Superman on Television
Smallville: Episode Reviews
Season 9 - Episode 22: "Salvation"Reviews:
SalvationReviewed by: Douglas Trumble
Super short summary: Clark dreams of a super future while Zod-Clone and his Clonetroopers launch all out war to make all kneel. Luckily the Blur was only napping and is soon on the case along with a few of his super friends as back-up. Even Lois gets in on the action outing the fake-Blur and learning the truth about the true man in black. Clark ends up face to face against Zod-Clone in an epic battle our Blur can't afford to lose.
Oh what words work here? What could I say to describe, sum up, or even articulate my feelings on this episode?
Epic? Sure but too obvious. Awesome? Super? Great? Fantastic?
How about epically epic on an epic scale? That about covers it.
To say I liked this episode is an understatement to say the least. I might need to wait to see it again to say this for 100% sure and it is certainly possible that once the various cliffhangers are resolved in the fall I will not be as keen on it, but right now I am actually pondering using the words "best ever". (Or is that BEST EVAR).
In a show that's been running for 9 full seasons saying a certain episode might be the best one they have ever shown is saying a lot.
Might my opinion be skewed by the epic dream come true vision of the future shown in the opening moments? Maybe. There is no denying how great that vision of the future was. Seeing this Lois in her prime and the blue clad hero swooshing in to save the Daily Planet from the wayward plane was fantastic. One wonders how much of that scene and the Ma Kent gift scene were planned before they got the go ahead for season 10? I could see that playing as part of the final moments of the series and working very well.
Importantly though this wasn't the end which is awesome in and of itself because that means they have a chance to come up with something even better when the real end comes.
Of course when the real end comes they will need more Clark/Superman in it but this worked as a taste. Consider me well teased.
If I had any one real complaint about this episode was the fact the Justice League's part was (with the exception of Watchtower and Green Arrow) reduced to just cameos on monitors. That is a disappointment but really in the grand scheme of things just a minor detail. While I would have liked to see them in action (maybe with some of Lady-Lex's krypto-knuckles) I can't really fault them for putting those folks in the background for this one and just focusing on Clark. Can I? No, not really.
I could point out my common complaint with the show always shoving too much into one episode and point out that had this season finale been a two hour epic they could have done more with those folks but that would imply what was here wasn't good enough and there is no way I want to do that.
They could have skipped the League entirely but they didn't and I am glad for that. Not only for the fact they were showing us that other supers were not just sitting the emergency out but also it gave Clark a moment to showcase his leadership. That is never bad to see.
How epic was that moment with Clark standing there in the Watchtower giving his speech about not wanting anyone to die on either side when he has a non-violent option on hand. That is the kind of thing we all want to hear from any version of Superman.
I was glad to see Lois wasn't fooled by Zod-Clone's Blur impersonation for very long, if at all. She was properly hesitant from the get go and while you could see confusion and doubt slip in for a short time she quickly figured it out.
It'll be interesting to see how she reacts next time she sees Clark now that she fully knows what she knows. Did Clark know that kissing her would give it up? Maybe. You would think he would. Not that I fault him for doing it but if he didn't think she'd figure it out from that he was seriously kidding himself. I kind of like it though. Sort of a mixture between him telling her and her figuring it out on her own.
The main point is now Lois knows and I am excited to see how they deal with it. Will she help build the Superman persona almost from the ground up? That would be pretty cool.
Please Smallville Powers that Be. Do not cop out and have some sort of memory wipe or deception to go back during the season 10 premiere. Please? I will do anything. Just send your story ideas for the premier to me via the SupermanHomepage.com and I'll be sure to approve them and submit back to you with any revisions or improvements in time for filming to begin. Ok? Good. I am glad we got that worked out. Pffft. Yeah right. I could dream. But seriously... Let her keep her memory. No more brain damage for Lois please. (Though she was knocked out again so maybe random amnesia isn't such a stretch.)
