ComicsAlliance Recaps ‘Smallville’ Episode 10.3: Supergirl
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: I just flew back from New York, drove home from the airport, and immediately started watching last week's "Smallville" as soon as I walked in the door. So never let it be said that I don't take this job seriously.
David: I'm not going to lie, I waited a bit longer than that, but we're still here to cover "Supergirl," the third episode of this season of "Smallville" and it is totally insane.
David: "Supergirl!" This episode kicks off with the possession of Gordon Godfrey by the CGI murder of crows in a smoke monster that is Smallville's Darkseid, and then three weeks we see Godfrey writing a book slamming vigilantes and speaking in public. His initial scene made it basically completely obvious that he's a Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck parody, which actually makes a bunch of sense. In any case, suddenly a billboard breaks and starts falling on Godfrey, and Supergirl saves him and everyone else, because at this point Supergirl is a 100% out public hero. Why we are still following Clark, who can only whine about being ineffectual, is beyond me; I don't understand how Clark's arrival will change the world any more than Kara already has here by flying in public.
Chris: And so, before the credits, we have the craziest thing in the entire episode: Supergirl. Like, actual Supergirl, complete with what is essentialliy a Supergirl costume, flying around and saving people.
Chris: I've got to say, I am totally surprised they went with Gordon Godfrey -- which originally comes from "G. Gordon Godfrey" in "Legends," a parody of G. Gordon Liddy -- rather than just going all out and calling him "Glenn Godfrey."
David: Yeah, I knew about the Liddy thing, and you've got a good point -- this is really just a recycling of the same joke. In any case, Godfrey has a SECRET CHAPTER of the book which he's going to post online and keeps in a flash drive on his possession, one I'm very disappointed didn't go PING PING PING. This secret chapter is going to out Oliver Queen as the Green Arrow, so to prevent this Lois Lane then dresses up in the most ridiculous outfit I've ever seen in my life -- I honestly thought she was Lashina -- and tries to seduce Godfrey.
David: Lois then takes some pictures of Godfrey getting lapdances (at Club Desaad, no less) and publishes them, ruining his career.
Chris: Basically, she convinces him to let her tie him up, then gets some latex girls to grind on him while she snaps pictures with her iPhone. You know, like an ace reporter does. Then she reveals she was Lois Lane all along! And he ties her up with a gigantic red piece of cloth that keeps contracting until it suffocates her:
David: I LOVED THIS. I am ALL ABOUT utterly ridiculous deathtraps. So Clark shows up to save her, and then Darkseid jumps out of Godrey towards Clark, but Supergirl uses the Bracelet of Rao, whatever the Hell that is, to deflect him. Darkseid, it turns out, has come through a tear in the universe created by Clark when he did some other ridiculous Kryptonian ritual, and can prey on and possess anyone with doubt. So basically, Clark can be possessed because he's kind of a douche.
Then, after Lois goes to all this trouble, Ollie says to hell with it and goes public with his identity anyway, which at the very least finally does something with his character that you couldn't do with Batman.
Chris: If they can have a Supergirl who shows up, does stuff in a costume, then puts on a wig and glasses to protect her identity WITHOUT THERE ACTUALLY BEING A SUPERMAN FIRST, I don't think you can really say there's something that they wouldn't do with Bruce Wayne. I mean, Smallville's Bruce Wayne would probably have, like, a stepmom. And his dad would still be alive.
David: The other plot going on is that Supergirl is telling Clark, as usual, that Jor-El thinks he's kind of a useless douchebag who needs to stay out of the way and stop screwing everything up. Judging by what a whiny little dork Clark is, I don't exactly think Jor-El is wrong. I mean, I understand we're supposed to identify with Clark here, but Jor-El is kind of right: Kara actually knows how to use her powers, has a spine, and already figured out how to get a secret identity. Which is something I still can't imagine this show working in for Superman now, considering that everyone has known Clark for years as that dude who doesn't wear glasses. Unless they use a Brainiac virus to wipe everyone's brains of the fact that Clark didn't wear glasses, which seems completely within the realm of possibility for this show.
Chris: Yeah, it's... it's completely insane on a number of levels. I mean, don't get me wrong, I like Supergirl just fine, and if this was a show about Supergirl coming to Earth, that'd be great, but this isn't a Supergirl show. It's supposed to be about Clark, and he's seriously the only one who isn't a super-hero. Everyone else has just straight up started doing stuff; Clark is literally the only character still bogged down with deciding whether he wants to be a super-hero or not.
