Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 8 - Episode 3: "Toxic"



Reviewed by: Neal Bailey


  • Ollie collapses, having been poisoned.
  • We learn of his time on an island, stranded, where he learned about this poison.
  • He learned of this from Tess Mercer, who saves him despite her own kidnapping.
  • In return, he saves her from the kidnapper and they escape the island.
  • The kidnapper returns, and they defeat him.


    The Green Arrow show returns.

    Sometimes I wish I still had time to do the Smallville videos. Not that I did in the beginning, but now I'm working on novels and the like, I really have to prioritize. This episode, however, would be rife for the plucking with Britney Spears music.

    In all seriousness, however, this show suffered from a number of factors that pulled it down from a good episode to a bad episode. They were many and varied and diverse. But here's the main factor that brought everything down:



    Actually, the big problem is that here we have coupled a whole bunch of irrational, already used plots with little to no palpable, logical character work. All this episode establishes is that Green Arrow is a selfless guy who's been through some ordeals. The problem is, the ordeal is not overly emphasized (It's even treated in a joking manner), and Green Arrow doesn't act that selfless at the end of the episode. In fact, he devolves from a good guy to a bit of a prick on the finger.

    You like that? I was pleased with that one.

    Things were going so well...

    And no, kids, that isn't Harry Knowles.

    Almost every image or thought process in this show annoyed me in some way. It's not like the idea wasn't solid. C'mon, guys! Let's show Green Arrow's origin! Okay. Cool. SO TELL HIS ORIGIN, don't do this arbitrary insertion of Tess Mercer and a randomly propertied poison plant.

    Rainforest preservation yuppies. Whee.

    Clark and Chloe talking about Tess, with Clark being rational (Tess hasn't done anything to be "evil" yet, and is giving her the benefit of the doubt, just as with Lex), and with Chloe being a catty, jealous of Lois, irrational shrew. Crapola. She's jealous of Lois? Oy.

    It's a case of where because WE know the suspicion is correct we endorse it even if Chloe would not rationally come to that conclusion, like the excuse for Lois' awful behavior in Superman Returns.

    Oliver appears, realizes he's been poisoned, but despite the fact that it's knocking him out, he knows WHAT he's been poisoned with, and how, and tells Clark not to take him to the hospital.

    Here's awful conceit number one, whereby we are supposed to believe that Clark and Chloe would NOT take Ollie to the hospital, and whereby the paparazzi would not follow Clark and Chloe back to the apartment where they could just set up and be fine as Ollie SLOWLY DIES.

    Chloe calls... DAVIS? A paramedic she barely knows. He arrives, knowing full well how hardcore he'd lose his job for even putting on a damned bandaid without paperwork in uniform, and suddenly trusts people he barely knows. Must be a television show! And that's what the brain says, too, watching it.

    It's also just a stupid irrational excuse to include the new character, but hey.

    Throughout this episode Chloe is almost completely out of character. She encourages Clark to take Ollie to the hospital, and then goes along without much thought when Clark uses the "Ollie said to do it, and he's always right!" argument right after Ollie tells Clark to do something, and doing it would have caused his secret to be exposed and resulted in his FRICKIN' DEATH BY ARROW.

    She whines when Clark shows concern for her over her powers (though Clark's concern is irrational and at an odd time chronologically, bad scene construction). She ignores what her fiancée would think (hanging around with bohunky paramedic). It's like they want to arbitrarily put her in a position of being sorry for herself and throwing her life into CONFLICT, where true, buyable conflict springs from the characters themselves, not odd things the characters wouldn't really do. Old argument, I just hadn't seen it for two episodes, so I was dumb enough to hope I wouldn't have to use it for a while.

    Lois is back to the cleavage silk dress as opposed to the human reporter gear. Attraction factor drops...

    Lois complains to her boss in such a way that would get anyone fired while already on thin ice, then rejects an assignment. Man, I wish I had that luxury. DC: "Write an article about X for Smallville Magazine!" Me: Have you no ethics? I would much rather focus on philosophical pragmatism, the REAL story! You're a fink! I..." (dial tone). "Hello? Hello?"

    Knock, knock, knock.

    "Who is it?"

    "Restraining order for N. Bailey from DC Comics!"

    But Lois gets away with it. The scene evens out in the end, mostly because both of the gals can act, but it's still just odd, irrational, and obvious. Lois is going to cover the story either way, she's frickin' LOIS. Boyfriend or not. The first instinct is not gonna be "My boyfriend who kept 900 secrets can't POSSIBLY have one more with alcohol involved!" Bad character work. Arbitrary tension.

