Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 3 - Episode 1: "Exile"Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
Look folks, a new tone! And not a bad one, at that. We have a new, darker Clark, a lost and weak Lex, and things in Smallville are falling apart. The Kent farm is being auctioned off, Lana is considering moving back with Nell, and Lionel, believe it or not, misses his boy.
What makes this episode strange, and the new tone respectable (at least unless they overdo it) is the fact that Clark is not a good man, he's a bad man, and Lex is not a strong man, he's a weak man. These categorical reversals are leading to the destruction of the narrative, and it's well done, for now. The question is, can the plot recover from these changes?
There are problems.
Clark is running around in plain sight using his super powers. Not a good thing. For commentary and irony, see the updated KO Count in business. Regardless, I've always harped on Clark not being careful with his secret, and now it's pretty much a moot point. You're trying to tell me that Lionel Luthor's building would lack security enough to even take a picture of the man who is breaking in, namely Kal Clark? I think not. This is a big deal.
No one IDs Clark in his spree? I find this to be rather difficult to take in.
Jonathan, as well, uses the Krypto-key and does not die. Okay, this one's easy to explain away...the key can sense inherent goodness. But what's the deal here? Is Jor-El still alive in a sense, able to make value judgment? I will allow this one to explain itself, but let it be known that it probably won't, eh?
That said, there are a lot of good little funny things we like to point out that occurred in this episode...
Darth Chloe's hair looked HORRIBLE. I mean, horrible. As I wander down the halls of years past, watching early episodes of Lois and Clark on TNT and later Lois and Clark, we see a startling thing, watching Lois. Her hair gets shorter, and shorter, and shorter. Maybe this is a personal preference thing, but I thought Chloe looked better with the cutish longer hair. It makes a point...she's now more business, harder, less eager to please those around her. And it's certainly better than pre-pubescent angst Chloe, but dangit, I was ATTRACTED to pre-pubescent angst Chloe, and now...
Well, she's more machine now, than woman. Twisted, and eeeeeevil.
That doesn't mean if you call me, Allison, I won't take you on a date...it just means, well, tell your stylist I want to see him in an alley. Then...
Clark running to a phone booth and ripping off his shirt to reveal the Kryptonian S had me laughing. Nice fan in-joke. Much respect for that one.
And get this! I Lionel Luthor NOTICED the Kent farm explosion! It must have made the papers or spurred the attention of the police after all...after this week, I'll remove it as a miracle (see the business for more on that).
The overhead transfer into Clark's shirt towards Lex's island is great...very symbolic, and I'll get into that very soon here.
There were a few of those moments where they're not supposed to be funny, where they just are, you know? When Jonathan tells Martha, "There'll be more Happy Days," I cackled like an idiot because I half-expected Clark to step out from the loft with his thumbs up going, "Eyyyyyyyy..." in true Fonz style.
And when Jonathan is talking about how he can possibly be as strong as Clark, or do battle with him, I thought, "The man needs to go get the General Lee."
But then again, no.
I also found it extremely funny that Lex Luthor was on Chloe's cell even after he was dead...I had a comical image of Lex in his coffin, holding up his cell phone:
"Can you hear me now?"
Also good is that Lex Luthor would have with savage and merciless lack of regard caved in the head of that lousy, metaphorical hippie. Down with lousy metaphorical hippies...tongue in cheek on that one. I thought it was a decent and well done metaphor, and it's also explained away by how many times he's been hit on the head (again, see business).
Great cliffhanger, folks. Jonathan using Krypto-skills to bash Clark into a window and we fade on them hurtling towards the street...very fun.
All in all, the best season opener since the premiere...so yeah, the odds are one in three, but still, it's good fun.
I give Exile 5 of 5.
