Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 3 - Episode 10: "Whisper"Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
I was really glad to see the character of Adam appear to take the edge off the redundant and annoying tension that seemed to have been brewing constantly at 8:50 on Wednesday night. I looked forward to the man taking Lana from our point of view, as I find her, of late, selfish and annoying. Imagine my surprise when I found out Adam isn't in this episode at all.
But I digress. Really, this opening comment was about Lana. Here's the deal. I thought that most people felt the way I do about her. In fact, given the mail I receive with death threats for a fictional character (joking, policemen, JOKING), I thought most people were as annoyed with her as I was. Imagine my surprise, looking at the recent Superman Homepage poll, asking where people wanted Lana to go, continuity aside, and only about half of you want her gone, and half of half of you want her dead.
The point? Well, there's at least a moderate consensus that she's bloody annoying in going for what she wants all the time and making her way into playing games with the main character, and this episode did nothing to rectify that, though Adam was brought in, seemingly, for this express purpose. I bring this up because, besides inconsistencies, this is about all I have to gripe about with this episode.
Rarely does an episode escape with just two pages of notes. Most take three or four. This one squeaked in at under two. That means a lot.
And a lot, I mean a LOT of the notes were good. Observe the good and bad:
Clark fires off little bolts of heat vision. Of course, this is using his powers in front of a bunch of people, but they were incapacitated, and the special effect looked passable, actually. I understood what was going on.
What I don't understand is how heat vision, combined with Kryptonite, causes retinal damage. If you fire energy at a hunk of plutonium, say, and it reflects back at you and hits you, do you get anything other than burns? I just don't see why it even had to be Kryptonite. Why not a diamond? It's perfectly sensible that a reflection off of anything with Clark's heat vision into his eyes would result in retinal damage.
And an arc welder somehow makes it LESS damaged? I don't get that, either. But it's a good way to get to super-hearing, which is done well. I like the camera angles, but I don't understand the point of seeing the ear canal. It was cool, but I mean, okay, so why do we need to see it? Like the increased sound volume doesn't tell us he has super-hearing?
Okay, folks. Is it just me, or did everyone just completely gloss over the line from Martha about Jonathan handcuffing a doctor. Ole man Kent getting kinky up in Smallville? But really, if he handcuffed a doctor and made them examine Clark, wouldn't they still know who it was, unless they went very far away? How many doctors ARE there in Smallville? And how well known is Clark "I use my powers everywhere" Kent?
Did you guys see what I see? A shorter man friend of Clark's, God, I forget his name…what was it? Well, anyway, he played a big part in this episode, and it really surprised me, because he...
PETE! Oh, yeah! THAT was his name!
Well, anyway, he's back in the show, and he's got a cool role again, if things keep up.
And there were these people, they were parents of some kind. They kind of faded away for a while. I know they were related to Clark.
AH! The KENTS! Yes! We see heart rending dialogue and characterization from Ma and Pa. Imagine that!
You're both trying so hard to be supermen. Perhaps corny, but very relevant and well put.
Okay…we have a mini Clana moment. Basically, Clark tries to explain to Lana that he left her alone to respect her. And she chides him for not being there for her, completely oblivious to the fact that she was the one that asked him not to be around any more for a while. Then she gets hissy and leaves. She's 17 now. I mean, most people at least have some degree of maturity at 17, and, hate to sound sexist, but a lot of times, at least in relationshipville (not beingphysicalville) it's the ladies, not the gentlemen. My bottom line here, whether it's warranted or not, is why the heck we have to listen to this inane teenaged prattle? I guess because it's a show geared to near teenagers, I guess. But like Indiana Jones losing the cross of Cortez, I can lose today, but it doesn't mean I have to like it (It does mean, however, that when I get the cross of Cortez later, I can smash it into Lana Lang's forehead after her boat explodes and bring it back to Marcus Brody.
Whatever that means.
Anyway, I'm one of two. Lana sucks right now.
So then, my house starts rocking, and thumping. My sound system cranked up, with 5.1 Dolby punk slapping pulse pounding speakers stopping my heart and rendering me infertile, I have to say, super-hearing can be cool, even on the small screen.
Go ear cam. That is all.
Now, if you add in little Nathan, the next freak of the week in Clark's school, that makes 29 people attending school with Clark who have become freaks. I'd guess 20 of those were in his class. My graduating class was about 200, as I recall. That means that 1 in 10 students (and my school was in a city 3 times as big as Smallville) have gone awol, nuts, or just murderous.
So tell me, why do we need another freak of the week, and one from Smallville High?
Because it's become so familiar, I don't think they believe the pattern can or should be broken. I disagree.
