Smallville: Mania TV Review -

Mania Grade: B

24 Comments | Add


Rate & Share:


Related Links:



  • Episode: Luthor
  • Starring: Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, John Glover, Justin Hartley
  • Written by: Bryan Q. Miller
  • Directed by: Kelly Souders
  • Network: The CW
  • Series:

Smallville: Mania TV Review

Looks Like They’re Building Up To Something

By Joe Oesterle     December 06, 2010

Let me get this right out of the way, because it really doesn’t mean much, other than the fact that I’ve been a Superman geek for as long as I can recall. Ultraman doesn’t exist on Earth Two, he and the rest of the Crime Syndicate of America are Earth Three residents. Yeah, I understand completely why writer Bryan Q. Miller (who certainly knows better) decided to take liberties with the comic book mythos, but that bit of misplaced comic book lore stuck in my craw, and I needed to vent. That said, it certainly did not ruin the episode for me. It was just the geek inside me felt the need to point it out, AND I know there are a good number of you reading this right now who felt the same thing. Don’t try to deny it.


First of all, I need to say how welcome it was to have an actor of John Glover’s caliber return to grace us with his presence on this show. Glover is capable of delivering the type of dialogue that has tripped up other more than capable thespians. (recent case in point, Michael Hogan.) Earth Two, it was explained, is an alternate universe where history is similar, but different enough, and most importantly, the world itself is a darker, more disturbing place. Glover’s Earth Two Lionel Luther was every bit as threatening and insincere as his Earth One counterpart, and this one was decidedly more lethal.


Tom Welling came off nicely (or not so nicely as the case may be) as The Blur’s evil doppelganger, Ultraman, and I even preferred Earth Two Lois. Erica Durance’s variant Lois seemed more womanly, more sophisticated and more mature to me. Maybe it was the dress, maybe it was the hair, maybe it was the monochromatic film choice, but something about Earth Two Lois made me sit up and notice. Durance is a hottie, and there’s no bigger fan of Lois’ cosplay fetish than yours truly here, but it doesn’t matter what earth she’s on, what costume she’s in or who’s writing her scenes, she still seems to get stuck with some of the cheesiest unbelievable dialogue in the history of prime time. 

Example: Earth One Clark kidnaps Earth Two Lois and the two exchange this bit of rooftop discourse.


Clark: … How else could I know that you’re brave and loyal, and a force of nature?


Lois: Anybody could have told you that about me.


Grooooooooannnnn!!!!! I admit, they rebounded after that, but really, that’s how you try to convince your alternate universe soulmate that you’re not going to kill her? Don’t you really have to explain the reality of alternate universes first? I’ll say this about Earth Two, I didn’t see hide nor hair of Chloe there, so it can’t be that bad a place.


Okay, let’s get back to what was good, and there was plenty. Cassidy Freeman has been exceptional all season long, and last night was no exception. Poor Lutessa (I hate that name so much I love it) can’t find happiness on either world. Freeman has played the tortured soul with dark secrets very well, and now that her confidential information has been discovered by Clark, I’m going to miss Tess’ internal struggles. I’m guessing Freeman will continue to impress regardless which way her character turns. My hunch, before all is over, Tess will sacrifice her own life for the sake of good because of the guilt she feels for allowing Lil Lex to speed-grow into what we all assume/believe/hope will be the return of Michael Rosenbaum’s return as ol’ Double L.


But one glorious return at a time, as we all learned from last night’s episode, good Clark claimed to have destroyed the mirror box, so how then did Glover’s Luthor manage to hitch a ride over to Earth One? While I enjoyed the ominous newsstand scene at the end, and didn’t feel a need for an explanation right there and then, I would like to get one, and a viable one at that, before the series is over. I confess I do worry how the writers over at Smallville will manage to make such a thing seem plausible. I’ve never had much confidence in that team, and this is a pretty big assignment they’ve been charged with - ending a successful (if not critical, than at least by its core base of fans) series, and doing it in a way becoming of the character Superman. In other words, this finale should be big.


As for this latest episode, overall a nice job, but as the show count starts to dwindle, I have to say I’m growing concerned they may be juggling too many balls for a show that has trouble just holding a single ball. We’ve yet to find out what ever became of Chloe, (and while I’m more than cool with that, you think Oliver might show a little emotion about it after the first week she was gone) the JSA/JLA team needs to get formed, we’ve barely met Darkseid’s minions, and it’s a safe bet the Lord of Apocalypse will play a big role in the end of this series, I’d like to find out a little more about Ma Kent, aka the Red Queen. She was (awkwardly) introduced as this clandestine ass-kicker, but there’s been little or no mention of her since, and of course there’s the little matter of Lex’s clone growing up to be a very sinister dude. All that, plus they’ve just re-introduced Lionel Luthor. Granted there’s still a dozen shows, but it seems they are cutting things awful close, and I’m afraid the word “awful” may very well be sadly appropriate. I hope I’m wrong.


Oh yeah, and I know I was bitching about Ultraman not really hailing from Earth Two in traditional Superman lore, so since they were stretching things, I would have loved to see Tom Welling in a goatee. Now that’s an homage I would have embraced.



Follow Joe Oesterle’s book, “Weird Hollywood” on FaceBook. Lots of deleted and unedited stories from the book, but also plenty of genre discussions and some like-minded people. Daily updates.


