Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 3 - Episode 13: "Velocity"

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Main Points:

  • CRX and the Ford Motor Company would like to thank you for watching. Buy Ford.
  • Adam Knight is not the man who says he is. Hes a paranoid dead man who cries blood.
  • Pete The Boss Ross decided he needed to street race for cred. He messed it up.
  • Apparently, Dante, a new villain, proves Kryptonite makes cars faster (NOT A TYPO).
  • Jonathan Kent is fine. In fact, the whole heart attack thing hardly happened at all.

    REVIEW:

    All I could come up with this week was "2 Pete, 2 Furious", and "American Gra-Pete-ey." More in business.

    I have a list in my head of the lamest things I've ever seen in my life. Really. It's a collection I refer to often.

    The lamest thing I have ever seen in my life happened when I was 16. A group of cheerleaders did the hammer dance to the Walt Disney song "Hi-Ho." It was the lamest thing I have ever seen, and I think, when I die, it will remain so.

    The second lamest thing is the Karma Chameleon phone. Or, more specifically, the ad for the Karma Chameleon phone. The Karma Chameleon phone is a phone that has a Chameleon on it, and when it rings, it sings, "Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleoooooon!" And when the song hits the part where Boy George sings, "Red Gold and Green." Red gold and green lights come on. That's number two.

    Number three is a movie called Buffalo 66, a movie with Christina Ricci (and normally she rocks). Basically, half the movie is trying to find her a place to pee, and it doesn't get any better from there. Do NOT watch this movie. Please.

    And if you do, don't blame me.

    Number four is the video for the song "Around the World." Basically, as if the song wasn't annoying enough, a group of whacko looking poster children for the New Zoo Review line up in a circle and walk in a circle while the lyrics to the song play. The entirety of the lyrics to the annoying song is the phrase, "Around the world." Repeated again and again. Negative and somewhat heinous sexual entendres aside, this is the fourth lamest thing I have ever witnessed.

    And the fifth lamest thing was the time I asked out a girl in middle school, and she kind of rolled her eyes, looked at me, then said, ever so loudly, "Funny." Then walked away.

    It sucks to be your own lamest thing number five.

    But hey, having these things is a treasure, because really, when it comes down to it, Smallville: Velocity cannot top any of these.

    Is it really that bad? Perhaps not. But it was so cliched, it tried so hard, and it failed so miserably in a number of ways... well, let me just write you through it.

    We open with the Smallville Medical Center, the most popular place in Smallville, and instead of a desperate, rushed scene continuing the last episode, with Pa Kent in dire peril and the dangers of a heart attack spelled out, the man's just relaxing on a hospital bed, cool as a cucumber about heart surgery.

    Well, that was a let-down.

    The scene with Pa Kent was well done, immediately following. Clark and his dad discussing Jor-El. In fact, it was well done throughout the whole episode, including the scene in the end. That's about all I can say that's good, in many respects.

    Then, we enter Pete, The Boss, Ross, and kryptonite powered cars.

    That's right. You did not misread. Do not adjust your televisions OR your computer screens. Kryptonite powered cars. Apparently, it's such a miracle drug, it can not only enhance strength, give superpowers, but it's also the best thing to put in your car. The only negative things, in fact, I've ever seen from Kryptonite, is Lex's baldness, all those people killed in the meteor storm, and Clark getting weak but not dying when his blood boils.

    Henceforth, if I think about it, Pete will be called THE BOSS. Because, really, this episode is so memorable (not in that good way) I think we deserve to recall it every now and again. Hey, look kids! THE BOSS got his two minutes this episode, it'll likely be.

    We do have the Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo waaaaaaaaaaaaah! Mentos commercial. Ask and ye shall receive, I guess. Cool.

    Kent has the same truck that was destroyed two episodes ago. Guess it's time to stop harping on that.

    Enter the villain. Dante.

    A man with such wit, so enamoring as a villain, so utterly dangerous in his baby fat that all he has to say is, "Nice truck! What, does it go 0-60 in an hour?" For Clark to retract, start crying, and Pete to say, "Oooooh. Dis!"

    He then later increases his power of ranking by telling Pete. "You better come up with the money, or the only thing you're gonna be driving is a hearse!"

    To put it mildly, the normally superb dialogue was, this episode, a critical failure in many ways, save with Clark and Pa.

    So that's where Pete was the last two, three months. Building and racing cars.

