SMALLVILLE - 9.6 - "Crossfire" Review - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: D

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  • Title: Smallville
  • Episode Title: Crossfire
  • Starring: Tom Welling, Allison Mack, Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, Callum Blue, Justin Hartley, Elise Gatien, Ryan McDonell
  • Written by: Holly Henderson and Don Whitehead
  • Directed by: Mike Rohl
  • Network: The CW Network
  • Series: Smallville

SMALLVILLE - 9.6 - "Crossfire" Review

I think my grade might be too generous

By Joe Oesterle     November 01, 2009
Source: Mania


SMALLVILLE - 9.6 - "Crossfire" Review
© Mania

I’m Not Surprised… I’m Just Disappointed.

I wish I could say I was shocked at how disappointed I was with this last installment of Smallville. I really wish I could. The last three weeks seemed to be the start of an upward trend, not just a flukey streak of watchable to good programming. I really wish I could say this recent episode was a regrettable anomaly, but I see the pattern. It’s the same pattern most discerning Smallville viewers have complained about since Season One. Every time it looks like the show has found it’s footing, we get treated to an entire waste of an hour, followed by a string of poor to average shows, and then they’ll sprinkle in another couple of decent episodes that look Shakespearean in contrast to the crap we just put up with for a few weeks. I wish I could say I was shocked at my disenchantment, but I’m not.

Sadly, I saw this coming up Metropolis’ Main Street faster than a speeding bullet, but I kept my mouth shut. Mainly because I didn’t want the readers of this review to think I had an irrational hatred of most of the writers on this show. Let me just say for the record, that is a complete and utter falsehood. My hatred of most of the writers on this show is completely rational and justified.

It’s one thing to gear a show to an audience of 13 year olds, but it’s an entirely different thing to hire 11 year olds to write it.

Again, forgive me, but I feel each time I come down hard on this show I have to validate my love for the characters of Clark, Lois, etc. I do care for those characters; I do have respect for the mythos. I am very knowledgeable on the subject of Superman, his rich multi-media history, and it pains me to see it treated so shoddily.

 

I Want To Like This Show – I Swear I Do.

By the way, I’m not some comic book purist who cringes when an established character gets changed in the course of re-imagining of a beloved storyline. (Although I wasn’t thrilled with whatever happened to Jimmy Olsen.) I have no problem that Smallville has apparently turned Oliver Queen’s youthful ward, Roy “Speedy” Harper into a Fight Clubbing hooker, but just because they take on adult themes of prostitution and drug abuse doesn’t mean anyone over 8 yrs old should have enjoyed last night’s abomination. That said, no one under 8 years old should have been allowed to watch last nights show. Not because it dealt with mature themes, but because parents should protect their children from things that suck.

I wish my parents would have forbidden me to watch this week’s Smallville, but I guess since I moved out of the house a couple decades ago, they’re trying to let this little bird fly on his own. However, if this is what the real world has in store for me – hacky crapfests with total disregard for the intelligence of their audience. (ages 8 – 80) then I want my mommy to protect me from this kind of pain in the future.

Uggggh! I almost can’t stand to write about this episode (entitled “Crossfire”) because it will force me to relive all over again. I’ll just tell myself it’s Halloween, and that will keep me in the spirit of abject horrors.

Instead of breaking the episode down, let me just get to the good (that will be short) and the bad (which will be considerably longer.)

 

What I Liked

Well, I didn’t die of shitty television writing, and if the old adage is true; whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. So after sitting through Crossfire, I must obviously now be at least as strong as Aquaman – and he’s pretty strong - living so deep in the ocean and all. So I guess what I liked about this episode is I didn’t pass away of tedium during it, and I now have superpowers. Other than that, there isn’t much, but in the spirit of looking for the good in bad situations, I’ll go with, I enjoyed the introduction of Cat Grant. Not the actual written introduction, I just liked Cat from the comic book, so I’m happy she’s now on board.

I liked Justin Hartley again. The guy’s a solid actor, and somehow he manages to make the ridiculous dialogue work.

Oh, and I like Smallville hookers. Because they’re all very pretty, dress sexy but not overly slutty, and they don’t look like they could give you a disease.

That’s about all that I liked, but mostly my newfound super strength.

 

What I Didn’t Like

Not enough Zod. I’m getting sick of the teasing. This character is intriguing, so could we please see some more of him before the ultimate and ultimately disappointing end of season confrontation? (See the whole Doomsday storyline to feel my pain on season enders.)

So Ollie hangs out at Fight Nights looking to find a girl wonder of his own to mentor. Too convenient. How difficult would it have been if Ollie had already established a genuine connection with this Mia, and then discovered she has hooking with her fists and other body parts because she was in deep with a bad crowd? The writing fixes are always so simple on this show, why can’t these 11-year old screenwriters see that? If only their 12-year old studio execs would spend less time skateboarding and playing their Pokemon cards... or whatever 12-year old execs do these days.

