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Smallville Reviews

"Fierce" By Chad Hudgins

Since season one, one thing that has been guaranteed that we as fans will have to deal with are Kryptonite freaks. Many fans of Smallville complain about this, saying that they use that plot a little too much. Fortunately for the last two seasons, they have used them less often and in their place used more interesting and powerful villains; most notably the Phantom Zone criminals last season. While some may complain that they are just Kryptonite freaks in a different form, it was still noteworthy that they were trying to change up the formula some.

Now for the record, using Kryptonite as an excuse for why someone has powers does not bother me in the least. It’s like what Stan Lee did when he created the X-Men, if you don’t want to spend the time explaining why every villain has powers, then take the easy route and say that they are a mutant. It allowed Stan Lee to get strait to the action without loads of exposition, and gave him a reason why the X-Men ran into a new villain every issue. So having them introduce freaks here and there didn’t bother me, since it created a villain for Clark to stop without spending half the episode explaining how they got their powers.

While freaks in of themselves don’t bother me, as a writer you still have to make said villain interesting, and this is where tonight’s episode faltered; really faltered. So before we decide to get “Fierce” with the episode, let me warn you that there will be spoilers throughout the review.

“America’s Next Top Smallville”

Tonight’s episode could have been titled “Cross-promotion,” since all it seemed to do was promote other shows owned by the CW. They even started the show out with a line so bad it seemed even Laura Vandervoort had to force it out. Clark takes Kara to one of Smallville’s local fairs so she can see what life on Earth is like. It seems that he has made her hang out on the farm, so that she doesn’t do anything that could put her and Clark’s secret in jeopardy. In fact Kara says, “All I’ve done is sit around the house and watch Project Runway and Beauty & the Geek, on Wednesday nights at nine! Don’t miss it!”

Ok so it’s not an exact translation, but she did mention both shows by name. That is completely ludicrous, lame, and otherwise groan worthy. Through the course of this show, we have dealt with many instances of product placement, such as Chloe’s Yaris, or Old Spice Red Zone, or some other car of Lois’ I can’t remember, but I feel this was the most overtly stupid instance of it. I mean, come on CW, you place you’re commercials all over the place during the shows! Must you shove it in our faces during the show that we actually want to watch? And on top of that, you hire Eva Marcille, who was one of the women who won your America’s Next Top Model, as another instance of stunt casting to play the villain. I thought we were done with the stunt casting after your plethora of guest actors last year. We had two wrestlers, Bow Wow, and even Tori Spelling to deal with last year, was that not enough for you?

I can handle actors from Superman related media, in fact I ask for that type of stunt casting, but can we please please please be finished with the CW cross promotion. If it happens again, my head might explode.

Now that I mentioned our guest actor for the episode, let me mention the villains. Do you remember the season four episode “Spirit?” I know, I know, we are all trying to forget that train wreck of an episode; but fight through the pain, since it is important to the point I’m trying to make. In that episode there was a character named Dawn Styles that always had to say the most annoying catch phrase of all time, “Laters!”

Well tonight we had to deal with not only one, but three Dawn Styles wannabes. They are introduced to us in the always clichéd slow walk from a vehicle, with guys staring and hooting and carrying on and such. They join the Miss Sweet Corn beauty pageant, and this in turn makes Kara want to join also, since she feels that it might be a way to help her fit in. As it turns out the reason the women joined wasn’t because they really wanted to win the pageant, but because it will allow them to get close to a Smallville time capsule that supposedly has a map leading to a stolen gold shipment.

What hurts most about this story is that it could have been so good. Kara is new to Earth, and does not realize how cruel some people on Earth can be. So someone could take advantage of that naivety, and use Kara to do something vile that she normally wouldn’t do. It’s a great idea, and would help Kara grow as a character. Instead though, what we got was a horribly written freak of the week episode, with one-dimensional villains, and a quick excuse to show many scantily clad women strutting around. Plus it gave Eva Marcille an excuse to use her show winning model skills, since it was proven by this episode that she isn’t much of an actor.