    Well, okay. I guess his mother, a regular purveyor of speeding tickets, would find this all right. And I guess no one would notice the street races until just before it started killing people, but hey, that's a pretty hard to believe universe. Especially considering how uncool Pete really is, generally. He's a lot like you or I, reveling when he gets some small level of cool, using it to get chicks, but never doing things stupid or drastic. That's called doing something out of character to shock the audience, and here, it just really doesn't work. First off, Pete's just not really that much of a speed demon. I've never heard him talk about it. And he's always at the Torch, not the Shop. This whole turn just doesn't make sense. And is it a big excuse for product placement? Who knows, but I can't rule it out, given that this episode was all about showing the cars.

    Here's another gemmy of a dialogue bit for you, from Clark. "Pete, street racing is illegal! You could go to jail!" It was like Welling delivered it stilted because he knew it sounded so bad.

    So Adam is really Chad Nash, and he weeps blood and shakes a lot. Well, okay. And Lana still doesn't tell anyone. Way to go, Lana. BUT, even Lana was out of character this show... she was nice. I'll get to that later.

    Arrr! Teng! I'm trying to place her. She's in comics. If I am correct, she is the doctor of genetics that helped Lex Luthor create the first Superman clone, Bizarro. This could mean great things to all the folks who write me and beg me to tell them when Bizarro is coming around... actually, I know no more than Kryptonsite's spoilers, myself, but if they bring in Teng, that gives hopes for you people who want Bizarro. But originally, Teng was a man, right? Well, cool. She's a neat character. That's another thing this episode had somewhat good for it. But Lex's dialogue in the confrontation was a little stilted. Rosenbaum picked up with the good delivery, but man, it was just, well, basic and cheese. I don't know what happened this episode.

    Lex asks Chloe to lie, and she does...exxxxxcellent. Corruption! Go Lex. See, he's a bad guy, so I can root for him.

    Again, Kryptonite powered cars. My God.

    So Pete has an enormous yell fest at Clark for being special, which he's never had a problem with before, as he's deciding to do something obviously stupid and dangerous (after almost killing Ma Kent)... blah, blah, blah, I'm trying to pay attention to the whole ridiculous thing, when I look behind Pete and realize that the cinematography in this episode is screwed, too. I see mountains in Kansas. Brilliant. Framed really big right into the shot.

    Were they, (to use a Dante phrase) asleep at the wheel?

    I do have one consolation for you. Dante, never once, though essentially being the same character as the tattooed goons who waylaid Whitney for a while (at least with Whitney it was the natural extension of being a jock, becoming a bullying d&*#.), never has the audacity to say "Bro." like his counterpart. Remember that? Shudder. "Hey, bro. You're in real trouble, bro. I got a Kryptonite tat, bro."

    The bonus is, he's not a freak of the week, genuinely. He doesn't go homicidal all of a sudden. Those car racing types who gamble and steal, they're generally very homicidal when it comes to extorting money. At least the character is honest. Maybe he's a high school kid, and thus not really prone to such things, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

    Another good guy becomes the bad guy episode. And hey, you know we all missed Pete so much that the perfect remedy to his absence was to have him come back and be cruel, rude, and manipulative for a few minutes. What, he been watching Lana or something?

    And I can make that cheap (but true) shot, because this is the paragraph where I extol Lana's virtues this episode. She may have kept Adam's secret, which is dangerous, stupid, etcetera, but she also VERY DIRECTLY (rare for her) confronted Adam about the problem, and told him that she needed to know what was going on. However, it is mostly blown, because he just doesn't really tell her, and she just takes it. Doesn't go to the police. Hey, Clark's secret doesn't hurt her, necessarily. She's already been directly kicked in the stomach by Adam. But she stays with him. That says something to her character.

    There's an 8:20 Clana, but look! She's NICE to Clark. And she's bringing balloons to Pa. Has she stopped being manipulative? Bad episode to guess by, but this was a pretty good Lana episode, considering the previous.

    More great dialogue, with the evil Sheriff. (I'm surprised she didn't grab her crotch and spit before this one): "Next time a storm's a brewin, I better see RAIN!" (To Clark).

    My God. And Kryptonite cars.

    I kept expecting Clark to stop a car, tick of Dante, then walk up to him like Ben Stiller and say, "I stopped a city bus with my bare hands! FRAK YOU LATER, FRANK-EN-PUSS!"

    But he didn't. Sad. It might have made the episode more funny than the accidental serious stuff that just looked horrible.

    Pete asks Clark to get 20 grand, and he somehow thinks it's okay, and we're supposed to believe that Pete would ask Clark for that.

