ComicsAlliance Recaps ‘Smallville’ Episode 2.2: Heat
Love it or hate it, the Smallville TV show has been one of the most popular mass media adaptations of a comic, reaching millions of viewers each week with stories of what Clark Kent's life was like before he became Superman. Now, we're marking its passing by having ComicsAlliance's Chris Sims and David Uzumeri, two guys who have never actually watched the show, watch and review every single episode of the tenth and final season.
David: Welcome back to Smallvillains, guys. This week we're taking a look at Season Two, Episode Two, "Heat," which I chose because the description sounded hilarious. I chose so, so wisely.
Chris: This was one we've had recommended to us since we first started doing "classic" episodes, and unlike "Justice," this one paid off. I actually had fun watching it, which I didn't think was even possible anymore.David: I legitimately enjoyed this episode, and not just on an ironic level, I think. I mean, yeah, it was cheesy and funny, but I got the feeling for the first time in a while that I was laughing for the reasons the writers wanted me to.
Chris: Which, for those of you who aren't aware, is because it's an episode about Clark spurting fire out of his eyes every time he gets aroused. Seriously.
David: Look, let's just get this out of the way in as classy a way as possible: when he uses his heat vision, it looks like he's ejaculating fire from his eyesockets. It. Is. Hilarious.
Chris: It really is. I mean, when I said it was "spurting," I wasn't kidding, but we'll get to that in a minute.
David: I remember we made fun of heat vision in an earlier episode looking really dumb and just being like missiles, but at least this kind of explains why this precedent was set. My absolute favorite part of this, though, is that right now, every time I read a Superman comic with him using his heat vision, I'm imagining him thinking about Skinemax movies.
Chris: I don't want to "um actually" you on this, Uzi, but um actually, they say in the episode that he learns to separate it from sex by practicing on a scarecrow, which is itself a completely insane metaphor. Still, the fact remains that they had to go out of their way to address that specific concern, and that's even more hilarious.
David: I didn't think he learned to separate it from sex, I figured he just gained some sort of Batmanesque libidinal control.
Chris: Well, he claims to have separated it from sex. But then again, he is talking to his parents.
David: Apparently it's right after a summer break or something, I guess since this is the second episode of the season, so A) Clark finds out that Chloe basically spent her entire summer internship with a dude that was not him, and B) apparently Whitney's been written out of the show as deploying overseas.
Chris: Whitney, for those of you who might not remember, was the a-hole jock who tied Clark to a scarecrow, poisoned him with Kryptonite and left him to die in the pilot episode. I guess he's everyone's friend now, and has joined the army to go fight in Iraq? It's basically your mid-70s Flash Thompson situation, I guess.
David: In any case, after feeling all sorry for himself that I guess he turned down Chloe last season or something this is all I could figure out since there wasn't a recap, we're introduced to the school's new biology teacher, at which point the remainder of the pre-credits sequence becomes a Van Halen video.
Chris: She actually enters to "Hot In Here." Like, they actually did that.
David: It turns out that Clark's new teacher is, well, extremely hot. It's worth mentioning that this is during a heat wave in Smallville, so she decides the best way to keep teenagers in check is to break out an old instructional film (seriously, it's on a reel - this thing must have been from at least 1970) that appeared to be just a bunch of animals humping each other intercut with pictures of sperm and eggs.
Chris: If you were wondering how we picked our header image this week, now you know.
David: Now, I mean, by this point, I'm already laughing pretty hard, since the combination of Nelly, Krista Allen, Clark Kent and that ridiculous filmstrip was already pretty insane. But then Clark got so turned on he ejaculated fire out of his eyes like a horny Super Mario and lit up the screen the film was playing on.
David: This was pretty much the best part of Smallville so far, and I rewatched it like four times.
Chris: I was actually funny because it was supposed to be. Nice work, Mark Verheiden.
David: This almost makes me forgive you for "Black Market" during Battlestar Galactica. Almost. In any case, after lighting the school on fire, Clark's outside during the fire drill when Lex Luthor drives up and basically starts making out with the hot biology teacher who is, apparently, his fiancee, who he is marrying that night, and wants Clark to be the best man.
Chris: And at this point, we go right back to laughing at the show. Like, really? This all happens in one day? And it's not like it's a quick Las Vegas (or West Metropolis) wedding, either: There's a huge amount of guests and catering and Clark gets a tuxedo. It's like something out of Wedding Crashers.
David: Smallville and Metropolis are like this bizarre microcosm for the entire rest of the world in this show. How many stories have actually taken place outside of that area? I mean, that entire Hangover episode. I was convinced the entire episode it was in Las Vegas until you proved me wrong.