Well, it's been a long strange summer. I spent most of it working my tail off turning a garage into a rec room and refinancing it for about 60 grand. The short version of the long story? I have now officially quit my job to become a full time Real Estate Novelist, right out of Billy Joel's Piano Man. Or Tacoma's Multiple Listing Service, as the case may be, because I just bought a second house. I'm moving back to my home town of Tacoma, Washington. Anyone want to meet up for common Smallville consensus? Regardless, the point being: I will now be able to answer my email more promptly with any luck, and reviews for Smallville should be SPOT ON time.
Believe it or not, I have business from last season's finale. MUCHO business. It seems I made a howling error of magnitude 9. I made fun of the fact that Clark magically still had a motorcycle, when really, truth be told, it has been explained away. It is Jonathan's, who bought the cycle in much the same fashion as Clark bought his class ring, against the whims of his father,
And to be sure, I got about a billion emails over three months telling me this. ;) by far the largest response I've ever received for a single error on my reviews. Keep it up! Don't let me be any more shirking than any TV writer, please!
Credits for the motorcycle goes to Michael Dingess, Davis Hand, Phillip in Florida, Will, Daniel Mohrmann, Craig Trost, Leigh, and Sean Berhan. If I forgot anyone or mislabeled a name, let me know.
Sean further points out that while Clark DIDN'T just buy the bike, what about the leather jacket and cool shades? HAH! I have a leather jacket, because I rock, and they're EXPENSIVE! HAH!
I also got a few quote corrections for the Lex-straveganza.
"If I find out you have any agenda that could harm the Kents, this amiable father-son time will come to an abrupt end." should have been "amiable father-son détente" I am told by Martino Ciaramidaro.
And I missed totally, according to Rob Adams, "You seem like a simple guy, Paul. I'd hate for your life to get complicated." Good call, there.
From Prodigal, according to Gailyn Baritot, "You know, Lucas, the Luthor gene pool is a shark tank, and our father's just chummed the waters."
Jimmy Nechleba points out that in the final scene, as I have seen my Fonz moment this week, he saw a Kodak moment where Clark looks out into the sunset and says, "Gee, dad, why does this kind of stuff happen to me each spring?" Also, connotations aside, when Clark blows up the barn, Jimmy suggests whispering quietly, "whups." Good humor!
Mark Rutkoswki came up with the interesting theory that the real power behind Dr. Walden was the fact that he was really not trying to hurt Clark, but rather download the rest of the information into him, as the energy beam and the learning beam looked rather similar. Still, it blew up the gas, so this proves kids, that knowledge is power.
Now picture Walden, post explosion, raising his hand and going "Whups..."
Perhaps I go too far...but I KEED, I KEED!
And just to show I can go waaaay back, Craig Trost points out that I missed that the towel Clark has in the premiere when he's saved Lex looks an awful lot like a cape.
Rob Adams postulates that perhaps Clark thought he was being controlled simply because he was in shock...Jor-El HURT him, and it's very shaking to be invulnerable and be hurt. Further, Rob points out that back in Prodigal, we poked fun at the first scene being rather Indiana Jones...is there irony in the fact that Luthor's brother's name is Lucas? As in, George? Sorry, I'm a Warsie, openly.
And my personal fave for this round...Sean Berhan points out that Clark's shirt is a symbol that means Red Dragon, and he's wearing it in both episodes when he makes the transformation and is living through it. And what do we do in the aforementioned transfer I lauded earlier? We go through the eyes of the Red Dragon to see Lex, stranded, alone, emphasizing the critical dichotomy even more. GREAT spot.
And people who know these reviews are now saying, "Where's the KO Count?"
Well, I tell you what. I did you one better. I RE-DID the whole thing at the expense of my own sanity, watching EVERY SINGLE EPISODE AGAIN.
So go check it out!
With Jonathan gaining Krpyto-powers, that makes him a Freak of the week, so that count goes up, but other than that, things are just great with regards to the numbers, so far...no KO, no great inconsistencies, and only a few times Clark uses his powers in front of others.
SELAH! Write me! Let the badgering, bantering, rambling and postulation begin, lest Smallville be CANCELLED!
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