SMALLVILLE - 9.19 - "Sacrifice" Review -

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  • Title: Smallville
  • Episode Title: Sacrifice
  • Starring: Tom Welling, Allison Mack, Callum Blue, Justin Hartley, Cassidy Freeman, Callum Blue, Pam Grier
  • Written by: Justin Hartley, Bryan Q. Miller and Walter Wong
  • Directed by: Kevin Fair
  • Network: The CW Network, LLC
  • Series: Smallville

SMALLVILLE - 9.19 - "Sacrifice" Review

Taking the good with the bad

By Joe Oesterle     May 02, 2010
Source: Mania

SMALLVILLE - 9.19 - "Sacrifice" Review
© Mania

I know many of you will think this was a great episode, and you’re half right. Fifty percent of “Sacrifice” was a tight, dark adventure. The other half unfortunately featured Chloe.

Again, a large percentage of you will feel I’m nitpicking, but I’m not. If I were truly nitpicking, I’d be finding minor flaws in a show that typically doesn’t lack in common sense, and if Smallville has an abundance of riches in any area it’s in the lack of common sense department. A minor flaw would be me once again commenting on how empty the streets of a major US city would be at the time Chloe buys here coffee from the street vendor. Unless Chloe is walking around at 4AM, this city of Metropolis is just not living up to its name.

That would be nitpicking. It’s a particular pet peeve of mine, and it’s true that even at 4 AM in New York City (the teeming metropolis that Metropolis is named after) Chloe would be walking by a few dozen early birds; joggers, dog walkers, morning disc jockeys, etc.

My problem with this show is so easily fixable that I contend the bigwigs at Smallville find a lack of common sense to be an endearing imperfection – kind of like Cindy Crawford’s mole, or the fact that the Sleestacks moved so slowly. The first LOCSM (lack of common sense moment) I speak of is right at the top of the show. These guys waste no time at all in being lazy. We the audience are supposed to believe that Tess Mercer, a highly intelligent, trained and deadly hand-to-hand special ops agent – who is capable of bypassing a Watchtower security system that is in all likelihood more technologically advanced than anything the U.S. government has at its own disposal – failed to bring her own gun. Jesus H. Christ on Red Kryptonite people, this is just stupid, stupid writing, but hold on, it gets worse (or more endearingly imperfect if that’s your view.)

The next LOCSM follows immediately when “quick-thinking” Chloe informs the Checkmate-educated Tess that the gun wasn’t loaded. Really? Does anyone who is reading this believe that Jason Bourne would have fallen for that rusty old canard? Because honestly, if we are meant to believe that Tess Mercer and all of Checkmate is as impressively lethal as they are meant to be, we have to suppose Tess is just as brilliant, just as dangerous and just as cunning as Jason Bourne. Guess what? She ain’t. But she should be. The writers have laid it out there that she should be, but their own lazy, inconsistent and illogical scripts have rendered that simple assertion impossible.

Now on to the third LOCSM, and this one is my favorite and obviously one of the writer’s faves too. Chloe, once again, manages to get the drop on a battle-tested martial artist. Does anyone here think Jason Bourne, James Bond or Ethan Hunt would ever even once let some 4 foot 8 inch chick, whose only training seems to be as a high school reporter, get the drop on them once? NO! No they wouldn’t, and they’d probably snap her little neck if they thought for a second that she was going to get in the way of the mission. Of course they wouldn’t have to snap her neck, because they would have had the option to shoot her, because they would have brought their own gun when they were undertaking a perilous assignment, and they definitely wouldn’t wonder if they remembered to check if their own gun were loaded or not.

That’s three instances of sloppy writing and we haven’t even had our first commercial break yet. Want a fourth? No sweat. Chloe apparently designed a security system that even she can’t override if a bullet accidentally goes off. Does this seem reasonable? Does this seem prudent? No, but it does seem an awful lot like Smallville (emphasis on the “awful.”

Somebody saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave me. Come on, I’ve been waiting for you, saaaaaaaaaaave me.

Now, there was the other half of the show - the Zod half. Once again, Callum Blue deserves credit for another fine acting performance, and finally we get to see Zod actually do bad things. Zod-like bad things. Strangling the life out of the woman he professed such great admiration for is pretty bad. It makes matters worse he did it basically because she wouldn’t “kneel before” him. (Frankly, the whole “Kneel before Zod” thing has been played out. It was cool at first, a nice little homage, but it seems to be a tad ham-handed nowadays since they try to shoehorn that bit of dialogue into every one of Zod’ s appearances.)