I couldn't help but notice in Clark's vision of the future she was wearing the geeky glasses as well as what I thought was a wedding ring. (They seem to focus on it when she pushed up the glasses. Assuming this was a true vision of a possible future I can't help but see it as some sort of solidarity thing with her husband which is actually rather nice. I'll wear them too so you don't feel so bad for having to hide it like that). Before anyone says "it was just a dream" remember we've had more than one occasion on the show of someone getting possible visions of the future or possible futures. Some delivered via a spirit of a lost loved one. I have no doubt in the possibility that Jor-El or Jonathan Kent could have given Clark that vision to try and convince him to find a way to stay.
Plus I think it gives more weight to Clark's choice to go with the Clones. He saw what he would be giving up. The perfect life with everything he could have wanted or hoped for. That makes the choice to leave much more powerful than having him decide to go after losing his job and his girl which is where he was just last week.
So Ma Kent gives him a costume. That was a neat little moment. Is it THE costume or just a red/blue version of the T-shirt/coat look he has been going with? Do not know but both options will be cool. I have no problems with another prototype costume before the final one which admittedly might be more likely since I'd be surprised if they went with the tights for an entire season.
Lady-Lex really won me over in this one. First of all anyone going after Zod with Kryptonite brass knuckles really has to have a set of something... What ever the female equivalent is of a "pair" is Tess has it. Not only was that awesome but I was amazed that for the first time I didn't doubt her sincerity when she was talking about proving herself to Clark. Could she be a hero in the end? Maybe. The potential is there depending on what happens next. Well will have to see how her new Harvey Dent like good looks affects her. Plus I can't imagine that sweet Granny was taking her on a nice vacation out of the Goodness of her heart. She just might make Lady-Lex come back with a fury?
So anyway. Everyone knows I am a big fan of the more Cro-Magnon aspects of a superhero show. I do like the super-throw down from time to time and with Zod-Clone and The Blur on a crash course towards fisticuffs it would have been a crime to have this episode pass without some sort of altercation or at least a bit of a ruckus.
So how did The Blur vs. Zod-Clone pan out?
Was it a disappointment on a Doomsday/Blur scale? Decent like the Clark/Bizarro bout? Something fun like Clark vs. Titan-phantom in the death match ring while Lois was hanging around in skin tight leather? Or was it so great that the only way to say it is that it was Epicness covered in awesome sauce?
Personally? I found it extra spicy awesome sauce and was extremely pleased by the end result.
Sure this was not a building knocking down Earth shattering rumble in the streets of Metropolis but you can't say it wasn't intense with both the hero and the villain giving it their all. Really isn't that what you want. You can have intense and powerful without buildings falling down.
At the very least it was certainly a huge step up from the Doomsday fight. The only confrontation I can think of that I would say was better than this one was the time Papa Kent had to put Junior over his knee way waaaay back when. You can't top the drama from that one but they certainly came close.
Not only did using the Blue Kryptonite keep them on budget but I think it made the fight more personal and actually upped the intensity. It actually made it feel more dangerous for our hero. Two powered up Kryptonians slugging it out really doesn't come off as either combatant being in much danger when 5 seconds in the sun will heal the black-eyes or bloody noses.
Don't get me wrong. I like and want the super power punch outs too but I understand realistically they can't afford that and I'd much rather see them do something like this that keeps the action going and drives the story than have a cheap cop out like they did last year with the Doomsday fight.
Admittedly it helps the fact that the one actual super powered punch in the battle was Clark knocking Zod-Clone across town. That was cool.
Powerless the risks are higher. If Clark loses he isn't just gone with the others, he'd be dead and Zod would still be there on Earth just a dagger toss away from powering back up. Sure maybe he wouldn't have his army anymore but he'd still be able to do some damage.
The dagger not only made the fight more personal but it actually made a lot of sense story wise which also impressed me. It worked as a valid reason why Clark and Zod didn't get zapped away with the rest of the Clones. Was it convenient? Maybe but when you remember Jor-El was concerned enough about letting Kyptonian's loose on Earth with powers that he sabotaged the cloning orb with Blue-K in the first place you start to see the bigger picture. Jor-El's other "failsafe" plan would only be used if the Clones got powers so having the teleporter lock on the powers is a reasonable way that the machine would tell Kryptonians from Human. It makes sense that Blue-K would thwart that plan. Or maybe I should say it makes a lot of sense to this nerd who pays way too much attention to technobabble at times.