    Hey, I mean, it's his only option though, right? His family? Oh yeah, wait. He's standing next to an invincible man who can spit fire from his eyes and run near light speed. Nothing he could do to maybe scare a guy out of extorting 20 grand, eh?

    So Clark steals Lex's Porsche.

    For the love of God, Clark steals a car to stop a petty thug when he spits fire from his eyes. It's so amazingly out of character I shouted at the screen. Stealing from his best friend makes more sense to him than robbing a faceless ATM? Real logic there. And a really good character study.

    I spit now.

    Pete at very least recognizes that with all the B and E they do, Clark should have no problem breaking the law, but as I shouted and Clark very simply put it, "That's to help good people."

    Pete is being a (%*$)(*#@)(*)($#^. That's a curse in a language with about 40 affixes meaning mother, none of which you'd like to know.

    Pete blames Clark for not helping him, but who broke character and street raced, almost killing Ma Kent. Objection: Motive.

    "You're asking me to lie, cheat, and steal, Pete."

    Well, yeah. So why did you agree?

    Ear drum cam is getting old. Very old. I guess it's a staple, I just don't like it. I like the haze cam, but why not stay on the character speaking instead of an inner ear?

    Look, as if there haven't been enough crazed phrases in this review, I have another for you.

    Clark is knocked out with a Kryptonite powered muffler.

    I don't even have to say anything about that. Read the sentence. That's enough.

    The crash of the Dante car is the most staged, horrible crash I've seen in a while. The normal, rocking special effects were instead replaced by an obviously timed charge and a billion barrel rolls for effect, which I guess looked cool, but really, it was just insanely bad.

    And hey, Dante's likely dead, but nobody cares to check his pulse? Also out of character. They stand there looking at him.

    And wasn't there a bomb in Pete's car? What happened to that? It just disappear?

    A whammy.

    So Lana confronts Adam, and Adam threatens her life. Is she going to tell anyone? No. Why? She's retarded sometimes, that's why. But at least, in this scene, she's direct. Kudos. Keep that up, maybe I'll like Lana again.

    So I guess the honeymoon's over when the guy threatens your life, huh? We'll see. Lana needs some serious counseling.

    And you fanfic party people, look. At 8:50, NO Clana, no Chlark, look! A Clex! He comes in, tells Clark he's admirable (or condemnable, I couldn't tell) for stealing his car, they both look wistfully about the barn, then we have:

    The Pete ball drop scene.

    Pete makes Clark lie, cheat, steal, then wants to play hoops, and wonders why Clark buggers about it. Then the show ends.

    Cut to a preview that is almost assuredly deceptive like the other ones this season, showing really young kids in really sexual positions.

    A real winner of a week. Top it off with closing the episode to the tune of a cover of a song that's about 8 years old, therefore likely should not be covered yet, of a ripoff band I absolutely abhor, Oasis, and you have this episode.

    One more piece of bad, obvious dialogue, from Pete. "I'm your friend. At times that's not an easy thing."

    No kidding. 51 of the people close to him are dead, out of some 57 episodes, and no one seems to notice that getting behind the wheel of

    (god help me)

    a Kryptonite fueled car is a lame, dumb, stupid thing to spend an hour looking at.

    This season has been really great so far, for the most part. I've been impressed. This episode was the first time watching "Smallville" became a chore for me. The first time, period.

    For this I offer my first 1 of 5.

    Don't try to be hip. Try to be Smallville, folks. The little girl episode beat this one, and that takes talent.

    BUSINESS:

    Steve Younis is going to shave his head to aid a Leukaemia charity. He's invited a host of people to help the Superman Homepage, and I've decided to do my part and change my hair in the name of ending leukaemia! The question is this...

    I have the opportunity to either shave my head or color my hair, those are the terms of the deal, and I'm not sure which I want to do. I always wanted to try being bald, but, being a punk, I love colored hair.

    So here's the deal. The fan/reader who steps forward with the best donation will get to choose which I do, and I'll do it. Shave bald, color my hair pink (If you're a Lana lover and hate what I say about her, here's a good chance to donate to a worthy cause AND make me dye my hair teal with purple streaks.)

    But if you wanted to make me look really cool, I'd recommend a Mohawk. I'd bet I'd look cool with a Mohawk, probably yellow, maybe green. Too fun!

    The contest starts NOW and ends March 11, because the shave is on March 12-13. Feel free to bid well, and know it's going to a good cause. Check out the website's front page for instructions on how to sponsor this effort.

