SMALLVILLE 9.21 - "Salvation" Review (

By:Joe Oesterle
Review Date: Sunday, May 16, 2010
Source: Mania

With the bitter taste of “Doomsday” still left in the collective palettes of the Smallville-consuming community last year, coupled with writing inconsistencies throughout this entire series, it was only prudent to approach this season’s highly publicized season finale with at least a modicum of trepidation.

I have to admit I was surprised. “Salvation” certainly wasn’t a flawless hour of television, but it was an entertaining and at times even exciting piece of superhero fare.

Let’s start at the beginning – or according to Clark’s dream, the future - 2013 to be precise. Now I know there are those of you out there still watching who enjoyed the show back when it was nicknamed “Kal-El’s Creek,” and maybe you still miss the days of teenage angst and the “no fights, no tights” mantra; but you can’t tell me you weren’t thrilled at the sight of an actual flying red and blue blur whizzing over the Metropolis skyline. You can’t tell me your heart didn’t race just a bit when you heard Lois refer to Perry White as the editor, or bellow for “Olsen.” I’d also wager the spinning office chair, the glasses on Clark’s desk, and the cry of, “Look up in the sky” got you all stupid smiley. And the piece de resistance, had to be the liberal borrowing of John Williams’ movie score as Clark awoke and found the package (presumably the actual Superman costume) Ma had left for him. The iconic “S” shield reflected in his eyes.

Now that was an opening. And let’s all just admit it. Even if prior to that scene you were some kind of no-cape purist, you have to admit you experienced, if for only a scant few minutes, how exciting this program could and should always be. There’s a reason the character of Clark Kent has been so popular over the course of the past 71 years, and while the fact that he has occasional romance problems, or arguments with friends plays a part in his popularity, you know why that character is still around? It’s because he wears a cool uniform, and flies really fast, throws buses around like they were wiffleballs, beats up very powerful bad guys, and outsmarts brilliant bad guys, makes an entire city feel protected, rescues the random cat in a tree from time to time, and does it all without expecting anything in return. That’s why Clark Kent is still popular. So why not call quits on the noble experiment of a nine year Clark show without his more electrifying alter ego. We want Superman! We want Superman! (Continue chanting until thoroughly worn out.)

We didn’t get him, but this episode at least teased us in a way that seemed to promise a real possibility of seeing him (hopefully very early) next season.

Sadly we did get Chloe. Many of us were hoping Allison Mack’s cloying character would be the rumored “major death” of the season, but it would seem that the Watchtower maven was spared that fate. Eh, Clark’s not the only one who can have happy dreams.

Chloe was able to convince Clark his ultimate fate was not necessarily on this planet, but perhaps he was destined to lead his people on another world. Chloe said she was broken up about the possibility of living in a world without Clark, but Mack’s acting did absolutely nothing to imply this sentiment was even remotely true. Nonetheless, she did manage to convince the mild-mannered savior that maybe he had interpreted his father’s lessons incorrectly. Clark prepared himself to leave Earth, and leave Lois.

The character of Lois has bothered me in this show, but then again, I’ve been annoyed with that character in the movies and in the comics as well, so I won’t blame the Smallville writers for the fact that she went against the real “Blur’s” warning and actually followed the instructions on a note signed by a false Blur.

Lois Lane has a nose for news, and while I assume a Lois Lane who never met Clark Kent would have long ago become an obituary many times over instead of a front-page reporter, she has been incredibly lucky that her guardian angel has kept close tabs on her during most of her investigative work.

It was just poor judgment on her part to meet with this Blur, and while she never completely bought that Zod was in fact her personal hero, he did manage to plant some seeds of doubt in regards Clark. This sends Lois to snoop through Clark’s private belongings. (Again, another reason to dislike Lois. I would go crazy if I found out my girlfriend read my email, or listened to my voice messages without permission, but if she ever dug through my journal of my secret alien heritage, I’d break up with her, and then burn her ass pretty good with my heat vision.)

I’ll assume everyone enjoyed the televised Superhero summit in the Watchtower. I confess I was more than a little disappointed we didn’t get to see the Martian Manhunter in action again. It’s funny that the invisible, intangible, shape-shifting, flying Martian is a more credible character than Chloe or Lois, but I’ll chalk that up to the understated acting ability of Phil Morris. We did get more hot-headed conservative and snarky liberal banter between Green Arrow and Hawkman, and every comic fan had to enjoy that. Again, I find the masks on the girls (Stargirl and Black Canary) to be a bit visually disturbing. They look too cartoony, and I don’t buy them as a comfortable disguise. My guess is those things impair your vision when fighting and probably fly off pretty easy with one punch to the face. (Of course you have to be a real bad guy to punch a girl in the face.)

Proving himself to be a real bad guy, Zod didn’t punch Tess in the face, but burned her enough to resemble Batman’s twisted nemesis, Two-Face. So who was the old woman with the knitting needles? (I’m assuming it was a woman, though the person looked to possess a pretty powerful build when s/he stood up.) With all the talk this season about the upcoming “Apocalypse” could we have been watching Granny Goodness herself? It looks like the Tess we all knew may be history, but it’s a good bet Ms. Mercer will be reincarnated next season as one of the Female Furies.

Another question we are left to ponder during the summer hiatus is who swarmed on Oliver. We know it wasn’t the Kandorians, because he informed us of that fact with his last words. Darkseid’s parademons perhaps?

My biggest question is if Zod knew the blue K would keep him earthbound, how come between the two of them, neither Chloe or Clark thought that would make a good way for Clark to walk his people to the doorway of their freedom, but not have to escort them there himself. Another nagging problem is why didn’t Clark ascend with the rest of the Kandorians. If it was because he was in close proximity to Zod, I’m willing to believe that, but if memory serves, Zod didn’t even unsheath his blade from it’s protective covering until the golden light claimed a number of Kandorians. Did Zod know he was a later round draft pick?

I’m quibbling here, because in comparison to most Smallville gaffes, this one barely registers. It was also a clever way to have the two enemies really duke it out without paying for any special effects. Clark allowing Zod to stab him and his subsequent Christ-like fall to the city streets below was a clever turn I did not expect.

I’m hoping for a Martian Mahunter save next season, because I’m a big fan of Double J, but I suppose Clark could pull the blade out himself, or Hawkman might swoop him up too. Either way, I was hoping for a big all-out battle royale, only got a couple of non-powered punchers on a rainy rooftop, and I have to say it worked.

Good job Smallville. I didn’t even have to grade on a curve. Now let’s see if you can use this momentum to your advantage starting in Season 10.



Joe Oesterle is a photographer of some note. He has taken photos all over the world, and is the primary photographer in many of his books. If you’re interested, please check out some of his work.

Mania Grade: B
Title: Smallville
Episode Title: Salvation
Director: Greg Beeman
Writers: Al Septien and Turi Meyer
Cast: Tom Welling, Allison Mack, Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, Callum Blue, Justin Hartley
Network: The CW Network, LLC
Series: Smallville