Smallville: Dominion -

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  • TV Series: Smallville
  • Episode: Dominion
  • Starring: Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Justin Hartley, Callum Blue, Cassidy Freeman
  • Written by: John Chisholm
  • Directed by: Justin Hartley
  • Network: The CW
  • Series:

Smallville: Dominion

Zod bless us. Three good ones in a row.

By Joe Oesterle     May 01, 2011

With Justin Hartley’s debut behind the lens, the actor, writer and now director has proven to be the most well-rounded, talented member of the regular Smallville cast. Granted, some weeks on this show that sentence can be interpreted as; at 4 foot 11, Justin Hartley is the tallest regular dwarf in Dwarfville, but the initial statement is truly meant as a sincere compliment.

I’ve always liked Hartley’s portrayal of Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, and enjoyed his turn as writer on last season’s “Sacrifice.” Actually, I only enjoyed half of it. I detested the scenes with Chloe. I’ve never cared for Allison Mack’s character anyway, and never ever believed in how she was written. But witnessing ex-high school reporter Chloe Sullivan suddenly being a physical challenge for the Checkmate-trained Tess Mercer was too much for me to accept then, and the very recollection of it still sends What The Fuck chills up my spine now. That said, and it needed to be said, I did love the scenes Hartley penned for Zod. Clearly Hartley understands the character of Zod, and in this episode, he manages to make Zod even more Zod-like.

Before I spread the Hartley love though, I do need to point out this glaring writing error, and I am positive I’m not the only one to have been puzzled by this; why didn’t Oliver show up with his weaponry? The guy is known as the Green Arrow for Rao’s sakes, and while he’s certainly a skilled martial artist, wouldn’t a guy is more comfortable patrolling the streets of Earth with a quiver of imaginative projectiles on his back think to bring his specialty accoutrements when volunteering for a deadlier mission than stopping muggers in an alleyway? Remember, I said Hartley was the most talented member of Smallville. I never said he was the second coming of Orson Welles.

What bugs me more than Green Arrow’s decision not to bring his green arrows though, is the fact that the solution, like many solutions for lazy writing on this program, is easily corrected if someone there ever wanted to take a second pass at a script. How about this?

Ollie walks in with his equipment, and lays it on the table before Clark gives him the you’re not coming with me speech. That, or he could drop it as he rushes Clark in mid- transportation. Ignoring the very reason Green Arrow enters a life or death situation without the tools that make him so effective guarantees some head-scratching moments among fans, and it also misses out on some potentially entertaining dialogue between two protagonists who clearly respect and mistrust each other at the same time.

Okay, enough with the most obvious gaffe on the show, this episode is the kind of entertainment I have been wanting since Day One. While there were no tights, there certainly were some fights, and these fights were some of the best action scenes we’ve ever seen on this show. True, Hartley didn’t invent the slow-mo to fast-mo battle shots, and he did borrow heavily from films like 300 and Gladiator, but he made his homage work – unlike a number of other movie rip-offs this season. (The Matrix, The Hangover and Date Night come to mind immediately.)

Once again Callum Blue was fantastic in his role as Zod. If anything, this week’s portrayal of the evil Kryptonian with a lethal hard on against any members of the House of El was his best yet. Blue clearly relishes the sound of his own delivery to lines that would undoubtedly come off as goofy if delivered by a lesser actor.  Good for him, because it makes sense that Zod the character would also love the sound of his own voice. The only knock I have on Zod was another writing blunder. While trying to convince Clark that the two of them are more similar than the erstwhile farmer’s son realizes, Zod says the pair are single-minded, stubborn and decisive. Decisive? Clark Kent is decisive? I don’t think Zod has been watching the same Smallville in the Phantom Zone that we get here on Earth, because while stubbornness and even single-mindedness may apply to our boy Clark (who didn’t wear his glasses again this week after such a big deal was made of it last week. I know, he didn’t interact with anyone outside his inner circle, but I’m convinced that the CW thinks anyone with corrective lenses are automatic dorks.) fast, effective decision making has never been an appropriate description.

The scene between Ollie and Zod was particularly good, and while there was no chance of Ollie betraying Clark, I did get the feeling Ollie was slightly unhinged at how well Zod understood what made him tick, and even more surprised at how much Zod knew of Ollie’s skull tattoo – courtesy of Darkseid. The battle to the death between Clark and Ollie was nicely shot, and the final turn of events actually came as a pleasant surprise.

Meanwhile back at the Watchtower home front, I suppose many of you liked Lois pulling the gun on Tess, and while I felt it was fine, and probably even necessary, I was so involved in the gritty and violent world of the Phantom Zone, I’d have been happier with a more somber conclusion. Again, I realize they like their happy endings over at the CW, but the tone set would have been better served with something a little less huggy and lovey. Perhaps my testosterone just went into overdrive after watching what I felt was a real action-oriented 60 minutes, and I wasn’t ready to go back to typical Smallville treacle, but I can forgive the little things.