I have promised that my freak stance will be harsher this year. In short, I promised that the freak of the week would cause an immediate minus one. I am retracting, as I also made the statement to fix the freak of the week problem we don't need to eliminate them, just make them less focal and in maybe 1 of 2 episodes. So far, that's working. And Nathan was peripheral in this story to the Kents, Pete, and Clark and Lana. Even to Lex and Lionel. That means the world to me.
There were many "moments" in this episode. The Kents teaching Clark to hear again, the Kents arguing over IEP (special ed for the blind, etcetera), Lex being Lex again with his father, and best of all, Lionel vs. Chloe, round one.
I think the scene between Lionel and Chloe was one of the best acted in the series thusfar. She gets that honestly afraid look to her, then she starts to tell him off, and that's what it's like when you stand in front of a great adversity and make your peace. It's not like in the movies, it's frightening, and it's hard. You're reading a review from a man who was booed for his entire speech when he ran for student body president, a man who has been sent to the principal for standing up to teachers, and a man who has been beaten senseless for taking a moral stand in front of evil men. It is fearsome. It is difficult. Your voice DOES shake, and Allison, in this scene, did exceptionally well.
See? I do talk about the acting, when it really hits me below the belt. Usually it's superb anyway, but this piece was particularly good.
Lex offers Clark a series of specialists, and Clark says no. Okay. That's Clark.
Why does everyone else seem to think it's a big deal when Lex spends money on them. I mean, if I had a best friend who had a few million, and he paid a 20 thousand dollar hospital bill for me, I'd be like, "Man, that was a fart in high wind to you. Here's twenty bucks from my 400 a month. Take that. THAT's a sacrifice, pal." And likely, Lex has more than millions. I understand the principle of the matter, but you'd think, especially when Lex causes the damage he seeks to repair, one wouldn't complain. I can understand the value of being able to pay your own bills, but our society (and Superman underpins the morality of our society) is so afraid of accepting help and working with the rich we ostracize them. If only the rich were more like Lex Luthor, and the poor people were less like the poor people in Smallville are, maybe we wouldn't have problems with social welfare, because everyone in the community would take care of their own.
This has been a public service announcement. Thank you. Now some rich guy, please, I could use a few more months on the lam, writing my little writing things. How about 500 bucks? Lex? Anyone?
::scuttling sound of men hiding their money::
Ah, well forget you then, richies!
So Lex is going to Luthorcorp again. Well, go there, already! You have to form Lexcorp sometime, baldy! Get to it! You know you can drive the three hours to Smallville in five minutes thanks to your cars, so jump in, man! If it's a flop, you can always get ECT and next week you'll remember nothing. Call it a psychotic break, or just what most rich guys call themselves: Eccentric.
Now, more on this in business, but I have to mention it now. Lex turns to Clark and says, "You know something I don't?" Last week, Lex asked a similar question, along the lines of "Is there something you're not telling me, Clark?"
Many people seem to think Lex has not lost his memory at all. Stranger tricks have been pulled. My thought? No. He doesn't remember. If he gets hit on the head he might, using Smallville logic, but for now, my guess is not. But a LOT of people think he does. This adds evidence.
And lookie here! Not only is the first bank of Lex open, but pimp daddy Rosenbaum is still playing wingman for Clark! Go Luthor! That's my kind of bud. "Who is this Adam? Bet he's gay!" Well, okay, he didn't say that. But you saw it in his eyes, especially some of you crazy fan-fiction types who see everything in everything...you know what I mean.
I saw through this wingman behavior to something more epic, something most people don't see. As I am desperate to write a Lex Luthor story myself, I have a definite fondness for what I think drives the man, and I think he decided to take over the world because he lost Lois. Not for power, but because he loved a woman, and instead of falling for brains, she saw fat and bald and went for the hunk with a level-2 intellect. So what does Lex playing wingmate for Clark mean now, if you look into the future and see a man who wanted the absolute romantic best for his friend has the love of his life taken from him by the man he tried to help for so long. I would even become Lex Luthor in such circumstances. Heck, I almost did. My old best friend took TWO of my girls, despite the fact that I did nothing but encourage his self esteem. It's that envy, I guess, and Lex Luthor probably understands that too well.
But perhaps I read too much into it.
Hee hee hee. Chloe actually said, "Have you seen Pete?" A good question, my friends. A good question. Thankfully, today, I have.
Clark goes postal on Chloe. He's like, "Look, dad, I know you want to be Darth Chloe, but I've gotta chop off your arm to make you realize you gotta huck Lionel down the reactor core!"
And it came off well. Look at that! Character? Holy rusted writing, Batman! It works!
Not only did we see Pete, but now we can make Yo mamma jokes with him, because we've seen her.
Like, yo mamma's so judgey, she realized the pertinent aspects of jurisprudence, yo! What up?
