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Smallville Reviews

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"Bizarro" By Chad Hudgins

I was sitting through work today thinking about Smallville. As always, I was eagerly waiting my chance to get out of the corporate world, and sink myself into the fantasy world of Smallville once more. Truth be told though, I was a little worried. The reason for that was because I was a little afraid that the premiere would under deliver. Even though the ending and cliffhanger was as fantastic as ever, the finale of season six didn’t have quite the impact on me as past seasons did. I think it was mostly because they had to spend most of the finale cleaning up their soap opera storylines, and thus spent less time on our favorite superhero from outer space.

So with many of the soapy stories out of the way, they ended the finale as they always do; with all of the main characters in one predicament or another. Lana was “blown” up, Chloe apparently gave up her life to save Lois’, Lex was being arrested for Lana’s death, and Lionel was unconscious after being thrown into a wall. To top it off, Clark attempted to fight his more Bizarre doppelganger, only to be knocked head over heels out of the dam. Now Bizarro is on the loose, and we had to be continued.

Now that I saw the premiere, did it disappoint me? I am happy to report that it did not. In fact, it might be the best start to a season yet, or close to it.

So before I go into any more detail, I must warn of the imminent spoilers I will be spilling.

“A Bizarre Enemy”

I’ll start by talking about Bizarro, since he was the headlining aspect of the premiere. I was curious how they might handle him, since all we saw of him in the finale was a corny line and a quick fight. The version of Bizarro they seemed to have mimicked was the early golden age version from the comic books. The golden age version of Bizarro was an experiment enacted by Lex Luthor to duplicate Superman. It failed, resulting in a less intelligent version of Superman that acted in an opposite manner to how Superman would. His personality, speech, and eventually powers were opposite to Superman’s.

For the most part though, this version of Bizarro was very close to the golden age Bizarro. The difference between the two was that instead of an experiment gone wrong, it was a phantom that used Clark’s DNA to duplicate Clark within itself. As he weakened, he would slowly degenerate, needing green Kryptonite to repair and strengthen himself. As Bizarro should be, he acted in an opposite manner to Clark. He was violent, cared little about life, and was weakened by the sun.

The things they did not make more Bizarro like, was his speech, his intelligence and the use of his powers. I’m actually glad they kept his speech normal, since if he talked like the classic Bizarro, it probably would have been strange or just plain corny to listen to. I do wish though, they had made the use of his powers backwards; such as having ice vision and heat breath rather than the other way around. But for what they gave us, it was an awesome use of a classic Superman villain with a twist.

His purpose was simple, to replace the real Clark Kent. I buy that, actually. He was trapped in the Phantom Zone for who knows how long, a discarded experiment from Krypton, and now he wants to remain free. On top of that, he wants to make sure that there are not two Clark Kents inhabiting the same Earth; since I’m sure he realized that the real Clark would never allow him to remain around causing death and destruction. Personally I enjoyed the simpler story, since not all villains have to have an elaborate scheme to work through.

Some major dollars had to have been dropped for this episode, because of the amount of special effects used throughout. The fights between Bizarro and Clark were not just fun to watch, but they were about as epic as you can get on a television budget. I didn’t think anything could outdo the Zod fight from last year, but they ended up pulling it off. I about jumped for joy when Clark punched Bizarro across several county lines and into the power lines seen in the distance.

I also have to reiterate one more time just how much Tom Welling has grown as an actor since this show started. We all know how well he plays bad Clark when hopped up on red Kryptonite, but that pales to how well he played an actual evil version of himself. He really showed so much range playing Bizarro. From the cockiness he showed when facing Clark at the end, to the pure evil glee in his eyes when he was frying that poor electrical worker. He owned that part; no ifs, ands, or buts about it. There are times when Tom Welling Nay Sayers just don’t have a leg to stand on, and this was one of those times.

All in all, I have no complaints about the villain. One thing is for certain, this is one villain that we will see again. Does anyone really think stranding him on Mars is going to stop him for good? I for one don’t think so, and I can’t wait for his return.

