Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 2 - Episode 21: "Accelerate"Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
And why? Because it's arty.
Well, I am both happy and sad that Clark is moving closer to Lana once more. I mean, this is where we all expected things to go, but then again, look, it's only the end of the second season, and the great and mighty tension that runs Clark, other than coping with his powers, is about to evaporate. What would that mean to the potential viewer? Catastrophic show failure, perhaps. Or maybe not.
Allow me to elaborate.
I watch Star Trek as well as Smallville, largely with my bud, Kev, who's a Star Trek nut, and we are both thick and thin fans. We love Star Trek though and through, much like Smallville. They both have their Deanna Troi mother-in-laws, their freak of the weeks, their wholly expository character episodes that go nowhere, and we put up with them, because wholly, the series is not a loss.
I waited to write this review of Smallville until after I had seen this week's Enterprise, because I wanted to make a cautious parallel after having seen the previews for both. Enterprise, you may or may not know, was about the Borg this week. Now, bear with me, Trekkers, because I am going to explain this to the uninitiated. I actually watched the show with someone who had no clue as to what the Borg were, so I know the questions, mainly. The Borg are the Lex Luthor of Star Trek. Meaning, they're the best villain ever created, fanwise. Some would contest this, but it's just for the sake of fanboy geekdom. Borg are the Luthors. And what is good about Luthor, in the comics, in the show, everywhere? He is a villain that is always there, but he never wages all out attack unless it is a pivotal moment in the history of Superman. The Borg used to be great, because they were like this. Then Voyager lagged in ratings, or needed spicing up, so in come the Borg. Seven of Nine (who doesn't love Seven, I mean, hubba hubb...uh, back to the review), you know, the Borg really saved Voyager.
But...there is not reason why the Borg should not have been in Voyager. It makes sense...they were near the Borg homeworld.
On Enterprise last night, they completely rewrote Trek history for viewers. They enabled twenty-third century bad guys get bad guy news to twenty-first century bad guys, and they will come back, save through the obvious glaring plothole Trek will use to screen this flaw, with twenty-ninth century tech and wipe out Trek as we've already known it in the future, just so that Borg can be on Enterprise.
My point? It didn't belong, it wasn't necessary to further the plot, and it was a cheap trick to pull in a tough demographic: The people who aren't watching.
As is, in my opinion, arbitrarily bringing Lana around when she took a firm stance AGAINST Clark. I mean, he's still keeping a secret from her, and she knows it. She capitulates because, what, he's cute? I understand this, and I got chills hearing Lavigne, who I normally consider a sellout, over tones of Clark and Lana moving in on each other. It was a great scene, but the essential conflict of Clark is not if he is a good man, a strong man, or a superman. It's whether or not he can become Lana's man without Smallville turning into what killed Lois and Clark.
I believe that last night Enterprise and the whole Trek franchise jumped the shark. I say that gravely, with the willingness to take it back if I am proven wrong, but I do not believe, having weighed this decision for years, that I am making it lightly. Heck, in two weeks a stone-cold Vulcan gets Pon-Farr just because it's sweeps week, she's female, and her mammalian protuberances protrude. Forgive me, Trekkers, if I misspelled Pon-Farr.
My point? If Clark gets with Lana, and Chloe goes off to the Planet (no spoilers, here, I have NO idea what is going to happen, I'm just speculating.), where is the tension of the show? Whether Clark will survive various goons, or whether Clark will become a good man, or whether his secret will be exposed? Whether Luthor will turn evil? There are things to say about adolescence, but we know the answer to all of the other questions. Yes, yes, no, yes. The tension between Clark and the world, being the Charlie Brown, the perpetual loser, this is what makes Smallville and even Clark to me. Clark does what is right, the world punishes him, but he carries on. This is a BIG thing to me, and it being absent will detract so fully from the show that I caution...I just caution...
The fonz has the boat ready and is heading for the ramp. Blow on the screen, folks, and hope he misses the ramp and we don't jump the shark. Not two seasons in.
I know that Lana and Clark were an item in school for a while. That means that comic-wise, it is just the perfect time for the two to hook up. But Smallville-wise? I would have to say they created too much of a rift between the two to be solved in three episodes. They spent most of this season at odds with each other!!
But that's all a mere attack on the potentiality this episode presents. How about the show itself?
Terrible, in a lot of ways.
It's cool to see Luthor's experiments back, and Lex feeling like he shouldn't be paranoid, then finding that he has every reason to be. It makes for great characterizing.
But the writing. Did anyone sense the writing flag this episode? One cliché after another, folks.
