SMALLVILLE - 9.9 - "Pandora" Review -

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Mania Grade: D

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  • Title: Smallville
  • Episode Title: Pandora
  • Starring: Tom Welling, Allison Mack, Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, Callum Blue, Justin Hartley, Monique Ganderton, Alessandro Juliani
  • Written by: Andrew Landis and Julia Swift
  • Directed by: Morgan Beggs
  • Network: The CW Network
  • Series: Smallville

SMALLVILLE - 9.9 - "Pandora" Review


By Joe Oesterle     November 22, 2009
Source: Mania

SMALLVILLE - 9.9 - "Pandora" Review
© Mania

Arrrrrggghhh!!!!!! This show frustrates the hell out of me sometimes, and the latest installment, “Pandora,” was a perfect example of said frustration. This show has so much potential, and has, on occasion, created so much good but it’s always weighed down with the kind of convoluted logic and out and out stupidity that makes me want to rip out every single hair on my head, and join the other bald former Smallville resident Lex Luther and hide away from these writers for a couple of seasons.

I’ll try to address the positives before the urge to rail on against idiocy overtakes me; I really enjoyed the special effects. The red sun looked huge and powerful. I won’t bother wondering how the Earth’s sun got so big, I’ll just accept that it did…. Did we get closer to it? Did it get closer to us? Did the sun physically grow? Once the sun becomes yellow again won’t most of the earth just burn up anyway? Ahhhh look at me. I went negative. I said I’d try to address the positive, but one sentence in and I went negative. By the many moons of Graxios, I can’t help myself! This show is maddening.

Phew, I need to collect myself. Yeah, alright, the sun was ten times bigger than normal for some reason and that will never harm us, or any of the other planets in our solar system even when it goes back to yellow… Ok, I can deal with that.

I loved the fact that they were on a quest to retrieve a ring, and there were two towers, and they had to battle the mighty inhabitants of Mordor – I mean Kandor.

Ok, ok, I’ll stop.


I’ll Try Again.

I did like the look of the post apocalyptic Metropolis slums, and the tattered Superman insignia hanging like a warning flag was nicely reminiscent of the Doomsday comic, so many years ago.

We get to see all of this because Tess, the misguided Earthist, has invaded Lois’ brainwaves thanks to the technological genius of Chloe’s wild side counterpart, Stu.

Chloe in the meantime is justifiably pissed off at Clark because he dared call her ethics into question. I’ll give it up to the writers for that one. They managed to pull off a reasonable bait and switch on us there. For a few weeks many of us have wondered in the comment boxes below if Chloe was letting all this Big Brother intelligence go to her head. While I think it would have been more interesting to turn Chloe into a chaotic good girl gone rogue for altruistic reasons, I’ll accept that her morals are still unwavering.


Blown Opportunity.

Just think though, how intriguing would it be to have a Chloe, who clear mindedly decides the only way to win the war against the baddies is to use her Watchtower tech to eavesdrop on potential evil doers as well as innocent civilians? She would obviously go too far, and Clark would have to step in to stop her, but she’d certainly be the most formidable foe ol’ Smallville could ever face at this point in his life. Could he defeat her, and if so, at what cost? Plus it would make Chloe kind of interesting.


Oh Yeah, I’m Irked.

Those last few paragraphs weren’t overly critical, but here’s something that irked the crap out of me. Why in the world would a Kandorian who wants to beat up or kill Lois because she dared ask for food even consider letting her go unharmed for a freaking wristwatch? I mean, I get that it has sentimental value to Clark, so it is indeed a heroic and selfless gesture on his part, but I’d bet she could have grabbed a few dozen watches at an abandoned Macy’s or Nordstroms if she really wanted a watch. AND if she really really wanted a watch she could have ripped Clark’s arm out of his socket and taken it. My point is, Clark had nothing to bargain with. Bad-ass Kandorian assassin chick didn’t need to bargain, and she really didn’t need a watch anyway. That scene was just there to show us that Clark had Lois’ back, but come on. We’re not all 6 years old in this audience. There was a better way to convey Clark’s still a hero under a red sun without insulting my intelligence. It’s stupid, it’s sloppy, and too often, it’s Smallville.

And by the way, why did Zod reach into Lois’ pocket? He seemed to know she had something in there. Does he have x-ray vision, or did he just want to get inside her pants? Too bad Lois didn’t have a wristwatch of her own to bargain with.


Stupid Writing, Stupid Me for Expecting Better.

