Smallville 9.7: "Kandor"




This is one of those wonderful mythology-laden episodes that serves the interests of both longtime fans and those only familiar with “Smallville”. It’s entirely possible to watch this episode without any prior knowledge of the franchise and understand the context of it all. That it touched on parallels to earlier seasons of the show, and managed to tie together some of the loose ends over the years, also made this a winner.


The episode is really meant to show how choices define consequences. Jor-El and Zod were friends, and Zod was quite possible a good man as well as a capable leader. Jor-El made an ethical decision not to restore Zod’s son to life, and that seems to have been the trigger that sent Zod into his descent. That personal conflict carried over onto Earth, thanks to the cloning experiment, and now Zod and Clark are set on a collision course.


What’s interesting is that this did not have to happen. Much is based on misunderstanding and anger. Zod’s behavior since his arrival on Earth is a direct consequence of his last memories: betrayal by his dearest friend. Clark makes the logical assumption that Jor-El was killed by Zod, and he refuses to take steps to restore Zod to the man he used to be. The real question is this: who killed Jor-El, and why?


It’s quite possible that Zod was not the one who killed Jor-El. It would explain why Zod knew how to find Clark; following Jor-El right to Clark would have been simplicity itself. But that seems a bit too easy. I think it would be a lot more interesting if someone like Tess had Jor-El killed, all in the hopes of becoming his ally against Zod in the coming months. Provided he never found out, it would allow Tess to get closer to the Traveler, while also correcting the mistake she made by unleashing the Kryptonians from within the Orb.


Julian Sands does a capable enough job as Jor-El, but it does create something of a discontinuity. Jor-El references his earlier time on Earth among the Kents (seen in “Relic”), but this Jor-El is clearly much older than the Jor-El (played by Tom Welling) seen in “Relic”. Also, the destruction of Kandor, while a fitting impetus to Zod’s plan to destroy Kal-El with a genetically engineered son in the eighth season, contradicts much of what had been previously revealed.


For example, in the supplementary animated material “Kara and the Chronicles of Krypton”, meant to flesh out the story of the House of El, it is General Zod that is attacking an intact Kandor that leads to the destruction of the planet, all as part of a plan concocted by Zor-El to fulfill an ancient prophecy. That prophecy has, in fact, been mentioned in passing throughout the past couple seasons, notably in ”Injustice”.


While one would assume that “Kandor” would be considered canon over the animated material, “Kara and the Chronicles of Krypton” was designed to fit the mythology as laid out in the seventh season. Also, other ancillary material has eventually been proven as canon, such as the Veritas organization. It would be reasonable to assume that Kandor was rebuilt on the ruins of the original city, but it seems like an unnecessary complication to the timeline.


Even so, I liked the other connections made regarding the Stones of Power, the use of blue kryptonite, and cloning. This seems to connect very well with “Blue” and the cloning that Zor-El conducted with Clark’s mother. (Granted, both the Stones and the Orb were supposedly much older than this episode would indicate, but this could easily be explained through oddities in the transit between Krypton and Earth.)


I’m sure the writers could figure out a way to make it all fit together, but I’m not sure it would matter. The purpose of the back story for this episode is clear enough, and while I’m sure there are a ton of insider references I missed along the way (for example, the reference to Black Zero), I still thought this was an excellent way to push the season arc into the complication phase.

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Nov 11, 2009 10:03PM EST

I have to agree completely with this assessment. 'Kandor' for me was not entertaining as the previous episodes, it was more interesting and one of those that will determine the course of the season from now. I like the parrells between Zod and Jor-El and Clark and Lex Luthor, both were friends who became enemies, with arguably both contributing to the others fall into darkness. A few interesting aspects as well about continuity which you were right about again. But Smallville is enjoying alarge of quality this season, something season 8 would have enjoyed had 'Power' and 'Requiem' not come about.

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Nov 12, 2009 7:13PM EST

i didn't like the episode that much to me it seemed more like a filler episode. especially since the week before clark and louis finally got their on screen kiss. going from that to this episode was kinda lame, but i am sure they are just milking it as much as possible.

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