ComicsAlliance Recaps ‘Smallville’ Episode 8.22: Doomsday
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.
Chris: Smallville is still in reruns, so it's time once again for another installment of Smallvillains Classic! This week, as promised, Uzi and I decided to go with the finale of Season 8, "Doomsday." As you probably expect at this point, I did not enjoy it, but I have to admit that for this one, that's at least partly our fault.
David: Why's that, Chris? For deciding that we needed to watch this episode, or because we already ruined all the hilarious plot twists in this episode for ourselves when reading up about this show on Wikipedia?
Chris: For watching a Season Finale after only watching one episode from that season, which means we have absolutely no emotional investment in what happens. I mean, like it or not, we actually do sort of care about what happens to Clark and Lois and Lutessa and John Glover's hair at the end of Season 10, if only because we've been watching it every stupid week. Meanwhile, I literally could not care less about Davis Bloome and Henry J. Olsen. The only emotional investment I had in this was really, really wanting to see Clark get the crap kicked out of him by a bone monster, which, of course, Smallville completely failed to deliver.
David: Putting the entire final confrontation with the monster half basically off-screen was an amazingly douchebag move, even for this show.
Chris: As the episode opens, we get another completely ludicrous "Previously On Smallville" segment, where we find out that Clark, in typical Clark fashion, totally destroyed his Legion ring because he didn't want the responsibility of being able to go into the future.
David: Has Clark actually made any decisions on this show that other people didn't make for him? Other than running away from having to make a decision.
Chris: This really feels like one of those things where the people writing the show were having some huge, passive-aggressive argument through their scripts without ever talking to each other. Like Geoff Johns clearly wanted the door open for more Legion appearances, but then the next guy was like "NUH UH THAT'S DUMB!" and then the guy who wrote this one was like "NO YOU'RE DUMB," and the end result is that once again, Clark completely shirks any responsibility so that he can continue doing nothing.
David: I pretty much agree with that assessment, though -- I don't know if it explains all of the bad Clark Kent writing in this show, but this particular case, sure, I'll buy that.
Chris: Thus, Cosmic Boy shows up, and appears to have Clark completely figured out, giving him another ring and telling him to send Doomsday to the future so that the Legion can deal with it. This would be the ultimate in Clark pawning off his problems on someone else, but shockingly, he doesn't do it. You might think this would be so that we could set up a big throwdown between Clark and Doomsday, but you would be wrong. So very wrong.
David: We get a few close-ups of the Legion ring over this episode, and I have to say, it looks astonishingly cheap. Like, I'm pretty sure that in the 31st century, they'll have figured out how to get the gold on just the L and not dripping into the inside.
Chris: After the Great Disaster, DC Direct was the only company left standing. Meanwhile, the hilariously named Davis Bloome is hanging out with Chloe in the equally hilariously named "Edge City," which gave me the idea that Smallville's version of Judge Dredd was going to show up and arrest them for loitering. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but Chloe's supposed to be smart, right?
Chris: Right. Which is why Chloe, the smart one, has to have basic Greek mythology explained to her while laying on the hood of a car with a styrofoam tray of chicken fingers.
David: Chloe's really got a thing for fixer-uppers, huh? HJ Olsen, Doomsday, Green Arrow, that apartment, Clark....
Chris: I wonder if maybe all of Chloe's boyfriends weren't designed to just make Clark look better as a romantic lead. Sort of makes you wonder what kind of monstrosity Lana ended up with.
David: Wasn't it Lex Luthor?
Chris: I think that was only in his Christmas Fantasy.
David: No, I believe she goes on to actually marry Lex Luthor.
Chris: Oh no wait! It was Supernatural's Jensen Ackles! Who was her teacher! Just like in. That book by Nabokov.
David: DON'T STAND! DON'T STAND SO! DON'T STAND SO CLOSE TO MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Chris: Anyway, getting back to Chloe on the hood of a car, which is a lot less like a Whitesnake video than it might sound. Look. I'm not saying Smallville needs to be subtle. In fact, I think the record will show that we like it best when it's not subtle. But having Chloe actually talk about how they'll be all right "as long as the gods aren't hunting us" before cutting to the emergency meeting of the Junior Justice League? Yeesh.
David: It took me FOREVER to figure out that was supposed to be Black Canary. Is that even the same actress who played her in Collateral?
Chris: I honestly have no idea, but while we're on the subject, can we talk for a second about how amazingly terrible her wig is?
David: Oh God, yeah, that wig is awful. It fits like a damn toupee.
Chris: It's so bad that I'm forced to assume that it's on purpose. Like, they needed a way to explain why nobody figured out Clark was "The Blur," so they did the worst wig they could find as an example of how little it takes to fool these rubes.
David: Oh man, Clark should TOTALLY wear a wig as Superman. That's how this show should end. He wears a long blonde wig.