Speaking of bargaining, when in the history of ever does this ploy work? “Take my life, just let her live!” That’s what Clark screams out shortly after Zod announces there will be a double execution. Clark, you already gave up your wristwatch, so unless you have a really cool skipping stone, or a slingshot in your back pocket, I’m guessing you’re plumb out of sentimental valuables to trade.

As Zod raises his sword in an attempt to separate Clark’s head from his body, in pops some masked guy shooting green arrows. Oh the tension! I can’t wait until this guy removes the scarf from his face so we can find out who is shooting green arrows. At first I thought Red Tornado, then I guessed Blue Beetle. Boy was I surprised when it was revealed that the masked hero shooting green arrows was Green Arrow. I can only surmise he was masked because it truly did come as a surprise to me that Chloe was the other sharpshooter. I assumed it was his hooker with a heart of gold friend from a couple weeks ago, but Chloe was an effective switch twice this episode.

And man did those two clean house. They were a seriously lethal Kandorian-killing machine, and Chloe being all deadly cool when she declared in matter-of-fact detached tones, “I had the shot, I had to take it.”



Allow me to digress here, because I watched this episode twice, but I’m still unclear how the Kandorians get superpower under a red sun, and Clark is reduced to the strength of a mere human. I know Jor-El did something to rob the Kandorians of their powers, but what powers did they have? They weren’t flying back on Krypton, and if everyone on the planet has super strength, then isn’t that just called normal strength? Owwwww my brain hurts again. Please someone explain the whole red sun gives everyone from Krypton super powers – yet robs Clark of his.


Ummmmm. No.

So Lois, running a block in heels somehow manages to hide behind a truck, and she thinks Chloe is going to be safe after she notices a flying super strong Kandorian heading their way? I assume since Zod knew there was something in Lois’ pocket that all these Kandorians have the powers of The Blur. This would include, heightened vision, and hearing. Hiding behind an SUV is no defense against an angry Kryptonian. What was Lois thinking? If you touch the truck it’s some sort of safety zone?

Eh, that’s not the worst part, because after Bad-ass Kandorian assassin girl runs Chloe right through, Green Arrow comes and warns the much more powerful enemy to “Get the hell away from her!”

WTF!?! Get the hell away from her? This is the same guy who only 8 minutes ago slit the throat of a Kandorian in the heat of battle. If he ever had a chance at taking out an integral piece of the Kandorian army it was to stealthily shoot that chick in the back. Am I the only one crying right now? I hope not. It’s so painful. Please Smallville writers! Please! Please do not insult my intelligence any more. There is NO excuse for that kind of writing. G. A. is fighting a war, he just watched his partner get slain before his eyes, and instead of firing a righteous kill shot of his own, he lets her escape?!? Please allow me to reiterate, WTF!!!!!


And the Insults Keep on A-comin’.

And since I’m reiterating, AAAARRRRRRGGGHHH again.

Oh, and at the end, Clark and Lois hold hands in the elevator. Who the F cares! That romantic Lois and Clark moment may have made me forgive some glaring errors in past shows, but not this time. I am officially insulted by shitty writing. And why wasn’t Clark wearing his glasses? Or better yet, why have him put them on last week if he wasn’t going to wear then this week. WHY!?

I want answers! I need answers! I deserve answers!

Who the hell could have guessed from last week’s coming attraction that the Wonder Twins episode was going to be so much better than Pandora? Maddening.

I’m going to cry some more.


Signing Off.

And so fair citizens of Smallville, until next week, once again this is Joe Oesterle, your mild-mannered blogging, reviewer guy saying, “It's kryptonite, Superman. Little souvenir from the old home town. I spared no expense to make you feel right at home.”



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.

And if you enjoy stories of naked women being hunted with paintball guns, be sure to check out Joe’s latest article on his own blogsite,


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redhairs99 11/22/2009 1:45:36 PM

Yeah, not a great way to end a pretty decent run of episodes this fall, but at least the trailer for Absolute Justice looks sweet!

As for the Red Sun thing, I think they tried to explain it in the episode that those towers of Zod's, with the aide of several satellites, somehow channel the energy from our yellow sun directly to the Kandorians and giving them the powers from a yellow sun.  The energy expelled from this process makes the sun (at least from earth's pov) a red sun.  It's a terrible explanation, yes, but I think that's how they tried to reason it.