Chris: I actually wonder if Hawkman's Egyptian pyramid tomb was actually located somewhere in Kansas.
David: "Welcome to Egypt, Kansas. Home of the pyramid that obsessive Hawk guy uses!"
Chris: Also, can we talk for a minute about how weird the Clark/Lex relationship in this show is?
Chris: I mean, before we started watching it, I'd always assumed that they'd just gone to high school together, but while Clark's young enough to be taking Sex Ed for the first time, Lex is getting married to his teacher, yet still wants this high school kid he hangs out with to be his best man.
David: It is completely bizarre, and is downright creepy, just like a lot of things here. Lex and Clark in high school together is really the classic interpretation of the entire Smallville scenario. Not Lex being a multimillionaire in his 20s who spends all of his time hanging out with a sixteen year old.
Chris: I'm willing to give them "hangs out with," if Lex is young and it's sort of like an older bro sort of situation, but actually making him his best man? Then again, I guess it's been established that Lex has literally no friends other than Clark. And obviously you don't want Lionel as your best man, because he'll seduce the bride while you're reciting the vows and then throw a dude into the wedding cake like the "November Rain" video.
David: It always comes back to the "November Rain" video, people. In any case, we then find out that Desiree is basically a meteor succubus --
Chris: Because of course she is.
David: -- because when Lex tries to give her a pre-nup, she does this thing with a mist that comes out of her mouth that looks like a Doctor Who Series 1 effect that makes him rip up the pre-nup. Aw naw, son.
Chris: Lex, Lex, Lex. Don't you know that it's somethin' that you need to have, 'cause when she leave yo' ass, she gonna leave with half?
David: I ain't saying she a gold digger...
Chris: Also, it's worth noting that just in case you're completely unfamiliar with the concept of kissing, they do this hilarious extreme close-up of it.
David: Clark goes home to tell his parents about the incident, and they try to get him to stay home since hopefully his mom won't give him a kryptoheatboner. Instead, he decides to go to Lex's wedding and be the best man, because surrounding yourself with your classmates in dresses and the woman that gave you the first firection is a fantastic Smallville Clark Kent idea.
Chris: Hey, at least he didn't shirk his responsibilities as the Best Man. If this episode would've taken place six years later, we'd be seeing Clark just tearing ass through a cornfield while Lex waited awkwardly for someone to hand him his wedding ring.
David: After this, Clark goes to the Talon to do his part of the video letter to whitney, but Lana starts talking about following passion so he blows up a coffee machine.
Chris: Shoulda got that insured, Geico for yo' monayyyyyyyy.
David: So the next day, he and Jonathan Kent go out to the cornfield so Jonathan can teach Clark how to control it by focusing on a scarecrow. Supposedly, Clark learns to control his heat vision and eventually uses it to pop corn, but I'm gonna go with my own previously stated interpretation because I think it's way, way funnier. Besides, this whole thing already got into DC continuity with Superman: Secret Origin. It's why he started wearing glasses.
Chris: Which means that they've given themselves a perfect excuse for Clark to start wearing glasses as early as Season 2, but decided not to take it because...?
David: Because nobody thought about it until Geoff Johns in 2009, apparently.
Chris: I guess at this point, Clark had no reason to want to protect his identity. I mean, it was only season 2, and I'm sure they assumed he wouldn't start actually fighting crime for another, what, two years? Three?
David: I can't imagine they ever projected they would reach the point this show has reached. I'm sure they expected to get cancelled at season three or something and he'd start flying in his junior year. I mean, the whole "he doesn't fly" thing is less ridiculous when he's fifteen and you can slowly introduce x-ray vision, heat vision, etc. as the show goes along.
Chris: Anyway, the fire department starts to notice that Clark has been on the scene of two suspicious fires, thus leading to this week's episode of CLARK KENT: TROUBLED TEEN.
David: The absolutely amazing thing about this entire sequence is that at not one point in the entire episode did they resort to using Prodigy's "Firestarter."
Chris: Probably a little too edgy for the WB crowd, I imagine.
David: This is after everyone starts finding out more about Desiree, though, including that her current name isn't her birth name, and Chloe admits that she was lying about meeting a guy in Metropolis to Lana. They also decide not to define themselves by their relationship with Clark so much. I'm pretty sure these characters have this exact same epiphany multiple times over the course of the series.
Chris: Surely Clark has realized that he has to use his powers selflessly to help people eight or nine times, right?
David: Zatanna goes around mindwiping people every night after any real character progression. Lex also goes to try to close down the Talon, which Lana runs, because Desiree wants him to. She complains to Clark, who's like "I'll get that wench," but then she blows up her own car and blames him for it in yet another missed opportunity to play "Firestarter."
