ComicsAlliance Recaps ‘Smallville’ Episode 10.20: Prophecy
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: All right, let's get this piece of crap over with.
Chris: You know, I don't think anyone would blame us if we spent the next 2500 words talking about Thor, but someone hasn't seen it, and now we're stuck with the penultimate episode of Smallville, 'Prophecy.' Nice job, Uzumeri. Real nice.David: I'm sure it was a lot like this episode, except not insultingly stupid.
Chris: That's right everybody: This week, Smallville does the Fourth World Saga as a Dungeons & Dragons adventure and a look at what All Star Superman #3 would've been like if it had been written by monkeys. But on the bright side, we've only got one more week.
David: D&D adventure? Dogg, that was a co-op Zelda puzzle. All it was missing was the victory chime, last used brilliantly after Scott Pilgrim flushed.
David: We kick off with Nerd Clark walking into Lois's office to complain about her never being around anymore, while she has created a scale map of Metropolis on her floor and is visualizing suspicious real estate deals by stacking deeds. Now, Lois, I don't know much about investigative journalism, but I do know there is a device on your desk that scientists refer to as "a computer."
Chris: I actually didn't mind Lois building her little scale model of Metropolis to get a good perspective on the situation. It's at least something visually interesting for her to interact with and berate Clark about stepping on, and at this point, Erica Durance yelling at Tom Welling is my favorite part of the show.
David: Anyway, it turns out all of these places are getting bought out by "Marionette Ventures," the most transparent supervillain holding company name of all time, but this doesn't set off alarm bells for Lois or Clark, who proceed to superspeed to the Fortress of Solitude since Clark forgot -- silly him! -- to tell his AI computer dad about his impending nuptials, or ask his AI computer dad what its program thinks Jor-El's opinion would be.
David: Kal-El's computer dad is still the Dumbest Thing. Dude, you hate this guy. He's been a dick to you forever, randomly killed Adrianne Palicki, he's amoral as hell and you really give a flying crap as to whether or not he approves of your Earth marriage? And I mean, of course his reaction is a passive-aggressive "gift" that turns out to totally screw Clark over, because Jor-El is an asshole, that's why.
Chris: Yeah, I think of all the things we've seen on this show, Clark going to ask a computer program based on his dad -- who has been dead for twenty years -- for permission to get married is quite possibly the dumbest, most ridiculous thing on this show, even before you factor in the fact that he totally killed a girl. Why is mass-media Superman stuff so obsessed with Jor-El?
David: If he's not Marlon Brando, I'm not interested, people.
Chris: Even then, man. I get why people would want the Kents around, since it gives Superman someone to talk to who knows his secret, and gives a nice way to humanize him, but Jor-El's part in the Superman story is over the second he puts the baby in the rocketship. Do people really like those first two Christopher Reeve movies so much that they think Jor-El's disembodied voice needs to be telling a dude in his 20s whether he should get married?
David: So yeah, Jor-El basically goes "Yeah, you can totally get married, but only if she gets to understand what being you is like!" and then he gives her Superman's powers.
David: Now, first of all, this makes no sense scientifically, and I mean, I know this is Smallville so I shouldn't be thinking about science, but that's too dumb to go into even the dumbest Superman comic. Why is Computer Jor-El so damn omnipotent?
Chris: Yeah, and if J.O.R.E.L. has the power to instantly give people Superman powers -- like he did to Adrianne Palicki over the course of 16 years, I guess -- then... I mean, why not just make Green Arrow bulletproof?
David: Becuase he doesn't meet some asinine arbitrary criteria for heroism, I'm sure. Jor-El, man. Jor-EL.
Chris: It almost makes me wish there was a companion book to Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane and Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen. Superman's A**hole Dad Jor-El.
David: One day, Grant Morrison's going to end up on the main Superman titles, and he's going to retcon Superdickery as a two-year period in Superman's life where he was possessed by the ghost of Jor-El.
Chris: Hey, Superman had a good reason for tricking Jimmy Olsen into marrying that gorilla. But yeah, I was trying to explain Smallville to some people over the weekend, and when I got to the part where Superman's dad is a computer who used to live in a cave and vaporized a teenage girl one time, I just gave up.
David: Anyway, we switch over to the Celtic coast, where Ollie Queen is about to enter the most blatant Legend of Zelda homage I've ever seen on television.
Chris: I didn't even think about Zelda, but you're totally right. I mean, they even shoot switches with a bow and arrow later! It's amazing they didn't walk out of that cave with a boomerang.
David: They were going to walk out with a silver bow!
David: Seriously, this is actually a television show about Superman and Darkseid that managed to make the most interesting part Ollie Queen and Supergirl playing a budget live-action Legend of Zelda.
Chris: At least Chloe wasn't walking around behind them going "HEY! LISTEN!"
