ComicsAlliance Recaps ‘Smallville’ Episode 10.6: Harvest
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: Seriously: Did they just steal the props from the Batman Begins warehouse?
Chris: Over the past six weeks, I've been completely surprised by how much I've been enjoying Smallville. Until this week, when the show suddenly ran face-first into a brick wall of the worst hour of television I've seen in years.
David: I actually didn't hate this episode as much as last week's, although this episode it had the major flaw of literally being Superman transplanted into The Wicker Man.
Chris: Then we might have a conflict here, because as much as you hated last week's, it is nothing compared to the amount of loathing I've developed for "Harvest."
David: Loathing? Is that like hate? Because if you nourish that seed, it might be Harvested itself ... by a Black Lantern!
David: I think you're underestimating the number of fans of straight-up Lois/Clark on-screen premarital banging.
Chris: I haven't seen any other season of Smallville so I don't know if they're in the habit of doing a regular Halloween-themed episode, but that's certainly what "Harvest" felt like. Except that instead of going the obvious route and dropping something like the Demon or Klarion the Witch Boy into a season that seems to revolve around Jack Kirby creations, they instead opted to tell a story that makes absolutely no sense.
David: I haven't seen much of earlier seasons, but I understand there used to basically be monster-of-the-week style stuff with "meteor freaks," and that sounded a whole hell of a lot like this.
Chris: It's like a script they had laying around the office. Specifically the script to Shirley Jackson's The Lottery.
David: Or The Wicker Man, but same basic premise. There is almost no part of this story that is not lifted from another, more famous story.
Chris: Except for the really, really, really dumb parts. Those seem to be wholly original. Case in point, the catalyst for our story is that Superman gets a flat tire.
Chris: I'm going to say that again for those of you in the back: Superman. Gets. A Flat Tire. That is the event that sets the next hour in motion.
David: I would have appreciated at least SOME explanation for why Superman was driving a damn car. Like, a throwaway line, anything. Instead we just got Lois talking about how being with Clark was like being with God, or Bono. A line I had to rewind and listen to again just to make sure I heard it right.
Chris: I can forgive them that, as Clark and Lois are meant to be driving to cover some story that they don't bother to really tell us about.
David: Didn't Clark fabricate most of the assignment for the purposes of getting Lois out of town during an anti-hero rally, which, by the way, sounds like a way cooler episode?
Chris: It really does. I've said it before, screenwriters: Don't remind your audience that they could be watching something better. Even so, flimsy as that premise is, I'm willing to go with it, except that Clark Kent is apparently such a bad driver that he runs over a massive two-by-four with nails in it and doesn't even realize it until something like three hours later.
David: But yeah, the flat tire was just mystifying, and then the random girl with the horse and buggy. How did neither Lois nor Clark think that was kind of bizarre? First, how the Hell did Clark even learn to drive? Second, shouldn't he have seen it with his super-vision or something? I mean, he's f---ing Superman!.
Chris: It's the first of many utterly ridiculous moments. The second? Why does Clark have to go into town to find a mechanic? He changes the tire. I have had many flat tires in my time, and once you put on the spare, you can drive. That is, in fact, the entire reason spare tires exist.
David: As someone who hasn't had a car in ten years, I have to say I don't much remember how the hell they work, but I similarly don't understand why he didn't just -- I know this sounds crazy -- use his cellphone, or Lois's.
Chris: No signal!
(Warning: NSFW Language)
David: Hahahaha, man, that is the laziest excuse you can use as a writer. And one of the movies in here is the remake of The Wicker Man! Also, I thought he was going into town to GET the spare tire. I could be off on that, though.
Chris: No, he changes the tire without a jack or a wrench, which is the last time they remember he's Superman. Then he takes the flat tire into town, leaving Lois on the side of the road, instead of driving the two miles on the spare. The only way it makes any sense is if they have a blowout in more than one tire at once, and since Clark's utterly shocked to find the nail-board and come to the conclusion that maybe this wasn't an accident, that can't be the case either.
Chris: What we're trying to get at here, folks, is that nothing in this episode makes sense. Lois ends up wandering off into the woods with a little girl and when Clark gets back, he discovers he's no longer invulnerable, because they have radioactive Kryptonite water.