    Personally? If I wanted to make me look ridiculous, I'd go with the bald. I have a big, funny looking head and small ears. Look at the picture. Imagine that bald. Huh? See what I mean. AND you'd be helping the ill. Do it! BE the puck!

    I'm not sure how we'll keep track of the donations, and I don't know how it's done yet, but I'll ask Steve and get back to you next week. We may have to go honor system. But you're all honorable, right? You wouldn't cheat a leukaemia society for a cheap gag, would you? I hope not.

    Cary Kingdom points out I missed a "Nice guy finishes first" couple. Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker. But then, I'm not very attracted to Parker, but eh, we all have our tastes.

    Landon Squire has a title for this episode: Speed 4. Funny. I didn't know there was a Speed 3, but apparently, there was. That's almost as bad as Kryptonite fueled cars.

    Steve Alexander wrote last week, but I just got his permission a few days ago, to explain more on the "Pete knows the secret" plot from the silver age. Apparently, Clark didn't know Pete knows... Steve explains:

      What really was interesting about the pre-crisis version however is that Clark does not know that Pete discovered he has super powers. I am not sure if you know how it all came about (likely you were told by now or found out by other means) but Pete I believe saw Clark switch to Superboy during a camping trip. Anyway, the reason I am writing this is to tell you about another incident which fits in that is even more interesting regarding Ross that happens years later when Pete has a son.

      I cannot off hand remember exact specifics but somehow through comic mechanizations Pete's son has an important wish that Pete wants fulfilled. (I think he has an illness or something) His wish is to know who Superman really is. Of course Pete knows but really can't tell his son so he calls in a favor from Superman. When asked by Ross' son who he really is Superman switches to Clark Kent in front of him.

      The irony is that he thinks Superman is lying and gets irate. Superman tries to prove he is telling the truth and cannot. At the end of the story Superman brings Pete's son to Clark's apartment because the child says he knows a way to prove whether or not he is lying.

      He opens Clark's medicine cabinet and finds only a comb. Having no need for deodorants, toothpaste, shaving supplies etc, he deduces that Clark must be Superman. Later Superman leaves Pete and his son after apologizing to Pete that he is sorry but he can not reveal his secret to both of them.

    Interesting. I'll have to try that with my little sister when she comes over. No deodorant, no comb, then I'll just say... just say...

    Sniff. Sniff.

    Never mind.

    Good one, Steve!

    Reader Mike and Jeremy Robinson point out that the piece Adam was playing is Sergei Rachmaninov's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Pagnini.", used in the movie Somewhere in Time, a Chris Reeve film involving regression and mind stuff, like the show at hand. Very cool.

    Though why a great like Rachmaninov would write a song to an Italian sandwich is beyond me. That's a joke, folks. Don't make me hit the laugh button.

    Mike further points out that there was an episode of the old 1988 Superman cartoon featuring Clark preparing to learn to drive, which can supplant our lack of such a story here in Smallville...

    Brian Radford tells me the coach might have found Chloroform in the school science lab. Makes some sense, but don't they lock the dangerous stuff up? Something about a kid with sodium chloride chunks in his pocket and a really hot day, sweating and blowing his leg off? If I got the wrong chemical, tell me. I mean the one which reacts explosively with water, anyway.

    Steve Crow had to write me twice before I figured out his business, not because he's dumb, but because I was. He suggested Sherman was put in there because his chief rival was Robert E. Lee, the General Lee, and they had the license plate in the show. Good call.

    Okay okay okay. There are two things I will now SET STRAIGHT once and for all, and they are considered spoilers, so don't kill me if you read on.

    BEGIN SPOILERS.

    Okay. Here's the deal. Adam Knight is NOT Batman and Chloe Sullivan is NOT Lois Lane, will not become Lois Lane, no way, no how, nada.

    First off, we already know Adam will not from spoilers, but just obviously, Batman never uses drugs. That's a simple disproval.

    Chloe is not Lois. Why?

    1) If she were, we would lack ESSENTIAL, and I mean ESSENTIAL characters. Like Sam Lane, Lucy Lane, and Lois' mother. Lois' father presents her with military skills which keep her alive despite her inquisitive nature before Superman shows up, Lucy Lane is necessary or Ron Troupe will never get married, and Lois' mother allow the tomboy of Lois (at times) to be prim and proper when she needs to be. Chloe, though I love her dearly, is just tactless a lot of the time, and this is likely because her dad's a crap merchant. It's not a bad thing. It just makes her not Lois.

    2) Al Gough said so.

