A long standing tradition on the CBGXtra website, when the forums are actually up and running, has been reviewing various superhero related media.
One of the programs under this practice has been The WB's/The CW's version of Smallville.
Thankfully the show went on winter hiatus before the forums were closed for hacking prevention/maintenance/updating.
With Mr. Silver Age's kind indulgence and urging, I am resuming reviews of Smallville here, starting with the first new episode of 2011 below.
All opinions are my own. Yours may vary and are quite welcome in this space.
Collateral begins shortly after Icarus (the last episode of 2010) ended.
The Smallville gang thinks they have been stripped of their powers when they really are trapped in a virtual reality controlled by the people behind the Vigilante Registration Act, hoping to find a way to shut off the heroes powers in the real world.
It takes the return of someone who should have never left the series to begin with, and hopefully will now stay until the grand finale in May, to set things right.
Now as far as individual episodes go, this wasn't a bad one. Given the Icarus cliffhanger however, I was hoping for something more along the lines of an adventure in (ancient?) Egypt that would have helped reestablish Hawkman (and maybe even Hawkgirl/woman) within what passes for continuity in this show.
Of course how did the VRA know of Hawkman's past, let alone prepared a trap there, remains unexplained. And the script was a little hokey in spots, which does kind of give this season a silver age feel.
But considering some of the stuff viewers have had to deal with in past seasons, it does look like the producers are pulling out all the stops as the show races towards the grand finale.
In what may be the country's darkest hour, we need a Beacon of hope.
Martha Kent returns on a crusade to get the Vigilante Registration Act repealed, although someone will do anything to stop that, including an assassination attempt on the unsuspecting Congresswoman from Kansas.
Meanwhile, an evil family dynasty has been slowly reestablishing itself, with dark implications for the future.
Overall, this episode relied more on the dramatic than the action, and was actually handled quite well. The fact that the assassin used kryptonite bullets does not bode well, especially in light of the final moments when Tess tries to do what she feels is right, although others might disagree with her methods.
One point that has not been touched upon over the last few episodes however is the impending darkness of a certain evil (new) god as his minions. It was previously established that they are at least supporting, if not actually behind, the anti-hero crusade of the VRA.
But given the teaser for the episode that is scheduled to air tonight, I think that issue is about to be addressed.
Life is a Masquerade, and the world is but a stage, or something to that affect.
Oliver is wondering about the status of his identity since he went public as Green Arrow.
Chloe is wondering about the status of her life since she erased all traces of her identity before going underground to help the heroes as the anti-vigilante movement was first beginning to take shape.
Together, the two of them wind up briefly in a sequence of events akin to the movie Date Night, but more seriously as they encounter Desaad, who is trying to usurp people's identities and morals for his master Darkseid.
Meanwhile, Lois tries to help Clark work out what to do about his life and identity as the Blur becomes a more public figure, putting their private lives at risk.
Unfortunately, not only are there no long term resolutions at the end of this installment (after all, there ARE still six more episodes to air before the two hour series finale), but not everyone came out of this unscathed.
As I speculated during my brief review of Beacon, although the show has dropped the ball a couple of times establishing this during the course of past episodes, Darkseid and his cronies are behind a lot of the bad stuff that's been happening to good people over the course of this season. I do find it interesting however that so far, the cronies have been portrayed by real performers, and Darkseid has only been a CGI effect. I wonder if that will continue for the rest of the season? There has to be some kind of a confrontation with the heroes before the end. But unless you use a performer pretending to be possessed by the rogue New God, who could you get to actually portray the infamous Jack Kirby creation?
On another matter: while Smallville TV continuity is VASTLY different from established DC Comics continuity, the dilemma with Oliver Queen's identity remains, and what happens to Chloe? Sullivan has been a virtual blank slate for the show to do with as it may, although the character has recently appeared within Jimmy Olsen's Action Comics back up feature. Hopefully the series will give her the happy ending she deserves, although we all know it will not be as Mrs. Oliver Queen.