Then Pete would start crying and wet himself.
Well, not really. Just the wet himself part.
But thankfully, given recent trends, we'd never see it onscreen.
Clark in the truck; he couldn't even SEE Lana and she was being annoying to him.
Pete gets a knockout! GO PETE! Not only does he return, but he gets the crud clocked out of him. That pulls him ahead of Martha, but still one behind Chloe with 5 KOs.
You ever had a welding burn on your eyes? GAAAAH! It hurt from here. It just sucks!
Now, there was one really disjointed sequence of narrative. In between one commercial break and the next, Clark gets his vision back a bit from the arc weld burn, and then he staggers, looking for Pete and Nathan, and then we cut to commercial. Next scene, he's back home. Well, how did they get away, and why didn't Nathan try to get Clark? He had him on the ropes. And Clark could see, albeit slightly blurred.
Clark with glasses. Aw yeah. Now if only they would have kept it, suddenly donning glasses wouldn't be completely strange when he gets to Metropolis.
I like the Chloe Lionel subplot. Let it heat up, folks. Let it heat up.
Is it just me, or did Nathan remind you of Samantha from Bewitched? Instead of explosive sonic disruption, I expected his mother-in-law to appear and cause all kinds of zany mischief. What, you didn't? Well, anyway, at least when the cars were falling at him, I expected him to wiggle his upper lip and disappear. But noooooooo.
So what, Clark just lets the guy die? That was a little out of character. Why? I mean, it was an easy save with no Kryptonite involved, and he could still hear Pete screaming, so he knew he had time. I mean, a guy who can move at the speed of sound has plenty of time. Not that the guy didn't deserve death of the peril to Pete wasn't imminent, but I just expect more from Clark's character.
So Pete now has a gaggle of women after him? I mean, I missed how getting knocked out and almost crushed to death makes you hot. But then, I am NOT a lady, to be sure. Someone explain it to me. It's less that chicks dig action guys (as much I can understand) but what has Pete done, really, to earn the ladies, save what happened in the comic book Smallville #6 (And that was ultimately less productive than helpful.)? You don't go from a dork who can't fit himself into a football helmet to a superstar who gets all the chicks. Well, unless you're me.
Stop laughing, you buggahs.
Clark calls himself the master truth bender. Well, what is it, Clarky? I never tell a lie, or I'm the master truth bender? Cue the John Williams music.
AHHHHHHHH! THE RETURN OF THE 8:50 MOMENT! Not one week after Adam is introduced, either! SO HORRIBLE! But, it's all worthwhile, to me. I loved tonight's 8:50 moment for two reasons. First, Lana ends up crying in the end. And second, it was just beautiful, jade against Lana aside, to see Clark suffer. I love watching an idealist suffer and ultimately win.
Clana, Clana, Clana. It's Bennifer without the big butt.
It's Ashti Kushhmoore without the old/young paradigm.
It's Ozzie and Harriet. But it's also boring. Feh!
Silent credits made total sense. I loved it. Usually they play music. It was silent. That was subtle, and if intentional, I liked it.
Lana driving off in a newer station wagon/SUV. Does NO ONE in Smallville drive the car of a small town farmer? I want to see a beat up pickup. Why not? Even that tow truck looked new.
And next week, looks like we have a repeat of Magneto "make you do stuff" boy, only it's Adam?
Well, either way, there were some significant detractions from this story, but also much good. I stand on a solid 4 of 5.
Big things are in the offing. I don't plan on disclosing them here for a few more weeks until things are locked down, but let me tell you, folks, I have a BIG spoiler coming up. Nothing plot related, just something of interest to all of us Smallville fans. Don't bother asking. It's a secret. :)
On to business:
We had, as I mentioned, a number of people who happened onto the idea that Lex still knows. In order, thusfar, they are Michael Jones, Eric Sherman, Matt S. and E.L..
Eric also points out (across two seasons and regarding Asylum) that Kryptonite should in no way work on Eric, because he's just not Kryptonian, even assuming power can transfer as it did, because lightning doesn't change alien body composition, as far as it would be logical to guess.
Further, he wonders quite astutely why the heck Lana is not a meteor freak, having had the necklace around her neck for 16 years before it was neutralized. Ah, yes. I forgot. She hawks Neutrogena. That's close enough.
Matt also noted that the first lightning strike in the first Eric Summers episode made at least some sense, being related to the sun and outdoors, but in a dark room with a generator? Just look the other way, folks. Eric Summers as a villain, while cool, lacks some sense in planning.