After a pretty bad beginning of the final season, Smallville has now given us three shows in a row that have been worth watching. I’m hoping things only get better.  


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xpaladinx45 5/2/2011 5:15:50 AM

 Pretty well said Joe.  In 10 seasons, off the top of my head, I cannot remember a time when they had 3 good ones in a row, yet they've done it here!  Granted, I am not sure if this gives me more hope for the finale, or scares me, but lets hope they keep the roll going.

Dazzler 5/2/2011 5:21:27 AM

They should have been doing Darkside stuff.  Now they have to cram it all in the last ep and series final.  It's a great job getting to 10 seasons but they needed better writing on this. 

I should just put needs better writing on my sig for all my posts.  Pisses me off that all this great tech for visuals these days but no writing to back it up. 

xJokersxWildx 5/2/2011 5:44:35 AM

Episode as awesome. Callum Blue is amazing and like i said before if he were playing Zod in the new Superman movie id embrace it a hell of alot more.


SgtTechCom 5/2/2011 5:50:03 AM

You will bow down before me, Jor-El. I swear it! No matter that it takes an eternity! You WILL BOW DOWN BEFORE ME! Both you, and then one day, YOUR HEIRS!

Callum Blue is Zod , Terrance Stamp would be so proud \m/

I love the touch of clark when he battled olie the "red cape" on his gladiator uniform. Nice Superman Touch.

Awesome episode sorry it all has to end , was an amazing ride, been there since season 1 .

gopherblaster 5/2/2011 6:14:34 AM

At first I ws taken back by the Ollie explaination on how him and Clark worked together, the 2 sec wrap up after they were saved.  I thinking if they were working togther, why stab Clark.  But he is the Green Arrow, has all the Agility and aiming focus, so he could pull it off.  Not hitting the heart I mean.


Good directing.  Makes me think I can get a job directing in Hollywood.  The regular directors stink.  Hartley should step in more often.


Wiseguy 5/2/2011 6:24:07 AM

Really had a blast with the 300 imitation. Loved the episode

Bryzarro 5/2/2011 6:37:02 AM

 Another solid episode in my opinion.  Really like how they use Zod.  Did they explain how he got into the Zone anyways?  I was watching it late at night so I may have missed it.  I know he said something about the Kandorians turning on him.  

I'm dying to see the finale now. I know they didn't do much with this Darkseid thing all season but i'm starting to be fine with it because we've all seen everyone's reaction to the Smallville version of DC baddies.  And I just know the moaning and bit@hing we are going to hear in the finale when he shows up in whatever form.  

Duckbeaver 5/2/2011 7:10:12 AM

Yeah, this week was a good one.  I'll agree that about the only issue I had with it was that Clark and Oliver felt that they would be just fine without any weapons in the Zone.  I mean, Clark knows that he loses his powers there, so why exactly wouldn't he wear or bring some more protection at least?  One other thing: if Zod has had access to the Zone's gate this whole time, why didn't he ever use it to return to Earth?  Ahhhh, nitpicking.  Sorry...

The action was tight and I enjoyed the "Zack Snyder"-ish feel to it.  I was also really pleased with the solid continuity like the idea that the spirit Zod from Season 6 joined with the clone Zod and resolving the Slade Wilson issue without having to really show him.  The homage to Superman: The Movie was cool, too.  Was that Ursa and Non trapped in the Zone window with him?  And yes, something FINALLY having to do with Darkseid happened.  The solution/quest involving Oliver's search for Orion's bow seems interesting...

What really got me psyched was the teaser for next week.  Sure, we got Lois getting Clark's powers (AGAIN), but Kara, Granny Goodness and Toyman are back (I always liked his over-the-top character).  Plus, did you see that group shot of the Legion of Doom?  Solomon Grundy, Black Manta.  Friggin' Captain Cold!  PLUS, finally saw some pics online of Rosenbaum back in action for the finale.  That guy owns the bald cap!  

Duckbeaver 5/2/2011 7:17:34 AM

 PS- Justice has finally been served for the actions of 10 years ago.  God Bless America.

TC777 5/2/2011 7:56:24 AM

Joe, I agree with the grade ande loved the action, but WTF, they did it again.  The premise makes no sense at all!

Slade gets sent through the portal, Clark and Ollie go to investigate.  They learn that Zod has the crystal.  Fine.  But then Zod tells them since he got Clark's blood, he can use the crystal.  So why doesn't he?!  He could go back to Metropolis and be all super powered again.  But instead he chooses to stay and rule the phantom zone?  Why?  It doesn't make any sense.  I was scratching my head on that one for minutes on end.

And touche' on the no weapons thing.  Clark goes to the phantom zone, where he regularly gets his ass kicked or is taken prisoner by people with knives and spears, and he goes... defenseless. Amazing.

Other than that, good action, although it seemed like a little contrived way to have Clark and Ollie fight.  And they're working together, so they know that after Ollie STABS HIM, Zod is going to step in to make the finishing blow so Clark can grab the crystal.  Oh, that all follows. 

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