To make matters worse, and decidedly more somber, Zod realizes he just choked the life out of the mother of his unborn child, though when he managed to sew his Kryptonian seed in Faora is a mystery to me. I thought he was spending all his downtime shagging Tess. I guess that’s another advantage of superspeed.

Does anyone believe Zod actually killed Amanda Waller? I mean, sure, we saw her big fleshy ass jiggling awkwardly down the hall in the reflection of Zod’s fiery eyes, but the law of comic books assures us, if you don’t see the corpse, there was no kill – and even with a corpse, there’s really only an 18% chance the character will stay dead for any more than 50 issues tops.

And speaking of corpses, in some good news regarding Chloe, it seems we may only have another 2 episodes left to hate this character. With the Watchtower destroyed it seems Chloe has become expendable. I’d also like to think the character of Tess Mercer just foretold of Chloe’s death during their girl to arch nemesis girl talk before escaping from the clutches of Waller’s goons. Tess mentioned Ollie would never leave Chloe, which leads me to believe Chloe is getting offed. Now, this requires me to put more than a recommended amount of faith into these scribes, because that statement implies Ollie will be with Chloe forever because that’s the kind of guy he is. Now so far, Oliver Queen has not proven himself to be that guy, but I’ll let that bit of nonsense go by, because we all know a few things. One, some major character is going to die this season, and two, Ollie eventually hooks up with the Black Canary, and three, Green Arrow has been the de facto Batman in this show, and like Batman, he’ll need a serious loss so he can brood more effectively. This all of course hinges on whether the Smallville writers even know what foreshadowing means.

If Smallville is picked up for next season, its greatest obstacle may be how to come up with endearing imperfections (or as I prefer lack of common sense moments) without the benefit of the (hopefully soon to be corpsified) Chloe.



Wanna see Joe Oesterle’s photoshoot of the great fez-wearing Yiddish vampire, Count Smokula? It was done for Joe’s upcoming book, “Weird Hollywood,” due out in Sept. of this year. Enjoy.


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mysterio 5/2/2010 1:00:10 PM

joe i completely agree with u, ive been a fan of this show ever since the beginning but after the JSA episode i stop watching, its just not interesting anymore n to ur point about the unloaded gun, if u remember the beginning of casino royale, the u remember the scene were bond points out the weight of the gun when its unloaded! so if tess is supposed to be the super spy they make her out to be then thats something she should have easily picked up on!!

redhairs99 5/2/2010 1:21:40 PM

Well, Joe, first off this show has been picked up for a 10th season. That's old news.

While I like the idea of some super-security system in Watchtower, it doesn't really make sense will all the quick comings and goings of not only Clark but Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter from the building.

What I did like about this episode was that it explained why the hell Tess isn't dead since she's on the run or in hiding from Checkmate.  It makes sense that Checkmate would implant her with a secret tracking device and then make her think she's on the run. Only then to have Tess help them find what it is that Checkmate is looking for before offing her.

My hope (small as it may be) is that Clark flys in the finale.  There's simply no way that Clark and a fledging JLA plus JSA can take down 20 Kryptonians with full powers without at least one person who can stand/fly toe-to-toe with one Kryptonian.

PAGE 5/2/2010 1:46:22 PM

Nice review review Joe. Agree with the Chloe scenes being the worst of the episode. Did you know they everyone's favorite actor on this show (except mine), Justin Hartley, was also the one that created the story and was also one of the teleplay writers? He had a hand in some other episodes didn't he?

Anyway, anyone catch the trailer for next weeks episode? Looks like I may have been right about Martha being the red queen. Only 2 episodes left for this season, and hopefully redhairs99 said, that they have Clark fly in the finale because there is no way he can defeat them if all the Kandorians can fly and he can't.

And with the title of the finale being "Sacrafice", maybe (hopefully) Chloe will meet death.

JoeArtistWriter 5/2/2010 2:21:22 PM

Hey guys, I just received an email from someone who clearly has an issue with me. I guess he didn't have the guts to post it where everyone can see it, but I'm happy paste it and my response - posted below his. (His name is Mike - he didn't sign it, but that's what the name his email adress was created under... and I'll keep his personal email a secret... at least for now)



How the hell did you get a job as a writer you lazy bastard? Do you
even watch the stuff you critique? Everyone is entitled to an opinion, that's
how dopes like you have jobs in the first place. But, in your latest
"Smallville" review you say at the end..."If the show gets picked up for next
season..." It has already been picked up, which I'm sure as a Critic, you should
know already. Unless you're just a retard with a computer, I'll take chioce #2
Alex. Get a clue pal.


