Smallville: Supergirl Review -

TV Review

Mania Grade: B+

Maniac Grade: C-

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  • TV Series: Smallville
  • Episode: Supergirl
  • Starring: Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Justin Hartley, Laura Vandervoort, Steve Byers, Michael Daingerfield
  • Written By: Anne Cofell Saunders
  • Directed By: Mairzee Almas
  • Network: CW
  • Series: Smallville

Smallville: Supergirl Review

A Near Flawless Episode

By Joe Oesterle     October 10, 2010


Please let it be known once again that I cover this show in what I believe is a very fair and unbalanced way. I have been and will continue to be critical of lazy writing, poor acting, uninspired direction and worst of all, easily correctable gaps in logic.
   I realize there is a blindly supportive and at times very vocal Smallville following out there who read this review. I have had intelligent debates with some of you regarding what I see as flaws in this program. Others of you simply resort to insipid name-calling when I give a legitimate critique. (Which by the way is what I’m paid to do.) This small minority of readers on these pages who are absolute whack jobs and they are the unfortunate stereotypes that give comic book and genre fans a bad name.
   To my relief and delight however, there is also a strong contingency of you out there who want have invested years in this show despite its long history of coming up short, who still watch this program because you believe in the characters, you’ve seen this show deliver big on occasion and you’re sitting there, hoping against hope that this Friday’s episode will be “one of the good ones.”
   All that said, and in the name of the impartiality I always bring to each review, I really enjoyed the latest episode in the Smallville saga.
   I will say I’m still not sold on the Hepburn/Tracy chemistry that Durance and Welling have been trying to match, but bully to them for trying I suppose.
   This installment had a lot going for it. The special effects were nicely done – especially for television standards, and even more to the point, for Smallville standards. Too often in the past we have seen effects like Clark burning a hole in a chain link fence with his heat vision, then a shot of a smoking fence. That’s a very low-budget approach to storytelling. We had none of that here, and that’s important. Special effects and Superman stories, while not necessary in every episode – because we don’t need to see feats of superhuman powers in every episode. But those effects are immeasurably important when said powers are being highlighted.

   Kudos also go out to the director this time. The overhead shot of Kara and Clark on the farming windmill, and more impressively, the butterfly moment. Both shots were done artistically, and both showed some special effects magic that had nothing to do with super powers.
   Speaking of Kara, it was nice to see someone proudly wearing the old blue and red undies. My guess is Laura Vandervoot fills out her Super Suit better than Tom Welling, but of course that’s simply a matter of demographics, and I am, as are all of us, waiting for Welling to don the cape. This episode once again (for I’m guessing the 12th time in the past two seasons) hinted at a full time move for Clark to start wearing spectacles.
   Of course, if we were only watching this show for costume changes then the lovely Erica Durance once again did not disappoint. Luckily for Lois, and for lovers of Durance’s ample charms, our intrepid reporter has an entire closet full of sexy-time dress-up clothing, and she used her literal bag of tricks to infiltrate fetish night Club DeSaad. (A nice shout out to the Apokolips denizen of the same name.
   I will criticize this episode for ripping off (though I’m sure in their defense they would claim they were paying homage) to a couple of famous if not iconic moments in superhero movies. Naturally I am referring to Clark’s fall through the barn roof after almost conquering is fear of flight, and more obnoxiously, Ollie calling a press conference to reveal (ala Tony Stark) that he is in fact, Ironma- I mean Green Arrow. At least this means we don’t have to deal with that stupid voice modulator of his. It was a bad idea from the get go, and one they should have lost seasons ago.
   And while we’re on the topic of genre movie homage, let’s not gloss over the thankfully more subtle nod to Star Wars. This is the way to handle a proper homage. You don’t simply lift out a scene from a successful movie and cut and paste the names of your characters. Like Luke Skywalker, Clark also has daddy issues, but the spin here is Clark’s dad doesn’t believe in him for similar reasons. Jor El also sees much darkness in young Kal El, and for this reason, he is reluctant to throw any support behind his only son.
   Kara has information she’s reluctant to share, but something tells me Clark will win her over completely … eventually.
   In closing, I have decided to grade Smallville at the adult table this week, and forgo the usual Smallville curve I have imposed upon myself for sanity’s sake. Congratulations on your grade of “B” Smallville. I am happy to say you truly deserved it this week.
Are you a fan of the old Brady Buch show? Then read this unedited excerpt from Joe Oesterle’s “Weird Hollywood” book on Cousin Oliver himself – the one and only, Robbie Rist.


