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Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 7 - Episode 13: "Hero"Reviews:
HeroReviewed by: Neal Bailey
Sorry, that's all the main points I could come up with. There are probably more, like, "Lionel steals Kara's bracelet." But I just... there wasn't enough substance for it.
Velocity set a benchmark for Smallville awful. Cars fueled by Kryptonite that Pete, who had never touched a car before, could suddenly torque.
This plot is Velocity, veiled in a different motivation. Pete, because of Kryptonite, suddenly becomes a bad guy. A typical, rotten plot for series regulars, but when you bring back a recurring cast member after a long absence, it's a REALLY lame way to kill the sentimentality that could be tapped to good dramatic end.
And hell, the plot revolves around a dude who gets stretching power from gum.
And hell, the plot revolves around a dude who gets stretching power when Jimmy Olsen is a new cast member, which speaks to a total ignorance of the comic book history and potentialities of characters involved. It'd be like Lana getting a cat named Streaky.
The product placement in this episode was the single worst example of flagrant awfulness in advertisement in Smallville's history. Even Old Spice Red Zone and the Yaris have nothing on the blatant commercial pandering involved in pushing gum in this show. I counted eight Stride gum logos in the first five minutes, as they were pushing the single whitest band on the face of the planet in the background via their awful, cliché songs. My ears bled, and my eyes tried to leap from my head in shame.
I am... God, it's episodes like this that make me want to renege on my promise to review them all. I'm reading that Allison might not come back... it's hard. It's just hard.
But anyway, to the blow by blow...
STRIDE over top of the entrance. Not ONE REPUBLIC or whatever the name of that band was. STRIDE.
Jimmy and Kara, talking about how she still doesn't have her memories, which is just weird. She also somehow doesn't seem to have her powers. Or does. They never say, because they don't establish the conflict, and yet they still use it to motivate several plots.
And yeah, memory based plots are kind of tired here. Obviously, a group of folks who have little to no conceptualization of memory, given continuity, should not be writing tales entailing its usage.
Jimmy tries to remind Kara of how they used to do things like this, you know, go to concerts. I can't honestly recall if Jimmy or Kara ever dated. Bringing up memory again, to my own detriment, I can't recall. But at least I have an excuse. There have been so many lightswitch, unbelievable romances on this show, I can't recall. But beyond that, if something is not written compellingly, is it my fault for not recalling it?
There's an excuse for the writers. Their predecessors. Except the first three seasons were memorable.
Pete appears, rather randomly, and demands gum from the DJ. In a place with STRIDE over the door, which the DJ points out. He goes in the back, and there are, quite literally, PALLETS full of gum. PALLETS OF GUM.
Pete goes to these pallets, these TENS OF PALLETS, and chooses one piece of gum from the top. The kryptonite infected pieces from, uh, the river of Kryptonite beneath the floor. I kid you not. There is a kryptonite river. And this kryptonite river is so powerful, it goes all the way through a PALLET OF GUM to get to Pete's box.
Gum he then eats without looking at. Have you ever eaten anything, at least the first bite, without looking at it? I.... my brain explodes.
Cut to a SPRINT CAMERA at the STRIDE GUM sponsored ONE REPUBLIC concert. Boy, Jimmy's having a great time, isn't he? Doesn't it make you want to buy a cell phone and chew gum and listen to bland rock? Actually, it makes me want to kill. KILL!
Pete sees a speaker about to fall on Kara. It falls, and he reaches, and pulls her back. With stretchy arms. But see, he doesn't know he has the power yet, so why does he just reach his arms instead of, I dunno, starting to run, THEN using the arms for that extra bit of stretch?
Kara rises, looks at Pete, and it's cued, as I read it, to show SPARKS between the two. Jimmy then looks jealous and ticked off. He does the same thing later, and appears, without the benefit of vocal subtext, to feel jealous of Pete.
Clark comes down to find HOLY CRAP LIONEL IN THE KITCHEN WITH LANA!
Except, instead of that reaction, it's, "Oh, hi, Lionel! I'm gonna have some orange juice. How ya been?"
Compass of reality broken, brain explodes, pallet of gum, ragnarok.
Clark isn't telling Kara about her six weeks of past. Lionel now somehow knows that Kara has powers. Or maybe that was established, he wasn't really Jor-El when Zor-El attacked him, er, I dunno. It's just... unclear. Lana encourages Clark to keep a SECRET, which is entirely expected. But why Clark would not tell her her past is just like some inexplicable, cruel, awful, unheroic joke. What purpose could it possibly serve? Relieving the BURDEN OF BEING ABLE TO FLY AND SHOOT FIRE FROM YOUR EYES? Cause I'll take that burden from you. The burden of a bum father? You get over it. The burden of being an extraordinarily hot chick everyone admires?