Dear Angry Douche Bag,

I don't see how watching and reviewing a show means I need to know that the show was picked up for another season. I obviously watched the show - do you think I just guessed that the Chloe and Tess scene would make me want to shoot my tv set in the first 4 minutes of the show? Well, poor example, because yeah, that would be an easy guess most weeks.

Since you seem happy to question my intelligence (in a very non-PC way I may add - which is why I don't feel the slightest bit guilty calling you names) perhaps you can explain how not knowing Smallville was picked up for another season means I'm mentally challenged.

You failed to defend my very valid critique of the show, and the best you can come up with is I'm a "retard" because I haven't heard the fast-breaking news about the upcoming CW schedule. You must be light years ahead of me in the intelligence department... either that, or your not just an angry douche bag, but a stupid angry douche bag.

Lots of love,


hanso 5/2/2010 2:48:17 PM


redhairs99 5/2/2010 3:00:03 PM

Page, the finale is called "Salvation."  This episode was "Sacrifice" which was referencing the sacrificing of Watchtower as well as Zod sacrificing (though unknowingly) his unborn child.

Eleanor 5/2/2010 3:53:38 PM

^^^ lol Joe, you're hilarious! The Angry Douche Bag would appear to be a Chloe fanatic who took offense that you refuse to get down on your knees and worship at the altar of She-Who-Thinks-She-Knows-What's-Best-For-Everyone.

What I really hate about Chloe centric episodes is how badly Clark is made to look, in order to prop up little Miss Condescending Know It All. The showrunners have even hinted that Chloe's (duplicitous) actions will be shown to be heroic in the end. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! It seems that the overriding theme of Smallville is that it sucks to be a young Superman, or that Superman sucks!



Duckbeaver 5/2/2010 4:33:06 PM

The Kandorian stuff was all that I really liked about this week.  The flower petal scene was kind of a quiet and beautiful scene AND it actually served as a call-back later on in the episode without having to be explained to us.  Zod got the message and therefore WE got the message.  And when all of Zod's troops took off into the air, I thought, "Yeah, Clark, you probably should've looked into that whole flying thing, huh?  Dumbass (in the dad's voice from 'That 70's Show')."

I don't really know why they bothered to bring back that tech guy who got shot earlier in the season.  He really didn't do much of anything that could be deemed menacing, so I was kinda wondering why he was even there. 

All in all, I liked this week's episode, but I'm curious to see how the "Ma Kent/Perry White" story can tie-in smoothly to the final conflict.  I felt that this week's cliffhanger could have transitioned right into the season finale.  Wondering how they're going to stretch it out for 2 more weeks...

JoeArtistWriter 5/2/2010 6:13:54 PM

mysterio, excellent point about Bond. They don't have to correct much to make this show better, just tighten the logic. Seems simple enough. It's just lazy.

redhairs, I think Clark will fly soon. He's got to be embarrassed he hasn't yet since Zod took to it so quickly. I'm willing to make thatbet. So far J'onn J'onnz is the greatest hero in this world, but I'll assume he'll be incapacitated with some heat vision during the final battle. That is  lock 'em in guarantee.

PAGE, yeah, I knew Hartley co-wrote the script, and there was some nice stuff in that show, but the Chloe scenes were just too stupid for words. Tess Mercer brings a gun. Period. Tess Mercer does not get hit first by computer nerd Chloe. Period. It's that simple. Just lazy.

hanso, how did I know you were going to enjoy that?  ;)

Eleanor, you're right about Clark looking like an idiot around her. It would have been (as I called for in the past) a much smarter move to make Chloe a Checkmate level enemy of Clark's. That adds a real wrinkle of drama to the show. Genuine drama. That's a pretty good concept.

Duckbeaver, you're right about the Kandorian stuff being the best part. There was no competition for that. Such a shame they can't - or refuse- to be consistently as good as that half of the show.

Moz72 5/2/2010 6:19:19 PM

Good Review Joe I enjoyed that episode but at the same time I do agree with your criticisms.  By the way good eye on noticing how empty the streets of Metropolis are. Must be how they save on money for special effects, "Sacrifice" the extras <chuckle!> couldn's resist the pun!

Don't pay any attention to Mr. Angry Douche Bag. He obviously has personal issues a deep-seated  hatred of anyone whose opinion differs from his. He obviously doesn't know how to express his discontent through intellectual debate and instead resorts to throwing tantrums. He obvioiusly was not hugged enough as a child, or his mommy and daddy didn't give him the pony he wanted for his birthday!

For you piss somebody off like that , you're obviously doing something right. Keep it up!


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