David: Where is Chloe, for that matter? Wasn't she going to marry Ollie in Star City?
Chris: Don't know. Don't care.
David: But yeah, Ollie goes into this big dumb cave and sees an Omega symbol across from an Orion symbol, and then Supergirl happens to randomly be there, stuck in a FORCE FIELD!
Chris: It's an invisible force field, too, which is helpful for the budget.
David: One that he defeats by... touching the omega symbol, to "strike a balance." So congratulations, Smallville, you managed to create a dumb RPG dungeon with a puzzle that's solved via my obsessive-compulsive disorder (I'm actually OCD about touching objects equally on both sides). Ollie frees Kara from her conveniently invisible prison and they go into the next room and I'm disappointed that they didn't play the Zelda victory chime.
Chris: Ollie seems woefully unprepared for all this. No big key, no compass, no map. I mean, he doesn't even say if he researched whether Dodongo likes smoke!
David: Anyway, Clark is once again forced to look a gift horse in the mouth and is berating Lois about using her powers for personal gain (didn't he get her Chinese food like two episodes ago?) and constantly trying to figure out what game Jor-El is playing by giving Lois powers. Hey, Clark, just an idea: if you don't trust Jor-El, maybe you should just not go see Jor-El, or turn him off.
Chris: Yeah, there's this weird thing where he totally hates Jor-El.exe and thinks he's sketchy and up to something sinister -- WHICH IS ALWAYS TRUE -- but he still just runs up to the north pole and does whatever he says. In fact, this is making me wonder what he thought was going to happen when he sent Ultraman to talk to Jor-El a few episodes back. I imagine Earth-2 is just a smoking crater by now.
David: Meanwhile, apparently Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor is running Marionette Ventures, since they're all trying to (GASP!) buy out all the properties around a WATER LINE! They want a WATER MONOPOLY!
Chris: This makes absolutely no sense. They're getting water rights... inside a city? Because the streets are on near an aqueduct? I'm not sure that's how cities work, guys.
David: MWAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAawaitasecond WHY DOES BLACK MANTA GIVE A CRAP ABOUT WATER RIGHTS ON THE MAINLAND?! (For those of you who didn't see the previews, Black Manta is one of the operatives of Marionette Ventures.) (And by "operatives" I mean "people who get in dumb suits and then sit around a table.")
Chris: We'll get to the Legion of Doom, A Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Marionette Ventures, Inc. in a little bit, but amazingly, Black Manta is the LEAST ridiculous person on that team.
David: After a really labored scene where Clark tries to teach Lois how to prioritize which people to save, Lois ends up saving the last remaining property Marionette needs from one of their operatives, who turns out to be, dear God, people, I s**t you not... I am not making this up, I wish to God I were: Stargirl. With a Starro. A mechanical Starro.
Chris: A mechanical Starro invented by the f**king Toyman.
David: I'd just like to point out that this was basically stolen from the first arc of Brad Meltzer's JLA. And man, if you're Smallville, I guess if you're going to steal, you might as well steal from the absolute damn worst.
Chris: Is it ever actually explained why the Toyman has assembled a team of super-villains and invented something that provides absolute and total mind control just so he can gan legal control of an aquifer? I mean... that makes absolutely no sense at all. It's like... It's like building a time machine so that you can go back to yesterday and make sure you get your cable bill in the mail on time. If you have one of these things, the other ceases to really be an issue.
David: With other writers I might try to argue that it's evidence of the Toyman's shortsightedness, but this is just really dumb. I mean, it's the same mental thought process that makes someone invent a weather manipulation device and then use it to hold up banks.
Chris: You know, for a show basing itself around Cobra Commander's plans for world domination, you'd think it would be more fun to watch. Also, I just looked up "aquifer" to make sure I had the right spelling, and apparently one of the related terms is "aquitard." Which is exactly what the Toyman is.
David: I wonder if all of these idiots will be in the finale, too.
Chris: Oh, I'm sure they will. This is actually making me sort of look forward to the finale for reasons other than just the fact that our suffering will be over. Right now, this thing has a shot at including the Legion of Doom, Darkseid, Granny Goodness, Desaad, Glorious Godfrey, the Justice League, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Zod, Lex Luthor, Lionel Luthor, Alexander Luthor, Conner Kent, and Ultraman, all thrown into the biggest trainwreck on television. Did I miss anyone?
David: Flashbacks to Hawkman, Orion, Green Arrow, Supergirl, Ma Kent... At this rate, I half expect Batman and Wonder Woman to show up.
David: Anyway, down in Dungeon 7, Kara tells Ollie that Orion was Darkseid's son, who was raised by good people and then fought his father. At this point, Clark and Kara run across two symbols and two switches, and they realize (OF COURSE!) that they have to simultaneously shoot a bank shot at the two symbols on the pillars and then have them bounce off that and hit the switches to open a hidden door. Luckily, Ollie has two bows. So after throwin' a bow at Kara like he was Ludacris, they do that dumb puzzle.
