Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 2 - Episode 22: "Calling"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Main Points:

  • If you suddenly gain Krypto-powers, don't use them on gas tanks.
  • Lex Luthor may be a BAD MAN (he has Clark's Blood).
  • Lana and Clark are an item, but Lana is hesitant. Why? Chloe.
  • Chloe is obscenely jealous when she sees Clark and Lana kiss.
  • The voice of Jor-El is the voice of Zod. Who coulda guessed?

    REVIEW:

    Wow! A good episode! Actually, it's a bit tragic that this happens right after what I believe to be such a horrible one. It leads into the pattern of good episodes towards the beginning, the end, and sweeps, but in the middle, it seems the good ones pour out.

    Still, this episode rocked the house in most ways, with one or two glaring failures, which I shall, of course, point out.

    At the beginning, Clark and Lana kiss. Well, good and bad. I don't know. I can't pass judgment fairly until this pans out. Mostly, as you all well know, I figure bad, but largely because of the loss of Atlas dynamic tension. Charlie Brown gets the girl, and then why do we pity him? If he kicks the football, who wants to watch him fight Lucy any more, even if Lucy gains krypto-powers...eh...

    At any rate, they kiss. And she gives him a present, saying, "Don't peek." Good joke, actually. Because he has...x-ray...well, you know. I liked it, cheesy though it was.

    I don't like the fact that Clark was the aggressor. First off, it's not in his character. Men who go after women (oh, lord, feminists and people around the world forgive me for what I'm about to say) are typically arrogant, crude, and cocky. I mean, I can speak for myself in this. When I go after the lady types, I succeed when I am braggart, accomplished, and outspoken. When I am meek and mild, friendly and supportive, I get the axe and become old friendly, like Clark. This is why I firmly believe that right now, Lex has more of a chance of putting the moves on Lana than Clark, age of 16 regardless. I'm not saying that Clark should not get Lana because he's a nice guy...far from it. I'm just saying that if he were to get Lana, she would be the aggressor. And sorry, but I don't consider being given cake an offer of bilabial fricative.

    At any rate, it was out of character, but still fun. I can't fault it too much.

    And then, just as they kiss, the worst song to accentuate it comes on.

    Somebody SAAAAAAAAAAAAAVE MEEEEEEEEEEEE!

    Who wants to be saved from Kristen? I mean, I know, she's not my type, but sheesh, man, you don't look a gift spokeswoman for a make-up company in the mouth when she's kissing you!

    "Uh, I think we should take it slow."

    Translation: "I don't like you. Let's not kiss any more."

    Or "I think we should try to appease Chloe."

    Or "Hey, do you think I should waffle for viewers?"

    Any of these ways, it would have been better to just tell it honestly. "I feel bad about Chloe, Clark." Is that really so unreasonable?

    Take it slow? He's been obsessing over her since he was five, and they've been flirting for TWO DARNED YEARS!

    And you know I didn't want to say darned there.

    Lex gives Clark good advice. "Tell her!" Then he goes and does it. It's a miracle, really, and it could only happen because this is part of a finale! :)

    Clark and Lex talking about love is great. We may never get to the point where Clark is after Lois and Lex is as well, but this was just great foreshadowing, and a nice nod to people who know where the love triangle will REALLY end up.

    The repetition of the musical themes from the Superman movies continues to please me greatly.

    Lex learning that Clark is an alien, or at least hearing it, is far and beyond out of continuity. They do it in the comics...and it turns out well...once. A little history. Lex pays a goon to find out who Superman really is. He makes an intelligent computer tell him that Clark is Superman, then disregards it, because Lex Luthor is intelligent enough to know that someone could not possibly do what Superman does and have a good social or real life (cut to Clark leaving Lois in the dust, and etc.). Then, using evidence and a lackey, he finds out again, approximately 17 years later. He knows, then has the evidence taken from his brain by a character with mental powers. It was badly executed, I think, and I don't really like talking about it. Actually, it sends me into epileptic geek fits. But frankly, I think Lex knowing could be great if done well, and poor if done poorly. So I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. FOR NOW! Besides, he doesn't really KNOW yet. Just has a person who tells him.

    Wow! The Kents sure have nice suits for people who were almost foreclosed a few months ago! I guess Lex paid. My buddy said not to bring this up, because everyone deserves to have a good suit. I say, I agree, but only when the money is there. When I lived super-poor, if I had asked for a suit, my mom would have smacked the white off my poor self. And I would have deserved it. I even got ridiculed because I couldn't get formal wear for dances and had to go in a Goodwill suit. But heck, that's just to justify that my point is right. Unless Lex paid, poor farmers wouldn't waste money on a suit. Maybe the infusion of Lionel cash?