David: I hope that when Clark finally puts on the suit and comes out, everyone calls him Supergirl's beefcake sidekick. What else is he even going to do in his life? Have we ever seen him report on or write anything?
Chris: I honestly thought that after he stood on top of a building in his Thriller jacket last episode that we were getting past this, and this episode was going to be a Superman/Supergirl team-up. But it's not. It's a Supergirl story where she fights Darkseid while Clark just sort of leans up against the wall watching.
David: Hey, you're right, they completely dropped the Thriller jacket.
Chris: I know, right? And seriously, Producers Of "Smallville": A Superman logo Thriller jacket is not something you just ignore once you bring it out.
David: They should use that jacket in a Blackest Night episode. Narrated by faux Vincent Price. As Zatara, let's say. Clark Kent doing dance moves in front of shuffling Black Lantern superheroes.
Chris: They're halfway there already with the way they keep referring to Darkseid as "The Darkness." Just add "...falls across the land, the midnight hour is close at hand."
David: Now I really want this to happen, but it's unfortunately unlikely, although we do still have Booster Gold and Blue Beetle to look forward to.
Chris: When we started watching this season, I was convinced that we were going to see the Fourth World stuff looking exactly like it does in the comics -- like "Absolute Justice" -- but that's actually not what we seem to be getting, and I've really got mixed feelings about it. Maybe it's just me wanting them to go all out with the "Legends" plot, but I was a little disappointed that Gordon Godfrey wasn't actually Glorious Godfrey, sent from Apokolips to turn public opinion against the hero/vigilantes.
David: Well, let's be fair, it's early. I mean, yeah, it seems like Darkseid's minions won't be from Apokolips themselves, but it's really just a twist on the Seven Soldiers/Final Crisis take.
Chris: Exactly, and I have to admit that I kind of like that idea too. Admittedly, I will pitch a fit if we don't get Kanto at some point in the next 19 episodes...
Chris: ...but having Darkseid being this unstoppable force that turns even the slightest piece of doubt into full-blown corrpution and hatred actually IS a pretty good take on what Kirby was doing. And as much as I hate to say it, the plot of seizing on self-doubt actually does play into the ongoing story of Clark Kent, the man who won't decide to be a damn super-hero already.
David: It actually fits the universe. They don't explicitly say "Anti-Life Equation" -- and maybe they will before this is done -- but the basic concept is really similar. I'm fairly certain we'll see Clark possessed before the end of the season, using all of his powers to full effect, before we see him in a Superman outfit.
Chris: Which, again, is completely insane. We're going to have "Superman: The Dark Side" before we get Superman.
David: Which goes back to the '80s crossover "Legends" again. Byrne was involved in Superman going crazy possessed during a Legends tie-in. It was a "Superman" / "Adventures" / "Action" crossover.
Chris: Another thing I'm totally mixed on: I was both pleasantly surprised and a little let down by the scene in "Club Desaad." For one thing, I was legitimately shocked that the flyer for the club didn't have a picture of the Desaad-possessed Mary Marvel that everyone freaked out about.
David: When I saw those boots going down the stairs, I thought we were about to see this really messed-up dude who was Desaad.
Chris: Me too! I was sure we were going to get a creepy, fetished-up Desaad that was actually going to go a step further than what we've seen and get a villain who was actually sexually threatening. I was braced for a live-action HIM from the Powerpuff Girls, you know?
David: And instead it was just another excuse to get Erica Durance in a ridiculous outfit. And I mean, I like Erica Durance in ridiculous outfits, but there's a point where it really starts distracting from the show. Lois isn't Intrepid Girl Reporter just because she shows her cleavage, and while her plan was pretty damn clever and I still like Durance's take, I wish they wouldn't sex her up so much. I dunno, maybe I'm just a prude, I just think Lois's sexiness should come from her wit and ideas and confidence, not dumb outfits.
Chris: You've seen more of it than I have, Uzi. Is this a recurring theme with Durance? Because in three episodes that I've watched, two have had her tied up, and one of those involved actual honest-to-god bondage gear.
David: I haven't seen her in previous seasons, but this season it certainly seems to be. I remember pictures of her in a Playboy bunny outfit from an earlier season.
Chris: Ah, here we go. The Smallville Wiki -- because OF COURSE there's a Smallville Wiki -- has this to say:
Lois Lane has a tendency to dress up either for fun or to sneak into forbidden places to get information on her own and this is one of the main features of her journalist instinct and her personality.
