Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 3 - Episode 3: "Extinction"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Main Points:

  • Van McNulty has a mad-on for Krypto-freaks (come on... you sympathize).
  • Lex believes himself to be a freak.
  • Chloe has a Freak database that Lionel Luthor now controls.
  • Lana and Clark are back on friendly terms.
  • Clark has his spot back at the Smallville Ledger.


    Okay. Right now, picture with me, the background of my computer. We hear a familiar line to those of you who are fellow M. Night Shyamalan fans...

    "No shooting friends, Joseph!"

    Little Joey is convinced that his father is unbreakable. Unbreakable is a movie that a lot of people lack patience with... they think it's too slow, blasphemous to the comics industry, whatever. Who cares. I love it, and I'm watching it right now while I write this.

    It was a tough call. The choice was this movie and writing this review, or the South Park where they poke fun at Superman and Luthor, the Stem Cell research one where Timmy joins the crips. That's some funny stuff, folks. So why am I here with this movie I've seen at least 20 times on, when my friend is in the other room watching South Park?

    Because I was inspired by Lex Luthor's seeming belief that he is the main character of this movie. He even says unbreakable. What's even better is that this megalomania present is a spot-on characterization for Lex. We have seen, in the past, great storylines resolved with this character flaw. Lex believes Superman too busy to be trifled with a secret identity, because with such power Lex Luthor would not assume a secret identity, so when it is revealed that Clark Kent is Superman, straight to his face, he denies it. And now, he has proof that Clark ripped him from a vehicle, and he assumes credit for himself, and remains innocent. A good twist, and an inspiring one.

    The soundtrack to Unbreakable is amazing. I wish they'd hinted at it in the show, but that would be too much.

    Now on to the show.

    Lionel's intrigue is great... we knew he was a fink, now he's being a blatant fink.

    Lana has a Jeep. Man, those poor farm kids just get all the cool toys. Speeding motorbikes, motorcycles, trucks, new VW bugs, and smelting equipment... tee hee.

    The opening really ticked me off. I said, man, this show is going to suck with a capital S. First off, it's just nuts bad. There's a freak of the week that lasts the shortest of any yet, Jake Pollen, who gets capped underwater by a bullet (do you have any idea how hard it is to shoot someone through water?). Lana, meanwhile, is somehow breaking the rules and just swimming around in the restricted pool at night, even after she got caught there with Clark. Where's the new principal we seem to have forgotten about?

    So Jake thinks he'll get Lana's attention by drowning her. Makes sense. In Funky Town. A water breathing freak. Some catharsis. Must have spent his ruminating times on homicide in the family bathroom and what, the green rocks they used fell in from the drywall that snapped. Bingo. I made the origin for them this time.

    Won't you take me to... aw, heck with it.

    AAAAAND, that makes two people who have died in front of Lana in the last week, and she doesn't seem the least bit phased. I'm a lucky man. I 've never had anyone die in front of me. I don't wish it on anyone. But it's life changing, not something you just brush off.

    Aptly, Bruce Willis is now walking around the train wreck in my movie.

    So it started on a bad note, but got better. I like the idea that someone, nay, Chloe AND this someone, notice that people in this town get electricity power, turn into bugs, coach themselves into immolation, morph into others, gain ice powers, see the future, gain youth, lose weight and eat a lot more, persuade, steal powers, tattoo themselves into phasing, gain telepathy, turn things to ash, attract bees, get ESP, utilize pheremones, spout necrotic poetry, age people, turn into wolves, heal things, use krypto asthma for super strength, drown and then come back to life, and finally, make deals with Jor-El to temporarily gain super-powers to take care of errant deviant children with a penchant for ripping off cash machines. That's Smallville in 95 words, folks.

    And what does this person do? Turn homicidal and start hunting them down... so a feather in the cap, and a BLACK EYE!!! If you get that reference, please email me for a congrats.

    So anyway, there is a connection between the recruiter Tina killed and this guy's dad, which explains away at least SOME of the homicidal impulse. Much credit for that. More in business on that.

    Clark breaks and enters someone's lawful property when he could just use his X-Ray vision. Sigh. Why?

    Van knows the secret, and he hates Clark. Why will he not be telling anyone, now?

    Clark is magically in Metropolis. Groovy for Lex, but how can he explain it to anyone? Sigh.

    You guys probably live in WAAAY different markets than I do, but when Pete walks into Van's shack and says, "Boy, this place could sure use some Lemon Scented PLEDGE.", I was pretty suspicious. But then, lo and behold, at the beginning of the commercial break? A commercial for Lemon Scented PLEDGE! It's a CONSPIRACY! I like my Pine-Sol, and I'm sticking with it. So there.

    Now send me some free Pine-Sol, Pine-Sol people, or I'm going generic.

