Superman on Television

Smallville: Episode Reviews

Season 8 - Episode 19: "Stiletto"



Reviewed by: Neal Bailey


  • Lois, in an attempt to get to the red-blue blur, fashions a superhero identity.
  • Bruno Mannheim plots to kill her and other super-powered folk.
  • Clark stops them both, but not before giving Lois a call as the red-blue blur.
  • This episode doesn't seem to suck.


    And that IS a plot point, given that the last rating above a 1 was the Legion episode. That's 8 episodes ago.

    If you had asked me to review this episode blind, out of context, based on the summary, I would have told you the chances for a one rating were 99.9%.

    I mean, just look at what they did with Lana and a superpowered gal just a few episodes back. It was an abysmal, insulting sexist wreck.

    So you say, "Incoming! Lois gets dressed up in leather and goes out to be a superhero!" you expect a suckfest.

    Instead, this episode had character, heart, a mostly coherent plot (with a few notable oddities), and I felt like I was watching the early part of this season again. Minus the Jimmy crap and the Doomsday stuff, this was a coherent episode, and those plot beats even reflected a little care in the writing despite being simple A to B points.

    I figured Smallville must have a new writer or something, so for the first time in a while, I actually looked up the writer. It's the writer behind the last Tori Spelling episode.


    Well, at any rate, odd confluence of stuff notwithstanding, and by stuff I mean crap, this episode pleased me. I'm not sure, given the number of crap episodes, if that's just because a series of ideas strung in a line that make coherent sense is enough to snap me out of a coma, or because it actually seems to depict a healthy and real relationship between Lois and Clark that has the potential to eventually mean something, with work.

    It also introduces Bruno Mannheim in a fairly plausible way, without making him Brunie on a skateboard.

    You know, it's funny, I checked out the spoilers, and it may amuse you to know that there is a character on a skateboard, apparently, in the finale, the Parasite appears... and he's a skateboard punk. S%#t you not. I about crapped myself laughing when I read that. I need a Stephen Colbert I CALLED IT graphic.!



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    At any rate, on with the review.


    Lois not knowing Edward R. Murrow is not really a good joke for me. But that's just because I've spent the last eight years wishing he were alive.

    We start off with a scene that looks like it'll define the rest of the episode as a stinker. And, point of fact, I figured from the opener that this one would suck. It has Chloe get knocked out, Lois gets the best of the attacker, who spews about her being a superhero, and then she says, "YEAH!" in her stilettos, grinding them into the guy's neck.

    It seems at first to be an arbitrary girl power moment, and given the past episodes where Lana achieves power, suddenly becomes a hero despite many many episodes where she is anti-hero at best, it was a fair assumption, I argue. And yet we learn that there is a character behind the lightswitch here, when later it's indicated that she, on the spot, decided it could be used to allay her frustration in finding the red-blue blur, not because she arbitrarily decided she could do what Clark's been doing for eight years, and suddenly be able to do it.

    She's even not granted miracle powers, and her suit is more of a liability than an asset (despite leg to breast shots, but I'll get there). She has to work to be a hero, and see how hard it is, and thus it isn't arbitrary girl power, it's a woman working her way to respect. Which I DIG. I absolutely dig. It's the same reason I like Supes. Not because he's a strong DUDE, but because he overcomes great difficulty to achieve heroism. That works male OR female. It's when you throw a cape on a girl who's been defined as one thing, and then she magically becomes another, that stinks.

    This show, above all, emphasizes the time necessary to become a hero or achieve great things. It's one of the only things it's ever gotten right, even if it is a story ploy.


    The computer is lost, which gives Chloe a reason to theoretically be in the plot. It's not a good one, and it makes no sense to me that Chloe would not have a self-destruct on a computer or at least some form of data wipe if someone tries to hack it, given her skills. It was an excuse to shoehorn her into the plot, but thankfully it was forgettable enough one could see through it. Beyond that, it's a somewhat rational excuse, despite the typical fare. People really do put too much sensitive info on laptops and then lose them. Chloe might, given her level of distraction. It's not, for instance, Lionel suddenly knowing that Clark had a girlfriend at the age of twelve and where she is now, and that becoming an instant, deadly plot point.

    Lois' article on Stiletto, if you pause and read it, is really, really badly written. Good for a giggle, though, even though it repeats itself on the second page. I was hoping for Lois misspellings.

    Bruno Mannheim came out of the blue and smacked me with awesome. I love it. In fact, I'm a huge intergang fan, so to see this incorporated, which is a big early Superman years thing, made me smile. The actor wasn't too bad, he did the role well, and he's still out there, instead of dead, which is rad.

