We’re back and it’s time for some fun with some flashback reviews. Now in terms of the first season, these episodes may not have been widely considered the greatest, but they do manage to feature a couple of seminal Smallville moments and to flesh out the larger cast in a bunch of fun and interesting ways. With Smallville having such an expansive cast, much like it’s comic book lineage, it is often hard to give every character the time and development that they deserve. Luckily, these episodes manage to pull back the veil on some characters that would either develop into fan favorites or play a much larger role moving forward (or both). Clark’s best friends Pete and Chloe were often underused and felt like an add-on to many of the plots during the first season, but this is the first chance where they get to take center stage in an episode. So lets dive in!
“Cool” may be my personal favorite of this set of episodes, but it is by no means the best of the bunch. The plot luckily manages to center around one of the more interesting characters, Chloe, falling for a douchey football player, Sean Kelvin, who much like his name suggests gains Killer Frost type powers after getting submerged in a frozen meteor rock lake. Yes Kelvin (on the nose with the name/ power combination) is not the nicest of guys and says the stereotypical user guy thing of “another notch in the belt” so we know he has no real interest in Chloe past sexual attraction. Chloe, naively, does not really care about this as a guy finally manages to pay attention to her, which is a major step up from her relationship with Clark. Meanwhile, Clark manages to get Lana to agree to a date with him and Lex continues to try and find a way to prove to Jonathan that he is not a bad guy.
What I like about “Cool” is that it manages to have a lot of moving parts and they all fit in with each other very well. Up to this point in the series, Chloe’s main role had been providing weird roundabout ways to explain the “Freak of the Weeks” powers. It’s was fun, but the writers quickly realized that they needed to do something to make her stand out, so much like Lana they gave her a meteor freak quirk. Lana’s meteor freaks are often stalkers (see “X-Ray” and “Metamorphosis” as prime examples) but with Chloe, the majority of her meteor freak interactions are based upon them being very interesting antagonists. Sean, for example, is a user, but when he attacks Chloe he apologizes for his actions. This was a really bizarre about face for a one-off character who for all intents and purposes is a jackass to women. Another great thing about Sean was that he was not a cut and paste character as he managed to crack jokes during his final confrontation with Clark.
Chloe as a character is revealed to be very emotionally fragile and vulnerable beneath her fun loving and quirky exterior. It was a nice solid development that allowed for a lot of play moving forward.
All in all a very well rounded episode that managed to give us a fun villain and slight development for Chloe
Final Grade B+
“Hourglass” is the episode a lot of people choose in their best of lists simply because of the final scene between Lex and Cassandra, but for me it is firmly planted in the good but not great category. The story manages to have a fun revenge plot that includes some major age defying fun with Harry Volk, but overall it is a very straightforward story. Volk’s plan for vengeance was an interesting one only because he used his prison time to learn everything about the families that caused his imprisonment. That is some true blue psychopathic dedication to wanting vengeance and literally biding your time for the right opportunity. Of course, besides that the real secondary arc is the character of Cassandra. While she manages to have to good lines and quips, especially with Lex, her purpose in the episode is limited at best. It really felt like the writers only wanted to get that one scene of Lex in the field of bones and blood and had not found a smart way to get there.
Final Grade B
Oh yay, we get to talk about “Craving” now! I’m sorry, sarcasm cannot be portrayed in writing very easily. “Craving” was clearly meant to be the Pete story of the three episodes we are talking about today and show everybody that he is so much more than the nice, funny guy, sidekick he is unfortunately portrayed as for a large part of the first season. Sadly, it does not work out that way. Pete kind of got stuck in a rut during this early stretch and it is not really until season two that Pete gets to be kind of sort of awesome. As of this point, he is just a superfluous element to the story. The only fun fact to come out of this is Amy Adams plays the cannibalistic Jodi; she is also the new Lois Lane in Man Of Steel, so yeah, everything came full circle for her.
The more interesting parts are the actual B and C story, one involving Lana’s perfect birthday and the other focusing on Lex ‘s interaction with a new recurring character named Dr. Hamilton. The Lana story has a very sweet ending, with Clark recreating her last “Happy Birthday” and that image of them watching Bugs Bunny cartoons manages to stick with you. The Hamilton stuff is a mixed bag at best as it is fun to see Lex taking a larger interest in the town and what makes it unique, but at the same time Joe Morton is not given much to do besides be a very strong anti-social. Luckily, he is a recurring character so there is plenty of time for expanding his role.
Overall this is an average episode nothing to really write home about.
Final Grade C
-If you want Joe Morton in a better role, I suggest Eureka where he plays a scientist named Henry Deacon. Really fun show and it’s all on Netflix.
-If you want a fun drinking game count the number of times Lex references an ancient civilization or historical figure. There are two to three alone in these three episodes.
– Clark: “It doesn’t feel that cold to me.” Chloe: “What, are you from an ice planet?” Why yes Chloe, yes he is!