Here’s another thing I didn’t like. The rooftop scene with Ollie and Lois about to be gunned down until “The Blur” shows up and step in front of the automatic – I’m sure the 11 year olds thought they were writing an homage to Superman Returns, but it wasn’t an homage. An homage would have been a reverent show of respect for what has come before. There doesn’t seem to be a ton of respect for what has come before with this writing team. This was a blatant and shameless rip-off, right down to their tiny twist of the bullet almost reaching Ollie’s eyeball.

Oh, and before I forget, can we please get a stunt double for all future Erica Durance fight scenes. One of the only sure things I can count on in this show is Erica Durance will look hot, but her fight scenes are reminiscent of Elaine Benes’ spastic dancing on Seinfeld. It just ruins the mood.

Seriously gentle readers. I do wish I had written a more positive review, and I can almost guarantee next week’s show has to be better. It couldn’t possibly be worse. Could it?

 

Signing Off.

And so fair citizens of Smallville, until next week, once again this is Joe Oesterle, your mild-mannered blogging, reviewer guy saying, “Do not punish yourself for your feelings of vanity. Simply learn to control them. It is an affliction common to all, even on Krypton. Our destruction could have been avoided had it not been for the vanity of some who considered us indestructible. Were it not for vanity, why... at this very moment...”

 


 

Joe Oesterle is an award-winning writer and illustrator, but what he often fails to mention is that many of those awards were won on a New Jersey boardwalk. Pick up his latest books "Weird California" and "Weird Las Vegas" in any Barnes and Noble near you, and look for his next book, "Weird Hollywood," due out soon. www.JoeArtistWriter.com And be sure to check out his latest humorous animated video, entitled, “The Balloon Boy Song.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrYRquNyZxU

 

 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 41
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hulkster46 11/1/2009 1:46:45 PM

Hey,

Glad I wasn't the only one disapointed by the Doomsday storyline. It should of been like the comics, until Clark and Doomsday have there big fight. And have Lois discover that the blur and Clark are the same person. The writers should of kept the character of Doomsday in an underground vault somewhere, and have the big fight with a two hour season finale. With Lois holding a dying Clark in her arms.

Then over the course of the summer, is Clark dead, will he return, ect.? Having cliffhangers garners big ratings in the fall, when the show returns. Producers could of then introduced the reign of the Supermen storyline, ect. Look at past shows like, Who Shot JR on Dallas and even the star trek movies like Star Trek II the Wraith of Kahn and Mr. Spocks death. and his return in number 3.

Turning back too Smallville, I'd like too see Lois discover that Clark is the blur, and have Martha come back for an episode or two, and make Clark his Superman costume. Or have Lois and Martha combine their efforts and make it. Lois would  try and show that Clark is a symbol while Martha would show his heritage, ect. Again just a thought, I watch the show off and on, on my dvr. And will fastforward through scenes if I feel the story is lagging. I did on last weeks episode, watching maybe 10-15 minutes of it. Especially if its boring.

JoeArtistWriter 11/1/2009 8:12:38 PM

hulkster46, thanks for weighing in. Always great to hear from you guys. I think the Doomsday finale bugged everyone. As for a cliffhanger, I'm a huge LOST fan, so I'm all for cliffhangers, but I don't think Smallville could be too effective without Tom Welling for nearly as long as Superman was out in the comics.

I think Lois will figure out Clark is the Blur, and I'd be surprised if we don't see Martha at some point this season. I would expect the traditionnal red and blue costume to make an appearance by season's end. Thanks for writing

Muenster 11/1/2009 9:14:53 PM

 The Smallville television series must be a front for a money laundering operation or a highly dubious tax dodge. It is simply amazing that this show which has been continuously and consistently sucking for over 7 years can possibly still be on the air.

I mean really, it's just so damn awful. I really don't know anyone who watches it.

I was thinking of tuning in for the upcoming Wonder Twins episode, but then I came to my senses.

TKay42one 11/1/2009 9:17:13 PM

Hey, I quit DVR-ing the show this season...just can't even try anymore...but for as much as you put into this article, you BARELY talked about the episode in question at all...I'm sure you could write a MUCH longer article about everything that is wrong with Smallville, but it just seems to me that if you're doing an article about a specific episode, you should try to stay more on topic and talk more about the episode in question.  Just trying to provide some constructive criticism...oh, and as for this supposed homage to "Superman Returns"...how exactly does a homage to a homage work?  That seems like it should cause a rip in the space-time continuum or something...and apparently this was a shi#y homage to a shi#y homage...we've got a big, shi#y rip in the fabric of reality, everybody...beware of rolling brown-outs!

JoeArtistWriter 11/1/2009 9:54:57 PM

Muenster, you may be on to something. I would hate to think this show is on the air legally, so it does restore my faith in the creative process. To keep such a suckfest on the air for 9 years is pretty inventive

TKay41one, you're right. I barely spoke about the problems. I clearly mentioned that very fact in the last two - three lines of the "I Really Want to Like This Show..." chapter. I just couldn't go through it fault by fault. I would still be writing, and I think it's unfair that I already put more time into a 1000 word review than these hacks put into writing an entire episode.