    The idea that the mob owns the Ace of Clubs is a cool notion. And that they're laundering money, even better. The only thing that stinks is the kryptonite money. Lame device, lame use in the story. Definitely on the most ridiculous uses of K list.

    Ron Milano's short stint as the mob boss ending even rubbed me right. They even managed a palpable explanation for the mugging. Bruno's sick of milling about, and wants to seize power. That's a logical A to B. On Smallville! It may not be the BEST A to B, but it's an A TO B!

    There are a few parts that made me absolutely livid, and I'm guessing they're a product of the studio. Or maybe not. Doesn't matter. The first is the fact that Lois is dressing in a hot outfit, and they spend time dwelling on her putting on clothes. It's like the old Lana shower scenes. It's unnecessary, it treats her as a sex object, and it doesn't forward the plot (my main concern).

    I get it. Lois is hot. All the chicks are hot. And if you said, "Hey, want to see her naked?" I can't think of a single woman I've seen on this show I'd say no to.

    Damn, I miss Annette.

    But that's not the point! The point is, situation reversed, it'd be offputting and odd. It turns Lois from a mind into a body unnecessarily.

    As does the multiple times when the camera goes from her legs to her breasts without any palpable reason to do so. It's to keep the young man watching, presumably. But see, you can be more subtle if you want to show off the assets, you really can. If it's requisite, much as it may be distasteful, you can do it in subtle ways.

    I hate it, because it makes me have to seem like I don't want to see Erica naked. Au contraire! The point is just that my commitment to not seeing women solely as objects outside of an obvious certain situation I can't describe on a family site, absolutely in every way trumps the utility of a legs to t%ts pan.

    I mean, hell, I won't lie. My desktop right now is a picture of Erica. She's gorgeous. But I was getting absorbed into the story and her depth of character which they had finally started to explore, and then... ziiiiiiiiiiip! Look! Leather and boobies!

    Save it for an FHM shoot or a promo. You have, quite literally, twenty minutes of her in leather, hot as hell. You don't need the dressing shot or the pans to accomplish that she's beautiful.

    The "S on the chest" joke actually worked this time. In fact, most of the homages, bolstered by the writing, worked in this episode for me.

    Blur-Etto is a nice little slash/shipper dig. I laughed, I hate to admit. Because it's not pandering to either, this ep. It's telling a natural story that LEADS to a sensible relationship. Watch it go bye-bye if it's true to form, but still.

    The spike heel over a light was a bit much.

    There's some great dialogue in this one, it comes out of the blue and hits you over the head, half because of what it says, but half because of how Erica and Tom say it. The "Doing way better than anyone expected" line showed a very real, very human vulnerability to Lois, a Lois who, despite being gorgeous, is kicked out of lines into parties because she lets her mouth overrun her, well, gluteus. She buys her friends cruelers and then nips at them when they save her life, instead of being ungrateful.

    This, my friends, THIS, at long last, is the Lois I Know. As opposed to the Chloe I Know or the Lana I Know from episodes past.

    And where has she been?

    THAT is character. And that has been sadly missing for so long. It was so welcome here, it excused all other flaws. And THAT is what good writing can do.

    Dug the "Go feed Shelby" awkwardness, too. It was real. It was honest.

    Why does Bruno hack the stolen laptop? Why does he suggest they squeeze blondie? So Chloe has an arbitrary place in the plot. Lame.

    Clark comes across Lois in Stiletto, and in a well-plotted scene the dual identities play off each other and resolve the conflict organically. Here, early in the show, the identity is known to be a dumb thing for Lois to do. Clark persuades her out of it, and unlike form, she doesn't immediately go, "Oh yeah? I'LL DO IT ANYWAY!" She actually gives it up. Clark is even a little too bossy for my tastes, but it comes across as firm, not patronizing. The only reason she's still in the costume is because she never has the chance to take it off, and comes across Clark in trouble.

    Actually, no. I just went to the tape. She actually drives to Smallville, then back to Metropolis, and then is just randomly caterwauling on the roof of the Ace.

    Now folks, HERE, here is a prime example of why, when people say, "Just enjoy it!" I can't. Because one can't do that unless one is IMMERSED. In this episode, I was so overjoyed with the Clark and Lois scene's execution, I COMPLETELY IGNORED and even now FORGIVE the glaring continuity flaw. It means nothing to me, because the execution was so good, the character so strong. It's still there, but I can just sit back. Does that make sense?

    At any rate, when Clark sees right through her, it's hilarious. The bad accent made me laugh, as did the ensuing dialogue.

    Doomsday murders a dude. Chloe is an accessory to the murder. Self-defense is not killing a guy that you can easily dispatch. Doomsday could have. Chloe stands by as he murders someone. This totally ruins her character for me, as it did when Ollie killed.