Okay in short, Blue-K stopped bright light from working... Makes sense to me.
Yet even with those things said I think the reason I enjoyed this battle so much was the simple fact that Clark was giving as good, if not better, than he was getting. Zod-Clone was armed and was still getting smacked around by Clark. Well okay. Maybe that's too much credit to Clark but Zod-Clone certainly was not wiping the floor with him. He only "won" because Clark impaled himself to end the fight.
It's important that we take a moment to look back over the nine years of Smallville and remember all the ones who were lost via impalement on a random sharp object while fighting Clark or one of his friends. I won't bore anyone with a list. Yes I get the parallels with Jesus and the spear in the side I am sure that is maybe more what they were going for here but I still think symbolically this was Clark allowing himself to be impaled for once instead of the villain, thus making up for all those lost villains he didn't save over the years. Well okay maybe not but hey. Zod-Clone wasn't impaled... (yet)... That is a plus no matter how you look at it!
Seriously though what sticks out even more about this solution was how it shows Clark using his head to outsmart an extremely intelligent villain who obviously has a lot more experience dealing with Kryptonian tech. Clark has more experience dealing with Kryptonite and that was the experience that mattered here. He knew he just needed to get that knife away from Zod-Clone while the machine was still running and when the fighting wasn't working he was willing to give his life to save the world from Zod-Clone's evil.
The rainstorm during all this was something I though helped add to the intensity of the fight. Props to whoever planned it that way.
Fantastic cliffhanger at the end with him falling in the rain.
WTF moment of the week? Well I admit I forgot one last week but there really isn't a big one I can put my finger on this week. When pressed I'd have to give it to Zod-Clone one last time for being dumb enough to admit his guilt in front of a bunch of people with super hearing but then I kind of find it amusing when maniacal villains do stupid things like that. Still... Good enough for What the Fudge Zod-Clone?
I can give this one no less than 5 out of 5 since a 6 isn't allowed. I just reserve the right to re-evaluate that once the cliffhangers are resolved since it is possible my feelings could change come fall. You know if Clark is saved by floating Jellyfish as he falls off the building or Oliver was really being jumped by a bunch of Marvel fanboy's that were trying to bring him to Disneyland when he went MIA. In those cases I might have to lower it to a 4.5 unless they actually bring on Stan Lee because then I would be obliged by Nerd and Geek law to give it a 5 out of 5.
Looking back at the season as a whole I have to say I think this one was my favorite season of the series so far. I know Smallville isn't perfect and after nine years the things they don't do well tend to stand out even more but I really liked where they took the show this year.
The Superman year one feel with the proto costume, the serious Lois relationship, and Clark's growth as a leader with the other heroes was just fantastic. I was disappointed they kind of dropped the Blur/Lois dynamic for a while there or didn't do more with the phone booth conversations but in the end I think it all worked out. It was an interesting twist on the triangle for two and it allowed for them to do the deception in a way that both Clark and Lois had an equal part in it. If anything I think that is the one area where this version (as "alternate" as it may be) managed to do something better than other versions of the Superman story. The Kryptonian Clones story line was well done for the most part. Would have liked to see more after the Clones were powered up but and they certainly messed up big time in my opinion having Clark just eye blast those towers but as far as season story arcs go it was pretty good. Plus it was so nice to go a whole season without the Lana relationship roller-coaster. I know Clark/Lois had a bump at the end there but it wasn't the same kicking the dead horse feel that has been part of this series for many years in the past. The absence of that alone elevates this season. Romance with an actual chance at a future is so much more fun to watch (in my humble opinion).
Thank you for reading and have a good summer (or winter for the down under folks) and I hope to have you back again in the fall.
SalvationReviewed by: Julian Finn
It's a strange thing, being a fan of something. I never realized just how strange until a few months ago, when my three year old daughter fell bum over teakettle in love with Justin Bieber. It's a deep love, I can tell, complete with the bad dreams and discreet little behavioural changes (like her sudden and horrifically disturbing new habit of flashing our TV whenever his image graces it) that warn me it's going to last a looong time. She loves him and no amount of cajoling on my part or exposure to what I consider "good" music is going to change the fact that my house is going to be full of the sounds of teenage angst and covered in the posters of said teenager for years to come. My daughter has, for the first time, become a fan of something. One day she'll grow out of it, maybe even deny that it was ever there, but for now she is a fanatic, and my job as her father will be, once she realizes how absurd this Bieber obsession was, to tease her about it forever.