David: For fun? The hell, is she into cosplay?
Chris: I should point out that this comes from a page dedicated to her various costumes. She has been a Bunny:
A French Maid:
And -- holy crap -- a STORMTROOPER?!
Chris: Maybe the reason we didn't get creepy fetish Desaad was because the producers of the show are already on it.
David: So yeah, I guess she IS into cosplay.
Chris: Oh my God. Uzi.
In "Warrior," it was revealed that Lois keeps all her costumes from the years in her closet.
Lois has Jimmy Olsen's Diguise Trunk. That's why we like Smallville Lois so much. Smallville Lois... is actually Smallville Jimmy Olsen.
David: That makes an absolutely astonishing amount of sense. She's really an amalgam of the two characters, and I like that a lot. I think she's the only character on the show who's having fun.
Chris: Yeah, everyone else is either mired in indecision (Clark), exceptionally grim (Green Arrow) or Totally Not Appearing In This Season (Chloe). Lois, meanwhile, is straight up putting on disguises and doing some amazingly spurious journalism and seems like she's having a blast.
David: Ollie's interesting but he's a total buzzkill.
Chris: And if we hadn't made the Batman connection last week, then getting out his snapshot of his dead parents and talking to them about how he's failed them would've pretty much sealed the deal. So wait. Green Arrow is Batman. Lois is Jimmy. Supergirl is Superman. Who's Clark?
David: Conner Kent, circa "Infinite Crisis."
Chris: Fair point. He didn't have a real costume either.
David: And he was always unsure of whether he was up to the task of being a hero.
Chris: The big deal in this episode, though, was Kara returning as Supergirl.
David: She seems a bit too old, but other than that she's pretty much Supergirl as far as I can tell.
Chris: But again, much like the Justice Society, throwing these extremely recognizable elements into "Smallville" seems so incongruous. Like, not only does Supergirl show up and start saving people in a blue shirt and a red miniskirt and red boots, but also everyone (or at least Lois) totally knows that's Clark Kent's cousin. Although I have to say, I really liked the scene where Lois came up with a cover story, because Clark's too dumb to think up one on his own. It's really cute, but it also throws the character of Clark under the bus, and begs the question of why he's the ONLY ONE who doesn't know that Lois knows he's Super-Blur.
David: It's totally ridiculous and I'm glad this is the final season since it can't last forever. I do hope they don't save flying until the very end, but I have a feeling that'll be the case.
Chris: He flew in this episode! And how insane is it that Supergirl can totally fly? Just, like it's nothin'. She even says in the episode that she doesn't even have to try to do it. And another thing. Kara talks about getting orders from Jor-El. Isn't that dude dead?
David: Jor-El appears to be surviving as a really annoying, bitchy computer.
Chris: That is the pits Just the absolute worst. Also, Clark talks about how he was sent to "save the Earth." Is that the deal in Smallville, because if so, it's a pretty huge departure from being sent to Earth purely to survive.
David: They're going with that Christopher Reeve interpretation, I think. I also don't know why Jor-El can like see the future and knows about Darkseid. Matter of fact, I expect that it isn't Jor-El at all.
Chris: By the way, I have found my favorite sentence on the Smallville Wiki: "This episode marks the beginning of the new opening credits, with "Smallville" in red instead of orange, additional footage primarily from Season Four, Season Three, Season Two, and Season One and each of the stars' hair blowing in the wind, except for Michael Rosenbaum who doesn't have any hair."
David: Rosenbaum! I forget, did he have hair when this show started? What's the Smallville explanation for Lex losing his hair? Was it Kryptonite poisoning or something?
Chris: Yeah, that sounds about right. Meteors were involved, I think. That was the show's whole thing for a while, right? Meteors? They even mention them this episode.
David: Yeah, that's another thing: This show has a continuing arc this season, as opposed to meteor monster of the week which the first few seasons were filled with.
Chris: Anyway: I actually like Supergirl doing stuff and stepping up because Clark's too much of a chump -- once again chucking Clark right under the bus -- but she made no sense to me. The thing where her bracelet has a Superman logo on it that opens up a portal to other dimensions and that's how they fight Darkseid who is made of crows that live inside Glenn Beck? I mean, sure, that's no more crazy than a Lex Luthor robot fighting a talking telepathic super-gorilla, but it was a total shrug moment for me. "Well, okay, I guess. If that's how it works here."