“Man of Steel”

This review is just going to seem like one big Tom Welling praise fest, but there is nothing I can do about that. Tom Welling was Superman tonight! Not some pansy, mute, glorified stalker, I can’t fight a feeble old bald man Brandon Routh so called Superman. I’m talking full blown taking charge and beating villains Man of Steel.

One of the greatest scenes in the episode was when the rushing water from the broken dam was heading toward the father and son fishing. Clark appears out of nowhere, and uses heat vision full blast on the oncoming water. After a second of doing this, the water suddenly evaporates into a cloud of steam. Then that look he gives the kid; the half smile and gentle nod, it was like looking at Christopher Reeve playing Superman all over again. I kid you not; Tom Welling just channeled Christopher Reeve in that one scene! I was still getting goose bumps after watching it several times.

Another moment of pure Superman goodness was when he was talking to Martian Manhunter. When Clark told him that he wasn’t going to apologize for his humanity any longer, he said it with resolve and unwavering conviction. What makes Superman great is his humanity within that alien exterior. He showed that side of him tonight, and I hope we see more of this type of attitude from him.

One more thing I really enjoyed was Clark getting a final definitive answer on what fed his abilities. In the season three episode “Perry” he was given a clue that his powers had something to do with the sun because they started messing up on him when the solar flares started happening. Other than that though, he never actually was able to confirm that theory. Tonight though, he received that verification and in the end used that information to his advantage against Bizarro.

All in all, Tom Welling just hit all the high notes throughout the premiere. Who knew he had the ability to play such good and such evil all within the same episode?

“Some other thoughts”

For weeks and weeks before the premiere began, there was one thing the producers really advertised; the introduction of Kara or as comic readers know her, Supergirl. She didn’t really do much this episode, other than save Lex and fly around. Next week it seems we will get to learn much more about her. Though I will mention that her flying effects were quite good and I hope eventually it will lead to Clark deciding to fly. In fact a line in the episode even took a poke at that when Chloe told Clark “You know, you really need to get on that!” I laughed out loud at that one.

As much as I liked the episode, there were a few things that didn’t quite click with me. First off, I don’t really like what they are setting up with Lex. Kara, for unknown reasons, saves Lex. This, in turn, makes him think that she was an angel sent to save him and he doesn’t know why. So he decides to turn himself in for Lana’s murder and feels he needs to turn his life around due to this religious experience. They really need to decide what they want to do with some of their characters. If you want to make Lex evil, then do it; stop trying to make him sympathetic while at the same time trying to make him evil. It’s just like the whole Clark and Lana roller coaster, make up your minds and progress with the story.

In the finale we also caught a glimpse of Chloe’s power, although it wasn’t explained yet how it works. Clark tries to engage her a few times as to what happened in the dam that led her to be declared dead in the premiere. My theory is that she has to give up a little of her life force each time she heals someone, and the amount of recovery time is purely dependant on how serious the wound is. I did have issue with her being so adamant in not telling Clark what happened. You would think that of all people, Chloe would confide in Clark about it, considering how many years she pestered him about his secret. It just seemed very out of character for her, and hopefully it doesn’t last long. Also, didn’t it seem funny that she didn’t seem all that freaked out about waking up in a morgue? It just seemed that Allison Mack wasn’t on top of her game, like she wasn’t completely into the scenes. Oh well, she is a great actress and I’m sure it was just a fluke.

Also, it seems Lana is still alive and somehow ended up in China. It didn’t surprise me though, since it was painfully obvious that she planned the vehicle explosion. I’m curious how they are going to handle that though, and how long it will be till she gets back to Smallville. It also seems someone dragged Lionel off while he was unconscious. At first I thought it was Martian Manhunter, but I’m pretty sure that’s not who it was or he would have mentioned it. I wonder who it could be.

“In conclusion”

All in all, it is probably my favorite opener to a season yet. It had plenty of action, and top notch acting by most of the cast and especially by Mr. Welling himself. There were some negative aspects to the episode, but to be honest they didn’t bring it down at all. In fact, I have enjoyed the episode on subsequent viewings as much as I did the first time I watched it. And to top it off, they added some mythos into the mix and handled a Superman villain in a way that kept him true to character. “Bizarro” receives a 5 out of 5, and starts season seven out on a very high note indeed.

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Updated 10/15/07  

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