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Smallville Reviews

"Reunion" picture with Oliver and Clark

"Reunion" By Chad

This year of Smallville is quite interesting in the way it is being written compared to earlier seasons. The standard has been with the majority of episodes that plot A revolves around a Kryptonite freak or some other villain; then plot B is the bits and pieces that moves along the overall season’s arc.

This season so far has been different in the way it’s being handled. With the exception of “Zod,” every episode has moved the character moments and growth to plot A and the villain/Phantom Zone criminal/freak to plot B. If that is what they have planned for the rest of the season, I couldn’t be happier. Then to top it off, we are now on episode five, and we just ran into our first Kryptonite inspired villain; and it had nothing to do with exposure during the meteor shower! That though, I’ll talk about in a moment.

First though, let’s break it down for those who do not remember the last several episodes:

“Zod” – Clark battles Zod to save all of humanity, and in the process learns that Jor-El is not the monster he believed him to be. The villain took up much of the episode, but that’s ok, since it is Zod we are talking about here.

“Sneeze” – Clark gains a new power and learns to control it. The stupid kidnapper plot fortunately is not the main focus of the episode.

“Wither” – They set up the relationships that will play a role throughout the season, and show how Clark is handling these changes to his life. Poison Gloria takes a backseat to the main story, and makes it so Clark realizes that other Phantom Zone criminals escaped along with him.

“Arrow” – What can I say? It was all about Green Arrow; and how he and Clark first meet. This episode was heavy on hints about the future, and guess what; not a freak in sight!

That brings us to “Reunion.” How does it stack up?

Before we continue, I should remind you that there will be spoilers; so make sure to avert your eyes if you don’t want to know certain plot points.

“Strolling down memory lane”

Flashback episodes are not a new thing to this series. In fact, some of the outright best episodes were flashback episodes; lest we should forget “Relic” and “Memoria.” This episode is no different; it revealed to us more information regarding Lex’s past and the hidden skeletons that continue to plague his family. Throughout the show Lex has mentioned his time in boarding school, and this is what we finally get to see, some of that time in boarding school.

The episode starts out with a young Lex showing his friend Duncan something that happened in a Warrior Angel comic book. What is great is this follows continuity from a couple seasons ago, where Lex was showing these comics to Ryan and explaining to him how important they were to Lex as he grew up. They then start to get picked on by a trio of bullies, led by a young Oliver Queen.

All three actors do a wonderful job in their roles. Young Lex was played by Lucas Grabeel, who was able to mimic many of the mannerisms that Michael Rosenbaum has infused into Lex’s character. Ryan Overton played young Ollie, and Bryce Hodgson played Duncan Allenmeyer who both put so much into these characters. We really felt for Duncan’s plight, being betrayed by the person whom he trusted most.

What made this episode so enjoyable to watch, was how it was a study on how an experience can affect two different people in two different ways. Oliver and his gang relentlessly picked on Lex and Duncan, which made life at the school hard to handle. Later though Ollie and his group stole some test scores, but unknown to them Lex and Duncan caught them doing so. Duncan feels they should turn the group in for this, but Lex sees this as a chance to fit in and be accepted. This difference in opinion leads to one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the episode.

Lex snaps and starts beating the tar out of Duncan. The beating is so brutal that even Ollie feels he must stop Lex from doing it. Sadly this ends a friendship, and the betrayed Duncan starts backing away from them crying, while Lex; realizing what he just did tries to talk to Duncan. Unfortunately he does not get the chance, as just then a car hits Duncan. This changed both men forever.

This is very similar to the way Lex is now in the comics, and where Smallville’s Lex is starting to go. Lex tries to use money and power to influence and control people. Those that do not agree with him, or he cannot control; he destroys. This is one of the reasons he hates Superman, he hates that which cannot be controlled. Duncan didn’t agree with Lex, so his instinct to destroy took over. I thought it was spot on comparison.

Oliver tries to redeem himself over the years, yet Lex continues his path to darkness. As Oliver said, “Since then I’ve been scrubbing ‘em real hard. Yours just keep getting dirtier!” They have made it no secret that Oliver looks with disdain at Lex, but he did the hero thing toward the end of the episode and tried to make amends with him over their shared past. Lex though, doesn’t accept it.

It made for an interesting character study on Lex and Oliver. Justin Hartley plays such a darn good Oliver; I really wish they would keep him around longer this season. That’s just wishful thinking though.

“The Dynamic Duo”

Something I really want to mention this week is the scenes between Oliver and Clark. I am really enjoying seeing Hartley and Welling on screen together. It was awesome when Clark caught Oliver’s arrow toward the beginning. The joke about the Punching Glove arrow made me laugh out loud, and the EMP arrow made for a really neat effect. I am going to miss these trick arrows, since it’s been really cool seeing what new ones they can come up with.

Both actors just work well together. This episode especially showed how Clark will be the natural leader of the JLA, since it seems Oliver is looking up to Clark for moral support and answers. This is good, because in the future, Clark will be the moral compass for all the heroes to follow later in life. Great acting by both actors all around, and I will be sad to see it end.

“Lane….Lois Lane”

One last thing I need to touch on is Lois’ direction this season. They are really moving her toward her final destination as the top reporter for the Daily Planet. Seeing her and Clark work separate angles to find Duncan, but both reach the same destination shows just how good of investigators they both are. Welling and Durance have such chemistry on screen together; I would love for them to pursue a romance together before the show ends.

I will be a happy camper if they keep this interaction between the two up. Then at the end when Clark explains that sometimes people keep secrets to protect those closest to them, Lois’ reply was hilarious. “That’s totally retarded!” It was much in character for Lois.

Lois Lane fans must be happy this year.

“Krypto-Penicillin?”

My only gripe is once again, another silly use for Kryptonite. Somehow, injecting it into a person’s bloodstream gives them the ability to use telekinetic skills. Yubawhat? So the guy is comatose, but begins a revenge spree because some ESP powers are unlocked due to this Krypto-drug. Not only that, but all it took to defeat Duncan was an oversized EMP from Ollie’s arrow smacking into Clark.

Fortunately though, this by no means ruined a great episode. This is the first instance of a Kryptonite powered villain this season, and it doesn’t look like we’ll be dealing with another one any time soon. Plus Duncan’s involvement was really secondary to what the episode was really trying to portray.

“In conclusion”

Another great episode for what looks to be a home-run season. We delve a little into the past of Oliver and Lex, and find out how a traumatic experience can have completely opposite effects on two people. Instead of showing any mourning at the news of Duncan’s death, Lex orders Lionel to give him all the information about the experiments he was running on Duncan.

We see more of the woman Lois is destined to become, and glimpses of the future reporting team of Lois Lane and Clark Kent. Chloe finds out that other creatures besides Poison Gloria escaped the Phantom Zone along with Clark; and they are now causing devastation all over the Earth. Oliver gives images from his satellites to Chloe for examination, and she finds one of the craters to be of special interest to Clark. It is an image of Raya, the Kryptonian woman who helped Clark escape the Phantom Zone in the premiere.

I give mucho props to Steven DeKnight for crafting such an excellent episode. I am now under the belief that he is one of the best writers they have on their staff, and he is very much redeemed for the exploding baby. I very much anticipate his next episode “Justice.”

Next week: Raya, Bowwow, and a trip to the fortress of Solitude. It looks like it might be another winner, depending on if Bowwow tries to sell us Nikes or not. I give “Reunion” 4.5 out of 5. ~ Chad

Picture from SVfan.com

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Updated 11/3/06  

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