Smallville – S1 Ep16 – Stray Review

A young boy called Ryan with a love of Warrior Angel comics and the power to read minds escapes from his criminal step parents after they kill a shop owner in a robbery. During his escape Martha Kent inadvertently hits him with her car. Shortly after at the hospital the Kent’s offer to foster him on a temporary basis after he claims to have amnesia. The next morning Ryan immediately makes a good impression on Martha and Jonathan by making them exact breakfast they were craving – bacon and eggs for Jonathan and pancakes with sugar and syrup for Martha. It seems Clark’s is the only mind Ryan can’t read when he proclaims it is ‘peaceful’ to be around him. He talks about his love of comic books and tells Clark the reason he loves the Warrior Angel is because he protects people who can’t protect themselves. Seeing how happy Clark seems around Ryan the Kent’s secretly wonder whether they should have adopted another child when Clark was younger.

Ryan’s step parents James and Brandy show up looking for him, claiming to be private detectives. They track him down to The Talon where Ryan was enjoying a day with Clark and his friends. While trying to find a place to hide Ryan gets himself stuck in a trash compactor and Clark manages to save him by exposing his super strength. After the incident Clark begins to think Ryan is faking his amnesia and investigates the location where Martha hit him. After Clark figures out Ryan has the ability to read minds he goes back to the farm only to find out Ryan has discovered Clark’s secret as well. He was able to discover Clark is from another planet by finding the ship he crashed to Smallville in. Ryan confides in Clark that his step parents have been using him to steal and abusing him when he refuses, he begs Clark to protect him.

Brandy comes to the farm under the pretence of working for child protection, she convinces the Kent’s as much and Ryan has no choice but to go with her as he is worried about what will happen to the Kent’s if he refuses. It turns out his step parents need his help to rob Lex Luthor and attack him in his limo while on the road. Ryan reads Lex’s mind to find out the account number and password to his bank accounts. When Ryan refuses to give over the password Brandy threatens to kill him and that’s when Ryan tells her James is planning to kill her and leave by himself with the money. As it happens he was right and as James kills Brandy, Ryan makes a run for it. When Clark catches up to them he makes good on his promise to protect Ryan from his step father.

In other news, Lionel makes Lex an interesting offer to work in Metropolis. There is also a nice scene between Clark and Lex where they bond over having a brother, Lex confesses he once had a brother named Julian who died unexpectedly when he was a child and says his mother was never the same after that. Lex offers Clark a form of parting gift, a foil which Lex tells him that every hero should have. After a visit to Metropolis Lex decides to decline Lionel’s offer as he questions his motives for making him such an enticing job offer. Lex thinks Lionel just wants him close to keep an eye on him, comparing his Dad to an Emperor afraid of his son being so successful he could lead his own army.

At the end the Kent’s say good bye to Ryan who promises to keep Clark’s secret. Ryan offers Clark a warning about Lex, saying that there is a lot of darkness in him that he hides from the world, to which Clark responds he likes to believe in peoples best side. We come full circle as Ryan, finally feeling like he is safe, gives Clark his prized Warrior Angel comics, saying ‘I don’t need them anymore, I have you ‘.

Smallville – S1 Ep15 – Nicodemus Review

We are back in Smallville with the traditional ‘freak of the week’ formula this episode. However the ‘freak’ is not only one, but three of our main characters. While on his journey home Jonathan Kent witnesses a car go off the road. The driver was in a manic state on his phone trying to reach Lionel Luthor when Jonathan pulls him to safety before the car explodes. After his heroic efforts he is sprayed with the venom of the Nicodemus flower, which we discover Dr Hamilton had stolen from his lab.

The Nicodemus flower has an obvious effect on Jonathan, and Clark and Martha quickly notice a difference on his behaviour. He is drinking beer in the afternoon and ignoring chores around the farm, certainly not the same man we have all come to know as a responsible hard worker. Then when Lex pays them a visit Jonathan doesn’t hesitate in letting him know his true feelings when he would normally keep quiet. His emotions boil over when the bank calls to say his loan has been denied. For the first time we see a somewhat violent reaction from our beloved Mr Kent as he storms down to the bank, shot gun in hand. Clark finds his Dad and during his attempts to calm him down Jonathan fires the gun directly into Clark’s chest. The realisation of what he has done causes Jonathan to collapse. At the hospital the doctor tells Clark and Martha that he is suffering from severe anaphylactic shock and the man he saved from the car is currently in a coma.

Chloe and Lana decide to investigate the location of the car accident to look for evidence. Of course it is Lana who comes across the Nicodemus flower and has a dose of the venom sprayed on her as well. The next day at school it is clear Lana is also feeling the effects, she arrives in a short skirt and we see the age old slow motion shot of the girl bursting through the doors and walking down the corridor. Whitney and the other students can only gaze on in awe. Lana proceeds to break up with Whitney as she tells him he is no fun since his Dad became sick. I don’t usually feel bad for Whitney but Lana’s words here are especially hurtful. She then sets her sights on Clark and having been smitten with Lana most of his life he gives in to his feelings accepts a kiss from her, all the while knowing something is not quite right.

