Review: Smallville Season 8 Premiere
Get ready, Superman fans: this first episode back for Smallville certainly made a believer out of anybody who was sick of the constant relationship melodrama and relentless barn-scenes-with-a-bad-soft-contemporary-soundtrack of the past seven seasons, but before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a step back.
You can get an in-depth look at what exactly went down over the past seven years here, but for our purposes, all we need to know is this: Lex found out Clark is an alien, went to the Fortress of Solitude to control him, ended up destroying the place with both of them in it. Jimmy Olsen, originally agreeing to be Lex’s spy, betrayed him, which then forced Luthor to call the Department of Domestic Security (dumb name) and have Chloe hauled away, who now has the ability to heal and the brain smarter than a super computer. Lois Lane is currently on the hunt for her cousin, Chloe, and the Justice League (consisting of Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Aquaman) is on the quest for Clark. All caught up? Good.
This season kicks off with LuthorCorp’s newest CEO, Tress Mercer (possibly a hybrid of Lex’s comic bodyguard Mercy and movie girlfriend Ms. Tessmacher) stepping in as the new (evil) face of the company, now that Luthor is missing, and Michael Rosenbaum is only slated for a few guest appearances this season. The Justice League, along with their poor costume choices, are closing in on finding Clark in the Antarctic, who is actually in a prison camp in the heart of Russia (Red Son reference?), both human, and unshaven!! Chloe is under guard at the supposed D.D.S. (dumb initials) base, where scientists are running tests on her to find out the extent of her “super computer brain”.
The episode marks the feel of this season, which is finally branching outside the walls of Smallville, and going global. Lana’s dead (to us), so we don’t have anymore agonizing drama on that front. There is a moment of dread about 45 minutes into the episode where Clark goes back to his bedroom in the barn, but thankfully its only for him to “finally say goodbye to Smallville”. We get a great cameo from Martain Manhunter and even a nice little nod to former cast members John Schneider and Anette O’Toole. No sign of the “daddy issues with Jor-El” storyline either, which was a big letdown in the past.
This season is said to be more of a throwback to Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, having the duo work together at the Daily Planet, with Clark finding out that he needs to keep his identity secret from those around him, all the while falling slowly for Ms. Lane. This will hopefully end with him donning some sort of costume, instead of the blue shirt/red jacket that has unfortunately become his trademark (when I can buy the same thing at Old Navy, it shouldn’t be considered a superhero costume). We’re also expected to get a Doomsday storyline this season, which could prove promising, given the new writing direction.
This brings us to the biggest improvement by far from the past, which is the writing. Both in dialogue and storylines, there seems to be a newfound enthusiasm from the writer’s room, and it most definitely translates onto the screen. They also seem to have the chemistry between Clark and Lois down to a tee. The nods to comics are still there, including a possible Red Son reference, and even a throw to fans of Green Arrow (I won’t ruin that). They may fall back into their “freak of the week” slump again, but this episode has made the show as a whole worth getting back into, and I recommend it to any true Superman fan. RATING: 9/10