Smallville 9.6: "Crossfire"




After a couple of episodes devoted to Oliver, positioning him as a hero again in time for the real fireworks to start, this seems like a bit of a transitional installment. It’s focused mostly on the relationships and setting up subplots, and for that reason alone, it feels a little bit like filler. If progress hadn’t been made on the Clark/Lois relationship, it might have been completely unnecessary.


As it is, there’s not much to the episode. The playful banter between Clark and Lois does speak to their chemistry. After so many years together on the show, they’ve fallen into a good rhythm and the verbal sparring comes naturally. Erica Durance has really settled into the role, even to the point where she seems to be enjoying the chance to be more than the eye candy.


I suppose the writers had to address Lois’ previous relationship with Oliver, especially now that he is back on the mend. It makes sense that Oliver would turn to Lois as “the one that got away”, and it’s a good mechanism for forcing Lois to admit openly that she’s in love with Clark. Thankfully, the writers didn’t try to leave the situation as a love triangle, because that would have gotten annoying very, very quickly.


I noted in the review for the previous episode that the writers were on the verge of repeating the mistakes of the past with Clark and Lois. It’s too easy to have the two of them run hot and cold like a yo-yo to maintain the tension. For that reason alone, avoiding the love triangle was a good move.


But it’s even better when taken in context. For quite some time, it’s been clear that “Smallville” is not bothering to align with the other versions of the Superman mythos. While some plot points still pretend to adhere to expectation, others are a clear departure. I like the fact that they’ve stopped stalling with Clark and Lois for that reason alone. I still think the writers undermined the credibility of this obvious plot progression with the Lana arc in the eighth season, but at least they’re trying.


The rest of the episode fell flat, particularly Oliver’s subplot with Mia. A little research has revealed that this is yet another example of the writers porting a comics character into “Smallville”, and I assume that this was supposed to be noteworthy, as it sounds like a fairly faithful representation. Unfortunately, to the uninitiated, it felt forced.


If Mia doesn’t appear in later episodes to give this subplot a point, then it will feel like an even greater waste of time. The sad thing is, I think this has potential, if handled correctly. My concern is that the writers tend to assume that the audience knows the character history, leading to poor characterization for the “Smallville” version. (Catherine Grant was also apparently a well-known secondary character from the comics, but her appearance here seems incidental.)


The business between Zod and Tess is clearly setup for the long-term story arc. I was a bit worried that the writers would forget that Tess is supposed to be deadly in her own right, especially after they kept having Mia, the underground fighter, forget her skills whenever it was convenient for the plot. I thought the reference to Krypton’s star was clever, and I look forward to whatever it is Zod is preparing to do.


Transitional episodes tend to be all about the setup for future payoff, and I can see how some of these elements could play into that kind of design. But the episode itself just didn’t seem to shine on its own. Fans of the Clark/Lois relationship will be pleased, but now that the November sweeps period is finally here, it will be good to see the writers turn their attention to something a little more substantial.

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Nov 5, 2009 1:00PM EST

I don't think the Mia subplot was pointless - it was showing Oliver back on track and helping people which is the entire point of his character and part of the show! It's even more important considering the fans didn't particularly like seeing him all depressed and drunk, this is showing the Oliver everyone knows and likes.
Also saying if it weren't for the Clois development it would have been a filler episode - well the episode was entirely about them and getting them together so that's like saying if you take away the main storyline the episode would have been pointless which is true for any episode in anything.
I am really enjoying this season so far as each episode has had a clear plot and something resolved in itself as well as adding to the main season long plot. That's part of the reason I really enjoyed Season 8 so much. There was a clear arching storyline that, even if it wasn't the main focus of the episode, wasn't forgotten.

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Mar 8, 2010 11:13PM EST

I'd like to know what Oliver was even doing inside of that Fight club event in the first place. Shouldn't he be out patrolling Metropolis at night? I don't like Mia's character simply because there was nothing to like about her. A fighter that can handle some of the toughest men in the world but can't handle a simple thug. After defeating the villain she's found yet again in the streets doing what we were led to assume she was only doing because of the thug. I don't even understand how Oliver and Mia got split up after Clark rushed in to save the day. Did she just wake up and run assuming that Oliver wanted nothing to do with her anymore? Very poor storyline for the girl. You can't just squeeze a character introduction into the story.. It has to be the story.
I liked Clark's date and am sorry that we didn't see an excuse for it not working out in the end. At least I'm assuming that it didn't work out considering the wet one he placed on Lois afterwards. I was just ranting about how they couldn't put the two of them together anytime soon in the last episode but it seems that the writers took a route of their own on this one.
I got the hint of sparks flying between the two hackers. I wonder if something will come of that. The guy obviously has a shady history if he's working for Tess so I really hope he's not seen inside of the watch tower anytime soon.

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