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Smallville Reviews

Wither photo of Lex and Lana in costume

"Wither" By Chad

The CW has had an interesting marketing method for Smallville this season. They have been advertising three romantic triangles with the tagline “Every Triangle has Three Sides.” These triangles are as follows:

Chloe, Jimmy, and Clark.

Lois, Oliver Queen, and Clark.

Lex, Lana, and Clark.

I was wondering when we would start seeing this theme introduced, and it looks like it didn’t take long. Tonight showed the blossoming of two romances and the progression of the third one. Clark was shown as the odd man out; the third wheel of these relationships. On top of that we had the introduction of a new type of villain, one that is not Kryptonite inspired.

Before you read any further, let me remind you as always, that spoilers are afoot.

“Love is in the air”

First off, there is Jimmy and Chloe. This is the first time we get an idea of how their relationship will work. Aaron Ashmore does an admirable job as Jimmy Olsen. He’s not so much the “Gee Whiz” Jimmy of the George Reeves day, but modernized. He’s surer of himself, even a little arrogant; but he has a charming quality that makes the character likable. His personality is closer to the Jimmy Olsen of “Lois and Clark” even to the point of calling Clark “C.K.” at times. I was very fond of that show, and hearing him say “C.K.” brings back good memories from that time period in my life.

He and Allison Mack also have good chemistry. Some of their conversations were just fun to hear. An example is when he calls Chloe “his girl.” The amused face that Clark gives during that scene was hilarious. It was interesting, because it seems Clark is slightly jealous of their relationship now, and it doesn’t have to do with any romantic feelings for Chloe, but more because he may feel he is losing his closest friend. Needless to say, I am very interested to see this relationship explored.

Next we have Oliver Queen and Lois. Last week I was unsure if I’d like Justin Hartley in the role. Well, he convinced me this week. He is suave, clever, and witty; but by no means any less dangerous. Justin Hartley is not as stiff of an actor as I first judged him to be. His acting style is a little different, but it’s not bad by any means.

His scene at Lex’s ball was interesting. There was an obvious tension between him and Lex. Something has happened in there past while they were in boarding school together, and I can’t wait for it to be explained. Props goes to the costuming department for putting Oliver Queen in the classic Green Arrow costume.

The final scene showed us more of Queen’s archery expertise. Lois told him she would only give him a goodnight kiss if he could hit a can with an arrow. Though it looked like he missed, upon closer inspection we see that he speared the pull tab off the can. That scene was just outright awesome. I can’t wait to see more of it.

Finally we have Lex and Lana. While I don’t like the idea of their relationship, some of the scenes between the two were interesting. Them showing up to the ball as Mark Antony and Cleopatra made me laugh, especially when you think about what ultimately happened to the real people.

Their relationship continues to be hard on poor Clark, who only wants to make sure Lana is safe. That comes to play a little bit when Clark and Lex have a confrontation in Lex’s greenhouse. (Anyone else find it strange Lex just happened to be lurking around in there?) Clark tries to persuade Lex to end his relationship with Lana, and Lex ultimately tells Clark that he is no longer welcome at the mansion. What really saddens me is seeing two people who were such close friends turn on each other like this.

It will be interesting to see where these relationships are taken in the coming season. It was heartbreaking to see everyone paired up, but Clark sitting all alone in his loft at the end.

“Enter…Poison Ivy”

Clark now realizes that some Phantom Zone criminals escaped with him. How? Simple, he meets one of them. Her name is Gloria. She was played by Amber McDonald; who was part of the cast of the doomed “Aquaman” pilot.

Gloria is from a lush green planet that was eventually overrun by cities and technology. She then made a decision to fight against the people responsible, which landed her as a criminal into the Phantom Zone. Gloria, simply put, can control plants of other worldly origin, and can use these alien vines to plant seeds in unsuspecting males.

Plain and simple, Gloria was a throw away villain. The only difference between her and most of the freaks is that she isn’t Kryptonite based. There was some good there though, such as a plant based power is something we haven’t seen before in the show. On top of that Amber McDonald played the part very well.

The problem though is that Smallville basically gave us Poison Ivy without the name or the interesting personality. The vine special effects were a little off also, not up to the usual standards the show holds. For example, when the vines went into Jimmy Olsen’s mouth, it seemed they didn’t try too hard to make his mouth seem like it was stretching to fit the vines. That though is a small gripe. A bigger gripe is that when Clark was being attacked by the vines, he couldn’t just start ripping through them, so they could at least show him giving Gloria a little bit of a fight. She seemed to beat him a little too easily.

That left room for Chloe to figure out how to beat the vines, and she found the most obvious answer…Electricity! I mean why didn’t we think of that before her? Oh I don’t know…probably because we usually think of fire as the plants worst enemy. I mean, she does hang out with a guy with heat vision and all. You would think Clark could use that, or maybe the snazzy new Super Breath that he just learned he had. There were many options open to them much more obvious than electricity. But what do we know?

The other gripe is how easily she died. She smacked Clark across the room; knocking a hanging lamp onto the floor. She then tries the choking the Kryptonian with the vines again, but this time Clark is ready. He quickly uses his heat vision, not on her, but on the sprinkler system. The water causes the electricity from the fallen lamp to arc through the floor and into her and her vines. This causes the vines and Gloria to disappear in a puff of logic…er I mean smoke.

Throw away villain or not, there should have been more of a fight than that.

“In Conclusion”

This episode accomplished several important story elements. First, it established the relationships that are going to play a major role in the coming season, and Clark’s place in them. Second, it made Clark aware that others escaped the Phantom Zone at the same time he did. Those are all good; it furthers the story and characters, and also gives us a glimpse at the future threats Clark will be facing.

But the episode was brought down slightly by Poison Gloria. She was a carbon-copy, throw away villain that was beaten way too quickly in the end. Fortunately though, she was the B-plot, while the character driven story took center stage, which I like. For this reason, it didn’t hurt the episode much. It was an episode I can see myself watching again, and for that I give it a 3.5 out of 5. ~ Chad

Picture from SVfan.com

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Updated 11/3/06  

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