Growing up on old reruns of the 1960s Adam West Batman and Sean Connery Bond movies, they always seemed so exciting to watch. Both had their fair share of notorious villains with their plans of world domination. It's not 'til you get a little older that you realize how ridiculous (and lame) some of these supposed evil master plans were. Today's onscreen superheroes and secret agents have better things to do than preventing antiques being stolen from museums (Batman) or stopping the price of gold from going up (Goldfinger). Or least I thought so.
Smallville decides to get one last ridiculous episode out of its system before the series is all over, in "Prophecy". This episode has three story-lines to follow and none seem to fit properly. First, the most promising storyline was after Clark asked Jor-El for his blessing to marry Lois, Jor-El decided to take Clark's powers and give them to Lois for one day. Second was while Oliver was searching for an ancient weapon to defeat Darkseid, he meets up with Kara and the two work together. Both of these two stories could have worked together no problem, but one of the writers had to screw it up by adding a third; that storyline being a group of 'super-villains' (and I use that term very loosely) conspiring to control all the water rights in Metropolis so they can charge a fortune for the city's citizens to use their water.
Watching an episode like "Prophecy", especially this late in the series, I have to wonder if the writers or produces have any idea what this show is supposed to be about. Smallville is supposed to be Clark Kent's journey to become Superman. Plain and simple. And here, in the last episode before next week's two-hour series finale, Clark has to deal with these amateur criminals instead of actual life and death scenarios. Stopping a group of third-rate bad guys from raising people's hydro bills was something that Clark could have done when he was in high school between writing an article at the Torch and his lunch back in season 2. Clark is officially becoming the 'Man of Steel' in about a week -- he should be stopping bank robbers' bullets mid-air and bench pressing freight trains. No, instead he has to deal with the Toy Man and his feeble attempt to make a couple extra bucks. Don't get me started on his pointless lackeys that you never see.
I could write another 10 paragraphs on how ridiculous and stupid that Toy Man/water rights story angle was, but "Prophecy" did have some fun moments between that mess. Like I said earlier, the storyline about Clark and Lois swapping powers was the most promising and had this episode's few highlights in it. I liked the concept that Lois was given an opportunity to experience what Clark deals with every day. After Lois settles down from the excitement of having abilities like super-strength and super-speed, she begins to have a newfound appreciation for the pressure and responsibilities that those abilities come with. This angle isn't perfect, though, because it leads to a pretty anti-climactic ending, but during the middle of the episode Welling and Durance have some fun with it. The two decide to poke fun at most of the trademark effects Smallville has done over the years with Clark's abilities. My favourite was when Lois referred to Clark's super-hearing as that "squinty head thing".
As for Laura Vandervoot returning as Kara Kent, it is again another let down this season. She returned earlier this year for the episode titled "Supergirl", which was the worst of this final season. Vandervoot gets some better scenes than before, this time with Justin Hartley as the two search for a bow that would defeat Darkseid; without Clark's knowledge. Hartley and Vandervoot have some good stuff here. but it's short-lived as Kara gets called away by Jor-El. I get the reasoning for Jor-El to tell Kara to stop helping Clark, so he can forge his own destiny, but it didn't make any sense to me why the two couldn't have one last scene together to say goodbye? On the plus side, "Prophecy" was also able to bring back another great guest star in Terence Stamp; even if it was just his disembodied voice. Stamp was a great addition to the series back in season 5, given his own history with the Superman franchise, and it was fitting that he came back at least one last time.
"Prophecy" had several hints for things to come throughout the episode but none relating to the big moments fans have been waiting for. The episode hints at how Darkseid will be brought down and that gold kryptonite might get used on Clark to take away his powers for good. But personally, I'm more interested in Clark flying for the first time, the suit, and Lex's return. I think all it will take is two hours of Rosenbaum and Welling having it out one last time before Tom puts on the suit and fans will forget this speed bump of an episode.
Andrew Burns loves film and comics, and can be found writing about when those worlds converge. You can follow him on Twitter at @myAndrewBurns.
Kyle Tetarenko says...
Awesome review! Smallville never ceases to amaze me at how bad it can be, even with only one episode left in the series.
I'm pretty sure the Loise getting Clark's powers storyline happened before in Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman except Jor El had nothingt o do with it. How long do you think Clark will be in the suit for the finale? I hope they actually have him be Superman for more than a glimpse in the final shot because that would be too predictable. I also read on ign.com that Michael Rosenbaum was only filming for one day on the finale; fingers crossed his return isn't so brief.
Andrew Burns says...
Ya I wish Rosenbaum would be back for the majority of the episode but I'm just glad he is coming back in some capacity. But I won't be happy if they bring him back as one of those Lex clones, because that story arc was done so poorly.
As for the suit, fingers crossed as well. The suit they have been showing so far is Brandon Routh`s from Superman Returns and I doubt him and Tom Welling are the same build. I think the amount of time Clark will be in the suit will all depend on how much the CW is willing to spend on making a quality looking suit for only a possible couple of scenes. I don`t mind if Smallville uses the same design as Routh`s suit but I hope they actually put some effort into make one for Welling.
Thanks for reading.