    It's also shoehorned in and will soon be forgotten, no doubt, because it's an excuse for Chloe time. It's brief, but it really, really sucks.

    Lois, in her outfit, telling Chloe to burn incriminating photos she took with Jimmy... FUNNY. And not trying to be funny, as this show does so badly, but actual, sly funny. Very good.

    The big ole moon was a bit trying too hard. It was like the CG scarf in the first scene. I was like, "Really? REALLY? You spend the effect budget on that?

    And the kick on the way down? REALLY bad. Like, so physics-defyingly bad I cringed.

    Clark taking the bullet is akin to the movie, and a good homage. It also shows Clark being shot in front of Lois, which is a great plot move.

    Druggie Jimmy.... BAH, I say. BAH!

    The awkward romantic tension between Lois and Clark builds well in the final scene, and culminates in the phone call from the red-blue blur. It's just fantastic. Even "Can You Read My Mind" had my laugh. It feels like the show has been transplanted from something that is determined to suck into something that is fighting to try, even saddled with bad subplots. The phone booth. The tension. Grand.

    It's so good for me, I'm gonna forgive all the stuff that sucked, and go 5. I was gonna deduct to four, but it's enough, it really is, just to have character and try and do something fun and succeed. A to B. It's really that easy.


    Preliminary note: If you guys want to buy the comics I wrote, they're now up here, including my first foray into comic fiction.

    Enough plugging!

    Michael Barbadoro wrote:

    Hey Neal, i read your review, i agree that the episode wasn't great but didn't they establish earlier this season when Zod's wife broke out of the Phantom Zone that Davis was created in a lab using Zod's DNA and attached to Clarks ship without Jor-El's knowing? You got me at the egg capsule but you could make the argument that whatever was attached to the ship grew as it made it's way to earth forming the egg capsule, and then broke off during the meteror shower or when the ship actually crashed. It's not THAT far of a stretch. Lvoe the reviews, keep up the good work!

    True. I had just forgotten that. I can't be mad at myself, though. The show has been easily forgettable and inconsistent to the point that I don't know what's canon and what to remember.

    Chris wrote:

    Hey, Neal,

    Written a few times before, always appreciate your reviews.


    With regards to Doomsday arriving with Clark, the problem is actually worse. It's been said that Zod and Faora (Why not use Ursa?) created Doomsday, so I think they were getting at one of them somehow sneaking into Jor-El's lab and attaching the alien egg to Clark's ship.

    Of course, this brings up the issue of why Jor-El wouldn't notice an alien egg filled with Silly Putty attached to his son's life boat, but let's assume that Jor-El is as dumb as a post or too distracted with the world blowing up to double-check his son's ship. (Hell, I guess technically now, Jor-El and Lara weren't even there, as there were no signs of them when Brainiac and Kara travelled back in time and Clark put himself in his ship.)

    Another interesting implication that follows up on the last letter. And especially considering, if I recall correctly, that Zod was trapped in the Phantom Zone when the planet exploded, right?

    That just raises even more questions about why Zod would opt to create an indestructible mindless killing machine to take out Kal-El in a few decades after Kal-El arrives on Earth and has plenty of time to develop powers and learn how to use them, when they could have just as easily snuck a bomb into Jor-El's lab and blew up the whole El family before Krypton exploded.

    He must be REAAAAAL Evil. And slow.

    My only conclusion is that Smallville Zod has not read the Evil Overlord list.

    Methinks the Smallville Zod I Know agrees.

    Chris Murphy wrote:

    Hey Neal!

    There are a few things that I wanted to point out in the Eternal Episode that you may or may not have already found.

    1. I noticed that Bloomsday's license plate says Metropolis. I Wasn't aware that Metropolis was a state. I'm from Dallas Texas, but my plate doesn't say Dallas.

    This has actually been pointed out before, but it's still endlessly hilarious.

    2. At the end of the episode where grey hulk's mom possesses Lois, Davis stabs himself with a knife, and it shatters. I find it funny that he wounds so easy in the newest episode. If he's from Krypton, I would think he would be invulnerable.

    Very true. You'd think the writers were careless or something.

    3. Lastly, just a general comment about the staff of the Daiy Planet. I was under the impression, at some point in the series, that Smallville was 3 hours from Metropolis. No one finds it a little odd that Clark travels 3 hours to work everyday? Clark could lie about his address, but that would be out of character. Then again, this is Smallville.

    A rabbit! Look!

    Love your reviews!!!! I look to your reviews more than the show. \

    Thank you!

    On a side-note, "You can't do that on Television" rocked the 80's!!!!

    It helped raise me. So maybe it's eviiiil!

    Ryon Elliott wrote:

    Great write up on Eternal. On a forum I like to comment in, I used the same term. "Shoehorned." Shoehorned into shoe 4 sizes too small. And yes, is half a minute between the Kents walking off and soldiers running in really enough time??

