SMALLVILLE - 9.6 - "Crossfire" Review (

By:Joe Oesterle
Review Date: Sunday, November 01, 2009
Source: Mania

I’m Not Surprised… I’m Just Disappointed.

I wish I could say I was shocked at how disappointed I was with this last installment of Smallville. I really wish I could. The last three weeks seemed to be the start of an upward trend, not just a flukey streak of watchable to good programming. I really wish I could say this recent episode was a regrettable anomaly, but I see the pattern. It’s the same pattern most discerning Smallville viewers have complained about since Season One. Every time it looks like the show has found it’s footing, we get treated to an entire waste of an hour, followed by a string of poor to average shows, and then they’ll sprinkle in another couple of decent episodes that look Shakespearean in contrast to the crap we just put up with for a few weeks. I wish I could say I was shocked at my disenchantment, but I’m not.

Sadly, I saw this coming up Metropolis’ Main Street faster than a speeding bullet, but I kept my mouth shut. Mainly because I didn’t want the readers of this review to think I had an irrational hatred of most of the writers on this show. Let me just say for the record, that is a complete and utter falsehood. My hatred of most of the writers on this show is completely rational and justified.

It’s one thing to gear a show to an audience of 13 year olds, but it’s an entirely different thing to hire 11 year olds to write it.

Again, forgive me, but I feel each time I come down hard on this show I have to validate my love for the characters of Clark, Lois, etc. I do care for those characters; I do have respect for the mythos. I am very knowledgeable on the subject of Superman, his rich multi-media history, and it pains me to see it treated so shoddily.


I Want To Like This Show – I Swear I Do.

By the way, I’m not some comic book purist who cringes when an established character gets changed in the course of re-imagining of a beloved storyline. (Although I wasn’t thrilled with whatever happened to Jimmy Olsen.) I have no problem that Smallville has apparently turned Oliver Queen’s youthful ward, Roy “Speedy” Harper into a Fight Clubbing hooker, but just because they take on adult themes of prostitution and drug abuse doesn’t mean anyone over 8 yrs old should have enjoyed last night’s abomination. That said, no one under 8 years old should have been allowed to watch last nights show. Not because it dealt with mature themes, but because parents should protect their children from things that suck.

I wish my parents would have forbidden me to watch this week’s Smallville, but I guess since I moved out of the house a couple decades ago, they’re trying to let this little bird fly on his own. However, if this is what the real world has in store for me – hacky crapfests with total disregard for the intelligence of their audience. (ages 8 – 80) then I want my mommy to protect me from this kind of pain in the future.

Uggggh! I almost can’t stand to write about this episode (entitled “Crossfire”) because it will force me to relive all over again. I’ll just tell myself it’s Halloween, and that will keep me in the spirit of abject horrors.

Instead of breaking the episode down, let me just get to the good (that will be short) and the bad (which will be considerably longer.)


What I Liked

Well, I didn’t die of shitty television writing, and if the old adage is true; whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. So after sitting through Crossfire, I must obviously now be at least as strong as Aquaman – and he’s pretty strong - living so deep in the ocean and all. So I guess what I liked about this episode is I didn’t pass away of tedium during it, and I now have superpowers. Other than that, there isn’t much, but in the spirit of looking for the good in bad situations, I’ll go with, I enjoyed the introduction of Cat Grant. Not the actual written introduction, I just liked Cat from the comic book, so I’m happy she’s now on board.

I liked Justin Hartley again. The guy’s a solid actor, and somehow he manages to make the ridiculous dialogue work.

Oh, and I like Smallville hookers. Because they’re all very pretty, dress sexy but not overly slutty, and they don’t look like they could give you a disease.

That’s about all that I liked, but mostly my newfound super strength.


What I Didn’t Like

Not enough Zod. I’m getting sick of the teasing. This character is intriguing, so could we please see some more of him before the ultimate and ultimately disappointing end of season confrontation? (See the whole Doomsday storyline to feel my pain on season enders.)

So Ollie hangs out at Fight Nights looking to find a girl wonder of his own to mentor. Too convenient. How difficult would it have been if Ollie had already established a genuine connection with this Mia, and then discovered she has hooking with her fists and other body parts because she was in deep with a bad crowd? The writing fixes are always so simple on this show, why can’t these 11-year old screenwriters see that? If only their 12-year old studio execs would spend less time skateboarding and playing their Pokemon cards... or whatever 12-year old execs do these days.

Here’s another thing I didn’t like. The rooftop scene with Ollie and Lois about to be gunned down until “The Blur” shows up and step in front of the automatic – I’m sure the 11 year olds thought they were writing an homage to Superman Returns, but it wasn’t an homage. An homage would have been a reverent show of respect for what has come before. There doesn’t seem to be a ton of respect for what has come before with this writing team. This was a blatant and shameless rip-off, right down to their tiny twist of the bullet almost reaching Ollie’s eyeball.

Oh, and before I forget, can we please get a stunt double for all future Erica Durance fight scenes. One of the only sure things I can count on in this show is Erica Durance will look hot, but her fight scenes are reminiscent of Elaine Benes’ spastic dancing on Seinfeld. It just ruins the mood.

Seriously gentle readers. I do wish I had written a more positive review, and I can almost guarantee next week’s show has to be better. It couldn’t possibly be worse. Could it?


Signing Off.

And so fair citizens of Smallville, until next week, once again this is Joe Oesterle, your mild-mannered blogging, reviewer guy saying, “Do not punish yourself for your feelings of vanity. Simply learn to control them. It is an affliction common to all, even on Krypton. Our destruction could have been avoided had it not been for the vanity of some who considered us indestructible. Were it not for vanity, why... at this very moment...”



Joe Oesterle is an award-winning writer and illustrator, but what he often fails to mention is that many of those awards were won on a New Jersey boardwalk. Pick up his latest books "Weird California" and "Weird Las Vegas" in any Barnes and Noble near you, and look for his next book, "Weird Hollywood," due out soon. And be sure to check out his latest humorous animated video, entitled, “The Balloon Boy Song.”



Mania Grade: D
Title: Smallville
Episode Title: Crossfire
Starring: Tom Welling, Allison Mack, Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, Callum Blue, Justin Hartley, Elise Gatien, Ryan McDonell
Written by: Holly Henderson and Don Whitehead
Directed by: Mike Rohl
Network: The CW Network
Series: Smallville