    Oliver suddenly has a heart monitor in the Talon apartment. Rather convenient, and odd. I suppose Clark could do it. Still weird, and obviously for the later visual.

    Tangential: What makes Lost great? Well, the first episode has a violent, awful plane crash where survivors are hurled into chaos. Even that was not enough to get me interested. I had to watch three episodes to start enjoying it, and that's when I realized that it was part of a character piece.

    Here, we have a deserted island, a guy stranded with no injuries, the struggle for food, but with no new or novel concepts. It's part of the reason why if you're going to do this kind of story you've got to have something new or novel. Or at VERY least, when the dude talks to the bugs, make sure he looks a little disheveled and doesn't seem happy-go-lucky as he's starving to death. Pulls you right out.

    And I guarantee, if you go three days without eating, the bug will go down without hesitation. It was a squick scene, much like the later girlfriend shooting, and it was out of place. It's what one does when they have a story that isn't rocking your socks off with the words. Resort to oddity. Lost knows that well, but at very least they weave it into a tapestry that interacts with the characters.

    Speaking of Lost, hello boar on an island that's smaller than most apartments. Must have been a good swimmer. At least the Lost island has the benefit of tons of space and humans mucking around on it to make it semi-plausible.

    So okay, he gets arrows put together, he builds a bow that works with unerring accuracy, that's suspension of disbelief stuff I can deal with.

    He picks an old rotted tree and fires into the damaged portion, at first missing, then hitting dead center. Problem being, he hits the sides, and then when he starts hitting dead center, the sides he's damaged are now in fine shape.

    Baddies appear, and for some reason Ollie doesn't run over screaming "I'm here!" Why, I'm at a loss to know. His behavior is again excused because they're bad guys. We're supposed to think, ah, he'd know they were bad guys! When there's no reason to.

    He runs into a very floral super-poison plant he somehow never encountered in two years on the island. Uh, yeah bob.

    Lois pops in, and Erica's acting is very clunky as she orders people around coming up with a hangover cure, and she also appears rather shrewish and awful.

    Again a character plays the voice of reason (per Chloe before) explaining that Ollie must find a hospital, and the other characters saying "No way!" without real rationale beyond Ollie's word. I mean, come ON! After the seizure, there would be no reason NOT to take him to a hospital. They'd know that's why he didn't want to go and it was why he was warning them against it.

    "Mercy" was nice. A good play at the future, even though this Mercy would obviously be very little like comic Mercy beyond working for Lex, particularly if one thug takes her out.

    Starting her out as a marine biologist irks me. I have this project I'm working on called GENRE, it never gets very far because I don't have the manic time needed to work on it, but the gist of it is that the main character is a Vietnam Vet Lawyer former football player amateur pilot rock star author genius, and he meets a single mother lawyer karate kicking MENSA scholar cooking show talent who works with the clinically retarded and is a bastion of the local church.

    That's the premise, and the premise alone is funny, because? Anyone? Because so many characters are ridiculously given too many attributes for a character to maintain. There's a jack of all trades master of none, and I like to hope that my life is akin to that. I can play the drums semi-well. I can work most construction jobs. I know how to play guitar. I write novels. I'm a brown belt in karate. I'm a caregiver with five years of experience. I know a lot about philosophy. But I'm not an expert in any two. I can only be a great writer, and I realize this. And I throw MY WHOLE LIFE into learning. To imagine that someone can be a marine biologist good enough to be taken abroad, then find time to be an insane fighter, and still be the CEO of Luthorcorp and maintain a sense of style? That's Mary Sue. Hell, if I wrote myself I'd say it was Mary Sue. Sure, it's POSSIBLE. But compared to the average joe it's absolutely unrelateable. So Tess as a marine biologist with extensive medical knowledge when she later runs a company and can still fight kung fu, long story short, grated on me. It reminded me of the episode where in one episode Lex taught Lana martial arts and she took out the buttheads because of arbitrary "woman power!' crap. I love strong women. I think fake strong women undermine real ones.

    Leeches as a cure because of a CURING ENZYME. Ahkay. Squick again? P'raps.


    The paramedic, Bloome, orders around nurses like he's a doctor. Amusing at best.

    The baddie, a pirate of some kind who happens to read newspapers and speaks incredibly articulately for a brigand, is a laughable caricature. Every time he appears, I cringed.

    The pirates don't tie up their two captives, and why would they?

    Insert extended scene where Lois sits over Oliver and feels pity for herself, crying because someone she hasn't been close to for most of a year is not doing what she wanted him to do despite not being together as a couple. Hello, soap opera BS. Didn't miss you.