On the path to discovering the truth as always, Chloe goes to see Dr Hamilton to determine what is behind the sudden change in her friends character. She tracks down his research on the Nicodemus flower and also finds the connection between Dr Hamilton and Lex. Looking for more clues she and Pete break into the lab and Pete inadvertently knocks over a test tube with a flower, then becoming the third victim.

What I love about this episode is how it handles the reactions of characters who fall victim to the Nicodemus, to me it is reminiscent of Clark on red kryptonite. All of their inhibitions are gone. Jonathan has always been stoic and strong for his family but underneath he is just a man struggling to keep his livelihood afloat. Lana has always been portrayed as the perfect student, cheerleader and niece but under the effects of the Nicodemus she is quite the rebel. In reality she keeps a lot of thoughts to herself and doesn’t trust her own feelings or know who she really is. The biggest surprise is Pete who has had relatively little to do for most of the season, only appearing in a few scenes at school with Clark and Chloe. We discover he is incredibly jealous of Clark’s friendship with Lex and in a rage he takes a gun and confronts Lex at his mansion. Just as he is about to pull the trigger Clark saves the day, then fortunately a cure is found and everyone makes a recovery.

The next day Chloe visits Dr Hamilton’s lab which has been cleared out by Lex. He got lucky on this occasion with the doctor being able to find a cure. He suggests that the doctor lay low for a while and sends him to work for Cadmus labs, protecting himself from further suspicion as well. Cadmus will become an important part of the story as the seasons go on, and for now Clark doesn’t suspect his friend. We end on a hopeful note for Clark, sitting with Lana who has no memory of what happened. Overall a fun episode with some great performances from John Schneider, Kristen Kreuk and Sam Jones.

Smallville – S1 Ep14 – Zero Review

Skeletons from Lex’s past emerge in this episode as we start with a flashback to three years ago in Metroplolis at Club Zero. Lex was there with a woman named Amanda celebrating her engagement to a mutual friend of theirs Jude Royce. At the club there was an incident which led to Royce being killed. In the present Lex’s former bodyguard Max shows up claiming he is being stalked by Royce. Lex tells him he is being paranoid and is adamant Royce is dead. However he begins to question whether that is the truth when Max is killed and a part of his body left for Lex to find at The Talon.

The events of what happened at Club Zero three years prior are told from a few different points of view, leaving us as an audience wondering what the truth really is. In the second flashback we see Sam Phelan, the dirty cop who showed up episode 9 – Rogue. During the flashback Phelan is working for the Luthors and after the shooting he tells Lex not to worry, implying he will cover up any involvement Lex had in Royce’s death. In this version it is Lex holding the gun that killed Royce… but do we believe it?

In the present day tragedy strikes at the Kent farm when Jonathan and Clark discover their livestock dead, which is attributed to Luthorcorp dumping chemicals. When Lex arrives he tries to assure the Kent’s that he will cover the costs and find out how it happened, but before he can he is kidnapped by Royce who it appears set the whole thing up.

He is taken back to where everything began at Club Zero where Royce tortures him to make him tell the truth about that night… then we hear a gunshot and the mastermind behind the strange events of this episode is revealed to be the contractor working at The Talon. We were led to believe was just an ‘extra’ as he only appeared briefly but it turns out he is Amanda’s brother and he has his own reasons for wanting revenge against Lex. He reveals Amanda committed suicide a year after Royce’s death, which he blames Lex for, and the man posing as Royce was just a look a like. In the final version of the flashback we see the truth about what happened in Club Zero; it was Amanda that pulled the trigger on the gun that killed her fiancé and Lex indeed covered it up for her. As always Clark arrived in time to save Lex without throwing any suspicion on himself.

With Lex having the lion share of the story this time, Clark has a small amount of action in the ‘b’ story. In a new school project the class is tasked to find out about the lives of their fellow classmates, and unfortunately for Clark it is Chloe that has to investigate him. She digs a little to far into his background and questions the Kent’s on his adoption. Clark makes it clear he is uncomfortable with Chloe asking too many questions so she puts her project on hold… but will the reporter in her really be able to let it go?

The Talon finally opens as a coffee shop at the end, and even though seemingly it’s only contractor was a criminal the grand opening goes smoothly. Lex is there with Clark who is still unsure of Lex’s mysterious past, but Lex simply tells Clark the only truth he needs to know is that he would do anything for his friends. It was great to see Lex take centre stage in this hour as his complex character is one of the most interesting stories to see develop.

