Monday, May 9, 2011
Review: Smallville 'Prophecy'
Last Friday, the second to last Smallville episode, 'Prophecy', aired. The episode, co-written by Batgirl scribe Bryan Q. Miller, moved the main storylines of Clark's ascension to Superman and Darkseid's incursion on our planet forward nicely. But the main draw for me was the conclusion of the Kara 'Supergirl' storyline.
The two words that I thought of as this episode ended were 'hooray' and 'whew'! Because Kara's story ends in a very upbeat way for her as a character. I was worried that she would be killed Crisis-style. I was really worried she would end up as Darkseid's vessel with the series culminating in a Superman vs. Supergirl battle. Thankfully, neither of those things happened. Instead, Kara gets sent away as a hero ... and in some ways that encapsulated all that has been wrong with this series, a series I will admit I have very much enjoyed these last couple of years.
Kara and Green Arrow are both separately hunting for the Bow of Orion, a weapon that was used in the past to vanquish Darkseid when he came to Earth before. The series knows it's audience know so the script is littered with references to Orion as the son of Darkseid, raised by a bringer of light. For those of us who know the New Gods, things like that are appreciated.
In an Indiana Jones like cave, riddled with death traps, Oliver finds Kara trapped by a forcefield tube. Solving the riddle on the walls, Oliver is able to free her. Together, they maneuver through the traps and are about to grab the bow when Kara is called away by Jor-El. So first off, this shows Kara in a very positive light, proactively looking for the one thing that can defeat the oncoming darkness.
In the Fortress, Kara talks to Jor-El. asking him why he called for her. He tells her that this time is Clark's time, that Clark needs to face the darkness and accept his destiny, and that Kara retrieving the Bow and aiding her cousin could actually derail Clark's path to glory. Jor-El also tells her that she has a strong will and doesn't need to listen to him any more but that he knows that Kara's destiny is in another place and another time.
In essence, he tells her to not be the hero and asks her to take off. She should leave and let Clark be the hero he needs to be. As a Supergirl fan, I loved this moment. Jor-El basically is saying that Kara has surpassed Clark. She is strong and strong-willed. She is about to save the day. Unfortunately that would upset the cosmic apple cart which has determined Clark needs to be the savior of the world.
But in many ways that's what is wrong with Smallville. Clark has kind of sleep-walked through a bunch of seasons and has never quite emerged as a great hero. Even these last few seasons, when he is anointed as the savior and is named the head of the League, he still hasn't manifested himself as a Superman-like presence. Now I will say that the last few seasons are light years better than the glum Clark we saw earlier in the show.
And with Clark never having asserted himself, the writers probably felt a bit stuck with Supergirl. She has time and again been shown to be outgoing, powerful, brave, and intelligent. How could they have Clark face Darkseid in the finale alone and defeat him if Kara is still kicking around? In many ways, Kara would be a better choice to fight Darkseid. Clark has almost been possessed once. So the easiest way to get around that problem is to send her away.
The show ends with Kara leaving without even saying goodbye to Clark (another of dysfunctional dad Jor-El's orders), donning a Legion ring, and heading to the future.
We have seen this destiny of Supergirl before, in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon. And kudos to blog-friend Gene who called this way way way back!
And let's face it, it leaves a Supergirl and the Legion spin-off or special out there as a possibility. Are you listening CW? We want it!
But I'll reiterate, despite her listening to Jor-El and taking off (a questionable act for a hero), Kara is treated pretty good in this episode, lauded for the hero she has become.
And she wasn't killed.
And she wasn't possessed, turned into the bad guy.
And Oliver? He can't get the bow because he is an unwitting agent of Darkseid. Granny Goodness shows up and incinerates the weapon.
The other plot is a well-worn comic plot with Lois given Clark's powers by Jor-El so she can understand what it means to be The Blur. There is a battle with the Toyman (who seems to have set up a Legion of Doom with glimpses of Solomon Grundy, Captain Cold, Black Manta, and Roulette sitting around a big table) who has created Starro sort of drones. That plot ends with Clark regaining his powers and Lois breaking up with him just days before the wedding. In a tear-soaked conclusion, Lois says she fears that the time he spends with her will keep him from saving others. She couldn't live with that. Ahhh .. .Smallville angst.
The truth is I really have enjoyed these last couple of seasons with the immersion into DC lore. And Erica Durance really plays a wonderful Lois. And Laura Vandervoort is just spot-on for Supergirl.
Now hopefully next week we'll see flight and tights! The Smallville finale is only 4days away!
Overall grade: B