Chris: Why. On Earth. Would anyone make this the way to open this crazy door?
David: Because Orion was apparently Shigeru Miyamoto.
Chris: The ways of the New Gods are truly beyond our understanding. And so are Ollie's crazy collapsable bows, as is the fact that he apparently carries around a bag of them. Also, I'm like 90% sure this is the first time we've seen Green Arrow actually shoot a bow, and we've been watching this show for 9 months.
David: The craziest part is that despite all this, Green Arrow in Smallville is still better than his own currently-published DC Universe comic.
Chris: That's because on Smallville, Green Arrow is actually Batman.
David: Anyway, after they make this shot and open the door, Jor-El calls Kara away to tell her that the bow is Clark's problem, and that if she wants Clark to win, she needs to bail Earth. And then, when she says she wants to warn Clark's family, is told that it's a necessary sacrifice is something. God, go to Hell, Jor-El. He then tells her her destiny's "in another space and time," or, "go to the Legion."
Chris: Again: No sense. Why doesn't Jor-El just tell Kara what to do? She listens to him, wants the same stuff, and she has all of Clark's powers! There is no logical reason for him to want this to be "Clark's destiny" -- because apparently a computer program is all about destiny -- without having the script and knowing Clark's allegedly the main character of this dumb show.
David: Maybe "Collateral" was foreshadowing, and Jor-El actually is the omnipotent computer program that runs each instance of Smallville, the world's most exciting video game. It'd explain the video game puzzle, the arbitrary restrictions on character action...
Chris: No tights, no flights... because Clark hasn't earned enough XP to unlock them.
David: I hope an Xbox Achievement pops up when Clark finally flies in the finale.
Chris: I think we should get the achievement for making it all the way through to the end of the season. Or at least hazard pay.
David: I'll leave taking it up with Worker's Comp to you. Anyway, back in the Watchtower, Courtney reveals that Metallo, Roulette, Dark Archer and MANTA are the shareholders in Marionette Ventures, and they investigate the Starro thing and see a "W.S." on a diode. Because when you're building your own electronics, you totally make your own diodes, you don't buy them in bulk down at the electronics supply store. And you put your initials on them, just to make sure all of your criminal capers are easy to trace back to you.
Chris: Oh man. When Stargirl and her DC Direct Cosmic Rod prop started talking about the "shareholders" in Marionette Ventures, that's where I lost it. Apparently Black Manta buys stocks... UNDER THE NAME "BLACK MANTA."
David: Welcome to eTrade! Username: black_manta
Chris: I wonder if Black Manta ever teamed up with that weird eTrade baby. Was that what happened in "Aquawar?" Also, when Clark tells Courtney Whitmore about the Toyman's dumb, ridiculous plan, Lois actually says "that makes sense." Lady, you can say that all you want, but that doesn't make it true.
David: Anyway, Lois goes to jail to confront the Toyman with her superpowers, steals his PDA and starts bragging about how everyone figured him out. Toyman, being a genius, responds by taunting Lois about how she's clearly engaged to Clark Kent, who he knows is the Blur, and how things didn't end well for Lana Lang. Which -- look, man. If TOYMAN knows who Superman is, there is no way this show isn't ending with a worldwide mindwipe.
Chris: Oh man, can we talk about the Toyman in Jail for a second? The dude is LITERALLY IN A TINY CAGE IN THE MIDDLE OF AN EMPTY ROOM, and they let him have a smartphone.
Chris: An actual. F--king. Cage. And to make things even more hilarious, his little cot on the floor has a little gray blanket with black stripes, just in case you forgot he was in cartoon jail.
David: With that dumb hair, he looks like Hannibal Spector, the genetic love child of Hannibal Lecter and Phil Spector.
Chris: I was thinking Earth-3 Penn Jilette.
David: He then claims he's going to spare Clark from getting killed by his team of villains (because Clark's powerless right now, remember) if Lois agrees to put on a Starro. Lois, because the power transfer apparently also gave her Clark's super-naivete, decides that sounds like a fantastic idea.
Chris: Maybe she thought she'd be immune to having a little metal starfish stuck on her currently impenetrable skin, because that's sure as hell what I thought was about to happen. Apparently I was paying more attention to this stupid plot than anyone on the writing staff.
David: Back to the temple, where Ollie finds the bow, which has some generic alien writing on it that changes to "THE ONLY TRUE POWER COMES FROM WITHIN." Since he's corrupted by the darkness, I guess, that makes him not very good to actually use the bow. So Granny Goodness shows up out of nowhere, reveals she's been tracking him, destroys the bow and wipes his memory so he can serve them more. Awesome job, Ollie.