    Survey says. . . NO!

    Yeah, I'm gonna have to agree there.

    One thing you missed touching base on which stood out like a thore sumb was the fact that Lionel would not have brought this child back in when his goons were eviscerated and his car smashed. Or is that the norm for goons in charge of child abandonment missions? I can imagine it now, Lionel sitting at his desk getting the news another limo was smashed and his men mutilated to death - "Oh those quirky children I love having emotionally scarred and left on the sides of roads, they sure do cause a mess. Guffaw!" (insert sliding whistle)

    Yes. Exactly.

    In fact, you'd think he'd assume the Kents had the wrong child, since Clark displayed no acts of oddity right away and the one he had in custody managed to murder grown men.

    And especially since he had no powers save invulnerability, and even so, he still bruises from bullets when he's fourteen. I remember that.

    Southern Tenant Farmer's Union. HA! Keep up the great work.

    C U Next Thursday,

    Ryon Elliott

    Letter of the week for that joke. Seriously. I guffawed.

    Fern wrote:

    What about Clark's skateboard in the very first episode? Could be part of the KO Count in the Wall of weird. Thanks

    Only if Parasite is riding it in Injustice. Then you called it! Heh.

    Rob wrote:


    I just want to say that I look forward to each of your reviews with the same excitement I have right now for the new Star Trek movie--which, if the trailers are any indication, looks awesome.

    I hope you're right. I have a bad feeling after having read the Superman treatment. But as ever, I reserve judgment. I will probably see it in theaters.

    The Jimmy Olsen on Smallville has red hair, White skin, and carries a camera, but aside from that and his name, how is he anything like the Jimmy from the comics?

    There is that Curt Swann, "Damn, I Need A Fix" story from 1964, where Jimmy gets all coked up and kills a baby. But that's TOTALLY obscure.

    As of "Turbulence," Jimmy is becoming one of the more unlikable characters on the show. Especially with Lana gone.

    And now Chloe's an accessory to murder, and Ollie's a murderer. They're really going for it.

    At this point, ex-Superman Homepage reviewer Rebecca Cyrus has a more winning personality than some of the characters. Though I bet Rebecca loved "Power" and "Requiem."

    (And yes, I know she's not real.)

    She's real in my book Benjamin's Dream... and she's real as an amalgamation of the two girls I first fell in love with.

    The show's insistence at sticking to the "no tights, no flights" rule at this stage is perplexing, although at this point, the latter is more important than the former.

    I read it's Welling.

    I mean, when they started the show, they didn't think it would last this long. Clinging to that rule now is like someone trying to apply some obscure piece of Old Testament Law in Deuteronomy or Leviticus in modern-day society--like something about burnt offerings or stoning adulterers. It just doesn't work.

    Last time I commented on that I got mean letters. It's also why I get cheap meat on Friday!

    Some people have said they should get more writers from the comics. But as good as the Geoff Johns episode was, just because someone writes for the comics doesn't mean they would be any better than what we have now.

    I don't think comic writing and script writing always translates as well as people think it would. I know that the difference between a novelist comic writer and a plain ole comic writer can be DRASTIC.

    Couldn't you just see Busiek writing a Smallville episode and it blowing just like most of his comics the last three years? 1/5.

    I just wet myself. Excuse me. Must go change pants. You broke my pants with pee.

    There were some plot flaws in "Eternal." As someone pointed out on the message board, Clark made reference to having dreams when he was a kid about landing in the field in his ship and nobody finding him.

    It is astounding that in an episode reusing footage from the premiere that they would forget Clark didn't know anything about his alien heritage until he started high school.

    Why does every incarnation of Superman have to turn him into Jesus? He's not Jesus. Siegel and Shuster were Jews.

    He's not even Moses. He's just a good guy. Because so many people consider Jesus the ultimate good guy, though, I can see why it happens. You know who I consider the ultimate good guy?

    Me neither. If I knew his name, he wouldn't be the ultimate hero. That's kind of the point, and kind of why I think if Jesus came back, he'd be kinda pissed. I would be. Particularly if people were wearing the thing I was murdered on top of on their necks while justifying torture and going to war.

    The Moses parallel makes more sense because Jor-El DID NOT send his son to Earth to save the world, or to rule it, or whatever other motivation people want to ascribe. Plain and simple, Jor-El sent his son to Earth because KRYPTON WAS BLOWING UP! Those other things might have been side effects, but that was the reason, first and foremost. Although Moses rescued the Israelites later, he was sent down the Nile River first and foremost so he wouldn't get killed by the Egyptians. If you're going to use a Biblical parallel for Superman, use that one. Because if Superman=Jesus, Jor-El=God because Jesus=son of God. And Jor-El is just some random scientist.

