SMALLVILLE 9.21 - "Salvation" Review -

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Mania Grade: B

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  • Title: Smallville
  • Episode Title: Salvation
  • Director: Greg Beeman
  • Writers: Al Septien and Turi Meyer
  • Cast: Tom Welling, Allison Mack, Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, Callum Blue, Justin Hartley
  • Network: The CW Network, LLC
  • Series: Smallville

SMALLVILLE 9.21 - "Salvation" Review

Pleasantly Surprised

By Joe Oesterle     May 16, 2010
Source: Mania

With the bitter taste of “Doomsday” still left in the collective palettes of the Smallville-consuming community last year, coupled with writing inconsistencies throughout this entire series, it was only prudent to approach this season’s highly publicized season finale with at least a modicum of trepidation.

I have to admit I was surprised. “Salvation” certainly wasn’t a flawless hour of television, but it was an entertaining and at times even exciting piece of superhero fare.

Let’s start at the beginning – or according to Clark’s dream, the future - 2013 to be precise. Now I know there are those of you out there still watching who enjoyed the show back when it was nicknamed “Kal-El’s Creek,” and maybe you still miss the days of teenage angst and the “no fights, no tights” mantra; but you can’t tell me you weren’t thrilled at the sight of an actual flying red and blue blur whizzing over the Metropolis skyline. You can’t tell me your heart didn’t race just a bit when you heard Lois refer to Perry White as the editor, or bellow for “Olsen.” I’d also wager the spinning office chair, the glasses on Clark’s desk, and the cry of, “Look up in the sky” got you all stupid smiley. And the piece de resistance, had to be the liberal borrowing of John Williams’ movie score as Clark awoke and found the package (presumably the actual Superman costume) Ma had left for him. The iconic “S” shield reflected in his eyes.

Now that was an opening. And let’s all just admit it. Even if prior to that scene you were some kind of no-cape purist, you have to admit you experienced, if for only a scant few minutes, how exciting this program could and should always be. There’s a reason the character of Clark Kent has been so popular over the course of the past 71 years, and while the fact that he has occasional romance problems, or arguments with friends plays a part in his popularity, you know why that character is still around? It’s because he wears a cool uniform, and flies really fast, throws buses around like they were wiffleballs, beats up very powerful bad guys, and outsmarts brilliant bad guys, makes an entire city feel protected, rescues the random cat in a tree from time to time, and does it all without expecting anything in return. That’s why Clark Kent is still popular. So why not call quits on the noble experiment of a nine year Clark show without his more electrifying alter ego. We want Superman! We want Superman! (Continue chanting until thoroughly worn out.)

We didn’t get him, but this episode at least teased us in a way that seemed to promise a real possibility of seeing him (hopefully very early) next season.

Sadly we did get Chloe. Many of us were hoping Allison Mack’s cloying character would be the rumored “major death” of the season, but it would seem that the Watchtower maven was spared that fate. Eh, Clark’s not the only one who can have happy dreams.

Chloe was able to convince Clark his ultimate fate was not necessarily on this planet, but perhaps he was destined to lead his people on another world. Chloe said she was broken up about the possibility of living in a world without Clark, but Mack’s acting did absolutely nothing to imply this sentiment was even remotely true. Nonetheless, she did manage to convince the mild-mannered savior that maybe he had interpreted his father’s lessons incorrectly. Clark prepared himself to leave Earth, and leave Lois.

The character of Lois has bothered me in this show, but then again, I’ve been annoyed with that character in the movies and in the comics as well, so I won’t blame the Smallville writers for the fact that she went against the real “Blur’s” warning and actually followed the instructions on a note signed by a false Blur.

Lois Lane has a nose for news, and while I assume a Lois Lane who never met Clark Kent would have long ago become an obituary many times over instead of a front-page reporter, she has been incredibly lucky that her guardian angel has kept close tabs on her during most of her investigative work.

It was just poor judgment on her part to meet with this Blur, and while she never completely bought that Zod was in fact her personal hero, he did manage to plant some seeds of doubt in regards Clark. This sends Lois to snoop through Clark’s private belongings. (Again, another reason to dislike Lois. I would go crazy if I found out my girlfriend read my email, or listened to my voice messages without permission, but if she ever dug through my journal of my secret alien heritage, I’d break up with her, and then burn her ass pretty good with my heat vision.)

I’ll assume everyone enjoyed the televised Superhero summit in the Watchtower. I confess I was more than a little disappointed we didn’t get to see the Martian Manhunter in action again. It’s funny that the invisible, intangible, shape-shifting, flying Martian is a more credible character than Chloe or Lois, but I’ll chalk that up to the understated acting ability of Phil Morris. We did get more hot-headed conservative and snarky liberal banter between Green Arrow and Hawkman, and every comic fan had to enjoy that. Again, I find the masks on the girls (Stargirl and Black Canary) to be a bit visually disturbing. They look too cartoony, and I don’t buy them as a comfortable disguise. My guess is those things impair your vision when fighting and probably fly off pretty easy with one punch to the face. (Of course you have to be a real bad guy to punch a girl in the face.)

