Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 3 - Episode 2: "Phoenix"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Main Points:

  • Morgan Edge is in league with Lionel Luthor
  • Clark is back home
  • Morgan Edge knows Clark's secret.
  • Apparently, Luthor has no video cameras at all at his building.
  • Lex Luthor bought the Kent's farm for them.
  • Chloe has returned to human.


    All right, we have a really, really good episode here with some really, really bad inconsistencies. Let's go inconsistencies first, just because I spent the last six days working on a roof in a desert. More on that later.

    First off, and the worst of all the evils, is that Lex, when Clark notes that he is alive, does not say, "The reports of my death were greatly exaggerated." Minus cool points for that. All right, that's not the worst of the worst. I just missed it.

    Clark is subdued by Kryptonite, thrown in a van, and driven to Metropolis. Then, somehow, he knows he's about to be uncovered, drops a vase, cuts his bonds, and blows the truck he's in up. Okay, big problems here. Let's list them.

    1) Clark is POISONED by Kryptonite, not weakened. It makes, as the special effect showed, his blood BOIL. Exposure of more than, say, what, ten minutes will KILL him DEAD. Metropolis, though somehow in Kansas for this show, is still at least an hour away.

    2) He mystically knows when to blow the van up.

    3) Uh, guys? Clark blows up the van. Unless this was some wacky Morgan Edge automated van (and it wasn't, it was driven by his two goons), CLARK KENT BLEW UP A VAN AND KILLED TWO GOONS. BIG DEAL HERE, FOLKS.

    And he comes out of the water grinning.

    4) Hello, folks, the van was filled with the Kent's belongings. Almost all of them that weren't to be sold. What will Clark wear to school, assuming he isn't expelled (I'll give them until next week to resolve that one).

    How about this...I'm watching the show, and there's a preview for Sundays, called Smallville: Beginnings. Basically, throw the euphemism aside, and it means reruns. Why can't they say reruns? Oh yeah. Because that would sound bad. Still, they want you to buy the season one DVD, so the other commercial says. Well, which is it? I bought the DVDs, personally, just to show downloading them off KaZaA was not me stealing, but taking where there was none until some arrived, if that makes sense. That wasn't as bad as Clark blowing goons up, but I did notice it.

    Hey, why did Clark's ring blow apart when he hit the wall? It was a cool segue story point, but isn't it protected by his aura? Oh well. Not too big a deal.

    One thing particularly ticked me off. I mean, REALLY ticked me off. Lex is talking to Helen, and spurts, "Thank God you're alive!"

    And Lex makes some conciliatory comment about how God was the only thing with him on the island...or something to that nature.

    Now before I explain why this bothered me, imagine this: You're the only person in the world who wears incandescent underwear, because it's the only thing that makes logical sense to you. Now imagine that there are many people out there who wear other kinds of underwear, different colors, different sizes, shapes, even people who wear no underwear (yippee!).

    Got that image in your head? The lonely person with the incandescent underwear.

    Now let me tie it together. Imagine you once read something that had a character in it that you idealized, or at very least related to, who wore incandescent underwear, but because wearing incandescent underwear is very unpopular, they downplayed it and shoved aside so much that when the TV show version comes out, they don't show your favorite character with the incandescent underwear, for fear of putting people off or out of sheer ignorance.

    All right. Now's where it starts to make sense, and I put it in those strange terms that you might understand without not reading any more, because this particular brand of incandescent underwear tends to drive people absolutely fruity.

    I am an atheist and Lex Luthor is an atheist. We are the heathen equivalent of the wearers of the incandescent underwear.

    Now let me add the standard disclaimers so that I don't get flamed, shot, or slandered. I don't want you to be an atheist, in fact, I hope you all live happy religious lives. If you want to debate religion, shoot me an email, but if you want to threaten me with hell, do it elsewhere. My point with this whole lead up is that Lex Luthor, in the comics, has declared that he never believed in God. It's one of the things that stereotypically portrays him as malevolently evil or calculatingly intelligent, depending on how you choose to interpret atheism. To see him thanking God for anything undermines what has, thusfar, been the best portrayal of Lex to me yet.

    All that said, it's the writers, not the actor, and it's not a HUGE deal, just a deal that had to be noted, and particularly in this country, had to be noted in due and drawn out tact. Now onward.

    That's the bad, here's the good:

    The fall was bloody sweet. The fight was bloody sweet. In fact, all in all, I would say this was the best teaser I've seen in a show. You know, the hook that drags you in? In Star Trek it's typically when Deanna Troi is walking down the hall and some malevolent alien pervert rips off her clothes. The rest of the show is finding out why...the teaser brings you in. Two Supermen battling each other? Count me in. A close second is Hug's great man falling into a car from waaaay up scene.

    I loved the fact that this is the second time Lex has pulled a gun on his dad. Didn't see the first? Get Smallville the Comic 3 and 4. Then read my reviews of them. Good times. MOICHENDIZING MOICHENDIZING MOICHENDIZING. Use the Schwartz to get down to the next paragraph.