    I see room for multiple interpretations. Problem does, so does Smallville, but all of them at the same time.

    At the same time, it was sort of nice to seem them try to include a reference to religion or mythology. Remember when Lex and Lionel would have these deep discussions and every week and they would apply to what was going on in the show?

    Yep! Six years ago, alas.

    When Tess was reading Lex/Lionel's diaries, I wonder if she read the plot of "Spell" and wondered if the Luthors were on Kryptonite-laced LSD.

    She probably bought a leather outfit, haw!

    Anyway, congratulations on being a published comicbook author.

    Thank you!

    Matthew wrote:

    Hello Neal,

    Thank you for continuing to review "Smallville"! I decided to stop watching full seasons after 3, and have no desire to see any more "Smallville" Lex or Lana (knowing what their characters come to), but I may someday give whatever Season 8 or 9 standalone episodes you rate a 4 or 5 a try. I also enjoy reading your write-ups for their inherent entertainment value. Now that television has entered an age of infinite replay-ability, episode-by-episode reviews such as the ones you provide can be of considerable service to the public.

    Cool! It's tough sometimes. I may go to video reviews at some point if it gets to antagonizing.

    So, while I can't in good conscience urge you to carry on, I nevertheless commend you for doing so!

    I will do my absolute best.



    Matt wrote:

    Hey Neal, I have been a fan of your Smallville reviews for a while now, even though I don't catch half of the inconsistencies that you do. I just wanted to comment that I just saw the preview for the next episode "Stiletto"... Lois Lane is now a whip kicking super hero in disguise before Clark? What has this world come to, it's obvious between this and all the Lana drama that the CW doesn't care how much they butcher Superman as long as they can have girl power! I am increasingly dissapointed with the lack of forward progress and characters that can't seem to have any rational thoughts. I'm a mixture of sad and glad that this is the final season. I hope Tom Welling and co. find some good parts to play after this ends because most of the actors seem pretty talented. Thanks for reading and even more so if I get a response.

    Well, it's not the last season yet (they may go 10! Good god!), but I agree, on the surface it sounded awful. I was pleasantly surprised.


    Mark wrote:


    Thinking about superlana I'm reminded of the comic book matrix supergirl. She originally believed herself to be lana lang given superpowers by lex luthor. I wonder if maybe smallville lana is a nod to that.

    I doubt it. They didn't try that hard.

    In your review of Requiem you talked about how toyman is more murderous than the comic book toyman. Well I saw the toyman from the DC animated universe and he seemed more violent. He even seemingly killed superman in one episode. Maybe smallville toyman is meant to be more like him than the comic version.

    Maybe. Either way, I don't prefer those ones to the comic one.

    I think I heard a theory somewhere on the net that it was oliver and not lex that set the first bomb at luthorcorp. When I think about that does make sense since the people killed were loyal to lex and opposed to oliver and tess. Also oliver was the only one who survived and technology from his company was part of the bomb. Any thoughts.

    I think Ollie is corrupt on this show, and I wouldn't put it past him.

    Well that's all for now. See ya,


    Bruce Kanin wrote (RE Stiletto):


  • A generally crappy so-so episode that almost smacked of filler in that it didn't advance the overall strategic movement of the season or series, except for the final scene. *D+*. The "plus" is for that final scene between Clark and Lois.


  • Call me sentimental, but I enjoyed that final scene between Clark and Lois, with Clark disguising his voice over the phone. I'd love to know if the usually dumb Smallville writers threw in the line where Lois says "Can you read my mind?" to Clark, because that's the poem/song Margot Kidder's Lois recites to Christopher Reeve's Superman in the first Superman movie when they fly over Metropolis. Anyway, it was almost a touching scene, to me.

  • Curious, though, that Clark keeps calling Lois "Miss Lane" (shades of George Reeves's Superman who typically called Phyllis Coates's and Noel Neill's Lois, "Miss Lane"), until the end, when he calls her by her first name. A mistake or Clark letting his guard down?

  • The first live action appearance of a DC Comics character - Manheim. He's one mean dude, dude.

  • Cute scene with Lois and Clark at their PCs, with their briefcases at their side containing their superhero uniforms, waiting for each other to leave so that they can go on their night prowl of Metropolis.

  • Nothing else, really.


  • Almost everything, really.

  • Grrrr...Kryptonite-threaded money. Those damn meteor rocks never seem to go away. And worse, so they're counterfeiting. They want to pass bills off as being authentic. How come my money doesn't glow green? Won't that make their counterfeit bills look, er, counterfeit? Time to give the Kryptonite a rest. They need to introduce red solar rays to weaken Clark, as an alternative.

