SMALLVILLE - 10.7 - Ambush Review (

By:Joe Oesterle
Review Date: Sunday, November 07, 2010
Source: Mania

Once again let me say how pleasant it is to watch the genuine chemistry between Tom Welling and Erica Durance when they are allowed to play honest emotions with believable dialogue instead of being force-fed a steady diet of unrealistic ham-handed “does-she-know/should-I-tell-him” banter. The authentic ease in which these two actors are now delivering their lines to each other only highlights how poorly the pair’s previous scenes were often written.

Like I’ve been saying all along, if you’re making a show about a super-powered space alien who believes it is his destiny to keep the entire planet safe from potential evildoers, the writer’s chief job is to make certain the rest of the world believable. I’m now happy to report that Clark and Lois’ interpersonal relationship is finally (7 episodes into the final season) on the right track. I wish I could say the same about the rest of the episode.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate “Ambush,” the latest episode in the pre-Superman saga, it’s just that I just don’t tune into this program to watch daddy issues for the better part of sixty minutes. This episode reminded me of why I never wanted to watch Smallville when it first came out. I have very little need to watch mediocre televised teen angst. I’m much less inclined now that there isn’t a single teen in the cast.

I prefer my Superman with action. I never picked up a Superman comic book to read about Clark’s love life. I never watched a single episode of Superfriends or Superman The Animated Series because I was curious if Lois and Clark’s relationship was still on solid ground. I realize a large part of the Smallville audience must eat that kind of stuff up, but personally I’d like to see a little bit of Darkseid.

I mentioned in last week’s comment boxes I thought it would be a good idea to keep Darkseid in everyone’s mind for at least a little bit, and in almost every episode. I still think that’s a good idea. I wager it’s fair to say some of you out there may have even forgot Darkseid ever made an appearance this season. Again, I think some sort of constant and often subtle reminder that the supreme monarch of planet Apokolips is out there, and will be causing havoc soon would be appropriate – otherwise, why even introduce the character so early in the season.

It’s also a sure bet most readers would agree they would have liked to see more Lil Lex this ep as well. We were treated to a couple of nice scenes with Ollie and Tess, but after last week’s Lil Lex and Tess B plot (the only thing that worked in that ep by the way) I was fairly certain we’d get to see a bit more of the tyrannical tyke. Instead this installment focused on the dysfunction that is the Lane family. I have no problem using that as a story thread, but given the option between watching General Lane making Clark do chores around his own home, (BTW, no one makes me do chores in my own home, and I have the dust bunnies and dishes in the sink to prove it – guess I’m braver than Superman) or watching Clark and Ollie battle the Suicide Squad I know which I’m choosing as my A plot.

While we’re on the subject of Ollie, why the hell is he still wearing his sunglasses at night, and more importantly why is he bothering to alter his voice? I have always hated both of those things, and while the argument can be made the Arrow-shades provide night vision, and other tactical advantages, that voice modulator just sounds stupid, and since he’s already announced Oliver Queen and Green Arrow are one in the same, it seems like he’s carrying around an unnecessary (not to mention annoying) tool. Also, glad too see Clark takes the time to slick back his hair before he challenges bad guys nowadays. Even arch villains value good grooming.

As far as the arch villains in this episode go, the Suicide Squad provided a legitimate threat, even if the premise of the Vigilante Ban was dangerously close to the X-men’s Mutant Registration Act. This show has never had any problem blatantly ripping off good ideas before – most recently the Tony Stark “I am Iron Man” revelation.” I have to say between the emergence of the Suicide Squad, the threat of Darkseid, and the inevitable return of Superman’s brightest and baldest bad guy all on the horizon, I’m starting to wonder if we’re not headed for a giant fustercluck of characters and not enough time to do any of them the proper justice.

Speaking of proper justice, I was surprised at Lois’ reaction to her slutty sister’s play for Clark. I completely bought into Lois not blaming Clark, though I’m betting at least half the guys reading this have caught a whole lot more grief from their girlfriend/wife for spending alone time with “the sister” and not getting anywhere near first base in the process. If that sisterly dynamic was a bit surprising, then the idea of Lucy Lane, an adult woman who grew up fully aware of military procedures, dropping a tracer in her own father’s pocket was just outright dumb. Come the eff on! If your father worked as a K-Mart greeter you would know better than to bug him because some guy in army fatigues at a gas station asked you to. Stupid writing.

By the end of the episode, General Lane’s opinion of costumed vigilantes has changed, and he even has figured out in under sixty minutes what took his newshound daughter years to finally determine. It was not stated, but Sam Lane now knows Clark’s secret.

The secret the show left for us however, was what was the question Clark wanted to ask the General. Permission to marry would seem like the obvious choice, and that’s where I’m going for now. If that’s the case howwever, we can add one more major development to the big pieces that need to be played out in the next 15 episodes. That’s a lot of balls in the air for a show that too often doesn’t play with its balls very well.



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Mania Grade: B-
Title: Smallville
Episode: Ambush
Starring: Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, Michael Ironside, Peyton List, Ted Whittall
Written by: Holly Henderson, Don Whitehead
Directed by: Christopher Petry
Network: The CW Network
Series: Smallville