And for the glasses thing, I said last week that I didn't see the producers actually following through on the whole Clark wearing glasses thing.  He's worn glasses in I believe two other episodes and neither time has it stuck.  The first time was when his vision started going all haywire when he was developing his x-ray vision.  It's at that point that they should have kept him in glasses.  Oh sorry, I forgot how would anyone buy a handsome leading man if he wore nerdy glasses?  My bad CW, you're right, glasses are only for geeks.

soylentcola 11/22/2009 2:17:35 PM

I was an alright episode. I liked the homage to the death of superman comic with the torn s symbol hanging on the pole.

samson 11/22/2009 2:49:01 PM

It was okay. I'd say it was a C episode. But definatly not a "D."


JoeArtistWriter 11/22/2009 3:46:15 PM

redhairs99, yeah you called the glasses. 2 points! When I first read that comment of yours last week at first I thought you had to be wrong, but the more I thought about it the more I liked your guess. Go on you, old man.

soylentcola, the tatterred S was a brightg highlight in a dismal epsiode. Just horrible leaps and gaps in logic. That said, when it's good it's good. Too bad they can't go more than 2 goods before we get thrown a bad.

samson, I thought about giving it a C, but again, I felt the logic was unforgivable. The great story idea and the cool visuals and nice moments (tatterred "S" ) saved the grade, because  the writing was a complete F.

JoeArtistWriter 11/22/2009 4:31:05 PM

yujiaoyou, I'll take 2 pair of Ed Hardy jeans, some Gucci shoes (size 12) one pair coogi jeans, 3 sunglasses and one cap. Bill it all to Always glad to see you weigh in. Keep it up bra.

CaptAmerica04 11/22/2009 5:06:13 PM

Joe, all I can say is... preach on, my brother.  At this point, the CW should be handing out medals for anyone who serves 6 months watching this putrescent show.

After 7 seasons, I swore I'd just finish out the show because I'd already invested time in it.  But episodes like this make me reconsider that vow.  I just want to delete it from my TiVo Season Pass and forget that it ever existed.

The only thing stopping me is the idea that there are more cool episodes coming down the pipe.  I want more Justice League!  The promo for the 2-part JSA episode in January looked AWESOME (which only makes me worry all the more that it will SUCK).  I'm gonna go on record right now and ask:  if the JSA has been around as an old-school hero team, why have we never heard of them in the show?  And where have they been lo' these 8 long years while meteors and meteor freaks alike were running riot over most of Kansas?

JoeArtistWriter 11/22/2009 6:02:55 PM

CaptAmerica04, thanks for feeling my pain. I cannot imagine investing over 8 seasons to this show. It's effing maddening! I want soooo much to like this, and have deliberatly lowered my standards to enjoy it. Now I don't want to say I wouldn't have enjoyed some of these shows during a normal standards viewing, but when they get it wrong the stench fills my nostrils all week and I dread having to view the next episode.

I am looking forward to the JLA ep. My guess is the JSA will be portayed as a secret society, who are now coming out of the shadows since hearing the news of this Red Blue Blur.


Please join me and my good friend CaptAmerica04 as we join hands and pray to the mighty Rao that this upcoming two-parter with the JSA doesn't suck. That is not to say, we don't expect to have a pure non-sucky two-part episode of Smallville - I'd sooner expect our prayers of super strength and x ray vision to be answerred. No, we're only hoping, oh benevolent Rao, that the suck doesn't outweigh the cool if only for these two episodes. You are wise Rao, and we will humbly abide by your decision for the JSA arc to suck or to not suck.

theHeadCase 11/22/2009 6:13:35 PM

Watching this show is like being the fan of a losing team, you hope things will change but then you just end up being disappointed again and again.

I also had a problem with how the assassin chick was still able to move at super speed after the yellow sun was restored and yet Zod apparently lost his powers. This episode felt like the writers had no idea what they were gonna do after making Lois travel through time so they just wanted to get it outta the way no matter how sloppily.

hanso 11/22/2009 6:19:11 PM

I plan on buying from yujiayou as well Joe. He's much better than who was pimping Air Jordan's over on the Avatar thread for $33. Yujiayou got Air Jordan for $30! It's amazing i tell ya, amazing!

I haven't checked out any episode this season so I can't comment on the episode but I will check out the Absolute Justice one.  Anyway, just wanted to say that anyone that doesn't have the Smallville seasons on DVD yet and want to get them should checkout Best Buy on Black Friday.  They are gonna have seasons 1-8 for $10 each.  I plan on getting 7 & 8.  Why?  Because I sometimes enjoy torturing myself with crap tv shows.

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