Proving himself to be a real bad guy, Zod didn’t punch Tess in the face, but burned her enough to resemble Batman’s twisted nemesis, Two-Face. So who was the old woman with the knitting needles? (I’m assuming it was a woman, though the person looked to possess a pretty powerful build when s/he stood up.) With all the talk this season about the upcoming “Apocalypse” could we have been watching Granny Goodness herself? It looks like the Tess we all knew may be history, but it’s a good bet Ms. Mercer will be reincarnated next season as one of the Female Furies.

Another question we are left to ponder during the summer hiatus is who swarmed on Oliver. We know it wasn’t the Kandorians, because he informed us of that fact with his last words. Darkseid’s parademons perhaps?

My biggest question is if Zod knew the blue K would keep him earthbound, how come between the two of them, neither Chloe or Clark thought that would make a good way for Clark to walk his people to the doorway of their freedom, but not have to escort them there himself. Another nagging problem is why didn’t Clark ascend with the rest of the Kandorians. If it was because he was in close proximity to Zod, I’m willing to believe that, but if memory serves, Zod didn’t even unsheath his blade from it’s protective covering until the golden light claimed a number of Kandorians. Did Zod know he was a later round draft pick?

I’m quibbling here, because in comparison to most Smallville gaffes, this one barely registers. It was also a clever way to have the two enemies really duke it out without paying for any special effects. Clark allowing Zod to stab him and his subsequent Christ-like fall to the city streets below was a clever turn I did not expect.

I’m hoping for a Martian Mahunter save next season, because I’m a big fan of Double J, but I suppose Clark could pull the blade out himself, or Hawkman might swoop him up too. Either way, I was hoping for a big all-out battle royale, only got a couple of non-powered punchers on a rainy rooftop, and I have to say it worked.

Good job Smallville. I didn’t even have to grade on a curve. Now let’s see if you can use this momentum to your advantage starting in Season 10.



Joe Oesterle is a photographer of some note. He has taken photos all over the world, and is the primary photographer in many of his books. If you’re interested, please check out some of his work.


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noahbody 5/16/2010 1:59:49 PM

Decent episode, one of the few "good" ones.

Agreed About the masks, they look horrible.

JDK008 5/16/2010 2:35:19 PM

 Great review.  Thought the episode was a good season finale.  I'll be interesting to see where they take it from here.  Joe as far as Chloe I know that she wasn't contracted into season 10.  So she'll most likely meet her maker early next season is what I'm guessing.  Oh and how crazy was it in Clark's dream to see Lex running for president??  I got chills of hope once I saw that that maybe with some miracle Michael Rosenbaum will return and save this show from its demise.  Overall, a solid B is the right grade.  Not too great but not bad by any means.  

Kal-el's Creek..LOL That shit was hilarious Joe.. love your jokes man

lracors 5/16/2010 2:59:35 PM

After all the mixed bag episodes of prior 20, we do get a decent season ending cliffhanger much better then the last few seasons for sure. I enjoyed much of this... except for the melodramatic Lois... can we please STOP i hate it. Anyway she finally knows Clark is The Blur so that out of the way. Someone took Tess's body and since she's signed up for next year hum we'll have to see where that goes as much as i really disliked Tess for some damn reason she has grown on me. Chloe meh i could take it or leave it i wouldn't mind seeing her leave the show we might actually move in a direction towards Clark having to take charge for a change and put the team perminently together.  Ollie swarmed by red dots i almost forgot about that but yah that is definately a portent for next season.  Nice to see Mom drop off the suit.... NOW PUT IT ON!!! I really hope season 10 has clark in suit and pulling the Heroes together to stop the next big bad Darkseid... at least I hope it's Darkseid since people keep dropping the word Apocalypse.  Clark one more time, PUT ON THE SUIT!!! BE SUPERMAN!!!

redhairs99 5/16/2010 3:08:43 PM

I gotta give this episode an A-.  It's probably the best season finale (at least that I can think of off the top of my head) that the show has ever had.  Maybe the first season one was better, but I haven't watched it in so long I can't recall.

I think it was the little things that made it so good.  The bit at the beginning in the future was full of great spots.  "Perry White: Chief Editor" on the door, Lois calling him "Chief."  Lois calling for Olsen.  The Lex for President headline.  Lois wearing a wedding ring impling her and Clark are married by 2013.  The spinning chair and glasses on Clark's desk.  And if you pause it just right, you could a little CGI Superman under the bi-plane, flying it away before it crashed.  Oh, and the "Look, Up in the Sky" comment.  Then there was the presumably home-made gift left by good ol' Ma Kent for her boy should he decide to stay.  All I can say about that is they better have him in the costume next season.  There's no excuse not to.  HE HAS THE SUIT!! Why wouldn't he wear it?

On the other great spots in the episode...

Did anyone else notice that Hawkman said he was in Giza?  I wonder if he found the Stargate while he was there?  Though I was disappointed that the hyped up cameos from JSA and JLA members was just the video screen chat session.  Oh well, at least the JLA logo was prominently featured in these scenes.

And it appears as though Lois has figured out that The real Blur is Clark after the big smooch.