Matt suggests a good column for the KO Count. The Forgotten Club. I figure it will simplify the Sarah and Lucas column into one. We'll just take missing in action characters and put how long they've been gone. Lucas and Sarah are on there. Pete almost was. Any suggestions of people who should still be around but aren't? Ah. I just thought of one. The new principal, MIA 26 episodes now. Come up with some and fire them at me, but please don't make me count episodes. It sucks. :)
Matt also has a request for a top five revision in the event of last week's episode, and really, I can't argue, it was a really good one, so here, just to clarify, are my personal top ten episodes so far with minor explanation:
1. Rosetta (Reeve)
2. Hourglass (Rain of blood)
3. Perry (Drinkin in Memphis)
4. Asylum (ECT and villains three)
5. Insurgence (Able to leap into windows at a single bound)
6. Red (Bad Clark, Pt. 1.)
7. Rogue (Clark meets the ultimate bad cop and retains his faith in humanity)
8. Zero (Starts with Lex hanging upside down, ends with a bang.)
9. Heat (Gotta love that vile succubus and the father son training)
10. Relic (Past Lana and flights minus tights.)
Some have changed. Over time they will.
Finally, Matt has a good entry into the Lex Caption contest:
"Hey! Its not my fault in real life your hair is this little red puffy thing!"
Bryan Siegel wrote me before I even wrote my review with the Themyscarian Queen line, though I didn't see it until after I'd written it, and he deserves credit for that.
Lex is left handed, so it would seem, though he's ambidextrous as well at times. This was pointed out by Daryl Williams and Jeff.
James Pemberton spotted a FOURTH KO for Lex in Asylum when they tazer him during escape. Good call. Lex is just getting up there, man! That puts him at 17! That's almost one for every three episodes!
James further points out, with my sanction, that Adam could just as well have been Pete if they needed an excuse to pull Clark from Lana. After all, Lana and Pete end up together in the comics, sort of.
Tom offers some good lightning strike information to back up the idea that a generator is less likely to cause catastrophic damage than a lightning strike, and he backs it up with facts at this website.
And the always irrefutable Neal Bailey came up with a business item himself. Superman giving up power as a trick, to a degree, in order to switch places with a man of his power and ultimately disarm Lex sounds like the last scene of Superman II. Asylum did this. Think it was intentional?
Rob Adams got prosaic, in that he didn't like the episode particularly because of the way the freaks were used. He wanted a two parter, or perhaps just a different storyline. Here are his thoughts:
- I thought Ian got REALLY stupid as the episode went on.
His plan was great:
- Get Clark's weakness
- Kill Van
- Steal Clark's powers
It was just stupid on his part.
He had so many options:
- Cut off a chunk of the rock to protect yourself from SuperEric. And when Eric has the powers, you attach the rock to him. Its evil, but he just killed Van with less conscience. You kill Eric, you kill Clark, you're done.
- You take the powers yourself. Maybe try it on one of your doubles first, but at least *try* it on yourself. I mean, who wouldn't want Clark's powers? Besides, it wasn't like Eric had any super powers? I suspect that the kryptonite-electricity thing could work for anyone.
And if you're Eric, why try and finish Clark off? Just run away. You know Clark knows your weakness, so why go anywhere near him? Run away, escape, and become Kal in Metropolis. Or go to Europe. Just stay away from Clark.
It was just stupidity, and it ruined the episode for me.
- Make the villains as smart as they were in the first 30 minutes.
- Make it a two parter (I mean, it would've been the perfect cliffhanger to have Clark powerless and bleeding on the ground and Lex about to go into surgery. Maybe even some shot of Lana and Adam getting closer or something). It could've been *really* cool, but now they've ruined any chance of getting it done.
It was just a wasted opportunity. And I hate when they waste opportunity to be cool, especially with Eric Summers.
And here mine resume again:
Well put, Rob. I mean, I love the episode, but he had a definite point. I could have paraphrased, but I like what he said, the way he said it.
And finally, a new pseudo contest. I am always taking from other people in this game. People write in and help me out, but there is one irrefutable fact I've come to learn. EVERYONE'S A CRITIC. Of me, of Smallville, who knows? So I have two contests for you this week.
First, Steve is helping me open up a thread on the discussion board. He will post this review in its entirety, then the game is for you, the readers, to out-do me. Write your own review. I'll read them each week, and I'll pick who I think did the best job of reviewing and let them know with a credit the following week. Small potatoes? Eh. It's a chance to knock me around or work with me. Go for it.
And since I have the personal thing against Lana (at least for now, much as I did for Chloe until they returned her character to greatness) let's have some ideas on how best to dispose of her, without anything nasty or offensive, please. This is a family page.
God, sorry about that. That one just came out. Poopie!
Okay. No more poopies. Family.
And get creative, don't be like me and suggest Lana fall on the axe she's wielding in the next week's previews…
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