Fandom, in short, is glorious. One of the predominant constants in Western culture, going back, as far as I can tell, to the twelfth century when a man named Chrétien de Troyes wrote what might be the first example of fan fiction (it's always made me giggle a bit that it was a Frenchman who wrote the definitive first piece of fiction about King Arthur) has been this idea of developing enthusiasm for things that have no worth beyond that which we give them. We all do it, attaching ourselves to something external because of a deep emotional response. For some of us it's music; the ability of a specific song or even just a line from a song to anchor us to a memory and all its attendant emotions is both exhilarating and terrifying (and may one day prove to hold the secret to curing Alzheimer's). For others that passion can manifest in a love of literature or art, dance or drama, Klingon or King Lear. And what's brilliant about this, what's truly and utterly fantastic, is that, no matter what it is you're a fan of (unless maybe it's serial killer memorabilia) there's someone else out there who shares your enthusiasm and, thanks to the power of the internet, it's possible to find them.
I have been a fan of a lot of things in my life. Some of them have been trendy enough that I could justify trying to share my love with those who hadn't already exposed themselves (Lost, Star Wars, Chuck Palahniuk, Batman, God of War, etc.) while others exposed me to ridicule, contempt, and, occasionally, when I was much younger and smaller, wedgies (Star Trek, D&D, Quantum Leap, My Secret Identity, Dragonlance, Rugby, Earth 2, Sandman, my preference for marbles over Pogs, etc.). The one constant in my life though, and the one that has always provoked the most neutral reaction no matter what my peer group, has been Superman.
I've mentioned before that the first movie I ever saw in theatres was Superman: The Movie. And I believe I've confessed to you guys that I wore a red cape in public, pretty much constantly, up until just before junior high. But it goes deeper than that. I glued myself to the TV as a kid anytime there was anything Superman related on; Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman/Superman Adventures (which was, except for some occasional new additions, just Superman TAS repeats but still), Superboy, and Lois & Clark. Even when they were bad they were great and the idea of a flying strongman who chose to use his powers to defend the weak, well that idea never lost its sparkle for me. To this day I still watch Superman: The Movie and Superman II (now the Donner cut) every year on my birthday. I love Superman in the same way that my daughter loves Justin Bieber; I don't care what anybody else thinks about him, he's a rockstar to me.
And that's how I came to Smallville; a diehard Superman fan. And I think that's why, even though I enjoy the show on a surface level, I've never truly become a Smallville fan. There are too many differences between the Smallville version of Clark Kent and the idea I've formed in my head of who this character really is.
When you are truly a fan of something, you are blind to its faults. It's like being in a relationship; when things are great you're oblivious to the tiny little flaws and when things are bad you look for deeper meaning and cling to your memories of the good times to strengthen your faith that things will get good again. Smallville understands this and so they've gotten really, really great at exploiting that emotional response in the Superman fans who have become Smallville viewers.
Let me be clear; I would love to watch the show we were teased with in the first minutes of this episode. Love to. It had all the right beats going for it.
Brighter camera work and a more energized score? Check.
Durance channelling Margot Kidder in a way that Teri Hatcher never could? Check. (Even dressed up like Sarah Palin, I loved Lois in this scene).
A blatant comic book reference (and early Smallville reference) in the form of Lex Luthor running for President? Holy man!
Really truly Jimmy Olsen!
"Look, up in the sky!"
And then it was over and we were watching Smallville again and, as a Superman fan I felt kicked in the gut. Doubly so when Clark opened up the box from Ma Kent and revealed the S of the Superman suit and I realized that we're probably 22 hours away from seeing him wear it.