Chris: So for those of you keeping score at home, half of this episode is monumentally dumb, and the other half has absolutely no impact whatsoever on the season's plot.
Chris: This whole thing with Orion's bow was introduced and then almost immediately made irrelevant, and it's not like they needed to give Darkseid a reason to be able to control Oliver; he's already got the stupid Omega brand on his stupid skull.
David: So yeah, then Toyman tells all of his dumb villains to go after the rest of the Justice League, and sends Super-Lois after Clark. Except Clark, of course, breaks through to Lois with a REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE! speech, letting him survive until sunset when he gets his powers back.
Chris: Because Jor-El's power-switch ends at sundown, like he's the Fairy Frigging Godmother. Stippity stoppity stupid.
David: Toyman's talking to a mysterious puppetmaster (probably Darkseid) about how everything went down, and then Clark shows up to berate him. Toyman threatens to tell the world who Clark is, and Clark's response is just "naw, man, you'd have done it already; you like being the only person who knows too much." Awesome, the end of "Hush."
Chris: Which, to be fair, is not as dumb here as it was then.
David: I dunno, I think it's still pretty dumb.
Chris: Yeah, but Uzi, trust me. You do not want to turn this into an evaluation of "Hush." We both have other things to do today.
David: Clark runs back to the Fortress and goes "F--K YOU, DAD.EXE" and turns off the crystal computer, while Possessed Ollie is off digging for Gold Kryptonite, which, to be fair, they've been seeding pretty heavily in the past few episodes, but still means we're going to get some kind of really dumb rehash of "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?".
Chris: Does that mean Russian Exchange Student Mikhail Mxyzptlk is going to come back and -- Oh man, what if we find out this WHOLE ENTIRE SERIES is one of Mxyzptlk's tricks?!
David: Then we truly know he'd descended from mischief into evil. So basically, Lois breaks up with Clark because she realizes that she's being unfair by forcing him to prioritize his time between saving people and being with her.
Chris: I don't even know what to say about this part.
David: I wish I'd remembered to take a picture, since I actually crushed an empty beer can in my hand when this happened. If this is reversed in the finale, it's a cheap, last-second dramatic device that's totally unnecessary and just screwing with the viewers. If this isn't reversed in the finale, it's an even cheaper, last-nanosecond dramatic device to give Clark some tragic pathos. This gets me so angry. Like, "Hit 'Em Up" angry.
Chris: And of course it'll be reversed, because we've seen them in the future in this very season, and they're married. Either way: absolutely pointless.
David: No, Chris. Consider this: They break up NOW, but they will have found each other again in the next five years, allowing for the classic Superman love triangle! Due to a mindwipe in the finale! It'll stop Lex from knowing who he is, and everyone else!
Chris: I'd worry that you're right, but I have confidence that Smallvile will find something even dumber to do next week. It's like a super-power!
David: So, yeah. High Points? I guess the temple was kind of entertaining, even though it was stupid. Uh. Yeah.
Chris: There was nothing good about this show. Nothing. At all.
David: I don't think any animals were harmed during its production.
Chris: It didn't make any racist remarks that I remember.
David: It did not actually kill me. Like, I didn't die from watching it. That was maybe the high point.
David: For the low points, just read the rest of this article.
Chris: Can we talk for a second about the monumentally stupid Legion of Doom appearance?
David: Sure! Good to know they made all those costumes for one appearance.
Chris: So these are supposed to be the shareholders of Stupidname Industries, right? And I know that a couple of them are characters that have been on the show before, like Roulette and Toyman, and I'm guessing "Dark Archer," whoever the hell that is. But then you've got Captain Cold, who looks exactly like Captain Cold in the comics, right down to the fur-lined powder blue parka in a show that won't let Superman wear his costume, because that would be stupid. And then... And then... SOLOMON GRUNDY! THE ZOMBIE PLANT MONSTER!
Chris: There is no reason for these characters to exist on this show. The only reason they're there is because they were on Super Friends 35 years ago, and there is no better example of how this show is just a exercise in trying to appeal to the idiotic dregs of fandom by showing them things they remember from when they were kids, without bothering to write an actual coherent story.
David: I was really disappointed by the lack of swamp lair, to be honest with you.
Chris: Congratulations, Smallville: You have taught me to hate.
David: One more to go, man. One more to go. One two-hour extravaganza of crap to go.
Chris: I don't know if I can make it. Seriously, can I tap out? Is there a panic button we can push? Can someone stop this crazy thing?
David: Only Rao, Chris. Only Rao.
Chris: Okay. Okay. We can do this. Join us next week for the very last Smallville recap. The final farewell to John Glover's hair. The final ogling of Erica Durance. The final cringe at "somebody saaaaaaaaave meeeeeeee."
David: Goodnight, and God bless America.