  • How did Stiletto survive the fall through the glass from the roof to the floor? It was a neat scene, but not at all believable.

  • So the injured Clark insists that he be taken away from Manheim's lair. Lois and Jimmy oblige. Huh? Isn't someone who's seriously injured supposed to be left alone? Instead, they lift him up and drag him away. And where to? A hospital? What is it? Oh, it's a big building with sick people, but that's not important? Seriously, if they took Clark to a hospital, what then? Did someone attempt to extract the ... hey ... what happened to the bullet? Maybe this guy's the red-blue blur.

  • Poor Jimmy Olsen. Like Pete Ross and Lana Lang, they don't have anything for his character to do, so he's got some depressing indecipherable thread going. I'd even accept it if the dumb Smallville writers dredged up Jimmy's old stints as Elastic Lad, Porcupine Kid or Wolf-Man from the Silver Age just to make him interesting.


  • This episode is the latest in an historical chain that involves Lois Lane becoming a super-hero. I vaguely recall one Golden Age story in which she magically gains super-powers - even wearing an outfit just like Superman's. The Silver Age had a few stories like that, both in Lois's own comic book series and Superman's. The final episode of "Adventures of Superman" had Lois (and Jimmy) gaining Superman's powers, albeit in a dream. And "Lois & Clark" had an episode in which Teri Hatcher's Lois became a superhero.

  • Funny, I watched the opening credits for the first time in awhile and realized that there are only two faces that are still here from the beginning (Welling and Mack). Made me kind of wistful. Most of the original characters, save perhaps for Lionel, were pure "Smallville". None of the new characters can make that claim. As such, they should re-launch this show as "Metropolis" already, unless CW is worried about product recognition. I can understand that, because a sizable portion of the USA is dumb and wouldn't get the connection.

  • The Facebook references were somewhat appropriate, given that site's zooming popularity.

  • Notice that Chloe was carrying a red garbage bag and a blue one? What was the significance of that?

  • Stiletto looks a lot like Catwoman.

  • Too cute comment by Stiletto when she tells Jimmy that she considered an "S" for her chest.


  • Could be good. Clark vs. Doomsday? Maybe? The end (of this season) is near.

    _Bruce Kanin_

    I gave this one more of a pass then you did, but most of our comments are similar in nature. I think my weak spot for character, when it's actually ticking, forgives a lot of the bad stuff.

    Still, damned good to have you back, man!



    Reviewed by: Douglas Trumble

    Super Short Run on Sentence Summary: Lois, desperate for a font page story, creates her own superhero identity which gets her in trouble with local gangsters who eventually force her into Superhero action in order to save the day after a stack of kryptonite laced Benjamin's puts the Red-Blue Blur out of action.

    Let's just get this out right now. Lois's idea to create her own superhero to get a story is cheesy and silly. Without seeing the episode I think it's safe to say most people would agree it was a dumb idea.

    Bad idea. Stupid. Silly. Cheesy. Not good. Anything you want to say. As a reporter it makes you question her integrity. As a show it makes you think they are going for T and A over telling a good story.

    I admit it. I had those thoughts going into this one. Sure they have done this kind of thing before. The Ultrawoman episode with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher was actually one of the better episodes during season 3 of the "Lois & Clark" series and I've seen Lois becomes a superhero story line in more than one comic over the years. The differences is in those she actually gets powers of some kind. She isn't just making up a character in order to fake a story. That is what makes it a bad idea this time and I am pretty sure the only people who thought otherwise were the CW marketing people who were simply thinking... "Erica Durance in skin tight leather? Oh Hell Yeah!"

    The thing that surprised me though (and yes this episode really REALLY surprised me) is that turned out to be the whole point.

    It was meant to be a bad idea and the fact it was a bad idea is what drove the plot along.

    They never tried to hide it or make it something it was not. It was Lois doing something wrong plain and simple. Clark said it, Jimmy said it, Chloe said it, and in the end even Lois came to her senses and said it. (After our Superman talked some sense into her of course). The mistake she made caused Clark and Jimmy to end up in danger and forced her to see the Superhero life from a whole different perspective. Something very important for the character arc of Lois Lane and something very important for the ending of this episode which I will get into more later.

    Sure there was plenty of Erica Durance in skin tight leather but the story was a solid one. My worries about them putting a blemish on Lois' integrity were unfounded. She was desperate and made a poor choice but thanks to Clark talking her out of it, she turned away from it and learned from it without crossing the line beyond the point of no return. The story was never published. She pulled the plug. Learned her lesson and grew as a character.

    Not bad. Not bad at all.

    The episode was chalked full of other little goodies too.

    Clark and Lois both listening to the police scanner with their "costumes" in the bags at their feet was a very amusing moment.