Sometimes, as many as five times a year, Smallville reminds me of what this show could be if it embraced the logical conclusions of its storylines rather than pushing them off to some theorized end date. What would this show look like if, instead of trying to ground itself in a weird mix of gritty realism and silly soap operatics, it became, instead, the Superman show we were shown in the opening sequence? I think it could be the greatest live action version of Superman ever. The writers of this show understand how to portray comic book tropes on the small screen in a way that pretty much everyone else who's attempted it has failed dismally at. The cast, when they're given something decent to work with, knock it out of the park as an ensemble. Visually, when money is actually spent on effects rather than Lois' increasingly ridiculous wardrobe, the results are breathtaking.
So why, instead of delivering on all that promise, do we just get season after season of bad compromises, lazy writing and character development that moves at a glacial pace? Every single one of us still watching this show does so because we're fans; whether it's of a specific character or the show as a whole, there's a lot of love in this community and that's why, I think, we get so frustrated with this series. We know what it could be if it tried. And what's worse, we now know that the writers and production team do too. As thrilling as it was to see that scene and have it followed up with Clark receiving the supersuit, unless those promises are followed through all the way in Season 10, a lot of us are going to be very disappointed. I could be wrong; we may very well get that show next year, but I doubt it, and I don't think I'm alone. But I'm a Superman fan and, once again, they've ensured that I'll keep watching.
Onward and upward.
Zod and Lois on the crow's nest.
Utterly pointless. Look, I get that all of this psychological skull whacking of Lois by Zod was apparently in aid of the eleventh hour possibility that Lois would somehow be in a position to retrieve the Book of Rao from Clark. (And deep breath) But let's follow the bouncing ball shall we?
Zod started playing Lois from the moment he gained his powers. This was before Clark even knew that the Book of Rao existed, let alone what it actually did. At the time it seemed like Zod was just indulging in some projected jealousy and subtle masochism, and you know what? That would have been more believable and more interesting by far than the idea that Zod, who is a master strategist, would waste this much time and effort developing Lois as a possible asset against the slim possibility that Clark would stumble across the Book before Zod did. Total shenanigans and a worthless resolution to a plot thread that's been dangling for weeks.
You know what Zod would have done? He would have used the tactical advantage inherent in having an overwhelmingly superior force, hunted Clark down and played patty cake on his entrails, and then he would have turned Lois into a gold clad slave girl, complete with meatball hair. Instead we get Zod as Lana; passive aggressive gamer extraordinaire, menacing from the background and playing footsies with Clark's girlfriend. Yeah, that was well thought out.
Chloe and Ollie in the magically restored Watchtower.
This was a touching scene and all, and the sort of gruff excuses Ollie gives Chloe for why he wants to be at her side would have been cute three episodes ago, but I was pretty sure we'd moved past all of this posturing and these two were a quasi-wholesome if wholly co-dependent couple. See, it's a finale and even I'm getting caught up in the soap opera crap. Where's my Chlod smack down? Grrr.
Enter Clark and the strangest character twist evarrrrr.
Chloe literally does a complete 360 in this scene and tells Clark to lemming himself. Bwah? Watching this exchange again I couldn't stop giggling as I pictured Clark as a suicidal jumper and Chloe as the talking down point person.
Clark: Um, you know what; I might not actually be as depressed as I thought I was. I think I might just come back inside.
Chloe: Have you thought that through, Clark? You know all your problems will still be there when you come inside, shouldn't you just...you know? (Makes swooshing hand gesture)
Clark: Uh, no, you know, I think the fresh air was just what I needed so if you could...
Chloe: JUST JUMP WOULD YOU?! My (expletive deleted) contract is up for negotiations!
Clark: Yarghhhhh! (Clark "falls" off the building and looks somewhat like Jesus)
Why is Chloe, who just last week was lamenting how much she was expected to give up in order to fulfill her duties as Watchtower, so adamant that Clark sacrifice himself for the greater good? If I were Clark I would look for better friends next season.
"You think I want you to go?"
Yes, yes we do, Chloe.
Zod and Tess in the Fortress.
This is another scene where Zod just doesn't come off as all that bright.
"My people discovered you had the Book of Rao and hid it from me."
Umm, here's a thought. If you knew that Tess had the device that you REALLY REALLY wanted, why, rather than spending all that time flirting with Lois, didn't you just find her and torture her for its location? Even Clark's tortured Tess for information this season; is that just completely out of your comfort zone, or what?