Personally, I find the burden of living with Lana suitable for suicide. Finding out you're an alien would be secondary.
Clark takes the advice from LANA, kidnapper, and LIONEL, murderer. They're his moral base right now.
Lex looks at a figure, presumably from the dream fugue. Potentially interesting?
Kara then walks in, willing to go to Lex. I would be as well. If everyone in my life started hiding things and some dude who bought me pie offered to help me, I'd take it. Which goes to show that Clark is behaving rather unheroically and enabling Lex. And quite honestly, Lex is still behaving beneficently until he, rather lightswitch style, starts arbitrarily torturing Pete over something he doesn't really need.
Clark loads a pallet of logs into a truck for Lana with a clumsy looking effect. Because with her MILLIONS OF DOLLARS they still need to do farm chores, apparently.
And hey, when did Clark and Lana become lovey again? Weren't they at each other's throats? Yeah, ask a stupid question, I know.
But here's where it gets great. Apparently, Lana's vehicle, aside from her SUV, is a GIANT BLUE TRUCK.
Remember a certain giant blue truck that signified awful, dag nasty evil-ness? Yeah, the one that if Clark were to own, he would lose his humble moral center? Particularly if it were financed by Lex Luthor, as a certain Lana Lang is?
Yeah. I do too. Clark accepted Lex's truck, by transitive equation.
There was a semi-nice scene with Clark and Pete playing basketball that reminded me quite a bit of what the show used to be, and how the pair used to relate. This is the only point in the show that I felt the real Pete slip in. Unfortunately, it ends with Pete, completely out of character and randomly threatening to expose Clark's secret.
This is where I saw the Velocity comparison, particularly given that Pete did the same thing in Velocity. Suddenly, every evil thing that he did was because of Clark, and would continue to be. It was, recall, the worst Pete episode for this very reason.
A good Pete line, to counteract the awful: "Wonder what your dad would think about a Luthor hanging around in his kitchen?"
Then, of course, this is pooh-poohed. "Well, uh, he changed a lot." Actually, he says, "He's done a lot for us!"
Like what? Keeping a secret he can profit from? In an episode where they affirm his villainy.
At least they pay lip service to Pete's lack of visits, but this hardly justifies Clark not going to try and find him.
We get a scene where Jimmy is told that Pete used to be Chloe's best friend, and he gets in a dangle about the fact that Chloe had an ex. THEY'RE NOT DATING. THIS "TENSION" IS RIDICULOUS.
There's also the indication that Chloe is still neurotic about the term meteor freak despite its irrationality, with the "Biologically enhanced individual" schtick. Chloe doesn't really strike me as the super politically correct when it's convenient type.
Pete makes reference to going to the STRIDE factory on this week's STRIDEVILLE.
They make a big, covert, overblown attempt to make sure we realize that Lex is STEALING CHLOE'S FILES so later we know, as she says, that it is ILLEGAL AND WRONG. A graphic that shows us visually what we cannot infer, because we are incredibly stupid, in a show that makes little attempt to show or explain much else that is significantly elaborate beyond "it happened off camera."
So Chloe goes to Lex's office and yells at him. Here's why that scene is utterly mentally retarded.
A) Chloe is in Lex's employ.
B) Any idiot knows their company email is not their property. Heck, even in college your email is a privilege that's controlled and monitored. Not that that's right, but it is what it is, and it's your choice to participate in that system. She could work in another office.
C) Lex steals the information because it is pertinent and sensible, given Chloe's history of stealing information and how important such an exclusive would be to the Daily Planet.
D) All of the above.
But beyond this, wasn't Chloe given the job she has by Lex? Or was it Lionel. Regardless, her instant, off the cuff, explosive reaction to something that's completely rational is out of character, and only justified because Lex later uses it to an evil end. It's like Lois endangering her son in Superman Returns. It's okay, because her actions later solve the dilemma, only it's not, because it's incoherent at the time. I think I'd call that future perfect plot sense, but it drives me crazy when it's used, as a writer, unless the propagator is a bumbling idiot or someone who is later condemned.
Chloe threatens the OWNER OF THE DAILY PLANET with an expose IN THE DAILY PLANET.
Dumb as Clark award. Here's your sign.
Beyond that, Lex could simply take the files without her knowing easily. And would have. Why alert her?
