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Smallville Reviews

Lois and Oliver in "Rage"

"Static" By Chad

Two episodes back, Clark made a sworn oath.  He stated that he would continue his training with Jor-El, but before he did that, he would round up and defeat the remaining Phantom Zone criminals.  Well, this episode advertised Clark doing that very thing, and it looked very promising too.  Unfortunately though, the advertisement was not completely honest.  Don’t get me wrong, Clark did go and fight another criminal.  It’s just that Clark’s story took up only a quarter of the episode, and I think that is a generous estimate.

What do I mean?  Well, it seems this episode was split into two completely different stories.  One involved Clark chasing after another Phantom Zone criminal, and the other involved the continuing saga of Lex and Lana.  Unfortunately for those who came to watch Clark kick criminal tail, most of the episode was devoted to the latter of the two stories.

Before I go into detail on either story, I must warn that there will be spoilers.  So if you continue to read and don’t want to know major plot points, you only have yourself to blame.

“Wrestlemania meets Smallville” 

 First, let’s talk about the more positive aspect of the episode.  Clark gets a call from Chloe telling him to meet her at the Daily Planet.  She informs him that the crew of a cargo ship was found slaughtered, and that their last stop was an island where one of the meteors hit the day Clark escaped the Phantom Zone.  The cargo ship is being towed to Seattle, so that is where Clark decides to head since he assumes that another Zoner is behind the murders.  Right before he leaves though, Chloe gets a call from Lana saying that Lex is in trouble.  Chloe asks Clark to help Lex, but he tells her that he must stop the Phantom Zone criminal first and he’ll help when he gets back. 

What happened to Lex?  I’ll be getting to that in a moment.

Clark speeds off to Seattle to investigate these murders.  When he reaches the dock, he heads into a tent that was erected so that the coroner can process the remains of the crew.  This leads to a funny moment where the coroner mistakes Clark for a first year medical student.  She shows Clark the remains of one of the crew, which is being kept in a small box.  She explains that the skeletons were ripped out of the bodies and the boxes contents were all that remained. 

Stealing the coroner’s badge, Clark decides to investigate further for possible signs of the criminal responsible.

It seems the villain in question is a muscle bound alien who lives off of the bone marrow of other creatures.  He is played by the wrestler Batista.  He was probably picked for the role as a sneaky way for the new CW network to cross promote the WWE.  I would like to give you an opinion on Batista’s acting chops, but unfortunately he didn’t say a whole lot during the episode, thus I can’t accurately judge him.  He at least was able to pull off some of the action they gave him. 

The first scene they showed him, he killed one of the cops.  I think the scene was meant to be intense, but ended up being corny.  First, Batista did a back break on him; then he ripped the cop’s spine out.  It took me out of the scene, because the spine he pulled out of the cop was stiff like a board, when it should have been much more flexible.

Soon after that, he goes after another cop, but this time Clark hears the cry for help.  Using super speed, he grabs the cop out of Batista’s hands, and tells the man to run.  The criminal grabs Clark and picks him up.  This made me laugh, because there are not many guest stars that have been on this show that are big enough to manhandle Welling the way Batista does.  Clark attempts to use the S sigil that Raya gave to him, but it doesn’t work.

It turns out that he is not a phantom, so Clark’s ace in the hole is completely ineffective.  Clark gets thrown into the air and through the side of a elevated crane’s control booth.  Seconds later he leaps from the control booth back to the ground, but the criminal is gone.  Very cool scene and very well done.

Clark ends up fighting this creature one more time, but this time Batista decides to do a back breaker on Clark.  Personally I think Clark would have been fine, and given the opportunity would have escaped from Batista’s grasp and given him the butt whooping he deserved.  Unfortunately he wasn’t given that chance, because while being held in the air, something attacks the criminal from behind and kills him.  Whoever did it left burn marks in the back of the criminal.

This next part was something that had been announced by the producers, and I was completely excited to see.  Good thing it didn’t disappoint.  Clark ran to where the attacker was and sees a man in the shadows with glowing eyes.  He stares at Clark for a minute, then takes to the air and speeds off towards the city.  Clark then steps on what looks like an Oreo cookie dropped on the ground.  That, my friends, was our first taste of the Martian Manhunter.  I was completely ecstatic during that whole scene.  My only question though was why did Martian Manhunter leave a red streak behind him when he flew off?  Wouldn’t it have been green or something?

The last scene of the episode where Chloe visits Clark in the loft gave us one more glimpse of him.  In the comics, Martian Manhunter has the ability to shape shift.  All clues indicate that Chloe was in fact the Martian Manhunter, who decided he wanted to talk to Clark. Chloe was acting a little off while talking to Clark; saying things that she usually wouldn’t say.  Then when she leaves, Clark once again steps on an Oreo cookie.   Martian Manhunter probably figured that Clark would be more comfortable talking to Chloe.  It makes me wonder though how long he has been watching Clark, to know that Clark shared his secret with Chloe.  The other option is that, since Martian Manhunter is telepathic, he just read Clark’s mind and learned that information.

All in all, this was the best part of the episode. 

“A Strange Frequency” 

Now we get to the part that really hurt the episode, Lex and Lana.  Their story starts out when an alarm goes off in the mansion.  From out of nowhere, the security that we never see appears and starts leading Lex and Lana toward the panic room that we last saw in “Lockdown.”  Before they can get there though, Lex disappears in a burst of static.

It turns out that a kryptonite freak has kidnapped Lex and trapped him in his own study.  This freak has the ability to use radio frequencies to travel through other planes of existence.  He is also an escapee from the 33.1 labs, where he explains that Lex is experimenting on people infected by the meteor rocks.  He meets up with Lana and tells her that he wants to show her the 33.1 labs so she can expose what Lex is doing.  Upon finding that the labs are no longer there, the freak disappears.

At this point I just get fed up with this story.  It takes too much of the episode away from the real star of the show….Clark.  It is a basic freak of the week plot, only this time without Clark fighting the villain.  To get what he wants, the freak decides to kill Lex, but since we can’t kill one of the main characters, they have Lex kill a man who can disappear and reappear at a whim with a knife.  Not the most probable situation.

But it gets worse.  Remember Jimmy Olsen, the bumbling boyfriend of Chloe’s?  Well, it seems he is a genius now.  Using an old radio, he is able to tap into the freaks hidden frequency, listen to Lex talk, and ultimately bring him and Lana back from it.  It was just a horrible plot device that made no sense at all.  It was utter rubbish.

There were two semi good things to come from this story.  One is the re-introduction to the 33.1 labs, and two is that Lex found out Lana was pregnant.

Personally, the sooner this story of theirs is over…the better.

“In Conclusion”

If I had to rate both stories on their own, this is how it would go.

Clark’s story: 4
Lex and Lana’s story: 1

It’s just too bad that the majority of the episode had to revolve around Lex, Lana, and the static freak.  On top of that, they advertised an ending that would leave us shocked, and all we got was Lex proposing to Lana.  She doesn’t answer, which means that is what they are leaving us with as the cliffhanger; yawn.  The episode isn’t a total bust though, since Welling’s scenes were great, and the introduction of Martian Manhunter was awesome.  For that, and that alone, it gets 2.5 out of 5.

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Updated 01/29/07  


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