Apparently Tess is also no longer impressed by Zod, so she busts out some Kryptonite knuckle dusters, Dark Knight Returns style, and gives him a wee pummelling. Woot!
"The Red Queen made me realize, I won't let you kill him."
So that's why Martha Kent had to be re-written as Angelina in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Well then, all is forgiven. Pfft.
Zod shakes off the effects of being lacerated by Kryptonite just long enough to make one last pretentious Icarus reference and then barbeques Tess. Full on awesome.
Enter Clark in the Fortress of decreasing Solitude.
I love that Clark looks everywhere except the pile of crunchy ice that Zod has turned the main terminal into. Gotta love those heightened senses.
The exchange between Zod and Clark is fantastic; I loved Zod's reaction and hesitation when Clark mentions Faora and the parallel that he draws between what Zod's done and how Jonathan died.
And then, out of nowhere and in the middle of a speech on how everyone deserves second chances we get:
"My entire team is equipped with Kryptonite weapons."
Apparently the connective tissue between talking Zod off a ledge and threatening to disembowel him wound up on the cutting room floor.
All of the gravitas of the scene is ruined by Clark's last line:
"You can't win! I know my destiny!" I half expected him to wag his tongue at Zod and say, "Nyah!"
Tess in Metropolis Gen.
Tess is just super duper convenient this season. So apparently, after Clark roasted Zod's towers Tess managed to salvage the one thing from the wreckage that Clark needs to activate the Book of Rao. Good girl, Tess. What's that, Timmy's down a well again? Yuck. I've spoken enough, I think, about the laziness of this kind of color by numbers writing; those of you who are still nodding along and swallowing it happily are apparently truly die-hard. Kudos. I spent most of Tess' dying confession snickering into a bowl of ice cream.
"The war has already begun."
So, as semi-awesome as the Superman II nod was, it kind of felt like some effects budget was wasted on the Kandorians flying around randomly defacing monuments of the world. It looked cool, but I really would have rather seen some sort of actual conflict here. I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that some government somewhere would have sent out fighter jets to see what all the commotion was. Was it too much to expect even a little bit of Kryptonian on military infrastructure violence?
I wonder if the affects of this scene will be felt next season or if they'll be covered up by the magic reset button.
The League of Extraordinarily Floating Justice Heads.
When I heard that we would be seeing the JSA and JLA characters making a return in this episode I actually regained a little bit of hope that this wouldn't turn out to be Dudsday Mark II. Surely they wouldn't waste all those characters on one teeny tiny little scene, right? Right?!!? This was where I finally realized that there wasn't going to be a major smack down in this finale. On its own merits and minus the truly annoying squabbling, this scene worked fine; it was neat seeing Clark truly take charge for once and hearing him lecture the others on their ongoing responsibility as he prepared to sacrifice himself was chill-worthy (even with the cheesy salutes) but man, what a waste of potential for a finale. At any other point in the season this scene would have made an episode; here it just reminded me of what I wasn't seeing.
Clark and Lois in the barn.
The Chlois tension here works because Clark believes that he's going away forever. I just wish that he didn't blatantly lie to her when she confronts him. I know she asked him (as the Blur) to conceal his identity but, under the circumstances, what could it possibly hurt to come clean? He's just told her that she's "the one," it just seems kind of crappy to follow that up with a lie and an awkward hug.
The Awesome ramps up!
Twoface...I mean Tess, is dying. I've never rooted so hard for a character to expire before but this scene sucked me back into the episode; I've been waiting for this ever since the usual "a main character will die," announcement was made a few months ago. And then it got even better.
Was that Granny Goodness knitting outside Tess' hospital room? I think sooooo. Granted that would mean that Tess will be back as one of Darkseid's Hounds next season, but who cares. Granny Goodness!
See what I mean? Fan Julian is easily appeased.
I loved Ollie being swarmed in the air ducts. Everything about this came off awesome, from Chloe's frustration at being helpless to Ollie's proclamation of love to the addition of a genuine mystery. If they weren't Kandorian, who were they? Checkmate? Hounds? Newsboys? This scene was comic book in all the best ways and made my fan brain twitch in frustration that I have to wait 'til fall for gratification.