You have to write your own story (to the girl)
Do you believe in ghosts? (gak)
Is this some kind of sick joke? (dad)
Anyone else see these and a ton of other cheap one-liners designed to create audience mood but serving only to bother anyone who is interested in originality? I mean, I know people who believe in ghosts have a lot of faith in it, but lines that insinuate their existence aren't going to spook a cynic like me. I have to see things like the moving seats, or a well played camera angle. Dialogue was off, and I wasn't the only one in the room to see it.
Chloe and her jealousy again. Clark holds hands with Lana. Chloe scowls. When will she become the character that we used to know who is intelligent and forthright and just tell them that it bothers her? That is the nice, smart thing to do, but she hides things. Maybe she's going evil...what with Luthor after her.
Another piece of dialogue. "Do you want to play with me?"
I expected Lana's childhood friend to be Chucky. Anyone else see Bride of Chucky? Not that great an epic film, but pretty funny. And it had Jennifer Tilly. Rawr.
For those who need understanding, Chucky's catchphrase was, I believe, "Hi, I'm Chucky, wanna play?". Then, much like the little girl in our story, she tries to kill the boy who plays with him.
And hey, folks, lookie here! The whole Krypto-inspired loss of morals is not present only in jocks, but in little girls, as well! A little girl, just because her dad makes her say no, kills him violently with a pike. Sounds like my little sister when she gets mad, but usually, she doesn't turn to flat out killing. I'm willing to say this was kryptonite and Lionel's experimentation, but murder streaks in ten year-olds who seem otherwise normal does still strike me as odd.
Hey, look! The Torch no longer uses Imacs! They went to Dell! I wonder what happened in the product placement department! Someone must have fallen out of love with the Apple executive...mwu ha ha!
Seeing the cave change hands because of the boys that died was cool. It's nice to see that the random kid that DIED there means something to someone. I considered wiping his whammy off, but it wasn't a remembrance, it was just a legal maneuver. Lionel didn't care about the kid or remember him. He used him as an excuse.
The super-speed special effects with the rain was great. One of the best effects so far. It's too bad it occurred in such an otherwise bland episode.
Question. The chairs moving in the beginning were cool, but how did they move with no one seeing the blurred form of the girl, and even supposing she could move that fast, who's to say that it would make any sense for her to move them? She doesn't want to scare Lana, she just wants to be her friend. And, come to think of it, why would she show a creepy old video of them being friends and not just say, "Hey, Lana, how are you?"
I mean, I don't know many megalomaniac ten year-olds. Maybe my little sister Amy, but none other than that...and she's really bent on world domination.
In the lab...isn't it CONVENIENT that the clone wakes just then?
I can see the writers. Let's do a scary episode, but make it so that it can all be explained away in the end. They don't realize that once things are explained, the behavior in ghostly manner must be explained, and it can't be in this episode.
Lex respected the fact that science had made a leap, even though he felt for the girl. This is right-on in character, and like always, Lex does not fail in his portrayal. I am amazed that the only thing they constantly mess up on Lex is how easy he is to knock out/keep out of the loop, and this is kind of a necessary thing given the nature of the show, so it's almost forgivable.
Also, get this, anyone else notice that after everyone knew that the girl was really alive and just gifted with powers, the freaky ghost music kept coming on and Lana was scared out of her gourd? That didn't make sense to me. Scary after not scary.
Hey, look! Henry Small is just magically gone again! Maybe he's a ghost.
I am sorry, Mr. Advanced scientist, but an error on the level of the chromosomes does not change a person's morals, as implied in this show. A person with an altered chromosome may grow up inhibited in certain ways, but choice based things, like morals, we cannot just change by altering a chromosome. If only we could, we might be able to stop Ted Bundy in the future, but that's a moral issue in and of itself. The point is, it don't work. You can't just arbitrarily use something like that to cover a plot hole, even if it sounds scientific. That's Trek's schtick.
Martha looks preggers, after she didn't. Good, and bad, because we lack a progression, but oh, well. It's nice that the issue isn't forgotten. But why did they hide the crib from Lana?
Say, anyone know if Annette is really pregnant, and that's the reason for the storyline, or if it's just the writers. If it's just Annette, I have some words about it. It's easy to cover up, and to try and change the whole super-mythos for an actress stinks. But if it is a wholly original story, I think it's daring. Fickle, we reviewers.
Another piece of bad dialogue.
"It should have been me, I'm so sorry, oh, sob sob sob." Lana.
The bunny drops, and look, folks, the bunny dropped in SLOW MOTION (I giggled like a ten year old girl), and the little girl gets an evil look in her eyes and looks at her best friend and says,
"This time it WILL be!"
