The title of any television show's episode is supposed to normally sum up the theme for that episode. In this week's episode of Smallville entitled "Abandoned" it does just that, while also summing up the efforts that went into this episode. After giving a favourable review of last week's episode, "Ambush", and future for Smallville, they pretty much makes me look stupid after this debacle of an episode.
Where should I start? "Abandoned" is basically two episodes rolled into one. The one story line with Tess investigating a creepy all-girls orphanage after finding out she went there as a child. Only to find out that the orphanage has a super powered den mother who brainwashes the little girls into forgetting their past and to become warriors for some upcoming mystery battle. And the other story being Lois finally addressing the death of her mother, from when she was younger, by watching goodbye videos from when Ella Lane was dying in the hospital. This new connection between mother and daughter sparks Lois to travel to Clark's fortress of solitude in hopes she can get Jor- El and Clark to reconcile. This episode has way too much going on between the story-lines of Tess's past returning and Lois & Clark reconnecting with their parents. The ladder would have made a decent episode, but meshing the two ideas together was a terrible idea.
While writing this review I found myself using my thesaurus to find out how many different ways I could use the word terrible; which is never a good sign. As bad as the acting is in "Abandoned" the blame should fall on everything else from the writing, editing, direction, and the show runners before any of the actors should criticized. Its not their fault they are in a bad episode, they are contracted to be there, no matter how bad it is. The one thing the episode has going for itself is the special guest star appearance by the former Lois Lane herself, Teri Hatcher, playing the mother to Erica Durance's own Lois Lane is a nice touch. However, because Lois's mother died when she was a teenager Hatcher's character is only able to appear in video taped messages to her daughter before her death. This is where the horrendous editing becomes more noticeable when they constantly cut back and forth between Hatcher's lines and Durance's reactions. It's a shame that the two talented actresses never get to share a scene together because both make a great Lois Lane. When the editors try tailoring the scene to make it seem like the two actresses are playing off of each other it just makes it look even worse.
As for Tess's back story part of the episode, here the character of Granny Goodness is introduced as a possible future villain for the series. Granny Goodness ....really? That's the best the writers come up with? I thought at first that the writers came up with this stupid character all on their own, but apparently she actually exists in the DC universe shockingly enough. She has some connection to Darkseid, the villain that seems to be Clark's big test this season. But the fact that Granny Goodness was written in to the show to explain Tess's resurrection from last year's season finale is ridiculous. The reason it took the show 8 episodes this year to answer a question from last season has to be half bad structuring for this season as a whole and half of it just a terrible idea to begin with.
I don`t want to go into how horrible, not to mention pointless, Granny Goodness's Charlie's Angles/Freddy Krueger rejects were (this post's photo should say it all). Somehow these arbitrary characters have some kind of a kryptonite fire pit in their basement as an excuse so Clark can't fight them. I haven't seen plot device that lazy since the first season. WAKE UP SMALLVILLE!!! You are in your tenth and final season and it is embarrassing that this is the best the producers/writers can come up with.
[SPOILER ALTER (if for some reason you still want to watch this episode after reading this far)]: watching the episode's arrogant twist ending of Tess being related to the Luthors is the biggest piss off of probably the whole introduction her character into the series. I'm no Superman buff but I would like to think that in Kel-El`s 72 year run in DC comics that the writers could borrow ideas for supporting characters in Superman's mythology than come up with this crap. I'm sure Cassidy Freeman is a very nice lady in person but I just cannot stand watching her character Tess butcher all the good mythology Smallville has created over the years.
The whole angle with Lois dealing with her family issues is an admirable one, but it is executed so poorly it just comes off as forced emotions for the two leads. Also with another hint at Clark popping the question is weird move for the show. On one hand the marriage of Lois & Clark would be an interesting way to end the series. But on the other hand it was that same marriage that killed "Lois & Clark: The Adventures of Superman's" ratings and ultimately got the show cancelled. I guess with this being Smallville's final season they figure they have nothing to lose at this point.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.
You'd be surprised in finding out what kinds of stupid characters have been created by DC over the years.