    When Van is smelting his bullets (at least now we know Kryptonite melts with heat), he is wearing no shirt. Assuming it's October in Kansas as it is with we who are watching this show in logical sequence, he would be mighty chilly, even with the fire.

    When Clark is shot, Jonathan kind of wonders what happened. If you watch it, it's strange. He didn't hear the gunshot? So it would seem.

    Man, I took a bullet out of myself last week with a pair of pliers, and I didn't scream half as much. Clark Kent's a wuss.

    And he heals really fast too. That's not really with continuity, per ce... Superman has accelerated healing, but when he's damaged, he needs sun and time at least to build himself up again. Who knows. I could be wrong on this one. He was wounded openly when Doomsday killed him, but he wasn't bathed in blood the next issue. Speculate as you will... I just like the idea of when Clark gets hurt, he has to heal.

    And here's this... why didn't Van just finish the job? He had a whole clip, and it's not like Clark was moving or anything. If he's smart enough to know how to smelt bullets and shoot a man in water, he's smart enough to know when he barely hurts someone. He might ASSUME Kryptonite would kill Clark, but he doesn't KNOW. And he wouldn't leave things to chance were he that consumed with hate.

    I'm tempted to say Lana knows after this episode, and she should, if not she's a fruit, but we'll leave it in the land of speculation for now.

    It is nice that when Lana calls for help, she calls for Clark when the murderer is right there with her. It just isn't very smart.

    "Clark is dead, and-"

    Picture the robber guy on the Simpson's voice. "Uh, YOINK! Duuude, you're Stuuupid!"

    Okay... last week I wrote that I was upset because when Lex returned, he didn't spout, "Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated."

    Now this week, evil sheriff did. OOOOH! All right. Enough fanboy whine for today.

    When she's there, though, did anyone else see the bloody shirt on the rail of the stairs? That sheriff is BLIND! Just like Obi-Wan in Episode Two, where Jango's armor is right there. DUH.

    It's funny how with mad kung fu skizzils Lana is just taken by this goon with the gun, then when she's tied up and AFTER Clark's been shot, she's able to take him down.

    That lead shield was cool, but again, how does Clark explain how he made it to authorities and Lana?

    And all right.we have a touching moment at the end of the show accompanied by some popular and somewhat emasculating tone music. How many times have we seen that? A shark delaying tactic? Perhaps. I mean, how long can they string this out... it looks like two episodes after Clark goes nuts and moves to Metropolis, things are back to their old dynamic tension and Clark is back with Lana, or close.

    At least Chloe stopped being a nut. She's responsible for her actions now, and at Lionel's beck and call. Intriguing.

    For Lex's Unbreakable moment, and the Chloe intrigue, and someone FINALLY thinking up a Kryptonite bullet in Smallville, I give this episode a really good nod. I do.

    But look, we have TWO freaks of the weeks here, nothing new in terms of development save Lex moving to Luthorcorp, which we knew last week, and Chloe being in Lionel's pocket, which we already knew. And the villain stank, was easily defeated, and is still alive, most notably.

    It wasn't horrible, but frankly, we've seen a LOT of these kinds of episode, and they're getting pretty old. My bias as a reviewer and lover of Superman is rather high in threshold. I took a lot of bad stories before I started consitently having problems with the main Superman comics, and Smallville is no different. But now, this is what, nearly fifty freak of the weeks. This has got to stop or the show will be entering territories of filth. And I am not afraid to be fair.

    That's why I give this week an honest 2 of 5. Saved, as ever, by Lex and his family.


    Lots of business this week, as last week's fell by the wayside.

    Mark Rutkowski poses an interesting hypothetical for you fanfic people out there... what if Lionel HAD used the octagonal kryptonite disk in the caves?

    Bryan Siegel points out an oldie but a goodie... in "Shimmer" Clark finds out what medication Whitney's dad is taking, but if you look, he does it at an AMAZING distance, a distance at which no one could read the writing. Is this telescopic vision, or a mise en scene error? Your call.

    Jon Price, while I was gone, pointed out something that I hadn't noticed at that point... the ATMs Clark steals from... all ATMs have cameras that I've ever seen. Did they see him, or what? Bad form.

    My good friend Jerry Newingham, who did a Superman animated serial for the Superman Homepage (I'd check it out, it's really cool) points out an interesting continuity ramification... Clark has been going around for a long time without glasses now, and if people are to know him, they should know him with his glasses on, not looking much as he will when he's Superman... but hey, that would make Tom Welling less of a sex symbol, huh?

    Well, to each their own. Don't know about you, but I always loved the chicks with glasses.

    Here's to chicks with glasses! You shouldn't hit them, either. In fact, don't hit anyone, glasses or otherwise. Reading what I just wrote, I realize that can be interpreted as liking the boozer chicks. Sigh. Some days you can't win. That's not what I meant.