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DKnight0212 10/10/2010 8:33:03 PM

Despite the fact that, Superman, Superman mind you, can't fly, needs Kara to tell him how to use his powers, and STILL won't wear the suit, even when Kara shows up in hers'. Despite all of that , you gave this a B ? Although, I guess Oliver Queen pulling a Stark, and revealing himself as Green Arrow to the press,was  a nice bit. But that just put   this in high C territory, but that's about it.

samson 10/10/2010 9:03:21 PM

This was really a good episode.

As far as Olli goes, the voice modulater never bothered me and seemed like a logical solution to the problem of people knowing your voice. I can pick out the voices of almost everyone I know and the people I watch on TV. If I have my back turned and I hear a familiar voice in a different role, I'll almost always know who that person is. Queen is a very public figure. People know who he his. Hiding his face wouldn't, couldn't be enough.

His voice, speech patterns, turn of phrases would all give him away almost as easily as having no mask at all. Compare Green Arrow size and weight to Queens, couple that with his voice and the identity of one green leather clad vigilante is almost certainly publically known.

You may not like the voice modulator. But, it would be almost a necessity for someone of Queen's public standing.


Moz72 10/10/2010 10:13:46 PM

C'mon Clark, get out of the superhero closet already! It's almost annoying how nuerotic he acts about concealing himself from the worl he is supposed to be protecting, but, like you said Joe...I've been following Smallville since Day One and I will still be wathing to the bittersweet end.

Yes, Laura fills out her uniform very nicely, but I have to ask, where out of left field did the model photographers come from?? Did Supergirl schedule a photo shoot? Was that supposed to be her day job? That scene didn't make any sense to me and really didn't fit in with the story.

Nice tip of the hat to DeSaad (...and the Marquis De Sade). Bravo to Erica Durance in her portrayel of the Dominatrix, especially ordering the two girls to take care of Godfrey..NICE : )  Was starting to wonder if I was watching CW or Cinemax.

I'm still a little disappointe that Darkseid is being portrayed as some shadowy evil phantom, instead of the ruler of Apokalips, leading an invasion force to Earth. Oh well, budget constraints I guess. any chance we could see Kalibak, or Mr. Miracle, or Big Barta??

Darkness in Clark?? Well, he was wearing the whole black ensemble last season. Wonder if that was supposed to be symbolic of his "darkness". What happened to the Leather Jacket from "Shield"?? Is that what he's going to be wearing when he becomes "The Blur" ( somebody should be smacked upside the head for coming up with that one)

It's confusing, because in that last scene from Shield, it looked like Clark was ready to step out of the darkness and into the light, with the shiny leather jacket with the big "S". Now it seems like he's going back into hiding again.Like I said, nuerotic. By the way, I wonder what repercussions Ollie's big reveal will have for himself and the League.

Re: Chloe, Now we know why in the "Legion" episode, Clark was told that there was no record of Chloe in the history books. She deleted herself off the grid. I'm sure she'll pop up again to provide some closure for the Supes Gang.

Good review, Joe.

Until next time, same Supertime, same Superchannel

samson 10/10/2010 10:51:18 PM

BTW- Did anyone else notice how much Lois looked like Black Cat?


Moz72 10/10/2010 11:27:20 PM

Damn Samson, I was thinking exactly the same thing!

littlemikey979 10/10/2010 11:55:28 PM

I'm with you Moz what the hell happened the jacket he was wearing last episode? I don't think Clark dressed out as the Blur this ep. It was one thing to give the glimps of the Superman outfit and then not have him put it on twice. But to have him actually in something other than the black coat and then not show it again is just crappy. Almost like the writers want to be sure we keep watching or something.