    Clark is mad at Chloe for having powers that are saving Green Arrow despite no ill effects. Out of character and awfully lame.

    It was almost like, "If you get smart, bad things will happen!" Hello subtext! Hello current swath of debates on television, where I've actually heard pundits criticize a candidate by saying, "He appeared almost TOO smart!" Seriously.

    Clark then goes to Lex for a favor. Oh, did I say Lex? I meant Tess. See, here's what a bad show will do. The little things you can skip over in other episodes, like Tess still being at the Daily Planet, make you realize that it's utterly ridiculous that Tess is managing the Planet when she's the CEO OF LUTHORCORP.

    Cut back to Ollie (nice haircut for two years on an Island. Damned good teeth, too) and Tess over the body of the friend. A scene that was supposed to be touching and sad, "She said she'd wear it... until she DIED!" had me in guffaws. I am guessing this was not the intended result. I was literally, like, "Oh, well! Better take it off her wrist!"

    They KO the bad guy and are like, "Oh, let's go! Never mind her body! Yoink! Zip! VOOM!"

    They attack the baddies, and leave the guy to die after he's been infected by the plants. Later, when Tess kills him, he falls right over, unconscious. Now, Ollie indicates that he has time to roll down to the leeches in the pond. Which is it? Internal inconsistency.

    Clark bursts in with an unexplainable serum, hands it to Davis, and says "USE IT!" You're a paramedic already risking his job. Do you:


    B) Immediately haul Ollie to the hospital, overcome with guilt...

    C) Plunge the needle in irrationally, I mean, what the hell, right?

    D) Hulk out into Doomsday and kill every last mot#$%#@*% in the room.


    "Use it!"

    Long pause. Davis takes it, sticks it right in the heart. Clark doesn't tell him where it goes. Real, uh, brightly incoherent.

    Beyond that, how does a man with no heartbeat circulate an antidote through his bloodstream without physical or mechanical aid? Oopsie.

    But it's DRAMATIC, right?

    Island guy then comes unmercifully back, but we get a GIRL POWER fight scene. "You'll never rape me again!" etc. It ended realistically, I'll give it that. She took a few blows and then the guy who obviously outweighs her knocks her stupid. Until about black belt, that's generally how it seems to be by my experience.

    Clark pops by, and instead of, I dunno, flicking the guy in the head at superspeed, he knocks out the power and drops an electrified phone pole on the guy. Hello, Gough and Millar OVERKILL! I didn't miss you.

    There's a cute scene where Lois takes Clark's cup. Funny. A moment of brightness in an otherwise crappy episode. Her actions are still as irrational as I above explained, but still.

    Davis and Chloe get another scene that doesn't make sense. He comes to see her without much real reason, and it's an excuse to, I don't know, try and give the impression they've developed a relationship despite being perfect strangers. It klunks badly, and is developing into an old-style subplot that I loathe.

    And besides, who wants to say Clavis? I don't even want a RELATIVE named Clavis.

    Lois is allergic to cats, not dogs. Must be Smallville. Not SMALLVILLE, note.

    Ollie is the man of tomorrow, not Superman. Must be Smallville. Not SMALLVILLE.

    Beyond that, why in hell would a pirate go through the trouble after surviving the poison on the island to poison a guy who knows the cure with subtlety, only to later show up to beat Tess into submission instead of poisoning both at the same time or, I dunno, GETTING A GUN! The whole plot is retarded in its motive and execution.

    But Neal! He wants Ollie to suffer the same pain he did!

    HE'S A PIRATE, NOT LEX LUTHOR. He doesn't have a complex motivation, this show made painfully obvious.

    And then, to add into this, they tack on a whole odd arbitrarily awful subplot. Apparently, Clark has never told Ollie that Lionel was behind his parent's deaths. Why? Because he was afraid Ollie would kill Lionel. Now that Lionel is dead, Clark has no reason not to tell him, so he WOULD HAVE, in character. Instead, this is supposed to be an OOOOH! SECRETS AND LIES!

    We all know how awful that is, at least if you're reading this any more. It's just. plain. crap. It's such crap I won't even capitalize the sentence beginnings of its description.

    No mercy was cool. I'll grant that. If only that moment had been, uh, not justified. The guy tried to kill her.

    All in all, I want my time back. Fully awful, and quite honestly it brings back all the bad memories of last season, and the Green Arrow show.

    Get back to your focus. Clark. The mythos. Character. Then this show will shine again, like it did for the last two episodes.

    1 of 5.


    Bruce Kanin wrote, RE: Toxic:



    _THE GOOD_

    There was something strangely nice about Clark almost instinctively rescuing people from the bus blast, especially in his baby blue shirt.