Chris: We have basically spent the last four episodes slowly turning Clark into Axl Rose. This is why we should be showrunners.
David: Either that, or Clark gets inspired by a bat and decides to avenge the deaths of his parents as Batman. I'm pretty sure that's the best possible way this show could end.
Chris: Before he meets with the Wig and Hoodie Brigade, though, Clark actually does something I kind of like (I know, I was surprised too): He writes a letter to Metropolis telling the people that they can all be heroes just by being good to each other.
Chris: It's sort of a throwback to the original Silver Age "Last Days of Superman" story, except that in that story, he carved his message into the surface of the moon with his heat vision, which is way more awesome. Also, he did not sign it with the stupid, stupid, stupid nickname "The Red-Blue Blur."
David: Did we really miss, like, two straight seasons of the classic Superman Love Triangle? Because that's how this Lois scene seems to me.
Chris: Yeah, she flat-out hates Clark and is immediately swoony whenever Clark calls her using the voice modulator he borrowed from Oliver.
David: I wonder if she ever actually comes to like Clark, or if it's all wrapped up in the Blur for her.
Chris: He certainly doesn't give her any reason to. She's freaking out about Chloe going missing and he's just sitting there like a bump on a log, emotionlessly editing his farewell letter.
David: I love the totally manufactured drama around his entire "OH NO I AM GOING TO DIE" thing too, since it's really only there since Superman died fighting Doomsday, and his only reason for suspecting he's going to die is the future, which they've already established is constantly changing.
Chris: Yeah. Cosmic Boy even tells him that every time they come back, they change the future, while he is coming back to tell him about his future.
David: God, yeah, clearly nobody on staff understood even comic book time travel, except Geoff Johns who I assume was only involved in that one episode.
Chris: In order to avoid his own impending doom, Clark comes up with A PLAN, and -- being a plan concocted by TV's Clark Kent -- it is of course terrible. He's going to separate the weak, easily containable Davis Bloome from the unstoppable monster Doomsday, and then fight Doomsday. To the show's credit, every single person he tells responds with "that is a terrible idea."
David: Not only that, but as far as I can tell, this show has already established that Davis is a creepy serial killer, even without being Doomsday. Like, this is mentioned in dialogue, correct?
Chris: Oliver mentions something about him being a serial killer, but I had no idea if that was just his cutesy way of referring to Doomsday or something was was actually about Bloome. Bloomesday. Bloomesdavis.
Chris: But yeah, did you look this up? Did Davis Bloome kill people without hulking out? I have a strict policy of doing no research about this show.
David: Per the Smallville wiki: "In order to control the beast within, he went on a murder spree, killing people whom he perceived as bad, but was routed by Jimmy Olsen, who witnessed a murder; Davis, however, managed to convince people that Jimmy was hallucinating."
Chris: WOW. Clark's plan is actually even worse than I thought. Especially since there's the whole thing where he bitches out Oliver because he killed Lex Luthor, the man who killed his parents, shortly before going off to save a straight up serial killer.
David: To be exact, LIONEL killed Oliver's parents, not Lex, but true.
Chris: How dare you accuse Lionel of wrongdoing. That hair is always in the right.
David: No, sometimes it's to the left. I do like to imagine ten-year-old Lex calling out a hit on the Queens, though.
Chris: Either way, shortly after Clark issues the pronouncement that Oliver "Isn't one of us," the rest of the Justice League immediately teams up to help Oliver shoot Clark in the back with a Kryptonite arrow.
Chris: This also causes clark to get a cut on his face for no reason.
David: I really hope they do a future-of-Smallville Superman comic at some point, where Clark is just a completely incompetent asshole with terrible advice who repeatedly gets dismissed by the rest of the League because all of his ideas are terrible.
Chris: You may have noticed that at this point, we are halfway through the episode and we haven't even seen Doomsday, let alone any actual Superman/Doomsday conflict. But that's okay, because now it's time for Tess and Lois to wrestle on Clark's desk.
David: I don't even remember the impetus for this fight.
Chris: I'm going to guess it was "We only have enough in the budget for Clark and Doomsday to fight for three minutes. What else can we do to please our 18 to 25-year-old male demographic?"
David: Honestly, with all the talking about a mysterious ORB, I kept thinking I was watching Venture Bros.
Chris: I think Tess did do Molotov's signature headscissors at one point. Either way, their semi-erotic squirming knocks Clark's Legion ring off his desk, and Lois picks it up and immediately vanishes into the future.
David: Lois's "hey, let's randomly try this" methodology works out again. We don't even see her again this episode, do we? Maybe she was teleported somewhere else. Other than the future, I mean.