Smallville – S1 Ep13 – Kinetic Review

Kinetic starts with the Luthor mansion being robbed by thieves who have the ability to walk through walls. The break in happens while Clark and Chloe are interviewing Lex for the school paper. I enjoyed the robbery scene as it reminded me of the opening from Beverly Hills Cop 2, where Brigitte Nielsen knew the exact amount of time needed to rob a jewellery store before the police arrived. In the episode I was waiting for them to leave an envelope with a letter of the alphabet on it! But instead Clark and Chloe happen upon the thieves. When Clark attempts to stop them we see they have tattoos infected with meteor rocks and as Chloe tries to get away she is pushed out of a high level window. Quite a dramatic pre-credits scene.

While Chloe is in hospital Clark tries to make himself useful at the farm by ‘chopping’ wood with his bare hands. His parents are there for him to let him know that what happened wasn’t his fault but also encourage him to find out who is responsible. The thieves decide they need another man and set their sights on Whitney whose story takes a more central role for the rest of this episode. He is depressed after losing his football scholarship and facing the prospect of working in his Dad’s store in Smallville for the rest of his life. When his new found friends give Whitney a tattoo he also develops the ability to walk through solid objects.

Given his current situation Whitney chooses to join his new friends and their plan to extort Lex for more money. Clark follows Whitney to the meet and questions why Lex agreed to an exchange rather than go to the police. Lex also has his questions for Clark who tells Lex he just wants to help Whitney. A story Lex has heard before and knowing of Clark’s guilt over not being able to save Chloe from getting injured he tells him ‘you can’t save the world, all you’ll end up with is a messiah complex and a lot of enemies’. Clark response being that him saving Lex turned out alright… if only Clark had a crystal ball!

The investigation scene that normally would take place at The Torch happens in Chloe’s hospital room when she, Clark and Pete figure out how the thieves got their abilities. Whitney does the right thing and goes to Clark for help before the gang escalate any further. With the help of Lex, Clark is able stop the thieves and save Whitney.

Elsewhere in the episode Lana finds out that Lex is the buyer of her aunts business. Wanting to keep the building in the same condition as it was when her parents first met she proposes Lex turn it into a cafe. Lex jumps at the chance to make Lana happy and also make himself some money as well. The Talon becomes one of his many acquisitions but also serves the plot as it will become a regular set where many characters either end up living or working. Overall a great episode with development for a lot of the characters stories.

Smallville – S1 Ep12 – Leech Review

This week we meet Smallville High student Eric played by Shawn Ashmore. I almost mistook him for his twin brother Aaron, who the long term fan would know as Jimmy Olsen in the later seasons. Clark, Eric and the rest of the class are out on a school geological scavenger hunt looking for rocks, when Eric comes across some meteor rock fragments. It just so happens Eric and Clark are struck by lightning while Eric is holding the meteor rock, transferring Clark’s powers to Eric.

At first Clark has difficulty adjusting to not having powers, he struggles to help his Dad on the farm and chores that used to take him seconds are now taking him what seems like forever. But, he has what he has always wanted – a normal life, spending time with his friends without being afraid of revealing his powers.

Sadly Eric was not brought up by Jonatan and Martha Kent and doesn’t have the same morals. He is the stereotypical angry teenager who chooses to use his powers to get everything he wants, even if it means hurting people. Eric’s parents are afraid of him after the trouble he causes and turn him into the police. Clark however wants to help him and thinks that Eric will have the same weakness – the meteor rocks. A desperate Eric revisits the place where the lightning struck. Clarks meets him there with Lana’s Kryptonite necklace and finds a way to transfer his powers back.

What I find great about this episode is the underlying message that it is not Clark’s powers that makes him a hero. Smallville has always been about discovering who the man behind the cape is. The conversations between Clark and Jonathan further empathise this, Jonathan tells him ‘whether you are normal or super you are still Clark Kent. Your abilities were a part of you but they didn’t define you’. I have always loved the portrayal of this father son relationship. This episode does a good job is showing that Jonathan, and also Martha are the reason why Clark turns into the hero we all know as The Blur… I mean Superman! Clark also recognises this at the end when he tells his Dad ‘Eric didn’t get my two strongest gifts… you and Mom.’

Elsewhere in this episode Lex’s suspicions of Clark come to a stop, at least for now. He finally confronts Clark about what really happened in the Pilot when he and Clark first met. He tells Clark he thinks he hit him with his car before crashing through the bridge and into the water. Then he tells Clark he believes he saved his life by pulling him from the car. Unfortunately Lex has chosen the wrong time to confront Clark with this as Clark is now powerless and showing no signs of invulnerability. Clark of course denies having any kind of power and by the end Lex chooses his growing friendship with Clark over his investigation, but how long will this last? As we know all too well that it is this lie that contributes to the distrust and ultimate breakdown of their friendship.

Overall I loved revisiting this episode, especially after seeing the Smallville scene in the most recent DC crossover ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’. While I understand Clark’s decision to give up his powers for his family has disappointed some fans, I for one feel it was the logical conclusion to the story as Smallville was always about Clark not Superman.