David: The show's really mysticized Krypton. Like, when I think of Krypton, I think of superscience and natural wonder, not magic spells and secret cults and all of this dumb sh*t.
Chris: It has to be mystical, since it's a planet where you can blow up and still be bitching at your kids 30 years later.
David: I've got to admit, I'm really liking this show's take on Darkseid. It's clever, and it fits the character's journey. It's weird how they're bringing in all this DCU stuff, but all the personalities are so different that it feels almost like a funhouse mirror version of the DC Universe.
Chris: Lois, Lois, Lois. Even with the crazy outfits and sexed-up bondage, she's hands down the best part of the show. I love that she's actually going around and having adventures. If it wasn't for the fact that she got knocked out with one gentle shove, Lois could carry the entire show by herself. And, well, that shove DID come from Darkseid, so forget "Smallville," I want "Lois Lane: Girl Reporter."
David: Yeah, do a spinoff and kill Clark in the last episode if you have to. She can hang out with Kara, who's actually remotely proactive.
Chris: Oh man. Seriously, who would not watch the Lois, Kara and Chloe all-girl mystery solving show? Like "Josie and the Pussycats" but instead of rock music, they're all reporters, and Perry White sends them to go investigate, I dunno, haunted houses and vigilante sightings. "Perry's Angels." You would watch that. Don't even lie. You would watch that so hard.
David: That show would just be... FUN. And while this is fun a lot of the time, Clark just isn't pulling off his uncertainty well.
David: Lord knows I've bitched about Clark enough. I hope coming out of the vigi-closet makes Ollie more of the Ollie I remember and enjoy from the comics, rather than a blond Batman with a funny outfit.
Chris: Yeah, have we been given any reason to like Clark? Any reason at all?
David: He's Superman, duh!
Chris: No, he's the Blur.
David: But he broods more than Batman.
Chris: It's like every episode so far has ended with him realizing that he needs to step up and be the hero he's destined to become, and then the next episode starts him right back where he was. It happened when he stopped the Planet globe from falling, it happened when he got his new Thriller jacket, and now it's happening again with his training with Kara this episode, which took place in what appears to be a screenshot from a PC game from 2002:
David: He's ineffectual, whiny and generally annoying. I hope the show ends with him getting stabbed and dying Jimmy Olsen style, and then a rocket crashing in the Midwest.
Chris: Maybe he'll change his name to Jonathan Kent as a tribute to his Earth father, then he'll raise Kal-El Jr. All they need is a series finale by Cary Bates.
David: Also, why isn't Kara rocking the Super-symbol? Is she ashamed or something? She has the entire rest of the costume.
Chris: Yeah, that was another low point for me: Supergirl's costumes. It's one thing when they do it with the mini-skirt and the blue top and the boots, but when she shows up again in a red jacket with a yellow shirt underneath and red pants? It's a bit ridiculous.
David: And why was she doing a press shoot? Just to prove a point?
Chris: That's something else I couldn't figure out: Is "Kara Kent" meant to be a model or something, or did she just seriously stop a billboard from falling and then get some photographers to take sexy glamour shots? Because if so, Sexy Glamour Shots have officially become a recurring theme in this season.
David: I think she just got photographers to take glamour shots. Like, for her website maybe, or ads in the local alternative weeklies.
David: As usual, I dunno if I could say it's GOOD, but I'm certainly entertained, and the writers clearly know what they're doing. I wonder when we hit the next Bryan Q. Miller episode, since I'm really enjoying his Batgirl.
Chris: I could do without the constant nudge-nudge-wink-wink lines -- Godfrey talking about "truth, justice and the American way," Lois considering "Power Girl" as a nickname for Kara -- but overall, the only thing I have a real problem with is Clark. Everybody else is pretty enjoyable, at least on some level.
David: And we still have Mera coming up. Which I'm excited for for all the wrong reasons.
Chris: Is there ever a right reason to be excited about Mera?
David: Because you're really into the silent nobility of Aquaman's wife who never wanted children and puked red blood over her zombie baby? I dunno.
Chris: Sadly, that will have to wait, because the next episode "Homecoming," focuses on Clark's high school reunion, which will of course involve Brainiac 5 (James Marsters) time traveling from the future to attend.
David: And an awkward reason to not have Lana Lang show up, I'm sure.
Chris: Maybe it'll be like the first episode and we'll get an evil clone of Lana. Only she'll have a fishtail instead of legs and be named Lori. Seriously, at this point I would not be surprised.