Smallville 9.1: "Savior"

Over the course of the series, I’ve noticed a trend regarding the treatment of the mythology. It’s not so much the internal mythology that has been the issue; it’s the external mythology that is mostly familiar to the DC Comics fandom. The writers are eager to bring in familiar faces from the Superman comics canon, but they struggle with the process of bringing all of that continuity into the “Smallville” world.

Watching this episode, I felt like I had missed the real premiere. In particular, I had no idea what was going on with Major Zod and this battle in Kandor. They tied it into Tess and her actions at the end of the previous season with the Kryptonian “orb”, but I’m not so sure that it all makes sense yet. Adding that layer of time travel with the Zod follower (Alia?) only complicated an already murky story.

My interpretation of Alia’s warning was that Clark’s solution to defeating Major Zod and sending him back to Kandor would precipitate the destruction of Krypton. This would make sense if Zod was the one, as often said, who triggered the cataclysm that brought about that destruction. Unfortunately, not knowing the comics continuity for Zod, I have no idea if this is presumed to be common knowledge for Superman fans or if this is all a new construct specifically for “Smallville”. It just doesn’t quite add up at the moment.

Lois’ dream, however, strongly suggests that Major Zod’s arrival is not a good thing for Earth. It seems that there will be a choice between the salvation of Kryptonian civilization (assuming Kandor is still the capital city of Krypton during Major Zod’s time) and preserving civilization on Earth. Given that Clark’s character arc this season is all about making the choice between his Kryptonian destiny and his humanity, this is a logical enough circumstance.

This could tie into Tess and her experience with the orb in “Injustice” more than it seems. What if the voice she heard from the orb, connected to the Traveler and not Zod, was actually Jor-El? Was Jor-El’s plan all along to prepare Earth as a place for Kal-El to defeat a younger version of Zod, so that Krypton might survive? Was that why Jor-El was always trying to get Clark to take control of Earth, so he could rally a proper response when Major Zod arrived? (Like I said, to me it’s still a massive jumble.)

As confusing as the story is at this point, I was very impressed with Callum Blue as Major Zod. He’s taking on a thankless role; there will be inevitable comparisons to the iconic film version of Zod. Callum seems to be letting that iconic version inform his portrayal of Zod without falling into simple mimicry.

Not all the characters fare so well. Lois is annoying as a starstruck Red-Blue Blur devotee, and Tom Welling seemed to be phoning it in throughout the episode. Chloe wasn’t quite herself either, but that made a bit more sense, given the loss of Jimmy and her frantic attempts to find Lois. Hopefully her work with Emil, getting the Watchtower in place, will give her a little more direction, especially now that she’s no longer Clark’s support system.

My overall initial impression is that the writers may have bitten off more than they can chew. They’ve never been particularly good at setting up strong season-long arcs, but they usually start with a clear enough beginning to get the audience set for the journey. This episode was too confusing for its own good.


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