    In a similar manner, it was gratifying to see Clark speak with a convincing calm to the frightened but powerful girl ("Plastique"), near the end.

    Clark admits to Chloe that he came to the Daily Planet to be close to the "action", in order to "help". This is straight out of Superman lore and is good stuff. Not all that convincing in this show - more contrived - but good nonetheless.

    As such, with what's said above, Clark is now on a fast track to become Superman. He'll need a secret ID first, which will be coming this season, but then will be able to operate as the Man of Steel. Or close to it, because supposedly this series will never show him as Superman. Or will it? With a Superman movie sequel mired in muck, perhaps SMALLVILLE is a way for Warner to re-introduce the character. We'll see.

    Though it has the usual SMALLVILLE-ized contrived-ness (two words in a row that aren't words), I like Lois's gradual attraction to Clark. It shouldn't be happening this soon, and her attraction shouldn't be to Clark, but Superman. And, in fact, she should view Clark as a rival, at best, at this point. But I don't mind it.

    Almost-too-cute a touch, but nice anyway, with Lois ushering Clark into a Daily Planet phone booth to change from his hick clothes to a blue-shirted office worker.

    The Chloe-Jimmy relationship is becoming annoying and wearing thin, but there was one nice touch, which is the Chloe-Clark bond. It was perhaps the last flame of their long, stunted romantic relationship. When they hug, near the end, you could see that Chloe is still longing for Clark, despite her apparent love of Jimmy. Heck, the two of them would have made a perfect couple, if not for all the comic books, TV shows and movies that have Clark hitching up with Lois.

    _THE BAD_

    The Daily Planet is one hell of a lame newspaper. No wonder they'll need Perry White to shake things up. I mean, Lois & Clark seem like they're working on Chloe's high school rag, not a great metropolitan newspaper. There doesn't seem to be any boss-pressure for stories and such. And again, I can't get over how easily Clark made it as a "reporter" via a job application. Contrast that with George Reeve's Clark begging White for a job and then only getting it because he got a fantastic scoop - of this new super-guy rescuing a man falling from a dirigible. I dunno...

    The show is shedding some of the planet-size warts of its past seasons, but some are sticking around, bigger than ever. One of them is/are the meteor rocks, AKA Green K. It's all right to have it de-power Clark once in awhile, but they continue to use it as a means - virtually every week - to explain super-powered oddballs. It's so tired plot vehicle that it belongs in the auto junkyard. And I thought the meteor rocks only landed in the Smallville area. Seems like virtually everyone has been exposed to them in and around Metropolis.

    There were probably more things wrong with the episode, but my memory of it is fading. It wasn't all that memorable, but enjoyable enough.


    A character from the post-Byrne reboot is introduced - Plastique. But would you have known it? She seemed like an escapee from HEROES (that show is another story).

    Another character, in the name of Davis Bloome, arrives, too - he will be Doomsday. The little tease at the very end is supposed to suggest that. We'll see...

    We soon may be able to compare SMALLVILLE to LOIS & CLARK, as the two shows are converging, although the latter one was about a more advanced relationship between the two main characters. I think that SMALLVILLE has more story flexibility, in that the show is really about Clark, whereas L&C had to showcase both main characters.

    Jury's out on Tess, Lex's replacement. She can be very un-convincing at times. I much prefer Lex, although Tess more pleasing on the eyes - at least this week she was.


    Speaking of main characters, it's good that the SMALLVILLE producers & writers aren't finding themselves bound to Superman lore and such, and are allowing the series to go beyond, to general /DC/ lore. I say that because next week appears to be all about Oliver Queen's origin as Green Arrow. While he isn't the most exciting comic book character in the world (I'd much rather see Green /Lantern's/ origin), it should be enjoyable, as long as the SMALLVILLE folks don't screw it up, as they are prone to do.*

    I very much agree, most of the stuff I saw last week was iconic, if out of context iconic. I had hoped they would do the same thing with the Green Arrow, but alas, that fell by the wayside.

    _Bruce Kanin_

    Patrick wrote:


    I've got to say, 100%, I'm glad you're back this year to review the show. You are one of the few (only?) people who review the show online, that haven't been drinking the Gough/Millar Kool-Aid for the last few years.

    Thanks. I try.

    Now, I'm a guy that hasn't really watched an entire episode for a number of seasons, but when I found out that Al and Miles had moved on to do The Mummy 3 (and as much as that movie was not great, it got them away from this show so I can't get too upset about the film) I thought that perhaps these new people taking over might change things. So I thought I'd try watching the first episode this season.


