SMALLVILLE - 10.4 - Homecoming Review (

By:Joe Oesterle
Review Date: Sunday, October 17, 2010
Source: Mania

“Homecoming,” the latest in the Smallville saga had a little something for everyone. We were treated to flashbacks of Lana and Chloe, a flashforward of Clark in glasses, a revisit from an enemy of the past, a promise of super powers in the not too distant future, and since this is Smallville, doses of sloppy writing and logic gaps. Oh no, I just pointed out the fact that this show, while charming at times, is imperfect. Alert the bitey trolls quickly to the message board to bite me. Bite me, trolls. Bite me.

I will say that there were moments of “Homecoming” that I honestly enjoyed. Those moments consisted primarily of Clark being stuck in his own future. I liked the Superman headline on the Daily Planet, and not only Lois’ insistence that Clark wear his glasses, but her dedication to his secret mission. However, I was starting to question the reality of the situation until Clark met his “nerdy” future self in the elevator. It only made sense that future Clark would also live in that timeline, and that he was waiting (armed with the knowledge his past self would visit) to pass on some timely advice. This was important, because if I am to accept the time travel plot, I need to see the reality of time travel. That being interacting with himself during the time travel, and not ignoring wwy he didn’t run into himself. Smallville doesn’t always go the extra mile when it comes to believability. It was nice to see it here. All of the Superman teases not surprisingly worked well, but let’s face it. It’s what we’ve all wanted to see for some time now.

Personally, I didn’t care for the show in it’s first few years. It seemed way too teen drama for me. I was intrigued at first of the Clark Kent in high school angle, but dropped the show after 3 episodes or so, and only popped back in a handful of times in the first 8 seasons. Way too much wrestling his inner demons, not enough punching super villains. It is my belief that Clark Kent the character is not nearly as interesting a character until he fully embraces the Superman facet of his identity. I realize many of you enjoyed Clark’s high school years, but the only way you could have gotten me to watch the original Beverly Hills 90210 would have been to give Jason Priestly’s character the ability to bend steel with his bare hands, run faster than a speeding bullet and leap over tall building in a single bound AND he did it while wearing a cool costume and a cape.

That’s what was great about this episode, and ultimately what was so frustrating about it. We want to see the tights. Every week – and this week we almost did. By the way, I get why Smallville originally went the direction they did. We’ve already seen, heard and read plenty of Clark Kent’s adventures while he was secretly patrolling the world as the Man of Steel. This show was going to be a departure from that. This show was supposed to let us in on the making of the greatest hero in the world. The problem is it’s taking too long to make him. Even the vast majority of die hards want to see Clark duck into a phonebooth already. Let’s go. We want to see the Super Underpants!

So Brainiac 5 decides to usher in Christmas a little early this year and play all three of Dickens’ yuletide ghosts to Clark’s Ebeneezer in an effort to get Clark to get over himself. It wasn’t his fault his dad died, and that alone seemed to be enough to lighten Clark’s burden.

Of course this leads me to Smallville’s burden – sloppy writing. Too often the sloppy writing in this show become the burden of Erica Durance. Many times her Lois comes off as an unbelievable character, and it’s tough to determine who’s at fault; the writer or the performer. This week, I’m voting against the writer. Here is (in a nutshell) what bugs me about the writers of this show and what also bugs me about the blindly devoted fans of this show.

When writing a show like Smallville, a show where you’re asking the audience to buy into a number of fantastic premises, you better be rooted firmly in reality. If I’m going to suspend my disbelief that a man has the ability to pick up an 18-wheeler and toss it like a Nerfball, I need to buy into everything else without question. With that simple writing trick established, why would these scribes make Lois Lane (a supposed award-winning investigative reporter, whom I would assume has at least an above average intelligence as well as the capacity to read people very well) look like such an idiot on so many occasions?

The Lois character has been a problem for me during the entire course of her run. When it fits the story, Lois is either a battle-tested fighting fury, or damsel just waiting for distress. She’s been clever enough to uncover some fairly convoluted schemes if the episode calls for it, and yet has also been portrayed as naïve should the situation determine lack of reasoned thinking is needed.

There is no reason whatsoever for Lois Lane, who admittedly showed up for 5 days of school, to expect to be remembered as a student there. Sure, Lois was a military brat, so she grabs on to the Smallville High part of her life and perhaps romanticizes it for more than it was, but I know the smart Lois Lane would never expect a group of young adults who knew each other for the first 18 years of their lives to remember much – if anything- about the five days they may or may not have seen some new chick wandering the halls. I know this is going to sound nit-picky to some of you, but it’s details like this that bug the living Blue Kryptonite out of me. Lois is once again being played as comic relief, which is fine if her character were some blithering, egocentric idiot. This is Lois Lane, and she’s not supposed to be an idiot. Either that or always make her an idiot. Or introduce a new “idiot” character and give her all of Lois’ idiot lines. Just a little consistency in the main characters please. Please writers, and fans of this show who think I hate the show, listen to me. I don’t hate the show. I hate the inconsistencies.

In conclusion, one thing that Smallville does as well as any other show is they often make sure the last 4 minutes of the program leaves you with a feeling of promise. The other thing they do well is to invalidate that promise the very next week. Recently we were shown an image of Clark, standing atop the roof of his major metropolitan newspaper, Super “S” emblazoned upon his chest, American flags flapping in the breeze, as we watched his hand symbolically drop a plane ticket to Africa. Next week, that scene was completely ignored. Not even mentioned as in, “Lois, what are you doing here in Metropolis? I was just about to ‘fly’ over and meet you.”

This past show, Clark and Lois are literally dancing on air. Ok, it was a teeny bit contrived, and the moment Lois put her feet on Clark’s I saw this coming, but I still enjoyed it. I’ll continue to enjoy it until they make it irrelevant next week. I’ll say one thing for this show. At least it’s consistently inconsistent.



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Mania Grade: B
Title: Smallville
Episode Title: Homecoming
Starring: Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Justin Hartley, James Marsters, Chad Donella
Written by: Kelly Souders, Brian Peterson
Directed by: Jeannot Szwarc
Network: The CW
Series: Smallville