Overall, this is definitely shaping up to be one of the best seasons in a long time, if not ever.
For those wondering if this is deja view all over again, being a newbie to this website, there were a few problems with my original thread, mostly along the lines of the system posting it as a blog instead of as part of this specific forum.
But now all is corrected. Replies are welcomed and posts will continue between now and the series finale this May.
Thanks for posting these, Lee! I imagine that, as the series revs up to its conclusion, there will be more to talk about than usual, and a number of past episodes have brought out a bunch of discussion.
I hear that Lex will be back for the final 2-hour episode, and I’m hoping they really burn down the barn for the finale. And by that, I mean I need a flight and some tights.
As to the episodes: COLLATERAL – I found that all-fall-down cliffhanger to come out of the blue and not be all that suspenseful, since there was no lead-in for anticipation and no idea of what was behind it to consider during the break.
And then the reality-changing idea to start up after that event just wasn’t that exciting. I’ve seen it too many times before (and it reminded me of John Byrne’s FF issues that did it, but I supposed every plot could remind me of SOME comic book I’ve read). The effects were pretty cool, but it just seemed to come out of nowhere.
I have a really hard time believing that Clark lost so much trust in Chloe that, hearing her explanation of what was happening and seeing Oliver there, he couldn’t believe in her. I realize it was a key plot point that he didn’t, but I would’ve liked it better if he’d decided to stay behind to help the others while Chloe did so from the outside. That notion of sacrificing himself to help others is more in keeping with who he has always been.
I do think it was good for him to point out at the end that he often has asked people to trust him just like that without even giving them a reason why they should, and they always did (or at least the inner circle usually did). I wish his hesitation had not extended that far, because it seems so unlikely to me.
I would assume that Chloe is back at least through February for sweeps, but I’m hoping she’s back for all the final episodes. I’m hoping they bring back anybody who’s been around before—that’s part of what made the Reunion was fun. I'm hoping they're working on Pete Ross to show up some time.
I would say this was the weakest from this season so far, because the earlier ones had so many cool scenes and major moments that pushed Clark forward. Couple that with the big set-up of something dramatic after the weird ending to the previous one, and this was a letdown. But the flight scene almost made up for it all by itself.
BEACON: the final moments when Tess tries to do what she feels is right, although others might disagree with her methods. That’s kind of the entire series’ approach, isn’t it? Everybody is always betraying others, keeping them in the dark, doing things in their best interest but doing it secretly because the person wouldn’t agree with doing it.
It gets tiresome, to be frank. It’s too much of people doing things they shouldn’t do while retaining their good-guy status just to keep the plots from getting too settled.
Bringing Lionel over from the other universe was an interesting plot twist, and I wondered how he would fit in. That Alexander turned on him seemed like a natural situation, and I can’t say I didn’t take a certain pleasure in seeing the guy who betrays people when it suits him get betrayed himself.
Alex's kryptonite-bullet plot seemed pretty odd for such a genius—he didn’t really give any advance indication of what was going to happen, and Clark didn’t even know his mother was speaking, so stopping the bullets would’ve taken psychic ability rather than super-speed. As if shooting Clark with a kryptonite bullet while his mother was standing next to him was a sure-fire way to kill him in any event. Oh well.
The one saving grace was seeing the Watchtower reopen and Clark standing there in his red-and-blue Blur suit. That bodes well for where we go from here.
I haven’t yet had a chance to watch DISGUISE, but I will in the next few days. I expect I’ll keep up with the series in the week it’s happening, which I haven’t always done in the past, because each of the episodes will be worth a few comments, at least.
Not sure if there will be an actual wedding before the series finale, but Lois and Clark ARE engaged and Lois was shown planning the big event during parts of Masquerade.
PLUS: The teasers for next week's episode included the possibility of a rehearsal dinner if I interpreted the scene correctly.
I enjoyed the first few seasons of Smallville, but then it started to fade, and I had a harder and harder time accepting the situations, especially as these high-school kids barged into the hospital and through police lines to chat up what was happening with dangerous situations that had nothing to do with them. They occasionally had the sheriff point this out, but nowhere near enough.