    Now, I wrote you probably around a year ago, and in that note I mentioned that hopefully some day your patience with the weak product would pay off. I am really pumped to find out that, at least through the first two episodes, it seems like you and everyone else that stuck with the show are having your faith paid off. At the same time, someone like me who had given up during the dark times, can come back for the first couple episodes and really enjoy the product. The fact that there is actual character development is paramount to that, I feel, and that the new regime is trying to do this gives me hope for the rest of the show.

    I wasn't pleased with this week's show, but I think it may turn back around. We'll see.

    Now all we need is a pair of glasses.

    We needed that six years ago, heh.

    Thanks Neal; I will continue to look forward to reading your reviews.


    All the best,

    Patrick Ronzio

    Carol (formerly Ann; did you know you have more than one Ann commenting on your reviews?!) wrote:

    I did know. :)

    Hi Neal. Thank you for uploading your review today. My index finger was beginning to cramp up from refreshing the review page every other minute over the weekend in the hopes of seeing your review for Plastique.

    That is flattering! Thank you.

    By the way, I am so relieved that you are continuing to review and are actually liking SMALLVILLE. After last year's debaucle, I was afraid that Obi-Wan Kenobi had left the building for you.

    Yeah... depends. This week was no great shakes, but we'll see.

    You are my go to reviewer when I want an honest review, a closer look at the WTF?! moments (many of which I miss, but thanks to you, can get a kick out of them), and most importantly, a hearty laugh. Your past two reviews are no exception to that. My stomach literally hurt from having laughed so hard at your description of the Tommy disintegration scene in Plastique. I was previously bugging about the autopsy report and how the coroner knew to look for kryptonite exposure when you pointed out the most obvious fact, that there wasn't even a body to conduct an autopsy on! I completely missed that and so I broke into hysterics for the duration of your description of that scene.

    He evaporated like a fart in the wind, didn't he?

    I hope that the viewership continues to improve since that would demonstrate to the new show runners that we appreciate the direction the show is moving in. That is, finally giving us a Clark that we all can love, respect, and recognize.

    That'd be fine.

    Shafii S wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    Thank you for your honest response, in my last email. I hope everything will go gold for you soon. I'm just waiting to see your name in Action or Superman some day.


    Neal, you were right, Smallville is getting better, truthfully I thought the season premier was ok. But the second episode was light YEARS better than crap from season 4, I mean howw???? I thought Gough and Miles were the highlights, but I was mistaken.

    I actually thought that Miles and Millar focusing on the show might have improved it, but maybe they were there and just had told all the stories they'd had.

    I like the whole Lois and Clark dramatic, Neal also Al did say something about waiting on the glasses for a special event. I'm still puzzled....Maybe In the later episode Identity, lets hope this gets a GOOD explanation for it. I mean are they going towards Birthright? Neal, should Smallville aim towards that? AL and Miles both said they loved it.

    I don't think Birthright and Smallville would reconcile. I still like Birthright as a story, just not as continuity base.

    On the comics, I've heard Robinson didn't know initially how to write Superman, until Johns taught him. I mean WHATT!!!! I haven't read that much from Robinson except Batman: one year later, and I heard he did wonders on Starman and JSA. But how would someone give a brand new keys to a Ferrari to a stranger, and expect it to be careful with it.

    They've been doing it for near a decade now about 50% of the time. It irks me.

    New Krypton sounds intersting, but Supergirl...I haven't been reading her since Jeph Loeb, naahhh even Kelly. I really don't think its going to help her develop more character than of which already has been established. Neal, do you think this is a good idea? To mesh out all three books, for one story line.

    I think character evolution is absolutely necessary. But I don't think that making Supergirl a normal hero that isn't angsty will kill her. I think what will kill her as a character is that she's Superman, but a girl, and that's it so far, generally, in what I've read.

    Also, I thought Azzerollo's (please correct me and forgive me for the spelling) run was alright, until I read it for the thousandth time. I usually keep the combine collection in storeage until have to do something to it. Well anyway, I looked at it again, and all I can say is with out Jim Lee's art...this would've been below average. I thought it was ok...But not once were there was a CLARK KENT moment just a stupid robot. Long story short, Neal do you think Robinson's run is better than than that...or the other way around.

    You know, I love 100 Bullets. I'm reading it right now, and enjoying it. And what I've read of Starman? I'm enjoying it. Sometimes writers just get on Superman, it wasn't the character they were meant for, and because of the fact that they're wanting to write the alpha and omego of superheroes, they subsume their better judgement and write it anyway.

