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. http://joeartistwriter.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/the-weird-hollywood-unedited-interview-robbie-rist/