I think they made a nice transition to being out of Smallville and into Metropolis more, with Lois joining and Lana fading. It made perfect sense as you transition out of high school and your friends change. Being reporters, albeit young ones, also gave them more reason to be on the scene, even if they still seemed to have way more access to hospital rooms and such than was plausible.
I think it really picked up when they introduced Green Arrow. He was such a thorn in Clark's side, egging him on, and a number of the stories had a real Silver Age feel. Not all the episodes have been great since then, but it really boosted its average. This final season has been very cool so far.
There are small things that are so standard by now that they're traditions more than annoyances, like Clark never locking the farm doors and anyone in the world able to sneak up on him in his barn loft, despite them having to drive up a long road and park at the barn and climb the stairs. The blue overcast they give to every LuthorCorp. scene seemed distracting at first, but now I know it's coming and accept it. When I see it with other scenes, I know danger lurks.
I always feel sorry for those poor cows on the Kent "farm." You can plant fence posts at super-speed and pick up the tractor one-handed, but milking cows can't be done that way. I especially like when they dub in the "moo" sound effects, to make sure we realize the farm's bovinian nature. I think that's a stretch to make us think Clark is caring for cattle/cows, but maybe that's the only kind of farm these city-slicker writers can think of.
And I have to say, when the series returned with COLLATERAL, I was glad Ollie broke the glass coffee table in the first few minutes, as I knew I'd be waiting through the entire episode until somebody broke a glass coffee table. That's when you know things are really dire. Lex must own the dealership.
The Superman mythos has been added to from a number of outside sources over the years Jeff.
The old radio program gave us kryptonite and Jimmy Olsen while it was the first movie with Christopher Reeve that established the "S" symbol as the El family crest.
In this case, Masquerade was just Smallville's presentation of the persona's origin, for Clark has presented himself as meek and mild mannered as far back as I can remember on this subject, which would be the Filmation animated series in the late 1960s.
But this thread is open to everyone to discuss everything Smallville related. With that in mind:
Can anyone think of anything that this series has added to the mythos besides Chloe Sullivan?
I'm surprised that Chloe was picked up, that's really quite a tribute to the show that it could create a character that the comics, after all this time, thought filled a niche in their story. There's not much that the comics can pick up from the show, if only because the show has used so much from various eras of the comics. This season's Darkseid-Granny Goodness-DeSaad-Glorious Godfrey characters has got to be the epitome of homage.
I've seen MASQUERADE now, and I thought it was pretty standard stuff, except of course for the final minutes when Clark gives his rationale for his new approach to living. The psycho-testing of everyone and finding their inner rage, etc. is pretty played out by now. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't a standout episode. I still have two questions:
1. Chloe wiped her identity from every computer database on the face of the earth, so there is no trace of her existing except in printed materials. Why? Who did she trade herself to for Ollie, and why was it important that she vanish so completely? And why hasn't she just restored herself now?
2. So Clark will hide his civilian identity behind a pair of glasses. Except the file-carrying guy who knew him as Clark Kent before saw him with the glasses and immediately identified him as Clark (with glasses). How does this hide his identity when he's the blur? Won't this guy recognize Clark without his glasses wearing the Blur's costume?
Yeah, I know--Don't Ask, Just Watch It! And I do. But I'm not sure putting on a pair of glasses and acting kinda humble really gets the job done at this point.
To answer your questions Mr. SA:
1. During Collateral, Chloe explained that she went into hiding because of what she saw while briefly wearing the Doctor Fate helmet, and basically took over the Suicide Squad to help Clark and company in their time of dire need during the anti-vigilante crusade. I have no idea why she hasn't restored herself yet. Maybe Chloe likes being a tableu rosa (blank slate), but time will tell.
2. Didn't we discuss sometime back on the CBGXtra.com boards Clark's possible super-hypnotism that he subconsciously uses while in disguise to help with said masquerade?