    3) It is also nearly essential that Clark and Lois meet in Metropolis, otherwise, Clark's original geek status that enables Superman and Clark to be so different would be less established, because face it, Lois is popular when Clark arrives in town, and doesn't associate with him.

    4) Lois is brunette, and always has been, and her character is VERY set in stone.

    5) Lois grew up all over the place.

    6) AL GOUGH SAID SO!

    So, while I love speculative emails, I REALLY do, I promise you all, Adam is NOT Batman, and Chloe is NOT Lois. No way, no how. I wouldn't lie to you.

    END SPOILERS.

    EL points out another time Lana failed to use her mad Kung Fu... when Altman took her captive. Tsk tsk, Grasshopper.

    Toby Wilson believes that the reason the Kent cars stay in one piece week after week is that Cooter repairs them. Hmm... I wondered who was looking after the farm while Bo was in the kitty.

    Clay Hinson pointed out that I said that General Sherman razzed houses instead of razing them. I've made that mistake since grade school. Alas, now the General's been off blowing the houses in with catastrophic flatulence. I retract this correction. I like my revisionist history. Sherman marched the road to the coast by farting the houses in, and Abraham Lincoln was beaten to death with his top hat.

    And I am the President of Loony Town! Woo hoo! Go crazy? Don't mind if I do!

    Clay also notices that though the LuthorCorp had Chloe's computers, they logically would, because Chloe's computers were confiscated. So Brainwave just went there to steal the information, she didn't work there... so Lionel is not directly implicated at all. Makes sense. It's still confusing.

    Eric S. tells me (and I agree) that though the coach was new to us, most coaches are just teachers making an extra buck with their passion, so likely he could have been there even before the previous firebug coach. Maybe he works chemistry, and that's where he got the chloroform?

    Rob noted another inconsistency with "Delete". Basically, when Clark tries to kill Chloe, he forgets his powers, something he could have used to kill her much better, but when Jonathan is ordered to kill Chloe, he remembers how Kryptonite affects Clark. So I guess it's not very consistent, is it.

    JB writes in about the phenomenon I mentioned where people don't help in a scene of life and death:

    The phenomenon you referred to in regard to why no one stepped in to stop the catfight in "Delete" is called the bystander effect. Studies by two social psychologists (Latane and Darley) in the late sixties/early seventies showed that the presence of a large group of people diminished the chances that any one person would intervene in a conflict or even offer help to someone who was hurt. Rather disturbingly, this holds true even when there would be minimal or even no danger to any person who stepped in to help. (this is completely irrelevant, I know, but I'm a sociology major and your mention of this concept triggered my memory)

    I remembered it (I read psychology text books for fun in Middle school. Yes, I am THAT into books) because when I was a kid I imagined how horrible it would be to get stabbed and just bleed to death in front of a bunch of people. I got interested in it because once I fell down a flight of stairs (someone pushed me) and landed in a metal garbage can, spraining my wrist, and people just walked on by. Same time some punk smashed my head in concrete for not doing his school work for him. Middle school was rough. I think about such things.

    JB also notes that Clark did chest compressions for breathing, which makes about as much sense as mouth to mouth for a lack of a pulse (Although if I ever come across Denise Richards with no heartbeat, I'm doing mouth to mouth. Too bad for her.)

    He also came up with another great title for this week's show:

    Ross in 60 Seconds! But that's really most shows, right?

    I came up with another one. Days of Kryptonite Thunder. Eh, that one's not so good.

    They did miss a piece of good dialogue, though. Dante, looking from his car, saying, "Wassa matter, Mc-Pete-Fly, chicken?"

    Stephen chimes in with a really great addition to the knockout count. Another missing in action. HENRY SMALL.

    Lana's dad, and she hasn't seen him in what, a SEASON?

    If I was her dad, I wouldn't be around either, the way she's been of late.

    A few apologies/corrections. I did not do the Message Board thread this last week, mostly because of a lack of response, and alas, I have decided to stop it because of a lack of demand, but I wanted to thank Matt for writing a very good counter review, the best (and only) of the week... alas, many ideas, some work, some don't.

    I also wanted to re-iterate that there is a chat on Wednesday, right after the Pacific time zone showing of the show, (9pm Pacific, 12 midnight East coast, sorry, guys) where you can heckle me or influence me about how you want the show rated, provided you don't want to do so on AIM, MSN, or Yahoo, which I listed in earlier reviews.

    Someone write me a good Lana letter or three, and I look forward to seeing you all next week... don't forget to check out the KO Count, newly updated.



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