    E L reminds me that I must postulate on shark jumping.

    Spoilers in the following paragraph.

    Lana and Clark getting together is assumed to be a big shark point, and they are waffling. First it was because Lana was with someone else, then it was Chloe, now they've taken the Spider-Man angle. Can't hurt her. But it can't go on forever. She's gonna get taken hostage either way. That means that, in my opinion, I think Lana will be the one who's supposed to find out this year. And further, we have another sign of jumping the shark. Same character, different actor. Rutger Hauer, I'm told, will not be returning as Morgan Edge. Instead it'll be some trumped up "facial reconstruction surgery" that allows same character, different actor.uh-oh. Still, my stance is that the show has NOT jumped the shark. Not at all.

    Okay. No more spoilers now.

    Richie Gaona points out that though Clark's aura might not have protected his ring last episode, if that were the case, then why didn't it get damaged when he smashed ATMs and fell through concrete fighting Jonathan?

    Adeel Farooque points out that my personal wall of weird on the KO Count had an error... I wonder why Lana's mother's diary didn't indicate Henry Small... but then, it's never really noted how old her parents are, so the diary might have been when she was much younger. Problem solved.

    Becky from Logan UT points out that Lex's theism wasn't really as bad a deal as I thought... she gives me faith in Lex again by pointing out that he still wears the incandescent underwear! He is basically TRICKING Helen into the plane so that he might exact his due revenge, as he already knows the truth. It's a Machiavellian Luthor move, just like Lionel points out.

    People wrote me and held theological debate, as I expected with my talking point, and one of the big questions asked was thus:

    Why is it such a big deal to you?

    I can only liken it to the appeal it has to a minority to see a minority in a position of respect, power, or at least responsibility. How many atheists do you see in office? Not many. In fact, if you can name one, I'll send you a dollar. Serious offer. How many do you see revered, other than Dostoevsky before conversion or Nietzsche, a nut? A smart nut, but a nut.

    My eyes DO shift...

    Speaking of Nietzsche, Adam points out that Lex in fact quotes and IDOLIZES Nietzsche in an earlier episode of Smallville. Thank God.

    Eric and Adam Pangborn helped rectify certain inequities in my review last week. As you might have read, I went to the desert of Richland to help put up a roof, so I was watching exhausted, and dinner arrived RIGHT when Clark was being taken away. So while I was watching, I missed several things.

    First, Clark does NOT kill. Repeat, he does NOT kill. If you watch close, the goon is with Lionel, and the other goon is the one Lana impales with the pitchfork that the very safe and friendly Kents manage to leave point up sticking at an angle from something. He is saved! Thus the KO Count is appropriately modified.

    That said, Clark is knocked out this week, so that adds one to his total.

    AND, get this folks. They mention Tina Greer for the umpteenth time, and they also mention Greg Arkin, Justin Gaines, and Sean Kelvin. I wrote those furiously as the show progressed, so I'm not sure if Sean is indeed Kelvin. Please correct me if this is the case. BUT hey, it's progress, and if they keep this up, maybe the whammy will have some bend to it...

    Because, though people write me and tell me I'm writing these reviews to pick it apart, believe it or not the goal is to see the show improved on what I ALREADY love. I love the show. I do. Honest. I nitpick because I want to see it perfected.

    Add to the whammy, however, Jake Pollen, and Van is now a potentially recurring villain.

    Open call out... does ANYONE know what the opera was that Lionel and Lex had in the background last episode? I'm dying to know. Anyone who knows gets top billing for credit next week.

    Patrick corrects the work-in-progress KO Count for several reasons... first, the FOTW Chloe and Pete are not Red K inspired, they are bug infection inspired. Also, I listed Tina Greer twice as a whammy. That too is fixed. Thankee.

    Alex ArbabZadeh, X, and X point out that Lana witnesses a traumatic event and is somehow unaffected... I point this out at well. What's with that?

    I came up with one. Helen has a gun on a plane. I understand it' s a private plane, but don't they go through security? My friend says no. Either way, it's a consideration.

    And here's my ABSOLUTE favorite this week. A total hard-to-spot genuine reflection.

    Lionel and Morgan Edge are doing business in Smallville, which we're assuming is in Kansas, or nearby, because it's a few hours from Smallville. Basically, I assume the analogy to be Smallville is to Metropolis as Bellingham is to Tacoma, where I live. So tell me, does Metropolis have a MAJOR BODY OF WATER? Because, see, they meet on a wharf.

    Very good eye.


    And don't forget to hit the KO Count page!

    But it's done. So until next week, folks, keep speculating, keep writing, and for the love of all things holy, (joke firmly intended) someone please get me a book publisher.

    Yours, Neal

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

    Back to the main TELEVISION page.