Showing items 1 - 10 of 24
1 2 3 >  >>  
noahbody 12/6/2010 5:33:14 PM

Three days for a review, was there a mandatory cooling off period?

Wiseguy 12/6/2010 6:22:34 PM

I'm sure Joe uses the weekend to hone his skills in drinking games, right Joe.

I tivoed the last couple of episodes so I'll probably wait for X-mas break to catch up. But a B, impressive or is the bar just set much lower


LooneyBinJIm 12/6/2010 7:06:02 PM

LL was able to cross over because he was caught in the wake when good Clark returned. You can see him running toward Clark in the background. Either that or LL was able to grab and use the mirror box the Earth Two Clark had and good Clark was referring to destroying the mirror box of  Earth One.

The thing that gets me about this is: Why did Jor-El pack these things on the ship or left them on Earth in the first place. I mean really Jor-el?? What's next...a Kryptonian death ray??


millean 12/6/2010 9:50:49 PM

Ahhh.... good to have my Joe Osterle fix back (yeah, I probably should watch Walking Dead, but I've had too much other stuff going on, maybe I'll catch up during rerun season).

Is the Lionel we saw at the end of the episode the Earth Two version, or is this the Earth One Lionel? I think our LL died somehow (for the life of me, I can't remember), but there's always a way to bring people back from the dead.

I've always been a fan of Erica Durance, but DAMN... Cassidy Freeman turned it up a notch this week! Her character has always been a little more business like, but if Lois ever needs a cosplay compatriot...

OK, time to hit the sack. I'll check back in tomorrow. I've tried not to delve into the sports arena too much on these boards, but I gotta at least say WAR EAGLE just once for my beloved Auburn Tigers! :)



PAGE 12/6/2010 10:41:36 PM

Hey Millean, Earth One Lionel was pushed out of his office window by Lex. Then they showed him splattered on the ground after the next break, so no way he comes back from that. With the whole cloning theme this year, when I heard he was coming back for a few episodes I just assumed he would be back as a clone so it's pretty cool they actually had a nice twist to his return.

I really liked this episode and while I understand the need for them to visually so us the difference between Earth One and Earth Two, I wasn't really digging the special effects for Earth Two. Seemed like the same effects they used for dream sequences in previous episodes. They should do something different.

And Joe, I agree with you. There does seem to be an awful lot going on in this last season. I know they are trying to wrap things up but  they should have focused on things one arc at a time. Like, the beginning of the season should have focused on just the suicide squad. Mid season should have just focused on Darkseid, and the end of the season should have focused on Lex and his clone. Not sure exactly how it could have worked but with some thought put into it I 'm sure it would have worked fine and turned out better than what they are doing now. This episode was at least better than the previous, however none of the episodes thus far have been on the level of "Homecoming", and that's kind of sad to me considering this is the last season. I mean I didn't expect Clark to fly in the very next episode but these episodes have really been letdowns. I didn't see any past reviews for a while, but in the episode that Aquaman appeared in, the actress that played his wife was Super Hot!! Hotter than the chick that plays Zatanna I think. Although she's Super Hot herself.

Anyway, next episode looks pretty decent but I think the reason for the storylines is to drag out Clark flying as long as possible. I was really hoping with a title like "Icarus" that Clark would fly in that episode, but it doesn't seem to be the case from what I hear. Makes me wonder why they even chose that title.  Oh and I don't know exactly when Joe, but your questions regarding Marth and Chloe will be answered soon. Well, soon as in January or February. :)

karas1 12/7/2010 12:26:32 AM

Next week, the return of Michael Shanks as Hawkman.  Looking forward to that.  Shanks seems to be putting more heart into the Hawkman character than his guest shots as Daniel Jackson over in Stargate Universe (which he really seems to be phoning in).

Sorry, I found this episode a little dull.  Maybe I was too busy cringing about the dialogue between Clark and Lois which was dire.  Did like Tessa though.  Talk about Daddy issues!

On Earth 3 didn't Lex Luthor grow up to be the only superHERO on the planet? 

EvilMonkey 12/7/2010 5:20:52 AM

I'm gonna let the Earth-2 designation slide.  Since they have shown that the JSA is on his Earth and not Earth-2 then tthat leaves Earth-2 wide open for the writers.

xpaladinx45 12/7/2010 5:42:24 AM

my fav part of the episode, while extremely cheesy, was Lionel at the newstand at the end, looking dead into the camera saying he wanted to see how it all turns out.  John Glover rocks.  He was always the class of the show in the early seasons

PAGE 12/7/2010 6:31:01 AM

I'm glad John Glover agreed to come back to the show. Unlike someone else we've been wanting to come back. Yea, I'm looking right at you Michael Rosenbaum!!

ddiaz28 12/7/2010 7:02:44 AM

Great episode.  Cheesy dialogue is par for the course on this show so I don't even blink an eye at it anymore.  And I agree with Loonybinjim that Lionel 2 must have hitched a ride to Earth 1 as Clark left.  I was kinda hoping they were going to show what happened back on Earth 2 once Clark Luthor reappeared. 

They do have quite a bit to wrap up in the second half of the season, but I think so far, they've made this season the best it has been in years, and I trust that it will continue that way.

1 2 3 >  >>  


You must be logged in to leave a comment. Please click here to login.