Clark goes to the STRIDE ONE REPUBLIC concert area place. They haven't broken down the set, which baffled me until I saw the second show. Why two shows on two different nights? I dunno. Even Green Day only buzzes into town for one day. You've gotta be Billy Joel for two nights of engagements.
But anyway, he's walking right next to the GIANT UNDERGROUND LAVA KRYPTONITE FISSURE, and he's okay. But no, he's not. We see him cringe from KRYPTONITE! Then he reaches down, affected by KRYPTONITE, and shoves a PALLET OF GUM out of the way. I know gum isn't heavy, but a fricking PALLET OF GUM? And then, just randomly, in the middle of the floor, is a KRYPTONITE FISSURE.
Clark remains standing, unaffected by a FLOE OF KRYPTONITE next to a PALLET OF KRYPTONITE GUM.
Seriously. Watch it twice and have an aneurism. You've been warned.
And then later, one little rock and he can't move. Same show.
Lana gets catty with Kara for trying to find out who she is by looking through his stuff. Didn't need that. DO NOT WANT.
She also snuck up on a gal with superhearing. Which I'll assume she doesn't have because she thinks she can't have it, which is ridiculous. It's biological, not mental. When I get sick and then get hit on the head, I still wake up sick with amnesia, not cured.
Lana lies about. She lies about the symbols, Kara's bracelet, and keeps many secrets. Par for the course.
Kara pleads righteously for the truth without any real reason for it to be withheld, and yet it is, by a silent, brooding Lana.
SCORPION VIRUS IN THIRTY SECONDS! Complete with evil scorpion. DO NOT WANT.
Pete starts it in Lex's office as opposed to the Tech Center of the building. DO NOT WANT!
Lex and Pete ended friends with a running mate joke/homage thrown into his final episode. When Pete re-appears, they're now MORTAL ENEMIES despite Pete not having been around from season 4-7 to witness Lex's CATASTROPHIC DOWNFALL which was, in reality, lightswitch crap. DO NOT WANT!
And then, a very interesting setup for a three way revelation. Pete learns that Chloe is a meteor freak (nothing comes of it), we learn Lex knows Chloe is a meteor freak (nothing comes of it), Jimmy learns Chloe is a meteor freak (nothing comes of it, and he asks her out), and so, in a plot twist that might have been laudable, all potential momentum is completely lost.
Actual line: "Chewing gum? Is nothing sacred any more?"
OH, THE HUMANITY!
Lex then sends Pete to retrieve... the WRISTBAND OF LITTLE RELEVANCE BUT MUCH SEEMING IMPORT! And why Pete? Because he can stretch, the PERFECT power for, uh, breaking into a vault.
I suppose Lex could imagine he could stretch his way under the door or something. But why not make sure the bracelet's in there, first? Or hire a safecracker? Why Pete after he reveals (though illogically) that he wants Lex's blood?
Chimes for the bracelet reveal, as if it's some big surprise. I have learned to hate the chimes of Smallville. It's like a Lovecraft story. THE CHIMES OF SMALLVILLE.
But Pete goes anyway, breaking and entering, only to be confronted by Clark, his longtime partner in breaking and entering, who tells him if he's breaking and entering, he must be doing wrong. Pot and kettle, please?
"Obviously the K is affecting your judgment!" before Clark has witnessed him doing anything truly catastrophic and out of character save threatening to expose his secret.
Pete then really drops out of character, putting the Kryptonite on Clark's chest and leaving him, presumably attempted murder.
MORE ONE REPUBLIC! GAH! DO NOT WANT! NO MORES! TWO SHOWS IN THE MIDDLE OF KANSAS IS TOO MUCH!
It's the same scene, all over again! The gum, the band, the only thing missing is the phone!
Pete, after using his stretching power to assault Lex, is suddenly affected by a punch. I thought he stretched? What threat would blows or a bullet have for him? And yet he is tortured, and Lex's goon bends his arms back (a strange way to torture someone, for sure). Incoherent. Then, later, Pete only has one injured arm?
The superchuck without rationale reappears, as Clark throws a guy half a football field instead of simply knocking him out, and Lex is also overdone, with a flip that could have broken his neck were it not perfectly executed. It looked cool, but it'd also look cool to have Clark punch a guy through the head. I'd pay to see that effect. Doesn't mean it's in character.
Why is Lex not arrested for assault? What would his defense be? "He choked me with ten foot long arms!" I didn't see any marks on Lex.
Then, the overly offensive black guy metaphor, starring Chloe!
Are you Hank Aaron, or Barry Bonds?