    The Robinson Supes I am reading is not Superman, it's the Austen Superman. A cocky dink who associates with rather rotten sounding women and fights like he's enjoying physical violence and the applause that follows it.

    Neal, are you going to read Flash: you think its going to be good or even better than GL:rebirth. To me, I'm more of a Flash fan than a GL fan, so I might be a little skeptic about this new status quo much like Spider=man's. Neal, I know you not a big Flash fan....But do you think theres potential to establish Flash as a more big player than he already is?

    I will be reading Flash Rebirth, and knowing Johns, I'll bet it'll rock.

    Thanks for recommending me this shows, I love Scrubs, have all the box sets, but did watch Lost when it was Season 1. But couldn't after because of its time slot. I started to watch it again...but it was like season 4. I just couldn't get where this was going so I stopped, maybe once the show is over, I can just watch all of them at once. House I really wanted to watch, but never got a chance, top of my list to watch. I wondered about Rome, HBO has some good stuff, not including Sopranos, but I heard about The Wire and Deadwood, will check out these three, Neal if you're a big fan of Seinfield, than Curb your Enthusiasm is good. Neal, if you did watch Dexter, did you like it? If not, sorry to bug you about it.. and I won't ask you until you watched it.

    I love Curb, actually. I forgot to mention it. Dexter? Never heard of it. What is it?

    Thanks for reading Neal.



    Sneefomaster wrote:

    Hey Neal!

    This is my first time E-mailing you so I'm a little self-conscious about what I'm writing.

    Don't be. I fart like you do. Or maybe more than you do.

    Without hesitation, however, I first want to say that you do an AWESOME job reviewing Smallville. I started reading your reviews during the 5th season but have since gone through older reviews up until now. I used to think that you were too harsh on episodes from Seasons 4-7 and that you were too lenient on the earlier seasons. Then again, I didn't start watching Smallville until Season 4 so going backwards could have ruined the "true" experience. Nevertheless, I eventually realized that there was a lot of crap that ruined Seasons 4-7 and was truly disappointed by the Veritas storyline and "Arctic."

    I can't imagine starting with four... I would have died. Heh.

    Arctic was hands down the worst season finale but I thought you would have had the heart to give it at least a 1 =p. At the very least, the writers could have given Michael Rosenbaum a more respectable exit.

    Yeah, very much.

    Anyway, I've noticed on forums (mostly on Kryptonsite) that people either really like this season (because we're actually watching Lois and Clark/Superman) or they completely hate it (because of the light switches and implausibilities). In my opinion, I'm glad that Smallville has finally introduced an actual Superman into this season and can forgive the horrors from last few seasons. It has been a complete satisfying turnaround from emo Clark to Superman Clark. Also, I absolutely loved the first two episodes: the episodes cut straight to the chase in the opening, the acting was right on (I didn't know what to think of Tess from "Odyssey" but wow, after Plastique, I'm in love with her =p), and Clark was Superman. I can't wait for the rest of the season (or perhaps these were just a fluke...). Again, thanks again for the great reviews!

    Thank you! I tend not to hit forums like I used to. I used to actually try and care what folks were thinking online, and now I realize no fruit can come of that barring direct letters to me and back. Sussing the internet is like holding a cloud in a fist.

    Oh, by the way, I thought the shot of Plastique killing the skater was kind of awkward, but I think the body was actually there; it was the "thing" that was burning behind the barrels after Plastique killed him.

    I saw that little bit, but it didn't seem like enough for an explosion like that.

    Take care,


    Rob G. wrote:

    Neal! It's wonderful to be reading your reviews for yet another season of SMALLVILLE. The only redeemable thing about the last 4 years has been reading your critiques for each episode. I'm going to stick by the fact that the first 3 seasons are fairly flawless (for the most part) with several good episodes in seasons 4 & 5 and then... the show mysteriously skips to this current season. Just wanted to say after years of frustration, I'm finally enjoying SMALLVILLE again this season and I thank you for getting me through it all with your reviews.

    Cool! And let me be clear, I'm not saying, nor will I ever say, that season 1-3 were flawless, just that they're the best of the show so far. The freaks were pretty hairy then, too.

    Interestingly enough, despite the show not really taking place in SMALLVILLE anymore, it's still an accurate title for the show considering that Lois 90 percent of the time refers to Clark as "Smallville". I love the fact that it started out being a show set in Smallville, and has now evolved into a show about a character referred to as "Smallville". Let's hope they keep up the good momentum and don't screw up the Doomsday story arc!

    We'll see. I hope so!


    -Robg./Icons Of

    thebrakeman wrote:

    Nice to be back to it, Neal.