Now, this is going to be very important in a few minutes, so keep this in mind: Clark has lost his powers. Due to Kryptonite in the water. And has NO POWERS AT ALL when he's around the people who have been drinking the water all their lives.
David: Or for the last twenty years, at least. Clark was incredibly slow-witted this entire episode, really.
Chris: Right. So Lois ends up being whisked away to a sect of evil Amish who want to sacrifice her to the meteor that's kept them healthy because it fell onto one guy's daughter, and now that's what they do every year.
David: I guess blue Kryptonite heals humans, since it was what made the crops so great. I assume? You can pretty much leave it to the Amish to not pay any attention to the scientific method and just assume that God needs to kill someone every year.
Chris: That's the great thing about doing this column on the Internet: We can smack-talk the Amish all we want; they'll never know. At this point, I feel like I should note that this is the first episode of the season so far where we haven't gotten a DC Universe guest star, but they still managed to get Lois in a costume. This time: Sexy Milkmaid!
David: Honestly, why not just use Klarion? Or, Hell, I dunno, who else in the DCU could the pseudo-Amish cult have been?
Chris: My suggestion would've been to not do this terrible cliche story to begin with.
David: Well, okay, yeah.
Chris: Clark ends up getting knocked out by one of the Evil Amish who is driving around in a policecar pretending to be a policeman -- and by the way, they could've done SO much more with the idea of deep-cover Amish sleeper agents -- and then they get reunited.
David: Yeah, wow, I didn't even register the Amish driving a car. Or was he a real policeman who was just from that village?
Chris: Nope, he's undercover. He puts his Amish Clothes back on for the ceremony. Clark and Lois try to make their escape, but then they're found out and Lois decks a Goodwife, which is actually pretty cool...
Chris: ...and then Clark gets cut open with a scythe, because, and this is very important, HE HAS NO POWERS.
David: Lois decking the wife was maybe my favorite part of the episode. The scythe, not so much. Hell of a clean wound, too.
Chris: The Evil Amish then dress up like the Scarecrow and cart Lois off to be sacrificed -- at which time we learn that the further she gets away from Plucky Girl Reporter, the worse Erica Durance gets at acting -- and then they bury Clark alive. And then he heals up and comes back and Saves Lois. So here's my question:
HOW DID HE GET HIS POWERS BACK?
David: Something happened with the Kryptonite, it seemed, where it went from blue to green. But I've been wondering that same thing. And shouldn't Green Kryptonite have killed him?
Chris: There is nothing in the script that explains why Clark suddenly gets his powers back, and if it's the "blue becomes green" thing, then a) it still doesn't make any sense, and b) they maybe shouldn't have left the communication of a key plot point up to the Special Effects department of a show on the CW. And even if that's what happened, then why doesn't he lose his powers again once he's back among the cultists that have the Blue Kryptonite in their systems? And if Blue Kryptonite takes away his powers, then why doesn't the Blue Kryptonite fire burn him to death rather than just melting his shirt and giving him a deep tan?
David: Yeah, I just rewatched it, and I don't get it AT ALL. I mean, maybe it's supposed to be a hint for later in the season, but it really seems to straight up have no explanation.
Chris: I don't ask for much, but it completely defies its own internal logic. It's not even fun, it's just nonsense.
David: And Lois's hypeman speech once Clark saves her was a) stolen from Pulp Fiction and b) totally against the idea of Superman. AND SUPERMAN WILL STRIKE DOWN UPON THEE WITH GREAT VENGEANCE AND FURIOUS ANGER! I kept expecting Clark to go "No, Lois. I should talk to these people and explain that it was just meteor rock so they trust me rather than fearing me," or something. And instead he was just like "Wassup! yeah!" while Lois was like, "And you all gon' DIE."
Chris: That was one of the few parts of the episode I actually liked. Lois is totally the kind of girl who would quote Pulp Fiction at the only people who wouldn't know the reference just to play on their fear of the Bible.
David: It was fine for Lois; it was Clark's passivity that bugged me.
Chris: I can't believe I'm defending this, but I do kind of like the idea that Smallville Clark just totally lets Lois do whatever she wants once she gets going.
David: That just seems to me a side effect of the fact that Clark basically lets anybody do whatever they want once they get going.
David: So shall we move on to the B-plot?
