Smallville: Arctic
May 15, 2008

CW, Thursdays at 8:00PM

Genre: Sci-Fi Drama

Conceit: Superboy Meets World.

Supergirl was always an iffy concept, even in the comic books.  It was basically a girl Superman, who was more immature.  Not terribly compelling.  In Smallville, Kara Zor-El was suspect because Laura Vandervoort is not much of an actress.  From her introduction in the beginning of the season, it was obviously that Vandervoort was cast more for her looks than for any acting ability that she may have.  But give the girl some edge and she’s actually interesting to watch.  Flying out of exploding planes, double dealing Lex, this is a Kara I can get with.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t Kara, was it?  It was Milton Fine, Brainiac.  Kara was sent to the Negative Zone  Brainiac.  He has been the villain of choice this season.  I know that Brainiac is an important character in the Superman universe, but I’ve been terribly bored by him this entire season.  Which is why I took so much personal satisfaction in Clark’s slow motion punching him in the face.  I also took personal satisfaction in Clark killing Brainiac.  This has always been central to the Superman mythos: when it means more than who he is, can Clark break his own moral code?

And Lana is gone.  Man, what a lame way to get rid of her.  I mean, I know that Kristen Kreuk wanted off the show, and I know the reality is that Lana and Clark don’t end up together, and I even know that Clark and Chloe are more entertaining that Clark and Lana ever were, but that was a weak send off.  Here’s hoping for the occasional guest appearance.  

We finally got the face off we’ve waited seven years for.  Lex finally knows.  No gimmicks.  No memory wipes (yet).  Michael Rosenbaum shows why he knows the character of Lex Luthor so well.  An even balance between a desire to do the right thing and flat out narcissism.  To “save” the world, Lex needs to control Clark.  And so the fortress collapses in on itself, in this less spectacular special effects.  And that’s it. 

I know that season finales are supposed to be cliff hangers, but that was just…meh.  I mean, the show faded to black with no real pay off.  With nothing to wonder about.  Sure, Kara’s in the negative zone.  Yawn.  Chloe’s been arrested.  Ok semi-interesting.  Black Lex cradling Clark in a dying Fortress.  Lame.  Here’s hoping that next season (which I’m pretty sure is the last season) finds a workable path and sticks to it.

Final Grade: C

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Smallville: Sleeper
April 25, 2008

CW, Thursdays at 8:00PM

Genre: Sci-Fi Drama

Conceit: Superboy Meets World

It really was spy vs. spy tonight as Jimmy Olsen was hired by the Department of Domestic Security to investigate possible terroristic activities by his lady love, Chloe Sullivan.  And did Jimmy spy it up, in true James Bond style.  Was any of this even the slightest bit believable?  Not really.  Even if we buy that someone from the DDS handed Jimmy a briefcase filled with cool gadgets, his kung fu fighting and cat like agility seemed to appear out of nowhere.

But who cares?

Aaron Ashmore could easily be one of the better people to inhabit the Jimmy Olsen persona in a long while.  He’s got the goofy charm and yet the heroic ambitions down pat.  And he’s just fun to watch.  And while I’ll always be on the “Clark and Chloe” train, I have to admit that Jimmy and Chloe have some serious chemistry.  They were nothing less than a delight to watch this episode.  The episode was just escapist fun.

Lex, meanwhile, continues on his master of the universe path.  He flies to Sweden to find a safe deposit box that Veritas was keeping.  In a scene reminiscent of “The DaVinci Code”, Lex finds what I assume is a historic compass which points somewhere.  This will surely point to The Fortress, if I know my Smallville.

The oddest part of this week’s episode had to be that Clark was barely around.  And the episode was still solid.  This will always be Tom Welling’s show, but it was nice to see that in his absence, the show still works well.  However, he did reappear at the end to set up what I’m sure is going to be a huge episode in the series next week.

Final Grade: B+