SMALLVILLE - 10.4 - Homecoming Review -

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  • 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

SMALLVILLE - 10.4 - Homecoming Review

Great Moments, Flawed Moments

By Joe Oesterle     October 17, 2010
Source: Mania

SMALLVILLE - 10.4 - Homecoming Review
© 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.



Joe Oesterle’s new book, “Weird Hollywood” just hit the bookstands. It’s filled with ghost stories, bizarre crimes, roadside attractions, ufo sightings, urban legends and celebrity interviews. To receive a personalized autographed copy, write to Joe at and he’ll give you all the details. The reviews have been sensational.


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JasonTMays 10/17/2010 12:25:20 PM

Smallville...I kinda agree with some of the things said. This was the 200th episode and it definitely didn't feel like it.

I loved the future bits and I think this would've been a really great episode had Clark been sent to the future and we got to see Superman rather than a blur. Future Clark was awesome.

The flying scene at the end would've been more impactful if Clark actually flew rather than the hovering. (his Kal-El persona flew, Clark hovered in the 1st season in his sleep.) 

Overall IMO I didn't feel like it lived up to the level set by the 100th episode... 


heath0920 10/17/2010 1:44:03 PM

It certainly had its moments (the dance at the end, James Marsters as Braniac 5, Clark in the future), although I completly agree with your comments on Lois's inconsistencies. I did think that the elevator scene made me believe hiding Clark as the uber nerd might work, but hasn't he been working with those reporters for years? How could they forget what he looks like and assume the glasses were always part of the disguise?  When Supes first shows up, wouldn't all his old classmates and co workers just go "Gosh that looks like Clark?"Then again, I'm still trying to figure out when Clark, Lois, and Chloe got those journalism degrees that made them hireable at the Planet since they've been there for years, yet spent maybe ten eps total in college classes.

But even though I mostly enjoyed the omage of an episode, it was the Oliver scene at the end that I completely lost it at my TV. Clark strolls into Ollie's office in the middle of a live televised interview IN HIS COSTUME and just stands there. He doesn't superspeed in, just walks.  I understand they're trying to show him reaching out to Ollie, but writers, COME ON, noone would have, I don't know, SEEN HIM THERE???  Or moved a camera and caught him the view? Sometimes, the willful suspension of disbelief steps right into the land of ridiculousness with this show.

DaForce1 10/17/2010 3:17:22 PM

 Heath, Clark wasn't in costume. He was in a suit. Black jacket. 

As for the Lois hoping everyone remembered her at the reunion bit, well, that does fall in line with the self-conscious Lois we've seen in past episodes who, despite her tough exterior, does want to belong to something. 

I have more problems with the no journalism degrees things than with Lois wanting to be recognized. 

Duckbeaver 10/17/2010 3:26:00 PM

Pretty much with you on the points that you brought up, Joe.  Yeah, I was thinking that Lois Lane would never really care if anyone remembered her short-lived high school career, but after the scene with the lady comparing her relationship with Clark to Lana's, she reverted back to a more sensible Lois who demonstrates a LITTLE insecurity at times and really only gets tongue -tied around Superman.  Like you said, consistency is a diamond in the rough at times...

Overall, this episode was really enjoyable.  Not action-heavy, but the future segments and Brainiac 5 definitely made up for that.  And yeah, I saw the "dancing on air" sequence coming a mile away, but it worked and I felt like it tied into Clark's issues in the last episode with Kara and flying: he's finally discovered how it feels to "live in the moment" which was, apparently, what is keeping him from earning his wings.  This whole episode was dedicated to letting go of the baggage of both the past and the future and I really hope it sticks and that Clark finally gets out of his "whiny teen angst" routine.

Actually, the parts I couldn't stand were the "high school reunion" bits (with the exception of the Bug Boy returning- nice to bring things full circle a little).  All the supporting day players seemed WAY too cartoony, even for this show, and quite frankly, annoying (especially the teenage Chloe fans and that lady comparing Lois to Lana).

Unfortunately, based on the promo for next week, it looks like Lois is going to get possessed yet again for the 15th time (at least she's in a skimpy toga outfit).  And little "Lex" is back, so hopefully that story goes somewhere.

citrafreak 10/17/2010 5:38:29 PM

 Good review, I  agree with you about certain aspects.  I'm glad that they were consistent with the future Clark in the future I was almost positive they were not going to do that, but I loved to be pleasantly surprised.  I'm going to have to disagree about Lois I don't think she cared about no one remembering her as much as finding out where she fits in in Clark's life.  They broke up for a few episodes and have not repaired there relationship as of yet and Lois is a bit self conscious deep down, but she over-compensates to try to confirm to the world that she tough as nails.  Lois is also a little naive when it comes to love, because she doesn't let people get close to her.  She is the same in the Comics for the most part and in Lois and Clark.  I really enjoyed Brainiac 5 in this episode James Marsters did a great job, and the return of Bug-boy was an interesting addition.  I really enjoyed the ending just goes to show flight should be just around the corner.

PAGE 10/17/2010 6:20:28 PM

I guess I'm in the minority with my feelings on this episode because my grade is an A !