The plan didn’t even make sense to me. If you are three women, with powers to control different aspects of the weather, why would you join a pageant? Just use your powers to take what you want. Some guy tries to stop you, ice him, or blow him away with your air twister powers. When Clark tries to stop him, they did just that. I found it slightly funny that using her twister on Clark just happened to uproot Kryptonite, but if it didn’t then there would be no way for Kara to show up and stop the villains. I also found it funny that once again, exposed Kryptonite didn’t seem to affect Kara at all.

Why didn’t the ice villain kill Jimmy instantly like she did the girl that was going to betray them? It was because Kara needed to save him so that said villain could witness Kara using her powers. Does it make sense? No not really, since we know that the villain had no idea some other super powered woman was going to come and save Jimmy.

Why did they even feel the need to kill the poor guy that was just taking pictures of the pageant rehearsals? See my last answer if you can’t figure it out. Does it make sense? Once again, see my last answer to the same question.

That is the problem with this episode. Much of it just didn’t make sense, nor was any of it entertaining. It was a horribly written piece of fluff. What’s worse, it was just the third episode of the season. I truly hope this doesn’t mark the level of creative writing this season, especially after the two excellent episodes we just had. Seeing the previews for next week gives me hope though. Dean Cain comes to Smallville, now that is the type of stunt casting I want to see. The quicker we can forget tonight’s hour long CW commercial, the better off we all are.

“The gold nuggets in the mud”

Let me set one thing strait after my long rant about the main story of this episode. There was some good in it, scattered here and there. The problem is that the bad outweighed the good in a major way. First off, Clark and Lana’s reunion was fantastic. There are many times that I wish they would move on and stay moved on, but Tom Welling and Kristin Kreuk’s chemistry is so good that the producers keep it going. Scenes that they have together like tonight just make me forget how much I hate them rehashing the same territory.

I wish they had spent more time on their reunion though. If you remember the trailer they played after the last episode, it seemed like this was going to be the main focus of the episode, but now we can understand why they wouldn’t want to have advertised the real main story. I hope this brings Clark and Lana to a point that they can eventually part on good terms when he decides he needs to become Superman and protect the world. Being bitter at each other like they have been for the past three seasons could not have brought them to that point. I also look forward to seeing more of them coming to terms with Lana’s new role in Clark’s life, since it is one of the things I looked forward to throughout the entire show.

I also have to comment on the relationship between Clark and Kara. I love it so far! Like Clark said in the episode, he is now finding out what his parents went through caring for him. Every episode he is more and more Superman, he is responsible, and he wants to make sure Kara can handle that same responsibility. In fact the scene where he tries to teach her to control her heat vision was hilarious, very reminiscent of when Jonathan was trying to teach Clark the same thing. Kara realizing at the end why Clark is so protective of her secret was touching. She was taken advantage of, and if she had listened to Clark’s advice she could have avoided what she went through.

On a side note, of all the guys to be interested in, why would she pick Jimmy Olsen? I don’t see it as likely. Plus I just don’t see the need to shake up Chloe and Jimmy’s relationship with Kara intervening.

If you remember, I complained about Grant Gabriel last week. This week was a step in the right direction, since I didn’t mind him at all. Michael Cassidy’s acting was much better, and I thought he overacted much less. I hope it continues, but I still hope he is just a stepping stone to getting Perry White reintroduced as the new editor-in-chief and bring back Michael McKean if only periodically.

It will be interesting to see how Lex handles his new obsession with Kara. It will make things complicated, since we know that once Lex obsesses about something, trouble follows. The Government agent they introduced last episode and that appeared tonight interests me also. I bet he ends up being a rather “Brainy” villain returning for something. It seems the only reason I can figure he is keeping tabs on Lex’s work, and here and there he showed some of the same mannerisms that said villain portrayed.

“In Conclusion”

What more can I say? Great idea, show Kara that she can be taken advantage of if she is not careful. It was horribly executed though, with bad writing, bad dialogue, and bad flashbacks to Dawn Stiles. There was some good, but not enough to pull this one out of the cow poo it found itself in. It scores a 1.5 out of 5, and that might be a little generous.
Laters! - Chad

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Updated 10/17/07  

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