    Why is Lionel allowed in the school to just roam around after hours? Probably the same reasoning as the last paragraph. He's rich. He can do whatever he wants.

    But Chloe! LO, I say again, folks! She has almost redeemed herself! She starts being herself again, acting the responsible, cool reporter, only to find that she's still a jealous whiner at the end of the episode. I think she cancelled herself out this episode, and I'd rather wait to see what she does with Lionel next episode before I pass judgment.

    And hey, did any of you check out the Chloe Chronicles? I did. I was going to ask to review them, but then, well, go watch them. They're too short, and they're pretty contrived. I was upset. I am absolutely in love with Allison, and I don't like Chloe right now. Here, a crocodile tear, then on with the review.

    Call me, Al. Sorry. Had to make the joke. Call me, Betty...get it...er...

    At-hem.

    I loved the headline. Anyone else catch it? I lost the whole scene because of it, but anyone willing to put FERRETS FOUND IN AIR DUCTS almost gets a point added to the review on principle. Hilarious! Almost as great as Lex with a golf club and a parking Nazi.

    There are certain things that, when placed together, lead to inevitable comedy. Monkeys and poo, republicans and democrats, thirty dollars and a homeless guy, explosions and midgets, Joel Schumacher and Batman (heck, Joel Schumacher and ANYTHING (except Falling Down. Falling Down rocked the HIZOUSE!)), Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau,Lex and parking nazis, and Ferrets and air ducts. Anything I missed? At any rate, though this episode was great, this was probably my favorite part. But then, I'm odd.

    No? Me?

    At-hem again.

    I don't understand why the caves would empower a human being with powers that would attack a Kryptonian. Especially since it seems to know who Clark is, and who is threatening him. Why would the doc, who they know to be a mean guy, presumably, have powers that could hurt Clark? Maybe because they know he is inept enough to point fire at a gas tank...mwu ha!

    I thought it was a cheap death. Mainly because it set out to do something, and it failed. It made Clark have someone who could make him vulnerable (failed), it got rid of a hanging chad, the good doctor (yeah, but caused more trouble than it's worth, see ahead), and it showed that the cave is potentially a threat (just not clearly). I note that the doctor's removal is more threat than it's worth, but only in the real world. In Smallville, a man can magically blow up your fuel tanks and be incinerated, save one place on his hand, and nobody's gonna ask any questions. Hello? There is an evil sheriff after Clark, right?

    "So, son. How did this happen."

    "Er, ah, erm, ah, I have to go to the bathroom."

    "You're not changing into Superman while I'm interrogating you!"

    "Er, I'm not Superman! Who is Superman?"

    "Who blew up them tanks, son?"

    "A man with magic hands!"

    "Really...Well, that's all right, Clark. Stay still, the men with the vests will be here soon."

    "Magic hands! He shot them at me!"

    Or maybe, even,

    "He was playing with a match!"

    "Well, then, sonny boy, why is your ENTIRE BARN half charred and the evidence suggesting a force BURST the tank?"

    Ah, who knows. I noticed it. Maybe I'm just looking for it. But it seems like that would be really hard to get away with, especially given Clark's previous run-ins with the law.

    There's also the whole fact that the hand is not charred. No one is told about this? The mortician doesn't maybe report this to a higher authority? That's SOP, isn't it? I imagine Lionel could have covered this up, though.

    Lex's first blatant evil, folks. Give him a hand. And I think it's a great reason. It's not because he's been a bad man, but it's because Clark LIED to him. What a great reason! You know, stuff like this makes me root for the bad guy. Get that liar, even if he is a good guy! Liars must pay!

    I think Chloe got what she deserved for sneaking around. That's just me, perhaps.

    Okay, folks. I don't know if you caught it, but did you hear that little voice in Clark's head? As indicated in my interview with Al Gough, this is the voice of Jor-El. Anyone recognize the voice? I did! Actually, someone emailed me with it before the episode started, so I knew all along. Good thing I don't mind spoilers...it is the voice of Terrance Stamp. Anyone place him? Oh yeah, he only played the greatest Superman movie villain ever,

    ZOD!

    Yes, I mean ZOD! As in, KNEEL BEFORE ZOD! And "Why do you say these things to me when you know I shall only kill you for it?" And "I will rule the planet HOUSTON!" I mean, Lex was great, but they camped him up. Zod takes the cake.

    And now, he's Superman's dad. Well, what to make of that?