But no, that wasn't enough. They had to go Webster. They HAD to go Webster. How the hell did that slip by as okay? I mean, he's a black character, so he has to be a black role model or Webster? I just...gah. 'Splode.
More Jimmy jealousy, and then, JIMMY AND CHLOE ARE TOGETHER AGAIN!!!!!! Like, oh my God. I totally hope he told Kara, because Kara can't remember. Great guy, Jimmy, he stays with them when they have a memory, leaves when they don't. Jimmy, I must also mention, is about as consistent as chaos theory.
Pete gives Chloe some STRIDE GUM because we haven't seen enough STRIDE GUM.
Clark hides the bracelet for no apparent reason, Kara goes to live with Lex for an obvious reason, and deep music is played to make us wonder, is this deep?
In fact, it was one of the most singularly deplorable episodes of the show so far. And for that, it's 1 of 5. And might make the top ten worst.
Letters will come back next week, as I am in LA. Sorry!
Check out the KO Count which has been updated.
HeroReviewed by: Douglas Trumble
Pete Ross returns to Smallville just in time to gain super stretchy powers by chewing on some kryptonite laced chewing gum.
The obvious joke of this plot line being a stretch just can not be ignored. I just have to say it once. They were really reaching for this one. Oyi.
Okay seriously. As much as I loved The Incredibles and Elasti Girl I am going to admit that stretch powers just are not high on my list of "cool" super powers. It does not mean I am going to be down on this episode simply because of the power they chose to give Pete. I am ok with it. It is an established super power across both major superhero universes so as far as I am concerned it is fair game.
We will however choose to ignore the special effects that had Pete's clothing gaining stretching powers along with him. At least Mr. Fantastic and Helen Parr had uniforms that stretched as well. Pete must have had on a pair of Chuck Norris Action Jeans or something because he kept his dignity intact.
Still I cannot help but feel a lot of this episode was forced. I mean really forced.
The first and biggest thing that stuck out to me was all the over long shots of Pete just smiling. It's like they were going "Look! It's Pete Ross!" Ok. It was fine the first time but they do it again when he shows up at the farm, and again when he shows up at the Daily Planet. We get it. Pete Ross returns. Enough with the drama shots.
Plus was it just me or was any chemistry between Sam Jones III and the rest of the cast lost? The scenes with him and Tom Welling and Allison Mack just felt so flat. I know there was an underlying tension trying to play out about an old friend who stopped calling but there was just nothing between them like before. Even at the end when things were fixed up so to speak. Just flat.
It was nice though to learn why we have not heard from Pete since he left. Honestly I was kind of glad to hear it was not Clark who was the cause. Clark could visit Pete anywhere to keep their friendship up but not if Pete was not returning his calls so I am glad they took a moment to explain that. This was a story that needed to be told. The show is ramping up for season 8 which will probably be its last and we did need to see what happened to Pete at some point.
I just wish I enjoyed his return a bit more.
Plus I know it would be difficult to swallow but I do not see any reasonable reason why Clark would not be telling Kara the truth about herself. He of all people should know she has a right to know. I know Lionel and Lana are telling him not to and they have a legitimate reason when they warn about the dangers of her telling Lex. It makes sense but it still is not right and I am bothered that Clark agreed to go along with it. It is not a matter of her not believing it. There are just too many ways Clark could prove it. Ok. Well it adds to the drama I suppose. I guess Clark did say he wanted to tell her so that will have to be enough for now. I do not like it though.
I also do not like Kara going to live with Lex. It just seems too similar. Clark lies to someone and they run off to live with Lex. Didn't we just go through this same story with Lana? I know it is a bit different because that story had the whole lost love angle but it still feels the same to me.
I do like the twist in the Lionel story. I will be very interested to hear what happens when Clark and him have that "talk". That scene was just awesome. The menace in Clark's voice before he sped away was dead on perfect. Superman might be the nicest guy in the world but he is the last person you want to tick off. Lionel of all people should know that and I cannot help but smile knowing that he might be losing a few hours of sleep waiting for Clark to come for his explanation.
So yeah. I did not like this one very much. It was not terrible to the extreme but considering it was the return of Pete Ross to the show I was hoping for more. In the end it was just another freak of the week episode with just a few steps forward in the main plot of the show. Same thing we've seen over and over again.
I am just going to give it a C. Call it 2 out of 5. Worth watching to keep up with the plot but not one you are going to look back on with any fondness and certainly one you could have missed without missing much.
Next week looks intense though. No spoilers here but the preview had some shots that shocked me. If it's not another nightmare episode then some serious "stuff" will be going down.
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