SMALLVILLE - 10.5 - Isis - Review (

By:Joe Oesterle
Review Date: Sunday, October 24, 2010
Source: Mania

Looks like Tess is still carrying a tiny torch for Ollie. That fact came across plain as day when Mr. Queen retorted to Ms. Mercer’s condescending “groupie love” comment with the resounding zinger that Tess wouldn’t know real love if it were right under her nose. Ollie had no idea how wrong he was. While Tess may still have romantic desires towards the arrow-slinging playboy, the true object of Tess Mercer’s affection has is Lil Lex. This all played out nicely. There was a subtlety about the scene that Smallville doesn’t usually incorporate.

Conversely, Ollie’s advice to Clark during their conversation played out like something so ham-handed and corny they wouldn’t dare air it over at One Tree Hill. “Take it from me, living without love isn’t living. It’s existing.” My question is this; from which middle-school girl’s peachy notebook did the writer rip that line? As many of you know, while I’ve never been shy about expressing my disappointment in this show whenever it’s called for (and sadly, it’s called for quite often) I have always been impressed with how well Justin Hartley can make potentially bad dialogue work for him. Congratulations Smallville scribes. You just made the coolest character on the show sound like just another stupid douche.

Shortly after that we were once again forced to sit through another painful Clark and Lois moment that I am certain is supposed to come off as Willis and Shepard from Moonlighting, or Sam and Dianne from Cheers, but the advantage those famous fictional couples had was superior writing and excellent acting ability. Let’s face it, Welling and Durance can be serviceable actors at times, but Tracey and Hepburn they ain’t.

With that in mind I worried (and with good reason it turned out) when I realized most of the heavy lifting in this episode was going to be done by Erica Durance. Letting her prance around in short skirts and high heels will never get a reprimand from me, but when the powers that be expect Durance to carry the bulk of an episode on the basis of her thespian skills I just cringe. Playing light comedy is in this actress’s wheelhouse but making her a believable heavy is just too ridiculous to comprehend. My guess is Erica Durance was not the most gifted member of her junior high theater club. I’ll go one further and assume she still isn’t.

Was there anything I liked? Sure. There usually is, and that’s the reason I assume all you Smallville stalwarts continue to watch here in the tenth season. If the comment boxes below are any indication of the typical Smallville viewer on this website, it’s that you realize this show can be maddening at times, but they somehow have managed to bring just the bare minimum of entertainment through characters you’ve cared about for your entire life. I get that. I feel that way too, and that’s what infuriates me. I hate the fact that the bare minimum is good enough for this team. We deserve better, and the character of Superman and his extended family deserve better as well.

Here are a few examples of what I did enjoy in this program. For the first time since I’ve been reviewing, Lois Lane actually said something funny – and meant to. “You’re the sick to my stomach” line was truly the perfect rejoinder to Cat’s “You’re the Popeye to my Olive” statement. Bravo Ms. Durance. You are absolutely capable of performing inside your comfort zone.

I also enjoyed the Black Adam Easter egg we were shown at the sarcophagus of Isis’ long lost love. However, the best part of Friday’s episode was the Tess angle. It is a shame the secondary characters are better actors than the primaries, and once again, Cassidy Freeman was believable, but it helps that her character, unlike others on this show, is more than one-dimensional stereotype.

The strength of “Isis” was not the Isis part at all. The best part of the latest installment of this prolonged Superman-comes-of-age saga was Tess and her relationship with the aforementioned Lil Lex. Tess is clearly having maternal feelings, which I have to believe will get quickly convoluted the faster that adorable little red-headed boy genius turns into a certain bald-headed Michael Rosenbaum-looking evil genius.

It would appear that Tess is a bit conflicted with Ollie and Clark’s sudden faith in her by the end of this installment. Her emotional breakdown after leaving the Watchtower leads me to wonder if the tiny-soon-be-tyrant tyke she’s currently raising isn’t already calling the shots which he hopes will lead to the destruction of Clark Kent.

I mentioned this last episode and it bears repeating; the one area this show seems to never make a mistake is in the final five minutes. We were all fairly sick of the “will they, won’t they share their secrets” game, but finally that long overdue admission finally came. The celebratory kiss was a highlight in this series, and it once again lead me to wonder why we can only expect the best from this show right before it signs off for the week.

In closing, another week has passed, and it’s another week Clark didn’t don the blue tights or even fly. I hope he felt a little emasculated when he saw Lois take flight. They’ve been holding that Super carrot out in front of us for such a long time it now wouldn’t surprise me if the first time we get to see Tom Welling in the supersuit will also be the last image we see of this show. I hope I’m wrong.

By the way, how did Lois even come in possession of Isis’ necklace? Did I miss it from this episode or did I forget her swiping it from Carter Hall? AND if that’s the case, why would Lois steal it to begin with? Could someone who was watching this a little closer please give me an explanation?



Joe Oesterle’s latest book, “Weird Hollywood” has hit the stores and the reviews have been outstanding. Take a look at some free and unedited stories and photos on his website, and contact Joe for an autographed copy.


Mania Grade: C+
Title: Smallville
Episode Title: Isis
Starring: Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, Justin Hartley, Ted Whittall, Rick Flag, Keri Lynn Pratt
Written by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
Directed by: n/a
Network: The CW
Series: Smallville