Chris: Let's. In addition to the Metropolis Community Theater production of The Wicker Man, this episode also advanced the plot with Li'l Lex, and I'm calling it right now: We will see a Lex Luthor possessed by Darkseid before the end of this season.
Chris: It opens with Tess throwing a birthday party for Lex with a bunch of other kids, which, again, makes no sense. Where did they come from? He's aging two years every week. Did Tess send him to school, or did she just hire a bunch of kids to buy him presents?
David: Then Lex has a seizure out of nowhere, and his genetic memory of hating Clark or whatever is activated and he dramatically scrawls out an S-symbol on a birthday plate.
Chris: With a candle.
David: At least he licked off the icing first. He's not a complete monster.
Chris: He ends up sassing Tess and revealing that he's totally evil and has all of Original Lex's memories, and then she tells her team of scientists to stop trying to cure him of his rapid aging and locks him in a room. Then he cuts off all of his hair, presumably so that he can be Aang for Halloween.
David: This episode was kind of like an M. Night Shyamalan flick. I presume we'll get some BS technobabble explanation for the memory retention later, but it still doesn't make a lot of sense.
Chris: I can deal with that, as it makes as much sense as the Yellow Sun making an alien who looks like he comes from upstate New York invulnerable to bullets. It didn't violate the show's logic; it was just hilariously bad.
David: Yeah, that's the main problem. I assume it's gonna take another episode or two until we finally move up to Rosenbaum, assuming they don't turn him into some other actor out of the blue.
David: The Lois freaking out scene, and her punching the random lady. Basically, Lois in general when she wasn't trying to be a Jane Austen character. Also, the fact that Warner Brothers is now okay with depicting Superman -- GASP! -- having premarital sex.
Chris: For my high point, I think I'm going to have to go with the part where Superman shows up with a shotgun.
Chris: That was so stupid it looped back around to hilarious.
David: Listen man, I'm sure Pa Kent taught him how to shoot it before he started bending it with his bare hands.
Chris: The fact that Superman -- SUPERMAN! -- would need a gun to convince a bunch of cultists that murdering in the name of God wasn't a good thing is so antithetical to the character that I had to make sure J. Michael Straczynski didn't write this episode. But it made me laugh, and that's more than the rest of this thing did.
David: My low point can best be summed up as "the script." It was just a totally unimaginative and unnecessary episode.
Chris: Yeah, this was easily the worst we've seen so far. For the previous episodes, our go-to High Point has been Lois, but even she was bad this episode. The super-serious acting and shouting about how she has faith in Superman was just awful. And really, at this point it takes a lot to make me not like Durance as Lois Lane. I liked the Isis episode, for cryin' out loud.
David: Well, I dunno how much of that was her and how much of that was just a seriously hammy speech she had to make, man. I can't imagine anyone not losing their mind having to say "faith" that many times in five minutes.
Chris: Let me ask you a question, Uzi.
David: Hit it.
Chris: Did you ever once get the feeling during this episode that you were witnessing something that had been filmed as a second take?
David: No, including the fact that the script felt like a first draft. Episodes like this are why 26 episode seasons are usually a bad idea.
Chris: I was really hoping that they could keep the momentum of enjoyable Silver Age Craziness mashed up with Jack Kirby Fourth World insanity up for the whole season, but this episode did a pretty good job disabusing me of that notion.
David: I really hope we get back to the main Darkseid plot soon. That Godfrey episode was so enjoyably goofy.
Chris: Well, we did learn last week that we're going to be seeing the Female Furies, but it looks like next week's episode is going to give us the fateful first meeting of Clark and Lois's father, General Sam Lane.
David: Oh, man, the poor bastard. At least, if Sam Lane's as much of an epic dick on TV as he is in the comics.
Chris: The previews I saw did show him shining an interrogation light in Clark's face. So at the very least, we're going from a Wicker Man ripoff to a Meet The Parents ripoff. Before we close out though, in the interest of all fairness, I do want to say: The fact that they keep the perpetual meteor flame in an upside-down church bell is hilarious.
David: Hey, man, whatever they have around! It's not like they have the industry to make another receptacle. It's like a hobo trashcan fire... from space.
Chris: This whole episode is like a hobo trashcan fire from space.
David: Maybe next week we can upgrade to tires.