    The appearance of Bruno Mannheim was pretty cool. Well played in my opinion. He's not the big boss in town running Intergang or chilling pool side, having margaritas with Darkseid yet but this is a good starting point for that character. I hope they bring him back for more next season.

    Clark going Secret Service and taking the bullet for Lois even when weakened under the krypto glow? Awesome! That was a total Superman moment. I was a bit disappointed we didn't get to see how he talked himself out of the hospital but we do know Oliver has a doctor on staff to cover for his crew so that was not a big deal. I did find it amusing how Clark was hamming it up in the Daily Planet afterwards.

    Speaking of that it was great how Lois acted towards Clark after he took the bullet for her. He saved her life and she was very sweet and sincere in her gratitude. Even remorseful for causing the situation to begin with. This is not something easy to do with a character as brash as Lois Lane. I think they did a great job here.

    Despite my thinking Lois' idea was dumb I did find it amusing when she dressed up and tried to act Superhero-like for Jimmy and the camera. It was goofy and amusing which, as I said, is the point. I think it worked as intended because when Jimmy gave her that look and shook his head I was right there with him. "Lois what are you doing?"

    I loved when Clark ran into "Stiletto" in the alley. How Clark squared his shoulders and deepened his voice intending to talk to her as the Red-Blue Blur until he realized it was Lois and had to quickly switch back into Clark mode. I also love how Lois tried to keep playing it until Clark just walked up to her and pulled her mask off. That was just too funny. Especially the line about knowing it was her even with a paper bag over her head. Both my wife and I were laughing over that line. Lots of different ways you could take that one and they are all amusing.

    Lois' "save" at the end was pretty cool too. I loved when after she dropped through the glass and ninja kicked the first guy she was all wide eye and going "Wow... that actually worked." Priceless. Sure if our Superman hadn't been there she would have been dead but it was nice to see Lois' bravery in her attempt to save her friends.

    There were also a couple of other story points in this episodes that were not just smiles and fuzzy bunnies but they were still very important to the series as a whole.

    Jimmy's story has taken a turn for the worse. He's obviously hooked on whatever it was Davis shot him full of and has resorted to street drugs. That's a bad sign but it is a realistic turn in the character's story. With only a few episodes left I am not sure this will be wrapped up this season but there will be plenty of time to cover it next season. Not to mention the fact that his spreading around a few kryptonite laced bills might cause some trouble for the Red-Blue Blur. That might be something important to remember in the future.

    Chloe? Man, I am not even sure what to say. Her story is such a rollercoaster for me right now. One week I am ticked at her, the next I am feeling sorry for her, and now I am just worried about her. One thing is certain, she is in way over her head. Here she is playing Happy Home Maker with the Squish Monster, even taking his gewy leftovers to the trash for him. Totally not cool but I think by her reaction she knows it. I am worried about where she will go from here but then that is good drama so I have no complaints. I'm interested in seeing where that story goes next.

    Besides, the guy had it coming to him and my evil side thought it was awesome when the creature put the squish on him. I absolutely loved the sound effect in that scene. It actually did make a squish sound.

    All this together makes a pretty good episode. Not great but still entertaining if anything.

    That is until the final minutes anyway. In those minutes this episode becomes something else entirely. Something... well... Epic.

    When I think of a Superman origin story there are a few things I think need to be there and need to be done well. A few moments that stick out in my mind as being extremely important and almost mandatory to the story of Superman. In the final moments of this episode we see one of those moments which totally caught me by surprise. I was not expecting it. Not only was it a pleasant surprise but it was covered so amazingly well. As in wind up, pitch, swing, hit, and OUT OF THE PARK well.

    It's a shame the promotional people chose to focus on Erica Durance's assets in her costume over this moment, because if you are fan of the character and a fan of this version the final minutes of this episode are absolutely VITAL for you to see.

    This is the first time this version of Lois Lane talks to and has an actual conversation with this version of Superman. It is not a moment I take lightly. This is not Clark talking to Lois but Superman talking to Lois. That is a very important difference.

    There was no one calling Doc Brown for a flux capacitor to change it, no memory wipes via super kiss or concussion, no alternate realities. This was it. It actually happened and remained in place. Lois Lane has made contact with Superman. Equally as important as his first flight or getting his costume in the mind of this viewer/fan/reviewer.

    And they did it so gosh darn well too. They found a way to do it that shows the best sides of both characters. A way that completely fits with this version of the character and fits well with Superman mythos in general.

    I know the story leading up to those final moments was not the best thing ever but it is that story that makes this ending work so well. Lois was desperate, walking a dangerous line, and really needed some affirmation of her ability as a reporter. Clark saw his friend needed something to help her out of her funk and put himself out there for her, setting up the meeting for her sake, not his. Just like you know Superman would do.

