Smallville 9.8: "Idol"




While I felt that the season got off to a slow and confusing start, the writers have settled in nicely and the show is finding its way back into my good graces. It still has its definite flaws, but it’s easy to forgive when I come away from an episode satisfied. Granted, it’s still early in the season, and the writers tend to lose their way in the second half time and again, but for now, I’m good with “Smallville”.


I will be the first to admit that enjoyment of recent seasons might be predicated on one’s enjoyment of the Clark/Lois dynamic. That element has certainly been ramping up this season, and by making it a critical part of the season arc, the writers resolve one of the issues with its treatment last season.


Unfortunately, there is a drawback. The writers are trying to play on the nostalgic factor of the Lois and Clark relationship. There is a certain degree of expectation and anticipation (and I say that personally). It’s not all that different from the anticipation of Clark donning the familiar red and blue, taking flight, or managing to craft a believable secret identity when everyone and their brother has seen his face without glasses for all this time.


It’s a game of inches, and the writers want to touch on the Lois’ constant suspicions about Clark and his true nature without pulling the trigger. But just as it became ridiculous after years of teasing during the Clark/Lana era, it’s getting old now. In fact, having seen it all before, patience is becoming elusive.


Maybe this is one of those few remaining constraints on the producers, something they’re not allowed to have happen on the show. That would be unfortunate. The writers have already strayed so far from the traditional canon that they really could ignore the “rules” and have things happen much earlier in the timeline. In my opinion, the show would be much stronger as a result.


Because it was clear that Lois wouldn’t get to the end of the episode with her realization intact, my pleasure over some of the more iconic moments was mitigated. The saving grace was how Lois was convinced that Clark was not the Blur. Having Chloe abuse her power as Watchtower once again was a smart move. I like the darker direction that Chloe has been taking since her experiences last season, and how it threatens her relationship with Clark. If Chloe’s death (once again used as a tease) doesn’t come to pass, I begin to wonder if she’ll go darkside in the future.


The introduction of the Wonder Twins didn’t bother me, even if there were indications that the writers once again assumed a certain amount of backstory knowledge on the part of the audience. I recalled just enough from childhood cartoons, I think! They served a purpose within the context of the story, helped indirectly elevate the legend of the Blur and the status of the familiar sigil as a symbol of hope, and gave Clark a chance to show some rare wisdom.


Perhaps the best part of the episode was the final scene, and how it dovetailed with the vision in the teaser. A lot of the small details from earlier episodes are coming together to form a bleak picture, and I like where it’s all going. As long as the writers keep their eyes on a solid plan for the whole season, this could turn out to be another winner.

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