Chris: Here's the thing: The ring was meant to take Doomsday into the future, so clearly that's what it does to Lois. She ends up in 3009, dropped right into the middle of a bunch of Legionnaires who are waiting to destroy the ultimate killing machine as soon as it comes through the time portal. There's a part of me that wants Lois to have been set on fire, electrocuted, mind-blasted, karate chopped, brained with a chunk of iron and turned to stone that was then eaten just because Clark couldn't be bothered to keep his super-hero stuff off the top of his desk at work. That'll learn him.
David: Yeah, the fact that it's just on his desk is incredible. Did he not think anyone would touch it? How does he explain the fact that he has it to Lois? Does he pull the whole "Oh, I'm friends with the Blur" angle? I guess I'd have to actually watch the next episode to find out, and I dunno how hot I am on that idea.
Chris: This sets up some hardcore angsting later on, but for now, we cut back to Clark, and if you think he's a dick, just imagine his friends who poisoned him and left him to die on the side of the road.
David: I'm sure they would have come back for him eventually!
Chris: But not before H. James Olsen, who shows up, figures out Clark's secret identity, and then refers to him as "a super guy."
David: After like a thirty second pause just to tease us, of course.
Chris: This is me for that entire 30 seconds: "Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuggggggh."
David: I thought he was gonna go "super... cool dude!" or something even worse.
Chris: Clark tells Jimmy to go get Chloe to safety while he deals with Bloomesday, only to find out that Chloe -- again, THE SMART ONE -- has managed to somehow enact Clark's Black Kryptonite plan even under the watchful eyes of the Justice Idiots.
David: We're still not even close to done with the train of Chloe's bad decisions in this episode, though.
Chris: I'm just blown away that she could do this while Impulse, the guy who can run faster than the Blur, is just sort of watching it all play out.
David: Why did they even include a speedster in this show? Live action television is, like, the worst possible medium to convey a story with that, since it's obscenely expensive to do it right in full-out Matrix time.
Chris: Which is evidenced by the fact that every time we see Clark super-speeding, he's basically just jogging with a blur effect added in post. He power-walks faster than a speeding bullet.
David: I'd say their decision to put Bart Allen in this show was more than a little bit impulsive.
Chris: Ugh. Uzi, don't you start. At this point, we are now more than halfway through this episode, and finally -- FINALLY -- it is time for Superman to fight Doomsday. And to be fair, we do see one really solid punch land.
David: The suit looks so cheap, even in the bad lighting they're trying to use to disguise it.
Chris: I take issue with the idea that this show is poorly lit on purpose, because if it is, they spent eight years setting it up for this one scene. Honestly though? I think Doomsday looks fine. I think the crazy thing isn't that it's a cheap costume, but that Doomsday looks EXACTLY LIKE DOOMSDAY in the comics -- minus, thankfully, his tight green bike shorts -- and he's standing there punching a dude in a dumb red Members Only jacket and jeans because they didn't want Clark in his costume.
David: Man, the only club Clark's a member of is the Pen Fifteen club.
Chris: Either way, this fight with Doomsday -- the one that they've been building to all season -- literally takes less than two minutes.
David: I honestly thought they'd just cut away from it. I was totally shocked that it was just... over.
Chris: I thought I was exaggerating when I said it was "less than five," but I went and looked at the timestamps. Clark power-walks onto the same stupid street set they always use at 26:11, and they crash into the geothermal facility and blow it up at 27:50.
David: I just tried to think of something funny to respond to that with for four minutes. Note: That's longer than the fight itself took.
Chris: I'm trying to imagine someone sitting here watching Clark fight Doomsday and going "UGH, GET ON WITH IT, I WANT TO SEE WHAT JIMMY BOUGHT CHLOE AS THEIR WEDDING PRESENT."
David: That is the majority of the show's fanbase, as far as I understand.
Chris: I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm tired of seeing Clark too. Anyway, turns out that what Jimmy Olsen -- who is a reporter at a newspaper, if you'll remember -- bought Chloe is the massive penthouse studio apartment at the top of the tallest building in Metropolis.
David: It's a fixer-upper, apparently, although it looks pretty damn nice to me.
Chris: Yeah, it's insanely nice. Also, for some reason, they brought Doomsdavis Bloome with them to share this romantic moment -- Chloe's the Smart One! -- and after hearing about how much Chloe loves Jimmy, Bloome stabs him to death with a pipe.
David: Yeah, this --- THIS is the dumbest thing they did in this episode. Even I was like "Wow, I'd be pretty annoyed about this if I were Davis." And, you know, I'm not a serial killer.
Chris: Bloome then berates Chloe for being in love with her fiancee, and then Jimmy manages to get up and stab him with a pipe too, thus evening the score. I'd like to point out that this entire sequence takes twice as long as Clark's fight with Doomsday.