Then she murders her best and only friend by throwing her into the water.
But it's okay, folks! Clark is on the way! He leaps off of the bridge, swims to the bottom of raging rapids, and at the bottom, LOOK! Lana is lying, angelic, not breathing, her eyes are closed, there are no air bubbles, and she's waiting for rescue. Clark pulls her up, pushes on her stomach a little bit (hey, bozo, she's got air in her lungs, not a hock of ham in her throat), and she spits out the water and is suddenly enamored of Clark again.
"Hold me..." Bad dialogue again.
This whole sequence was just absolutely gagging to watch.
Warning, the following paragraph is going to be gross. Skip one if you don't want to hear it.
When a person drowns, or is in the process of drowning, there are several things that I believe (no doctor here, but) occur. One, the person begins thrashing uncontrollably for the surface as water begins to fill their lungs, eventually, and sometimes quickly expending their air in order to get to the surface as quickly as possible, because if not, they die. Then, panic ensues. Water begins to fill the lungs. I almost drowned once, and I got to this point. It's scary. After this period, which lasts for a brief amount of time, the body passed out and stops struggling, where it usually floats to the surface save in extreme cases where something is odd about the body (I'll even concede that Lana is extraordinarily thin so her body would let her sink). The problem here being that they were in a raging river. The body would be in very fast motion towards where the river went, not quietly on the bottom, an apotheosis of beauty, which might be symbolic and nice to look at, but the inconsistency of the matter makes it a lot less entertaining. I could be wrong as well, but I believe that for a period of time after passing out, air escapes from the lungs, the reserve air that we cannot breath out no matter how hard we try. I think there's, what, two pints or two cups? I read it once and it interested me.
So yeah, I have to say, this was probably the worst episode of Smallville yet for me. The intrigue of Lionel and Lex didn't even begin to make up for the arbitrary plot and horrible dialogue. One thing and one thing alone saved this from the show's first one, and that was the scene at the end where Lionel played with the little girl and the bunny. So evil, so well done, and so strong in characterization, it brought this episode from the brink and made it a
2 of 5.
I worry, with the preview of bad Clark again next week. If they start using Bad Clark too much, it might get really bad. Shark bad. He's even wearing the same leather clothes and dark glasses. You think he might of burned them after he did what he did last time, eh? We'll see.
Well, as you can see, it looks like the people who wanted business towards the end won, three votes to one, and here we are. I have a couple of people to email yet, so I may miss something important this week. This is largely because I have become dog sick, heck, wolf sick, so anything I miss, I apologize, I will be emailing and dealing with most things soon. My throat is closed, but sure can yell, huh? But I need to lay down, so I'm going to do what I can and make up for it next week.
Paul Korczyk, Keith Price, and Roopa Nalam all pointed out that the jock in the last episode was Zachery Ty Bryan, apparently a Home Improvement alum. First JTT, now this? AHHHH! Man, if they're going to bring on former Home Improvement stars, why not bring on Pamela Anderson and have her stick her hooeys around?
AAAAAAAAAnd Jeff Wan, Tim O'Brien, and Adeylan Dyos all point out that schools can most assuredly search a locker, legally, because the locker is school property. I worded my paragraph poorly. It said:
"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.
My point here was not that what she did could not be done, but rather should not be done. It was just a political dalliance I took because it struck me. I think everyone, especially kids, who have the most comfort issues, should have private places, and a locker is chief among them. I think a warrant is a fair way to search a locker, as a bench warrant is easy to come by. I don't support evil jock, but I think he should have had due process.
Adeylan, true to form and always good with points, tells me of yet another flaw I missed with the horrible Precipice episode. When Lana kicked that goon, she would not have enough training to exercise such a kick without being thrown to the floor, number one, and number two, it would not have thrown him so far. It was unrealistic, in the eyes of one who HAS had real life training.
And finally, the KO count. This week, we have only one addition. A knockout for Lana. She's gaining! Also, the little girl knows Clark has super-speed and just doesn't tell anyone. One, living.
Here it is:
KNOCKOUT STATISTICS COMPILED IN THE COMPLETION OF THIS REVIEW:
Whammy (dead but mostly forgotten though important to the mains): 25.
People who know Clark's secret (for sure, not potentially): 10 living, 4 dead.
Miracles: 1 (Pete's arm)
Number of episodes since Luthor found his new brother after never knowing him at all it takes for them to make contact again onscreen: 6.
And with that, I leave off to rest. May the force be with you all, have a good week, thank you for your patience, those who I have not responded to. Home stretch!
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