I was going to sound off about Darkseid being simply a possession but Moz said all that needs to be said. Still you would think with this being the last season and all they would go all out. I don't think Clark has even used too much of his powers yet. He needs to kick someones azz and soon. Anyone else hear that voice "If you increase the budget..., they will watch"

I'd say it earned a -C- at most. It the last season and hope are high and they have really not delivered anything other than some birds that possess a bald guy and Clark falling thru the barn roof. The CW needs to crank it up a few notches for all the long time followers, we've earned it.

citrafreak 10/11/2010 12:14:27 AM

 Good Review Joe, I also really enjoyed this episode this week.  I really enjoyed the windmill scene it was well written and well performed and shot.  I liked the butterfly angle on Clark trying to block everything else out to be able to fly... it kind of makes sense that it's psychosomatic.  I liked the continuity addressed in this shot it was the same expression that Kal-el had on his face in the episode Crusade... I also enjoyed the nod to Superman Returns where he fell through the barn that was a nice touch.  I liked Supergirl in this episode she wasn't whinny or trying to prove Clark wrong every five seconds she was actually helpful and trying to get Clark not to think so much about the past and the future and try to stay in the present where he belongs.  The only part of this that I didn't really care for was the Oliver "coming out of the closet" scene I thought it should of happened in the middle and put something more Clark related at the end.  I know Oliver has been on the show now for a while and they have to wrap up his story line as well, but I don't think it should be at the expense of the main character.   All in all I really enjoyed that episode most of all the flight... but looking forward to the 200th episode the most can't wait to see that this coming Friday.

Duckbeaver 10/11/2010 12:52:21 AM

A lot to like and a lot to not like in this episode.  

I take some issue with Clark being "talked down" to by his little cousin.  In the comics, it is Superman who instructs Supergirl in control of her powers and public image.  The fact that she is in the media spotlight as a "Super"-type person before her namesake kinda bugs me.  But that's just me being a purist (i.e. nerd)...

Still, I liked the "flying tutorial" scene with Kara and the butterfly.  It was a well played-out moment between the two cousins and I think it was something of a reassurance to long time viewers that Clark has finally progressed to the point where HE believes he can fly (albeit a short a period of time).  It just feels a little aggravating because you know the producers will milk the full potential of that power (along with the suit) right up until the end...

The Lois/Clark stuff was a lot better this week than in the premiere.  She wasn't hitting him over the head so obviously with her knowledge of his secret.  Instead, we got to see Lois play it somewhat coy and advocate the "Blur"'s (God, I hate that name!) actions right to his face without laying it on so thick, providing support without being a hinderance.  Guess that talk with Hawkman straightened her out a little as to her role in the future Superman's life.  Hopefully, (and given next week's preview) this means that the relationship will mature faster than the "will I/won't I tell Lana"-scenario they've played out for years is gone and they'll approach his double identity like ADULTS.

I really hope they play out more of the Darkseid/Apokoplips forces infiltrating Earth than that he is just some "dark spirit" that possesses people.  Based on this week's episode, Darkseid's a perv made up of a murder of crows who is REALLY into Bondage!   ;)


monelonmonday 10/11/2010 6:36:09 AM

 problem i have with the whole flight thing is nobody else has a problem with it ,kara,zod,there are a couple others i believe   all fly right outta the box ,clark ,who's been around a while nadda,maybe the way to handle it would be instead of running everywhere he jumps ( or leaps     lol) and in the course of this his flying comes out,at least he'd be in the the way anybody spot stan lee on nikita?

xpaladinx45 10/11/2010 6:50:52 AM

I point back to my comment last week that they would ignore the "new look blur" outfit come the following week *cough*

That aside, I did really like this episode.  The only thing I really didn't get was the whole crow angle...I'll be first to admit, the timespan I used to read superman comics Darkseid wasn't around, so I don't really know a lot about him, but the crows just didn't make any sense to me...shadowy figure on this show or not, just seemed weird.

I do like Lois and Clarks banter back and forth, I enjoy it.  However, I wish she'd just put her big girl panties on and have a sit down with Clark and just say "hey, i know."  She could be of a lot more help to him admitting she knows instead of torturing him and making him dance through hoops trying to keep his story straight.  Dudes got the fate of the planet weighing on his shoulders, plus daddy issues, and she throws in girlfriend issues too.  damn women! :P

I hope I don't regret this stance, but this is the final season.  We've seen some good times and a lot of bad times.  The past couple of years, imo, have been the high points overall.  While there has been some definite let downs, the seasons as a whole have gotten better with time.  I think at this point they will have to try really really hard to tank this final season below some of their early efforts.  (NOTE:  If any smallville writers happen to actually read this, please don't take this as a challenge to see how far you can push your loyal following)

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