    Yet it ends up being more than just that. When the "meeting" takes place Lois totally turns it around. During the episode she learned a serious lesson about life as a superhero and that changed everything. She used the moment, not to get her front page story, but to show him empathy and to reach out a hand of friendship to a man she sees as the greatest of all heroes.

    We see the best side of Clark and the best side of Lois. That, my friends, is an Epic Win in my book.

    But wait... It gets even better. Seriously. Not only did they pull all that off in a totally awesome, believable way but they also managed to work in the idea of Clark actually giving Lois permission to come up with his Superhero name.

    Yeah, that name. The S word isn't said here but it begins right here and now.

    How freaking awesome is that? If you are a fan and didn't get all fanboy/fangirl gushy at that then you should go see a doctor because your gushy gland is broken or something. That could very well be the one thing to come out of Smallville I like the most. It is now one of my favorite moments of the entire series for sure.

    Let me explain just a little bit why I think that is so cool. The name "Superman" has always been somewhat too egotistical of a name to fit the personality of Clark Kent when you stop and consider it from Clark Kent's point of view. I am not saying it doesn't fit. He is a "Super" man to the core but I've always thought that name is something Clark Kent would resist due to his humble nature. He doesn't see himself that way. "Super" man, Better man, Greater than other men. That kind of thing. It is certainly not a name he would choose for himself.

    From Lois' point of view the name fits him perfectly (which it does and that is the point). Yet it is a name that in most versions of the character Lois gives him before he really has any say in the matter. It's out there and really too late for him to change it without coming off as a jerk which we know he would never do.

    This time however he is intrusting his friend to come up with his superhero name before it is chosen. He willingly gives her that right this time. He will accept her choice happily even if he doesn't see himself as a "Super" man because of that.

    It all ties into the why the whole Red-Blue Blur thing works. It's kind of a silly name to be honest. I think we can all agree on that but it is silly for a reason. It is being used to show us Clark doesn't really care what his super side is called. He is not out there to make a name for himself. The only reason he even lets his actions be known is because he sees the positive effects it has on people. Yet Clark knows that giving Lois the chance to come up with a better name for his identity will be good for her so he is letting her do it. Again this is something he does for her sake, not his own and that is why it is so awesome.

    Put it all together and it's an absolutely fantastic way to show how such a humble person with no need of grandeur and fame can willingly let the world call him "Super" man by using some of the best qualities of the character to do it.

    Like I said, epic and I loved it.

    Plus... (Yes I am still gushing but live with it because I am in fanboy heaven over the end of this episode) I thought it was really smart how Clark did it. Borrowing Oliver's voice changer, sending the envelope with the red/blue paper. Finding a way to talk to her without her seeing his face. It even brings us back to the missed opportunity/date when Lois asked Clark to coffee with some great symbolism. At that time the fact that Clark was across the street and Lois was waiting for him made the street seem like a canyon. An impassible boundary separating them. So close but yet so far.

    This time they totally turn it around. Same distance but instead the street makes it seem they are oh so temptingly close. Just a quick leap away from what we know is their happy future together. Awesome imagery.

    Wait. Get back here. I am not done. This is also setting the seeds of Lois' future dilemma. We already know she has feelings for Clark but now we see the initial steps of her falling for Superman. Right now it's just a crush on an idea more than feelings for the man directly but it is the beginning of it.

    I loved it.

    Deep breath.... There was just so much in this one scene.

    If there was one down side to it is that they did so amazingly well and had so much in one short scene that it makes you wish they would be that good with every scene on the show. How awesome would that be? I don't know if my gushy gland could handle it though. I might hurt something.

    Ok. I am done. You get my point. Last few minutes = Epic. Don't miss it.

    So sorry for the long review this week. I felt I needed to explain why I loved this episode so much.

    Rating this episode is hard. The story overall is maybe 3 out of 5 if I were to be totally honest. Good but not fantastic but that last few minutes makes this an episode that simply cannot be missed. If you're one that cannot get past the cheesiness of Lois' Stiletto misstep then I highly suggest you fast-forward to the end. You might not get the whole emotional impact because you will miss the whole idea behind why Lois reaches out a hand of friendship over going for the headline but you still need to see this "first" conversation between this Lois and this Superman because it is done so well.

    With that in mind and some extra bonus points for the Squish Monster actually making a squish sound when he pulverized the guy trying to kill Chloe I cannot give this one any less than a 5 out of 5.

    Next week looks like round two of Superman Vs Doomsday (if you count Clark being slapped across the barn as round one which, admittedly, is debatable). Do you think I would miss that? Not on your life. I would come back from the grave as a brain eating Zombie before I missed these final episodes.


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