    You said that this is how Clark should have been acting for the past 4 years (out there helping others, not mopping around, etc). I've heard that a lot, as if everyone has something else to draw on that said Clark was always like that from High School on. Likewise with him NEVER killing anybody, and always having this perfect sense of right/wrong.

    I don't want him perfect, just at very least baseline where I, as a flawed dude, am. And it's very easy for me to see some right and wrong decisions he totally blew.

    I personally prefer this version, where he had to grow into it. I think it's part of Clark accepting his destiny, which has been a tag line for the entire series, or at least since Jor-El came on the scene. These first 2 episodes have him addressing these things already, and I think his refusal to kill or seriously hurt others will also be played out this season.

    Well, if it's growing into it like deciding to be a hero, I encourage it. If it's killing someone on accident, that stuff irks me quite a bit.

    Ann wrote:

    Hey Neal,

    First off- I watched Harry and the Hendersons quite a lot myself-- ah the good ole days.

    Now I'm thinking of down...downing a few sodas and going to rent it at Blockbuster!

    As for wierd- I wear a Green Lantern ring- I'm wierd.

    That's not weird. Thinking you can move things with your mind is weird.

    Second-- I think I'm stomping my feet- it's Green Arrow week.
    Lois is in love with him (maybe) and all wishy washy again- eeew.

    The origins of Olly-- eh.

    Tess is yet another vengeful female- been there, done that.

    Oliver tells off Clark, and calls him scared.


    Yeah, it sucked, didn't it?

    I hated that kind of writing before-- and hate it even more now that this show is long in the tooth, and trying to change. And I don't EVER want anyone calling Superman scared!

    Very much agreed.

    Scared, as is implied here -- is beyond a "physical" fear. I refrain from calling anyone weak or a wimp if they have general fear or apprehension in a given situation-- Example- a war zone, I can understand someone being scared there.


    But to say that Superman-- who is obviously impervious to 'most' threats, is scared-- made this discussion on the show all the more worse. It takes everything that he has done and ****stomps** all over it. Place your own word there if you feel like it.

    %*$##s it.

    It says that he only helped as many as he has, or put himself in harms way as much as he has, because he couldn't be hurt. It implies that he would never have done so otherwise. It takes him beyond being the 'man in a war zone' and makes him a coward.

    The "Angus" argument. Superman isn't brave, he's invincible. Anyone else seen Angus? Love that movie.

    I'm all fine and well with Clark telling his parents- Season 2- the sympathy he had for someone like Whitney (we all remember him right- hole in the heart of the whole town?) because he didn't have any of his gifts-- that was Supermans' humanity. It also makes me think of that great mural of Superman looking at the firefighters and police after 911- calling them heroes. As a New Yorker- I still feel a pang with that one.
    Or with Chloe telling Clark- Season 6- in the wine cellar- that he did all of the things he could do --

    specifically for Lana-- because of his gifts- but couldn't emotionally risk-- specifically FOR LANA.
    That's just relationship talk and fully acceptable. It's not a black mark on his character- nor was it implied that he wouldn't do these things for her without his gifts. After all, it was really only said so that Lana could hear it, and finally know for sure that he was 'special'.


    But this scene tonight irked me in a way that had me yelling at the TV.

    And it was all for arbitrary tension.

    I must say, that in retrospect, I'll take things happening with the show over just trailing along-- but it wasn't about Superman this week, and with that last argument it just set them a few paces back again.
    The medical stuff with Oliver- I can keep him alive a few more minutes. ??????? I don't think I've ever heard anyone--- say that--- ever---- anywhere. Shouldn't it be his goal to keep him alive for as long as he can anyway?

    Yeah. In a hospital. They knew at that point that he would not be given steroids, so why not take him in?

    And a Lana video mention-- I--- I don't want to go over any more of it.


    Read ya later Neal, Ann

    Tom Roberts wrote:

    The writers must have seen the Mythbusters special on Robin Hood. It looks like a bamboo arrow that Ollie split.

    I saw that one!

    And Tess Mercer, kinda red-headed and uses poisonous plants to kill--oh, she's really Pam Isley, aka Poison Ivy!

    I would lean more Lex Lite.

    Jeremy wrote:

    Watching episode 3 of Smallville did it seem like the writers were slamming the previous seasons? I recall the line where Lois was saying that she didn't want to hear about the whole Lana thing. Also where Chloe told Clark that he shouldn't feel like her power was his fault. I thought it was absolutely awesome that they're finally moving on. I'm surprised how much I am enjoying this season and that I don't have to tell my wife that I watch it in the hopes it will get better eventually. Thanks for the reviews keep up the good work!