Chris: Oh, you totally skipped over the part where she pertly arrives at Clark's barn after he lights a hundred candles and attempts to, in the words of David Lee Roth, "give him somethin' to write on."
David: Man, yeah! "Hey, mom, can you buy me a bunch of candles? I want to have a romantic dinner with myself." In any case, Clark actually rebuffs her, presumably because of the self-control he's just been teaching himself.
Chris: I think it's more because her power is based on pheromones, and it doesn't affect Clark because he's actually a different species.
David: I hadn't thought of that. I love how Kryptonians are completely identical to humans, except for whenever it's convenient for them not to be for the purposes of the story. After Lex tries to close down the Talon, though, the cops show up to take Clark away for blowing up Desiree's car. Lana and Chloe visit him in jail and tell him Desiree's origin story, which was that the meteor gave her super pheromone powers because she was banging her boyfriend when it hit. She's been using the powers to get laid and get paid ever since. Hilariously, she is now resorting to Lex Luthor in Smallville because she lost everything in the dot-com bust.
David: In any case, Clark escapes from jail by distracting the guard by setting a real fire, resulting in YET ANOTHER lost opportunity to play "Firestarter." Martha admonishes Lex for being a crappy friend at the Talon, and then Pa Kent goes over to confront Desiree about trying to seduce his son. She's swimming topless, and eventually manages to get the pheromones into him so she can try to use him to kill Lex and inherit everything.
Chris: So basically, she has a Hypno-Rack.
Chris: Before I realized that Clark was immune to her pheromones because he's Kryptonian, I thought it was going to turn out that you can only resist her sexy wiles if you're already in love with someone else, like Clark is with Lana, and that they had inadvertently revealed the Kents' marriage for a loveless sham.
David: Jonathan Kent goes after Lex Luthor with a shotgun, Clark intervenes and melts the bullet with his new heat vision, everything's taken care of, the cop lets Clark off with a warning, Lex gets an annulment and Desiree goes to prison. Then, Lana is completely stone cold and breaks up with her overseas deployed boyfriend via prerecorded video.
Chris: Oh man, that cracked me up. That Lana sends him this video where everyone in town says nice things about him, even the guy he tied up and tortured with space poison, and then at the very end, Lana drops the hammer.
David: Lana is so terrible. There wasn't much of her in this episode, though, much to its benefit.
David: Other than the obvious ones involving Krista Allen, I thought the episode was just overall enjoyable. It was a silly concept played semi-straight, Rosenbaum was good as usual, there wasn't much Lana, and Clark made me crack up a few times. I enjoyed it more than a lot of other episodes we've seen.
Chris: I can't imagine that it was on purpose, but I like the idea that Desiree basically looks just like Lois.
Chris: Clark has a type.
David: I think Clark's totally a sub.
Chris: I'm going to assume you mean "Substitute Legionnaire," because I do not want to follow that line of logic at all.
David: It's still Smallville. Lipstick on a pig, man.
Chris: I am completely mystified by the idea that everyone in Smallville now thinks that Clark is a teenage pyromaniac. Seriously, they put him in jail for suspected arson, and then he escapes by LIGHTING A FIRE. This is never addressed again.
David: Well, the cops know that Desiree did the car, at least. Did Clark also pin the other fires on her? "And that's when she took out a lighter and lit the screen on fire!"
Chris: Also, I wish this didn't follow the regular Smallville tactic of wrapping up anything that might be entertaining way before the episode itself actually ends. There was a lot of comedic potential in Clark having uncontrollable eyeboners that set things on fire, and yet he completely mastered it in two minutes. I guess I'd rather have that then them dragging things out for ten years, but hell, they're doing that already.
David: I'd watch a whole season of eyeboners.
Chris: I hope that quote ends up on the DVD box.
Chris: I was pretty disappointed that we didn't get any John Glover in this episode. I like to imagine that Desiree's first target for seduction was Lionel, but her succubus rays just bounced off his hair like bullets off Clark.
David: Haha! This was a fun episode. I don't know if it was good, but I was thoroughly entertained, and I think I would have been even without the gratutious T&A.
Chris: Smallville's go-to tactic: when in doubt, male gaze. Anyway, we've still got two weeks before the final season resumes, so any idea of what to hit next?
David: Jeph Loeb and Red Kryptonite? S2E4? Or that one season finale where everyone says Lionel's hair gets cut and he enacts this big revenge?
Chris: Heck, why not do both? We've got two weeks.
David: Sounds like a plan. Then we finally get to end this grand ordeal.