David: Why wouldn't it? Smallville is "no tights, no flights." It's about the human sides to the characters, man, not that adolescent power fantasy crap. It's about what's deep. SMALLVILLE IS ABOUT WHAT'S REAL. If you excuse me, I'm going to go cry in front of my Aaron Ashmore shrine.
Chris: Dudes stabbing each other with pipes. REAL.
David: I wouldn't be at all surprised if that was the confrontation a decent segment of the fanbase cared about. I mean, honestly, Jimmy Olsen here -- sorry, H. Jimmy Olsen -- was at least kind of likable in a way that Clark certainly has never been.
Chris: Really, I don't blame them. Smallville has done its level best to take away any reason we have to care about Clark. It's just crazy that this is happening on a show in which he is the main character. Anyway, we get a nice pieta with Chloe and Jimmy to commemorate the sudden devaluation of a thousand fanfics...
Chris: ...and then we get Jimmy's funeral. And this -- THIS -- is the dumbest thing about this episode.
David: God, which part? "Henry James Olsen" or Clark attending but not showing himself for basically no reason? Or his declaration to Chloe afterwards?
Chris: The former. We find out that Jimmy is, as we've been saying this entire time, "Henry James Olsen," and that he has a brother, presumably the James Bartholomew Olsen that we know from the comics, who is now going to take his brother's camera and become a reporter.
Chris: Are you f---ing kidding me.
David: Well, we've known this was coming for a while, but that doesn't make witnessing the execution any less terrible.
Chris: No kidding. And for added "HEY THAT'S SOMETHING I RECOGNIZE" appeal, the kid is wearing a bowtie to the funeral. Amazingly, this episode then goes on for another ten minutes.
David: I did groan heavily with the huge leadup to Chloe calling it a "watchtower." "A... a beacon, like... a... a...." It's the same thing as the "superguy" earlier, except I guess this time they actually followed through.
Chris: Except that she's been referring to herself as "Watchtower" for like two years.
David: Has she, at this point? I thought that started here.
Chris: Nope, she says it at the end of "Justice," remember?
David: He decides to "kill" Clark Kent and become the Blur 24/7, and I think also starts wearing the dumb Matrix outfit.
Chris: Ah, right. And then a glowing naked man with a Fleur-de-Lis tramp stamp shows up on Tess's front yard.
Chris: The End.
David: It's hard being a Phantom Zone prison bitch.
David: I think I could have grown to like Aaron Ashmore if I were actually watching this show. He wasn't bad.
Chris: Yeah, like most of the supporting cast in this show, it seems like he's just given dumb things to say and has to make the best of it.
David: Honestly, there really was nothing to recommend here. Doomsday sucks, the fight with him sucked, Clark acted dumb, the cliffhanger was unintentionally hilarious and the plot only made sense if every character involved were impossibly stupid.
Chris: I may get called out on this -- and deservedly so -- for once again offering up the Male Gaze review of Smallville, but the only thing I really liked seeing in this episode was Tess, with her '40s style hair and flowing silk robe.
David: I'll give you that, I guess, but the terrible dialogue can only be carried by attractive people for so far.
David: Lois disappearing into nowhere, the non-fight with Doomsday, Clark's amazingly stupid black kryptonite plan...
Chris: Henry. James. Olsen.
David: Yeah. Henry James Olsen. Why did he even go by James when his younger brother's name was James?
Chris: Is his dad George Foreman? Because that's the only way that even makes any sense at all. Seriously, this is the dumbest thing in the history of the show. They want to have Jimmy Olsen, but they also want to have a younger Jimmy Olsen in reserve so they can match up with whatever the hell their vision of the Post-Smallville story of Superman is, so their solution: DOUBLE OLSEN. And the amazing thing is, that's not the only time they've pulled this nonsense! Remember when Cat Grant showed up at the beginning of Season 10, and had to explain that she wasn't the Cat Grant that already existed from Season 9?
David: I've said it before, this is how they'll get Bruce Wayne in. And also, possibly, how they'll write Chloe Sullivan out.
Chris: You know what's crazy about this episode? I mean, what's crazy that we haven't allready discussed.
David: Hit me.
Chris: This episode came out two years after the Superman: Doomsday animated movie.
David: I have not seen that.
Chris: Neither have I, but I'm going to go ahead and guess that it involves more than 99 seconds of Superman fighting Doomsday.
David: God, I'm glad we're nearing the end of this. I've really started running out of general criticisms to make, and specific episodes from the past aren't illuminating any big trends anymore. This episode wasn't even entertainingly dumb. It was just dumb.
Chris: Any idea on where to go next? I'm actually wondering if we should just do season finales from here on out, just to brace ourselves for the series ending.
David: I still kind of want to do "Heat." It's Jeph Loeb, it's Smallville sex ed, it's Clark's First Boner, it sounds like it'll at least fall on the entertaining side of the line.
Chris: Superman's first boner it is. See you next week for that, everybody!