TKay42one 11/1/2009 9:56:51 PM

LOL...right on.

littlemikey979 11/2/2009 6:39:44 AM

I know this show is bad when I would rather watch Vampire Dairies with my girlfriend then sit thru Smallville, and when I do watch I am more tuned into Green Arrow's story then the Blur's.  

Muenster maybe they have to keep the show going to keep hold of the rights to Superman or something legal like that.

I just dont know what they are doing with this show anymore, its never been great, but at least the early seasons were watchable and worth buying when Target has them on sell for $19.99. And dont even get me started on "Doomsday", I think they put more money into the custome then they did the script. This show is going down hill fast and i hope it's some excutive player at CW's joke on how long they can keep this going and not the best they can offer.

And I read they are pushing for another two seasons? i hope not, just put Tom in the tights, bring Lex back, give Justin his own new show for keeping this one afloat for so long, and take this old dog out back and put him to sleep. I hate having to chose to not watch this show.

timesobserver 11/2/2009 6:44:05 AM

Well, another interesting episode of Green Arrow-Ville!

It's what I said from the first start when I heard that he would join the cast this season. I truly hate how they made Zod the typical cloak-and-dagger bad guy.

Just like Tess, they made Zod into a Luthor. And why? I'm sorry, but I want some realism just a bit. I'm not some 5-year-old guy from 1954 who will swallow any type of bull that the writers rip out of their bottoms.

How can a blood-thirsty, military alien, who's planet is very different than ours, easily understand our business and economics? And I don't want to hear how smart Zod is, there are some concepts that take a bit more than a few weeks to understand and Zod doesn't look like the business type where he can pull it out of thin air.

Writers need to stop using alien intelligence as a magic wand to fix any problem that they come across with the characters they are writing about.

Anyway, I really need to move to Metropolis to save my failing journalism career. Because I live in Philadelphia and the two big dailies over here won't hire you unless you've worked 10 years at a mid-size paper, plus have a college degree. But in Metropolis, you don't even need a college degree or any type of experience and apparently, this will allow you to walk right into any studio and land a job at a talk show.

I did like Mia and her fighting in the start until I wondered why she couldn't just drop kick her pimp. Oh, and bonus points for the flips. One of the things I hate is how the good guy/gal will do a flip just for the looks and it had not practical use but they made it happen when Mia did it.

But, let's face it, it was really another Green Arrow-Ville show and once again, the action and meat of the story was towards Ollie and not Clark. I don't mind one of the characters getting an episode that focuses on them, but this has to be the third or fourth episode in a row where Ollie is stealing the spotlight.

Is that why they made Clark kiss Lois, to refocus the direction of the show? It seemed a bit forced and I will miss the little cat-and-mouse game between them, if it does end. Because I really do enjoy watching Lois and Clark together and I personally think they have some real chemistry together.

 

www.thetimesobserver.com

ddiaz28 11/2/2009 7:19:52 AM

There must be something wrong with me because I just finished watching this episode this morning and while I didn't love it, I didn't hate it either.  I think the fact that it all led up to the kiss made it worth it.  It's about damn time the writers at least learned not to drag out Clark's burning desire to be with a woman only to hold back so as to not hurt another friend.  Another positive was Chloes' character.  i love how she is starting to take charge and be a bit of a manipulator.  I also didn't mind the blatant SR ripoff.  At least they did it a bit differently.  Maybe I'm just a sucker for the cheesy romance and want my inner teen from over a decade ago to enjoy himself.  I might be trying to hard to still like this show but I've watched this long so I'll continue to shut my brain off to enjoy the many mediocre episodes so i can still watch the few great episodes they give us each season.

JoeArtistWriter 11/2/2009 8:34:02 AM

littlemikey979, I feel your pain. but I had no idea things had gotten so bad you'd rather watch the Vampire Diaries. Hopefully since you're watching with your girlfriend you're earning brownie points. I'd hate to think you're doing that on your own.

timesobserver, I was born in Philly and still read the papers online. Sounds like there's only going to be one standing pretty soon. I agree Mia's flips and fight scenes were leagues above Lois', but I am perplexed at what Ollie was doing there in the first place. Am I supposed to believe he was looking for a hooker with a heart of gold who could also beat up world class MMA fighters, but not a 35 year old pimp? Sloppy, lazy writing. Just give me a valid reason for Ollie being there, and I'd have bought in.

As for the kiss... yeah, I guess it was about time, but after sitting through that drek, I almost forgot about it as soon as it was over. Lois and Clark do have great chemistry, but no one watches a Superman show soley for the romance. That's a nice side package, but come on.. this is Superman.

And yeah, I like Ollie, but he is taking over. I wonder if this stuff was written just in case Welling pulled out, and now they're scrambling to insert Clark.

ddiaz28, I envy you. My brain can't shut off that much, and I just watched a dozen "Land of the Lost" episodes a few weekends ago. I'll also quibble about the amoungt of "great" episodes you're expecting, but I'm glad at least one person out there isn't in agony.

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