloe that he is on a search for the truth. But he already knows the truth, right? I'll reserve judgment on that until it pans out.

    All in all, there were a lot of bad things in this episode, and few good, save Lex and his suspicions and the fire scene, which is memorable. Still, all in all, this was a below average episode, and close to the end of a season, that says something. And what did the preview say we have to look forward to next week? Ghosts. I am less than thrilled. Maybe we'll see Clark confront magic, at least.

    2 of 5.


    Well, things are certainly interesting here in the old business section. Unrelated to this review but related to Smallville, I got a message from the webmaster today (Steve) telling me that I will get to interview Alfred Gough with any luck this Monday! He's the producer, and a really big wig. He's also the man behind Shanghai Noon and Knights, Showtime (Eddie Murphy and De Niro), Lethal Weapon 4 and Double Tap. I haven't reviewed any of these, but I get to interview the man, with special regards to Smallville, season 2, so if anyone has any great questions, let them fly at me. Bearing in mind that I only have a few minutes, I will only pick a few, and the rest of you who send in questions will have to get a form letter saying "sorry" or a small letter from me, at any rate. These few I pick will be sent on to Steve, who makes the final cut. Then onward and upward! Watch the Superman Homepage for more details...

    Today in business I hope to pair down things a little bit and start making brevity the name of the game...but there are still a few great items.

    I will now have my reviews Wednesday night, thanks to a new work schedule, just after Smallville, if possible. So eyes open for earlier reviews, if you care...

    I missed an email last week with corrections on the KO/knowledge count from Jon Price. My apologies for almost missing his email, and here are the related addendums...

    In Vortex, Jonathan and the evil reporter were knocked out by a mobile home (one for Jonathan, the reporter is dead)

    In Suspect, Lionel Luthor was put out by a bullet or two (one for Lionel).

    In Prodigal, Lionel saw Clark stop bullets (I should have known this, but add Lionel to one who knows, alive). Doubly verified by evidence in Insurgence. Until we know that Lionel is not "in the know", I'll count him as, because it's hinted.

    Now, add in three new goons who now know the secret Clark has but still remain living (a very grievous error, I mean, why would they NOT tell the secret?). And hey, Luthor doesn't have enough brain damage yet, huh? Why not knock him out AGAIN, Clark? One for Lex.

    Thus the count:


    Lex: 10

    Lana: 6

    Jonathan: 5

    Chloe: 4

    Pete: 4

    Clark: 3

    Martha: 2

    Lionel: 2

    Whammy (dead but mostly forgotten though important to the mains): 25.

    People who know Clark's secret (for sure, not potentially): 9 living, 4 dead.

    Miracles: 1 (Pete's arm)

    Number of weeks since Luthor found his new brother after never knowing him at all it takes for them to make contact again onscreen: 5.

    Lex is still in the lead!

    CALLING ALL FANS, CALLING ALL FANS! In the season finale, I figured it would be neat to do a collaboration of Lex's greatest lines. If you have one, send it my way for consideration!

    Jon Price and Samantha Castillo both point out that Helen, last episode, spoke to Lex after her ex had entered a not guilty by insanity plea, which indicates that she healed over weeks and then had the talk with Lex. My mistake, and an apology.

    Samantha and Rob Adams also note that my review was overly generous given the harshness I gave to the plot of the episode. Actually, there is a very good reason for this. The real rating for the episode was a three. The rating was based upon an earlier review I wrote that I ended up rethinking and ultimately re-writing. A good catch, and a terrible error. I have slapped myself.

    Rob Adams also speculates, perhaps, that the reason Luthor acts out of Luthor character is the fact that heck, he's not really LUTHOR yet, at least, not as we know him. I am more than guilty of taking this a bit far. Luthor, it would seem, is at least mostly Luthor, right? I mean, he's about, what, 25? But still, he's not the vile, vindictive, backstabbing, always planning Luthor we all know and love, yet. As Superman is not the nearly perfect angel of mercy yet, but rather a kid. Watch me folks, and if I'm too harsh on these kids, let me know. They ain't their super selves yet.

    Rob Adams and Felix Vasquez point out a line that I, geek of semi-geeks, missed. The sheriff, in her annoying highnessness, made a line about good old boys. The Dukes of Hazard ride on in reference. YEEEEE HAW! Go Schneider!

    And Felix has three great ideas I lift with credit...

    First, Lex makes a point last episode of knowing martial arts and being rather talented at protecting himself. BULL! HE IS KNOCKED OUT MORE THAN ANYONE ON THE SHOW! Lex, it would seem, is a pansy. Or at least easily knocked out.

    Also, lending credence to my earlier insta-heal medical miracle Helen theory, perhaps she is a krypto freak with healing powers? Nah...

    Also, the music during the Lana butt kicking scene. I forgot to mention how horrible and cliche it was. Thanks Felix.

    That's all, folks! Talk to you next week!

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