Granny Goodness was a nice little surprise.  I guess Geoff John's saying he wrote "Apokolipse" in the script for Absolute Justice was in fact true.

And we even got a nice little fight at the end between Clark and Zod even if we had to suspend our disbelief as to how Clark didn't "ascend" with the others when only Zod had the blue K.  Still, it was a good ending ending with Clark giving Zod a little smirk implying he had out-smarted Zod.  I hope is there is no "save" in the season premiere.  The episode should begin at the same moment that this one ended.  With the death of The Blur.  As Clark falls, he turns and flys off to the Fortress!  Rebuilds the necessary components and then flys back to Kent Farm and donnes the red and blue costume that his mommy made him!!!

jfdavis 5/16/2010 3:13:39 PM

I have never liked Canary's whole costume and yes, Star Girl's mask...

About Clark not ascending: I guessing it really didn't include him though can't say why...

The burn pattern on Tess's face looks so familiar to me but can't place it...

I wondered about the knitting scene and Granny Goodness is a good bet.  Played by Ed Asner I hope! (Especially since the only actual woman I'd  buy is Bea Arthur and she's dead...)

Duckbeaver 5/16/2010 5:12:43 PM

Bea Arthur would have been an AWESOME Granny Goodness!  Missed opportunity!  Sigh...

That opening was one of the best moments yet...they ACTUALLY delivered...kinda...Superman, fully decked out and saving a plane.  Tess pounding Zod's face in with Kryptonite brass-knuckles was cool, but I didn't get why she'd allow him to distance himself from her and fry her.  The JLA video conference was a cheap/easy way to get as many heroes on the screen as possible, and while it would have been cool to see the team in action, I got a sense of family/community when the characters interacted.  Just a shame they didn't have the Flash there, seeing as how they have established him in the past as a "kid brother" figure for Clark.  I hope they don't rewrite Lois' revelation about Clark into something contrived.  It would be a refreshing take: she knows about his double life but keeps it to herself.  That would make sense for this Lois, especially since she made such a big deal about not wanting to know the Blur's identity a couple of episodes ago.  The fight in the end was good, albeit normal.  A good send-off for Zod and the Kandorians...

I really hope there's not some last-minute save for Clark at the beginning of next season.  Pull the knife out of your gut and FLY, man!  You've seen the future, so you know you can!  The producers better have wised-up by next season and just show the transformation straight out of the gate already!  They showed too much in the opening for that to NOT be the next logical/natural step for the character.  Of course, given the show's erratic track record, who knows?  Maybe the Wonder Twins show up again and fly him to safety in the form of a big eagle...

Really hoping for an Apokolips/Checkmate story arc.  I really do think it was Granny outside Tess' room and parademons that captured Green Arrow.  Bring in Michael Ironside as Darkseid!  Yeah, I know he's already played General Sam Lane on the show, but whatever!  He rocks the 'Seid's voice!

littlemikey979 5/16/2010 5:27:43 PM

I can't believe that the show has gotten so bad that this is considered a good ep. The only thing I can guess is that the CW has cut their budget way way down so they can afford to pay the other members of the JLA to do more then appear on computer monitors for a few minutes, or have a super duke-out between Zod and The Blur. I think giving this show a B was being nice. I am looking forward to this show ending next season and I hope they get it right.

mike10 5/16/2010 5:54:45 PM

 My question/complaint is: How the hell will they be able to make Clark Superman if everyone has seen Clark without glasses for years? Will Zatanna create a spell on the glasses that make people think Clark always wore glasses? If they use this idea I better get a check in the mail or at least a thank you for getting them out of a corner. I'm not holding my breath ;)


redhairs99 5/16/2010 5:56:58 PM

Forgot to mention this earlier, but was Tess' jacket lead-lined?  If she had those K-knuckles they should have been making Zod sick from the get-go.  And I was thinking the same thing about how did Zod get far enough away from her for the K to have no effect on him?

And I vote Clancy Brown for Darkseid!  Michael Ironside is cool, but I like Clancy better.

Also if since they just had the JLA on the monitors would it have been so hard to get Bart and Arthur on there too?

ponyboy76 5/16/2010 6:01:02 PM

I have to laugh when I read comments about how they are looking forward to the show ending. You read them every year, but every year its the same people, hating it, but still watching.

The beginning of this episode was one of the best Smallville has ever had. From the whole Daily Planet scene, to the Supeman suit in the gift left by his mom. I got goosebumps. And I know Joe mentioned it, but that vision pretty much confirms that Lex is in fact alive..

I'm on the minority but I like the Lois  & Clark drama. Some of it is annoying because they are rehashing the same problems him & Lana had, which is a waste of time. Overall though, they have good chemistry. I just hope that the writers don't backtrack,now that Lois actually knows that Clark is the Blur.

I swear that was Granny Goodness. It makes total sense if they are doing Darkseid. Next season could be awesome.

I also liked the human fight with Zod and Clark. We were disappointed with the quick Doomsday battle and this one was more brutal. Not sure how Clark is going to get out of this one. I'm actually looking forward to next season.

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