Lois has somehow stolen the Book of Rao from Clark without him noticing. This sucks but the trade off with Lois realizing that Zod isn't the Blur and Clark rescuing her by knocking Zod into the stratosphere was truly outstanding so I'll let that minor quibble go. I loved the tongue in cheek element of Lois smashing up the telephone booth; I don't care if it was intentional or not, it was a delicious piece of visual mythos subversion and Clark doing his semi-reveal in the shadows behind it was phenomenal. On first viewing I was kind of skeeved that Lois is kissing the Blur and thus emotionally betraying Clark but the second time it was a little more clear. Lois knows; she knows before he kisses her and she really knows afterwards. It's why she looked so disappointed when Zod stepped out of the shadows and claimed to be the Blur. On some level she just knows it's Clark. The Superman/Lois/Clark triangle has always bugged me because it relies on Superman, who is honest to a fault, lying to someone he loves. This scene doesn't really go any distances to alleviating that problem but it didn't bug me as much as I thought it would.
The Kandorians descending on Clark wearing the red Nazi/Zod armbands was neat, but with six minutes left in the episode it was obvious that we weren't going to get a really impressive action piece.
This might cause a little bit of division but I really dug that Clark wins over the Kandorians by tricking Zod. Yes, it's a little boneheaded for Zod to be whispering secrets to Clark in the presence of a full posse of the superhearinged, but I actually liked that. Clark has had years to get used to his powers, while Zod has only had them for a few weeks; it makes sense that he might forget about some of them in the heat of the moment, and Clark exploits that. It's a little bit of compensation for the fact that every single one of them has figured out how to fly pretty much instantly; Clark manages to trick Zod up on one of the simpler powers.
Less impressive was the whole, Book of Rao/Kryptonian computer console/blue kryptonite moment.
Why, oh why, does the console have a notch in its center to accommodate the Book of Rao? If the Book only has one purpose why would Zod build the only other machine on Earth capable of helping it achieve that purpose? Isn't that, you know, counterproductive to the whole, 'stay on Earth and enslave it' storyline of the season?
Why does the blue Kryptonite trick the Book into thinking Zod and Clark are humans? As far as I can remember Blue Kryptonite strips the powers from Kryptonians and renders them immune to green Kryptonite but I don't remember it changing them on a cellular level to another species. Feel free to correct me on that one if I'm wrong.
As one reader pointed out to me, wouldn't the Book have also transported Kara off planet as well? We know she's still wandering around somewhere; shouldn't she have been whisked off to another plane of existence along with the rest of her people?
And what about....oh never mind, it's a Smallville finale; we've all learned long ago that they don't need to make any sense.
All that aside though, it was a freakin' boom tube! How awesome was that? And the fight between Zod and Clark was impressively choreographed if too short, one of the few times we've really gotten to see a good fistfight on this series.
I was prepared to go a lot harsher on this episode than I did; there was a lot more I could have picked apart (like Zod's inexplicable familiarity with every single piece of Western literature ever written and his ability to quote it at precisely the right moments) but the last scene saved it completely for me. This is Clark finally, without any reservation, acting like Superman. Not knowing how or if he'll survive, he plunges the blue Kryptonite into himself and jumps off the building leaving Zod exposed to the Boom Tube. The Jesus metaphor was a little heavy handed but no more so than in the Donner films or Superman Returns and it was amazing to see Clark take that literal leap into unapologetic heroism.
So. Where does that leave us?
They gave us a whole lot of carrots on a very short stick in this one. There were bad plot resolutions, Deus ex machinas aplenty, overpromising and under-delivering on the JSA/JLA participation and some flat out terrible dialogue and character moments.
On the other hand the episode was bookended by "Look, up in the sky," and Clark using his brains and his compassion to save the day and truly become a legitimate hero. We were given the "death" of Tess and the introduction (I think) of Granny Goodness and Mother Box technology, not to mention a genuine mystery appearance buried somewhere in the middle.
My inner fanboy won out this time, but it was close. A lot of the really cool elements were set ups for next season and we don't know how well they'll pan out yet.
Verdict: SQUEAKING PASS
But I reserve the right to change that retroactively if the premiere resets things or retcons them in a way that ruins my goodwill.
See you all next fall and thanks for reading.
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