    The blood boiling effect was sweet. I wonder how they did it. But it's just a great effect.

    I like how Clark's disappearance and return was not just glossed over. The true test will be next episode, which looks to be a return to the freak of the week, but I have some hope. Some.

    The show's mystery element with Lex was nice, though it was fairly obvious it was Helen. If Lionel wanted Lex dead, Chicky chicky bang bang with the nearest .45. Lionel's not subtle. Besides, who would he torture if not Lex? Lucas?

    Oh yeah. We haven't heard from Lucas in a while.

    Edge knows Clark's secret. I'd say bad, but it just seems too good of a thing to waste. But then, how will Superman take care of Edge in the future? Still, a nice twist. No complaints here.

    Clark assumed the Red persona again with Edge...a neat little performance, and a subtle hint to Clark's skill at acting he will later have to use at the Daily Planet playing mild-mannered.

    The hug between Lex and Clark was a moment for me. Just a great moment. Call me a sucker (SUCKER), but it was just pivotal to me, and I can't even explain why in words.

    DARTH CHLOE has returned to Anakin Sullivanwalker. Go figure. She realized pining for Clark was worthless and came back to the light side, so it would seem. I hope they keep this up, because that was my biggest complaint about last season. May the Force be with her next week, as I'll be watching. And what happened to her deal with Lionel, ey? She's still on his leash, is she not?

    Hey, anyone else titter like a little girly man (or girl, hey, we're equal opportunity titterers here) when Pa Kent looked at Lex right after he'd returned from the dead and said:

    'You bought the farm?'

    Tee hee hee hee hee. You know you're giggling.

    Lionel and Morgan being old school boys club buddies was an interesting, if not predictable twist. Enjoyable. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out when


    Edge returns


    Gol, I hate doing that. So I'm going to spoil something for something else, right here. THE EMPEROR IS ANAKIN'S FATHER! Nah, just kidding.

    But Superman and Lex Luthor really are brothers. That Lara...

    Nah, just kidding again.

    Hey? You remember that episode that made me barf blood with Lana learning to kickbox people in order to prove a point? I thought it would go nowhere, but look! Jonathan's kung fu on Edge goons is weak, while Lana's is STRONG!

    I also just loved how Lex did the reverse of what Helen did to him essentially, but Helen didn't come back. Plus, they shot the pilot! That's kind of funny! Poor guy, who's only crime in the world was dutifully serving Lex Luthor. We'll never see THAT happen again, now, will we?


    I forgot a bad, and this reminded me of it. Lionel saw what Lex did, because Lionel has cameras in his plane. But what, he doesn't have one at his TOP-SECRET SAFE CONTAINING ALIEN BLOOD? Not that I'm bitter that Clark used his powers in public and got away with it or anything.

    All in all, there was a lot of bad, but unless you're looking for it, like a reviewer would, you might gloss over it all.

    I'm subtracting a full .5 for the Lex conversion, because while some things are dynamic and in crazy good imagination to change (like making Kingpin black because Michael Clark Duncan played him so well in Daredevil, or allowing Lana to be asian and Pete black), those things are generally beneficial to the underrepresented (or purportedly, make your own fights here), and since atheists are between 5 and 10 percent of the generally population, taking that out of Lex left a hole in my heart. Sorry, folks. Personal bias. Everyone has it, and I could lie to you, but you'd know it. Readers are astute.

    So thus, 4.5 of 5.

    And let the mail begin.


    Speaking of which, I have no idea if I'm getting any or not of late. If you look back to last week, I made sweeping promises of quick email response and prompt replies.

    It's true, but for this last week, I lied a little bit. It will do your hearts warm however, to know that why I am not having a long, drawn out business as usual this week is because I do not have access to email. I was helping put on a roof for a guy who is 62, and it took me 5 12 hours days and tomorrow to get it done. Thusly, I have not had access to email. My apologies. That said, this week's business will be covered next week, and all email after that, until I move, regarding Smallville, should be exceedingly prompt, and thank you all for corresponding.

    The KO Count, at its main page has several additions. The main one being, it's now accessible. Last week we had a problem with the link, but that should be fixed this week.

    Clark is knocked out for the van ride, I'm counting, as he should have been dead, and Jonathan is knocked out in the fight with Clark. One for Jonathan, and one for Lex.

    The freak of the week ratio goes to 45:46. I'm not counting Jonathan twice for this week.

    Helen is a whammy and a potentially recurring villain.

    Morgan Edge now knows the secret, and his goons did before Clark blew them up.

    And Lex has still not made contact with his brother, who might want to know he's still alive, for 10 episodes and one season break. The little punk wasn't even at the funeral!

    Back to the "Smallville: Episode Reviews" Contents page.

    Back to the main TELEVISION page.