    My thoughts? He's really Zod. I think that Zod somehow sabotaged the caves to make a little trap for Kal-El and harken his arrival, thus the doc. I hope we see Zod. We may not, but that's what I hope for. That's my ideal hope. Why else would Clark be heading for Bad Clark again? Maybe we'll know tomorrow. I will certainly write that in.

    Great ending. But didn't Martha Kent ever teach Clark to shut the door when he drops down into a dramatically lit cellar? What was he, raised in a barn? Oh ho,

    I kill me.

    5 of 5. 6 of 5 if you count ferrets. Great episode, though the technical could use some work.

    BUSINESS:

    First off, sorry this review is so late. I got called in on four, yes, four 24 hour shifts. Someone abandoned an old man and I had to take care of it. With that out of the way...

    Well, the good doctor is croakers, so that's a whammy. And the doc knew the secret, making the knockout count stand:

    KNOCKOUT STATISTICS COMPILED IN THE COMPLETION OF THIS REVIEW:

    Lex: 10

    Lana: 7

    Jonathan: 5

    Chloe: 4

    Pete: 4

    Clark: 3

    Martha: 2

    Lionel: 2

    Whammy (dead but mostly forgotten though important to the mains): 26.

    People who know Clark's secret (for sure, not potentially): 10 living, 5 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: 7.

    Special note this week: Steve Sanders points out that I changed the knockout countone week Lex had ten, the next, 9. My error. What happened was, in one of my revisions (they happen...yes folks, I REALLY DO EDIT! :) ...see my website for the whole story) I ended up giving the perpetual "D'oh!" and noticed that while Lex was knocked out, I hadn't recorded it. So I fixed it in the email, then sent it on to Steve. I forgot to fix it in the original, and thusly, when I copy and pasted the thing for the next week's review, it was the old, wrong one. Thanks Steve and Steve, respectably.

    Also, for other extras that are a bit off for a Superman site, see mine. I throw stuff around. Maybe it would interest the more risky or demented of you. It's stuff that rightfully should have hit the floor of the cutting room, but I don't know. I like the extra stuff on DVDs. Maybe you want to see process at work.

    A lot of people REALLY hated how critical I was of the little girl and how she was kind of arbitrary and unnecessary, to me, so I figured, let's shoot about it. I acknowledge, mostly through dialogue with Roopa Nalam, that she has potential to not be a freak of the week. Heck, she re-opened Level three, explained away a good sub-plot (the Kryptonite in Lionel's possession) and left room for a larger conspiracy...maybe I was wrong. Still, I stand by the fact that she was a cheesy villain, mostly poorly executed for silly chucks and fear, and I think she'll ultimately fade away. But there's always a chance I'm right. Time will tell.

    Here's a big screw-up on my part.

    I said that the little girl kills her own father with a pike. Wow! The dead walk! He appears later in the episode, having survived. Call it a bad attention span on my part. Half of this I blame on myself, the other half on the silliness of the villain. I paid attention, I started losing it after one too many clichs and silly reasons for violence. Credit for this attention grabber goes to Rob Adams, Keith Price, and Mads Robin Kasmo. Thank you all.

    I also must give credit to Rob Adams, a continual help, for suggesting the new format in the first place with Business at the bottom (emails tell me you all like it better, at least, so far).

    He also had an insight I missed. If you notice, there is a statue of Caesar in the room with Lex at all times, now. The fall of Greece, intelligence leading to destruction, the Trojan war with his father, and his girlfriend's name is what, Helen? Hello, people. Reference. As always, a great choice by the set director. This is probably the best set direction I've seen on TV next to the meticulous Star Trek set designers, with notable exceptions for flaws.

    Brad Haarbauer and Ninos Shimshon point out that it is ridiculous that Clark didn't just X-Ray the goon's face. I agree. Why the plate? We know, from the past, that he can see faces. Why didn't he? Because he got hit? He's INVINCIBLE, folks. Good heads up.

    Also, I have received the criticism that I wail too much on the physics. I stand by it, because it draws out of the narrative for me and other readers (confirmed through email), but if I am wrong, let me know. I always want to have other opinions...I like dialogue.

    And finally, I encourage you all to please read-in next week. I was late this week thanks to a large commitment (basically, I work as a caregiver, and someone abandoned an old man for four days. I had to step in. I was working, yes, four straight days, no break.) and fell behind on both this review and fan mail, which I have now fixed, emailing everyone and writing this review. Still, I wanted to note that next week will be extra special. I plan on including a Lexstravaganza of the best Lex quotes, the final Knockout Count, a re-evaluation of the reviews in retrospect of their significance with the series and season as a whole, and a tally of average for the whole season's reviews. It will be huge, but fun, I promise. Thanks for reading!



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