    I hope so. But then, there was so much inconsistency my guess is that they were saying anything for drama. The episode just clunked.

    Thanks, all!

    Check out the updated KO Count.



    Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

    So Oliver has too much to drink. Passes out but not before demanding no doctors. Clark and the Chloe-Inter-Active-Construct take him to the watch tower... I mean Isis... and call the Paramedic of Doom. Because we all know that kind of creepy but nice guy you just met last week would come and risk his job to help you with your dying friend and would totally not ask any questions that could lead him to believe this gang didn't have something odd going on about it.

    Meanwhile in Oliver's stooper he flashes back to the past where he remembers how he gained his mad skills with a bow and oddly enough first meets Lady Lex, AKA Mercy, AKA Tess Mercer. (Seriously I thought she wasn't suppose to be Mercy? Doesn't matter though. Mercy was the greatest thug henchperson ever so I am cool with that.) Chloe-I.A.C uses her big brain to find the cause. Clark uses his Super Barging Power to get info from Lady Lex and then runs to Bolivia or Brazil or something (I honestly don't remember exactly where she said it was but I am assuming the world's fastest man not named Bart went on a little jog) and then Superman saved the Green Arrow's life before rushing off to save Lady Lex from a similar fate. Not bad for episode 3 of the new season.

    Seriously, it was a pretty good episode. I found the "origin" of the Green Arrow a bit of a let down since ads and promos for the show led me to believe that would be the focus of the episode but it's okay that was glossed over. It's Clark's show, not Oliver's. Plus what they did show was pretty cool so they get a passing grade on it. I love the Arrow effects they do for the show. Those always rock.

    There were some really nice character moments throughout and a few minor steps ahead in the main story of the season which was nice to see. This isn't 'best of the bunch' material here but there are some things you do want to see.

    First of all we have Chloe-I.A.C in action big time here and more importantly we have Clark learning about her major brain upgrade in what was probably my favorite scene of the episode. Clark was FREAKED (and rightly so) about Chloe's power change. Tom Welling really sold Clark's fear for his friend. It was nice how Clark recognized the moment it was time to step back but we all could tell from Clark's expression this would not be the end of it. Superman's on notice that Brain-I.A.C might be still in play and he'll be watching.

    What was also nice about this scene is the fact that for once Chloe magically homing in on the plot device actually made sense. As Clark said, Chloe was always the smartest person he knew but even I found that at times in the past she cracked the case a bit too fast. At least now that we're dealing with Chloe-I.A.C. instead it makes more sense.

    I also like the fact there was a believable reason why Oliver demanded no hospitals. The fact he knew their treatment would kill him. It was also nice to see his friends taking him at his word. Even Lois didn't protest too much when she found out it was Oliver's demand. It does bring up the question to me though. Lois knows Oliver is the Green Arrow and we know Chloe and Clark know but does Lois know that Clark and Chloe know? I don't think so but it brings to question why did she think they were following Oliver's instructions so closely? I mean keeping him out of the hospital makes sense but only if you know he's a superhero with a secret life and likely came in contact with something out of the normal range of stuff normal human's run into. Oh well minor thing.

    The Clark and Lois interactions in this episode were great. I was amused by Clark's comments on Lois editing his stories but more importantly I was impressed with their handling of Lois' and Oliver's past. They acknowledge it and, as Clark reminded Lois, pointed out there was a reason it was over even if those feelings managed to creep back in. I loved how Lois then tuned it right back on Clark in reference to Lana. Nice. I love seeing these two being such close friends. Yes we know they're destined to be together but for now they are best of friends and it's fun to watch.

    Speaking of good friends, I was also impressed by Clark at the end. Oliver was really upset when Tess dropped the bomb on him about his parents and totally laid into Clark about it. Oliver's reaction was understandable but we know he was being a bit too harsh on Clark. Clarks' only knowledge of the matter was a comment made to him by Patricia Swann. Something Clark never saw the evidence for. He never really knew for sure if it was true and to be perfectly honest; there really was never time since then to talk to Oliver about it. Clark went on his "vacation" to Russia right after all that went down and for all we know it's only been a week or two since his return. It's not something you just call up and tell someone. You need the time to talk. Lady Lex just beat him to it and Clark had to face Oliver's wrath. That is what impressed me the most. Clark didn't say anything. He just took it like a Superman and let his friend rage. Why? Because Oliver needed that and Clark did what he had to do. Nice.

    So it wasn't what I was expecting exactly but it still turned into an entertaining hour. I'll give it a B+. Call it 4 out of 5.

    No promo for next week on my DVR but I know it's a new one. I'll see you all there.


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