I watched this episode three times and each time I enjoyed as if I were watching it for the first time. The only thing I didn't like about this episode that a few of you maniacs mentioned was the over the top acting from the new Torch runners. They were just downright annoying, everyone I really didn't mind that much. Having James Marsters come back for this episode was awesome!  What I appreciated about this episode was that it was strictly about Clark and no one else. When the season started and they started talking about the darkness inside of him, I was really confused just as a lot of us were, about how all of a sudden he had this darkness in him. I mean Clark himself didn't even know what it was because he said so in this very episode. When it was mentioned that the "darkness" was actually Clark not being able to let go of the past and fearing the future, it all made sense. He's always had regrets about decisions he's made and never forgiving himself for past mistakes, and it was a pretty cool touch that this had turned about to be this darkness everyone seemed to be talking about. I know some of us fear that the writers will forget that Clark will have moved on from the past after this episode but I honestly don't think they will do that. They know that this is the last season so everything from this point should be geared towards Clark doning the tights and cape. As Braniac 5 said in the episode, it was the moment that changes his life forever. When we got a glimpse of the future Clark, it made we wish we had just one more season of him that way. Like a Superman:Year One point of view. Hell, I'd even take a 2hr movie of the week! Just looking forward to next week's episode and the rest of the season to see how the writers finish this season off.

karas1 10/17/2010 6:36:39 PM

Drat!  I missed it.  I was planning to watch it to see James Marsters as Brainiac 5 (my favorite comic book character) but I forgot to record it.  Drat!

besa36 10/17/2010 8:02:04 PM

I loved this episode, and I for one have been watching Smallville since it first aired in 2001 ... This is going to be the 10th year of my life that I'm dedicating to this show. So yea there are some inconsistencies sometimes but so what.. it happens everywhere. The show has kept the majority of us satisfied for years and I look forward to every episode. Also, if they didn't stretch out the story the way they have been doing, it wouldn't have lasted to its 10th season. It would have been a Superman movie, and there are plenty of those out there. I've always wanted to see Smallville for what it is ... and I for one have enjoyed the development of characters and relationships. It's like that with every drama. I'm gonna have a hard time parting with the show as it is ... so I definitely don't mind if they keep stretching it ... it's going to be hard saying goodbye.  

As far as Lois is concerned .. I think it was sweet. That had nothing to do with her being dumb enough to think that people would remember her. It was about her and Clark connecting in yet another way. Both feeling alone in the world.. a little out of place, like they don't belong. She keeps trying to relate to him and show him that he's not alone. Plus, she thought it would just make him feel better. Can't you tell how in every episode this season, she's been trying to show Clark that she would stand by the blur's side no matter what ... and how people really do need heros regardless of what they're saying in the news .. because some of what people are saying is really making Clark doubt himself. So no wonder he has been struggling when he doesn't feel like the city he protects every day would really stand beside him no matter what. She says in this episode how "he (the blur) never would let us down " and how "this person for one is gonna stand by her hero ... because thats what you do when you believe in someone." Lois has been trying to make him feel good about who he is.. and she thinks the homecoming would cheer him up. 

And, she actually says she was enrolled there for 23 days (pretty much a month). It's "the closest thing to a past she has." Also realize that when she says "Come on Clark, it would mean a lot to me... seeing all those familiar faces ... its like i had a place, like i fit in "  ... she's actually trying to stir up those emotions in him ... make him realize ... that "he puts the smallville in smallville." And, he needed to be reminded, like that guy said, Clark has saved a lot of people there ... it's not every town that has a hometown hero. That's what Lois probably wanted to remind him of. 

Few facts about her in smallville high: she wrote for the school newspaper .. she was always around Clark and Chloe and Lana by association (who were all well known). Lois was there pretty much the entire season 4 (still in high school). That's plenty for a girl to think that at least a few people would remember her, especially when we're talking about a small town high school with not that many students. Lois was always around all the action of course because she was with Clark and Chloe. So yea, someone should have remembered her. 

In general, I think this episode was great! Particularly the ending with Oliver's speech and most of all, the Clark and Lois moment in the end. 



JoeArtistWriter 10/17/2010 8:29:58 PM

Jason, I didn't even realize this was #200. It had the feel of a special episode I suppose, but certainly not a landmark number like 200.

heath, I don't recall Clark in his Super Member's Only jacket. I'll look again. Someone (I'm blanking on who, so please take credit if it's you) wrote in these boxes last week that Zatanna will probably cast a spell on Clark's glasses. While I hope they don't go that route, something tells me they just might.

DaForce, that's a great point about the journalism degree. I've thought about that a couple of times, bu never brought it up because if I listed everything that bugs me every episode I'd still be writing reviews of Season 9.

Duckbeaver, my biggest beefs with this show often concern the way they (mis)treat the Lois character. It was a nice episode for letting go and looking forward as you mentioned.

citrafreak, the way I saw it Lois seemed legitimately upset that the guys in their letterman jackets didn't recognize her, and the popular girls just walked away. I hate the way they write for Lois. She just becomes whatever they need her to be at the moment. Tough chick, hostage, dummy, genius... I do agree she's never been great at romance, and at least they've been consistent in that.

PAGE, Based on the writing on this ep, Superman Year One would be a great show with this same cast. Assuming they stayed consistent with the characters. It's such a shame they've held Superman out of reach for so long when that's why most of us tune in... to get some kind of glimpse.

karas, it's easy enough to find online. I'm probably not supposed to give links like that out, but it won't take more than 5 minutes to find it.


PAGE 10/17/2010 8:50:00 PM

@ Joe

It would be an awesome show, but we'll never get it. Just seeing that future made me wish the entire season would be like that. Perhaps the 2nd half of the season will have that type of feel to it.

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